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Many self-published authors are still turning to literary agents to sell foreign rights to their books. In a move that could cut some agents out, Amazon (s AMZN) now allows those authors to distribute their print books through European Amazon sites for free.
Self-published authors can already sell their e-books on Amazon’s international sites when they use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Now, when authors upload those books to Amazon’s free print publishing tool, CreateSpace, Amazon will distribute the books to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it.
When consumers in those countries (or in the U.S.) order a CreateSpace book, Amazon prints it on demand. The books are available for same-day shipping and eligible for free shipping and Amazon Prime. (Amazon Prime, which offers unlimited free two-day shipping for a yearly fee, is available in the U.S. and UK and in Germany, France, Italy and Spain as “Amazon Premium.”)
Using CreateSpace is free, but an author’s royalty payment depends on factors like page count and color.
The books still won’t be in European bricks-and-mortar stores
Authors who distribute their books internationally through CreateSpace are only distributing them through Amazon sites. The books won’t appear on the shelves of European bricks-and-mortar bookstores. (Amazon does provide some expanded distribution options in the United States.)
And, of course, the program only applies to Europe for now. The books aren’t available through Amazon’s Chinese or Japanese sites, and they aren’t available in other markets where Amazon doesn’t operate, like Brazil.
Still, European access through Amazon might be enough to persuade some self-published authors to hold off on hiring that agent to handle foreign rights for now. Some authors, like bestselling romance author Barbara Freethy, are already self-publishing foreign-language editions of their titles. Today’s news gives them a little more room to expand on their own.