I’ve recently had a client ask me to upload their book to Ingram Spark. Since it’s not a service I use on a regular basis and I knew they’d been doing some upgrading and changing of their interface, I decided to pop over and upload a book of mine so that I’d know what I was doing when I went to upload hers.
First, let me say that their website has gotten a lot easier to work with since the last time I used it (in September 2018 when KDP Print took over CreateSpace). You still have a lot more options to consider than when uploading to KDP Print, but they do make it easier to make those decisions and guide you through the process with hints and error messages that I found very helpful.
Now, why would someone want to publish with Ingram Spark instead of KDP Print? Let me list out some pros and cons for you.
Pros of publishing with Ingram Spark:
- Bookstores are more likely to buy your book to keep on their shelves or even as a special order for a customer because they generally prefer not to buy from Amazon.
- Ingram Spark not only does more sizes of paperback books, but they also print hardcover books. If you want anything smaller than 5 x 8 or a hardcover, IS is the only way to go. (The smallest size you can have printed is 4 x 6, which is about the size of a normal mass market paperback.)
- It allows you to give bookstores a discount when buying your book so they are more likely to stock your book. And it also provides them with a way to return it, which KDP does not.
Pros of publishing with KDP Print
- It’s FREE! Ingram spark charges $50 just to publish a book with them. Need to make a change and upload a new version? That’ll be another $25. KDP doesn’t charge a cent and you can make as many changes as you want and reupload it as often as you want.
- It’s super-easy to upload and go through their upload process. It’s almost identical to that of uploading an ebook with the addition of having to choose the book size, paper color, and whether you want your cover to be glossy or matte.
- You will get your book up on the largest seller of books in the world, quickly.
Cons of publishing with Ingram Spark:
- It costs money (see pros of KDP above). Do note that if you are a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors there is a coupon code you can get to make this free, but it’s only for the set-up charge, not corrections.
- It’s not that easy (although it’s definitely gotten easier) and requires some fooling around with how much of a discount you’re going to give to bookstores combined with how much you want to charge for the book in order to earn royalties.
- They don’t offer discounted author copies (you have to pay for the printing and shipping of your author copies which for me was over $12 to buy one book).
- The royalty rate is variable depending on how much of a discount you give to bookstores (they do have a calculator so you can figure out how much you’ll earn Click here to check it out). KDP royalty rate is a steady 40% with expanded distribution, 60% without.
Cons of publishing with KDP Print:
- Their distribution isn’t nearly as good or worldwide as Ingram Spark’s is.
- They don’t offer hardback books nor smaller sized paperbacks (5 x 8 is the smallest).
So what’s an author to do?
Well, you could do what a lot of authors do, which is use both services. A lot of people upload their book to KDP Print to have it offered on Amazon and get those cheap author copies. Just one thing to note if you decide to go that route is that you will need two different ISBNs. Both services offer free ISBNs which will list that service as the publisher or you can upload your own.
If you’re interested in learning exactly how to upload with IngramSpark, you can download the quick and easy run through of uploading I put together. Just click here to download the PDF.