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As you may know, I had a Major Triumph last week when Toppings in Ely, a fabulous independent bookshop with perhaps the best views from its windows, agreed to stock “Fatal Forgery” and “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”.  Buoyed with enthusiasm, I decided to think a bit more about real bookshops as well as online ones.  One of my real bookshops is G David in Cambridge, and as we were chatting they suggested that I could try to get my books listed on Hive, which – bit confusing this – is a website that lists books in local bookshops.  You can buy them online, and then collect them from the bookshops.  An interesting hybrid approach.  But Hive also stocks books on their own account, and – as they are obviously imaginative people – I contacted them and explained my plight.  Is there any way, I asked, that my CreateSpace self-published books could be listed on Hive, with me personally fulfilling any orders that come in (and passing on a commission to Hive, of course).

And back came this reply, which I am sharing with those of you who have also been bitten by the self-publishing bug, as it is the clearest explanation I have read of the current situation for self-published authors here in the UK (or, at least, not in the US): “CreateSpace is a publisher that is based in the US that has not yet set up a UK based distributor.  This means that we are unable to consider any title published by CreateSpace because we are simply unable to source CreateSpace titles at this time.  Currently there’s only two ways that we can purchase CreateSpace titles:

  1. You buy copies from them, list yourself on Nielsen as the distributor and then our orders would come directly to you.
  2. You reprint using a new ISBN, list yourself on Nielsen as the distributor and then our orders would come directly to you.”

Neither of those options appeals to me at the moment (the first would definitely knock out any profit I could make, what with postage from the US and then postage on to buyers, while the second would cause confusion with two ISBNs per title), but it is certainly useful to have a clearer understanding of the distribution (or non-distribution) of self-published titles in the UK at the moment.  What we need, of course, is a CreateSpace UK – which has been promised for years.