CreateSpace, owned by Amazon, has improved in numerous ways in the past few years. Originally, if an author wished to self-publish with CreateSpace, the author had to provide two sets of files to CreateSpace. One was the internal set-up of the book and the other was the cover. Both can be daunting tasks to a first time self-publishing author.
Many such authors resorted to using so-called "self-publishing" companies, also known as "author services" companies. The seedier of these companies are referred to as vanity presses. Having used on of the reputable companies in this field, Dog Ear Publishing, and publishing numerous other books using CreateSpace, I feel quite qualified in pointing out the many advantages offered by CreateSpace, though I do feel it is up to the individual author to his or her homework in researching CreateSpace and other author services companies.
The first advantage concerns the ISBN. If actually being the publisher of record means nothing to you as a self-publishing author, CreateSpace will provide you with an ISBN for free, but be warned, CreateSpace will be the publisher of record if you go this route. Unlike most author services companies, who both charge you for an ISBN and act as the publisher of record, giving the author no choice in the matter, CreateSpace gives the author a choice. The author is free to provide the ISBN and be the publisher of record, essentially using CreateSpace as a book printer and distributor only.
Cost is another huge advantage of CreateSpace. CreateSpace offers one of the lowest cost per unit prices in the print-on-demand industry. Author services companies inflate the cost per copy, adding a surcharge to each copy sold.
CreateSpace has a very close, and advantageous, relationship with Amazon, the parent company. A book published or printed by CreateSpace will automatically be listed on Amazon. CreateSpace also distributes the same books to Amazon's competitor, Barnes and Noble, further increasing sales opportunities for the self-publishing author whose marketing strategy is for all sales to be online with CreateSpace handling order fulfillment.
If the idea of creating the internal file and cover design is intimidating, CreateSpace now offers a full line of author services for a fee, allowing the author to take advantage of CreaeSpace's relationship with Amazon and low per unit pricing.
For anyone interested in learning more about using CreateSpace to self-publish, you may want to obtain a copy of my book, Self-Publishing With Amazon's CreateSpace.