CreateSpace paperbacks – matte vs glossy

First up, I am amazed at how fast CreateSpace delivered my printed proofs of How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing. Seriously, from either the US or the UK to Australia in a week? Thank you!

Unfortunately, the proofs prove exactly why printed proofs of paperbacks are so necessary. This is what I see when I look at the cover on my computer screen:

Note: ignore the back cover text; was a quick and dirty scale down in Corel.

Now, have a look at what the cover looks like with a matte finish:

Note 2: that curly, golden looking thing in the background is the dog’s tail.

As you can see, the matte finish looks, well, awful. Not the fault of CreateSpace. My fault. All my previous covers have been printed with a glossy finish and [except for Vokhtah] they all turned out beautifully. This is one of my glossy how-to’s for comparison:

The black of the background is the same on both the matte and glossy covers. The difference between them, however, is stark.

I’m sure there are some covers that work perfectly with a matte finish, but none of mine do, and I’ll never make this mistake again. 😦

Another design mistake I made was in the choice of ‘tablet’ graphic I used. The outline of the tablet blends into the background way too much. That will have to be changed, tout suite. My only excuse is that it didn’t look that way on my screen. Not sure if that’s because of the calibration of the screen, my ageing eye-sight or just an inevitable outcome when you convert from RGB to CMYK colour modes. Actually, it’s probably a combination of all three.

And now to something that wasn’t my fault. These are smears of, I think, glossy ‘ink’ that have transferred to the matte print:

Not sure how POD technology works, but clearly it’s not quite as ‘clean’ as one would hope. As these books are just proof copies, and I’m going to change the cover slightly anyway, I’m not terribly fussed. But can you imagine how I’d be feeling right now if I’d approved this original cover for IngramSpark?…and now had to pay $25 to fix the problems with the cover?

I think my blood would be boiling, there’d be steam coming out of my ears, and the house would be ringing with four-letter words at max volume… Ahem. Luckily, none of that is happening, thanks to CreateSpace.

Lessons learned:

  • setup paperbacks to be sold on Amazon with CreateSpace,
  • request printed proofs of paperbacks from CreateSpace,
  • do not approve any paperbacks for IngramSpark until you’re sure of the ultimate quality because you’ll be working sight unseen and mistakes are costly.

There is one more lesson I have to learn, and that is to see if the IngramSpark worldwide distribution is as good as it’s cracked up to be. But that’s for another day and another post.




About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

13 responses to “CreateSpace paperbacks – matte vs glossy

  • DawnGillDesigns

    I always love the feel of a matte book in my hand. But, I very rarely buy a new ‘real’ book (we have only Waterstones near me) – the real books I buy tend to be direct from the author, or to take to a signing.


    • acflory

      Yeah, I was really surprised by how lovely the feel of the matte was, but like you, I rarely buy real books anymore. The Kindle is just too convenient. Love that I can carry a whole library in a thin little device. 😀


  • Widdershins

    That’s a spectacular difference. 🙂


  • Candy Korman

    You made the right choice! And thank you for explaining the gold curly thing in the photo. That would have bugged me for hours… LOL…


  • greenpete58

    Thanks, Meeka. I hope to be publishing my book in a few weeks. I’m using CreateSpace POD. I was going to use matte, but after reading this, I’ll go glossy!

    Is there anything I should tell my art designer? She should be finishing both the paperback and electronic art any day now. Does she just send me a final PDF, and then I upload this to CreatSpace?


    • acflory

      Yes, Pete but be sure she labels them clearly as you do NOT want to upload the ebook cover for the paperback! I assume she’s using a CreateSpace template for the paperback? If so you should be fine. Best of luck for the launch. 😀


      • greenpete58

        Thanks, I will definitely double-check the labeling. And yes, she’s using a CreateSpace template. After researching today, I may actually go with matte. My book is about the outdoors, and emphasizes “natural,” so I don’t think glossy would be appropriate. (Will change later if I have to.) However, for black colors like your book has, I’ve heard glossy is much better.


        • acflory

          Yes, I think for softer colours, matte can be lovely. Plus it has a tactile /feel/ as well. Very pleasant to hold and touch.
          I’d strongly recommend ordering a printed proof of your book. Maybe get two – one matte one glossy – to see exactly what the two look like?


  • laurieboris

    Paying rapt attention here. I’ll be trying out IngramSpark soon. Also, I’ve used both glossy and matte. The glossy wins, for most of the titles I’ve tried it on.


    • acflory

      This was my first experiment with matte, and I have to say the /feel/ of the cover is quite amazing – like suede, or very fine velvet. It just doesn’t look right. Btw for the covers, you’ll need to adjust them for IngramSpark as they’re not quite the same size, plus they have this other stuff that goes with the cover.
      I’ll do a very quick post to show you what I mean…


    • acflory

      p.s. here’s the link to a very quick and dirty how to on the covers


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