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I really like how CreateSpace can print on-demand books, even just one copy, at an affordable price, in a form factor that is readable. Simply printing on copy paper produces a book that's hard to turn the pages, because of paper cuts, etc.

But I need a set of books printed for family use only, the material would only interest relatives, doesn't need to be published for random strangers to buy. Is there a way to use CreateSpace as a 1-time printing service for a book that will only be distributed among family?

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First off, Create Space is not the epitome of quality if you believe all the complaints.

Secondly, there are many places that will sell small quantities of books at least as good as Create Space offers.

The fewer you print the higher the cost. For quantity one, you could easily pay 25-50usd or more. Print a hundred and the price comes down closer to $5-10 depending on pages and other factors like page size.

If you want hardcover or other bindings, they are considered additional and the price will vary by type and who does it.

Look at the ads in the back of Writers Digest for printers. Not sure but maybe the Writer has ads too. Or you could google if you are careful with your keywords.

There are thousands of genuine book printers. There are hundreds that would do the type of work you want.

I note that paper cuts are nonsense. And that is the type of paper that they all use. Although some use higher quality paper at extra cost.

So yes you could use create space that way but please do check out all the complaints online before you do.
https://writersweekly.com/angela-desk/complaints-createspace-part-v

Also, check out parts 1 2 3 4 about complaints too.

Some other views on CS:

https://www.complaintsboard.com/createspace-b122165

https://blog.reedsy.com/createspace/

https://selfpublishingadvisor.com/tag/createspace-complaints/

You should consider having them done at a copy shop like Staples on 3 hole punch paper then putting them in a notebook binder. If the book is really big then be sure to use a D-ring binder.

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Check out lulu.com. I used them before I used CreateSpace/KDP. You set up your file and cover and then order the copies that you want. You can determine whether the book is available to the public or not, at least when I used it, which was quite a while ago. Take my advice on that with a grain of salt and double-check it. The thing that you have to remember is that, for any of these print-on-demand places, you will probably have to do some formatting to your book to meet their needs. Page size, margins, etc. Look at the info very carefully.

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Sure. I do this every year. I create an appointment book in a format that I like. I order 2 proof copies from CreateSpace. I never order any more, and I never approve the proofs or release it to be published.

The one minor drawback is that now when you order proofs, they print a bar across the front cover reading "not for resale". I have no intention of selling it but it detracts from the appearance. Maybe they do that precisely to prevent someone from making a book of family pictures to give to grandma or whatever? I don't know. They used to print a page in the back with "PROOF" in big letters. (I once chatted with someone who was in a similar position to you: He wanted to print a book of family photos of their trip to New Zealand, and just print a handful of copies for family members. He didn't like the page in the back saying "PROOF". I told him that he could tell his family that that meant this was proof that they really visited New Zealand. :-)

I don't know how the CreateSpace folks feel about me printing 2 copies and that's it. Is that the same to them as someone ordering 2 copies of any book? i.e., sure, not a lot of money but millions of those small sales every day is what's made them rich. Or are they losing money on the deal with set up costs or whatever? They've never contacted me to say this is a problem, and I've been doing it ever year for like 10 years.

I printed a book with Lulu once. Slightly more expensive than CreateSpace but more versatile. I got proofs from them that didn't have any extraneous messages on the cover.

The only other comparable print-on-demand printer I know is Lightning Source, and, last I checked which was a while ago, they had a $75 set up fee, which would add a lot to the cost if you're just printing one or two books. Well, thegamecrafter.com will print paperbacks, I've never investigated the details. I don't doubt there are other printers out there you might talk to.

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