DVD Movie Published and Sold Through Amazon's CreateSpace

Let this be a lesson that comments can be dangerous. A couple of readers said nice things about my YouTube videos in comments on a post about writing for money last month, and I let it go to my head. After discovering that I still had all the original AVI files from my FlipCam, I decided to try out Amazon's CreateSpace service for publishing movies. Three weeks and quite a bit of fooling around later:

I have to give CreateSpace credit for the basic DVD publishing process. It was pretty painless and flexible. For example, as this experimental movie consists of videos that have already been published on YouTube and are available free to anybody, I wasn't going to charge any more than I had to. But since I'm not making money on the movie, I wasn't going to invest the time and effort in creating artwork for the cover or the DVD itself. CreateSpace has a plain text option where they just label it with the title and stick the catalog description on the back. All you have to do is send them an original with your order number scrawled on it and the packing slip, and you get back the movie:

That's my original to the left in the picture, they added the bar code sticker. They also added a copyright notice to the published movie DVD. CreateSpace advises movie producers to use Dolby audio, rather than MPEG, so the first challenge was finding movie creation software that would do it. I downloaded a few trial versions of software that didn't cut the mustard, and then found that the InterVideo Win DVD Creator which came pre-installed on my Toshiba laptop could do it. Then I experimented with navigation (I hadn't even known that DVD's had navigation) and probably made a bad choice. Another mistake was not using transitions. The software supported a couple dozen transitions (fades, flips, swirls, you name it) that can be inserted with a single click, but I never liked them so I went without. A few test viewers have already commented that they would have liked some sort of transition or title page in between the videos. Another problem with the lack of transition breaks is that if you skip back and forth in the navigation on a computer using the Windows player, it sometimes plays the last fraction of a second of the previous video along with the one to which you're moving.

There's an option to sell your DVD movies through a CreateSpace store to maximize profit, but if I wanted to sell movies outside of the main Amazon store, I'd sell them direct off my own website. For movies produced by CreateSpace and sold through Amazon the economics were pretty simple. They charge $4.95 for each DVD copy, and take 45% of the list price. I priced my DVD at $9.95, which means I should net $0.52 each, and if I should sell 34 copies, I'll make back the cost of the FedX 2nd day I used to send them the original. If any of my readers don't have broadband and have been waiting on tenterhooks for me to publish a movie version on DVD, it's here. I'd also like to point out that if you click on my name when you get there, I'm not actually in the other movie that comes up. Really.

I did record an introduction for the movie, which is embedded below.


Thomas Huynh said...

As one of the commentators who might have prompted you to create your DVD, I'd be curious how many of these DVDs you end up selling. The curious part is that it's already free on Youtube; perhaps the value is in having it all in one place with better resolution. I believe you'd have better success with a new product that summarizes all your knowledge in a 60 minute lesson and sell it for $20 which is less than the price of a hardcover book. The best part is you'd make more than 52 cents per sale, so it's worth your time.

Morris Rosenthal said...


Summarize all of my knowledge in a 60 minute lesson? May as well publish a Top 10 list and get on with my life:-)


Charlie said...

Sound track: "They're gonna put me in the movies."

Because you act "naturally."

Anonymous said...

Morris, I think you ought to be given a paid spot on TV. I find your presentations entertaining and informative - only you could produce them. (They'd never be the same with slick presenters, expensive props etc.)
I found another blogger in the UK who seems to be following the pricing of authored work that may be of interest also? :


Morris Rosenthal said...


I asked friends for feedback on my "performances" in case I should try to do a real course on something, like web design. One complaint I have about myself that at least one friend pointed out is the lip-smacking. Some of my upper teeth have been drifiting out, so I often feel like I'm about to drool when speaking at length, and try to pull back spit that isn't, in fact, leaving. Have to break myself of that.


Morris Rosenthal said...


I remember one of my summer posts on e-books got some push both ways on pricing. Somer commentors thought I needed to charge more because I was selling valuable content, others thought I needed to charge less because ebooks are supposed to be cheap.

I don't worry much about fixed systems for pricing anything I'm selling direct, even though I'm way too lazy to experiment and look for the pricing sweet spot. The reason my most expensive ebook is $13.95 is that my PayPal account is set up to start adding shipping costs for more expensive products (the paperback versions that I sell direct). My cheapest ebook is $9.95 because I can't be bothered with potential customer service for less.

If I ever stopped selling paper versions, or lost a major distribution channel for them, I'd be more inclined to approach the ebook pricing more scientifically.