When should authors use IngramSpark to publish their books? What are the benefits and features authors can take advantage of when using IngramSpark?
These questions will be answered and discussed in this blog post.
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Why Did I Print My Book Using IngramSpark?
As an independent or self-published author, why should you use IngramSpark?
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, or read my book, Self-Publishing Books 101, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of CreateSpace. I’ve been using CreateSpace since I published my first book in 2008 and it has worked beautifully. It’s super easy to use, their support is amazing, and you can get them on the phone any time. I love that!
They used to not have upfront costs, but they do now. They need you to provide your own ISBN if you want to use your own imprint. I would recommend that. They offer a free ISBN but I don’t recommend going that route.
So all in all CreateSpace is amazing. I love it. They also publish directly to Amazon, and you can use their expanded distribution to publish to other places.
So why did I use IngramSpark?
IngramSpark is also a printer that offers print on demand services which we can use. Of course we can use CreateSpace in everything but there have been a few different times I have personally used IngramSpark. And here are some reasons why.
More exposure means more chances of book sales.
When you publish to IngramSpark, you are put into the Ingram catalog. This is the catalog that pretty much all book stores use to order books. Most book stores will not order your book, or stock your book, if you’ve published through CreateSpace only.
This is huge! If you want to get into bookstores, then you really want to consider using IngramSpark. I did this with my book Broken Crayons Still Color.
When I published this book, I knew I wanted to have wider distribution. There was potentially opportunities to do book signings and different things for book stores. I just did not want to limit the scope of that book.
So I published my book to Amazon through Create Space but I did not choose Expanded Distribution. Then, I used IngramSpark to publish my print book, to all the other retailers.
This did was allowed me to get into the Ingram catalog, and it opened the opportunity for book signings, getting into book stores, and so many other things that could potentially come.
Now, to be honest, I haven’t used that yet. However, I didn’t want to limit myself in case the opportunity came in the future.
One thing you will have to do in order to use this option is to have your own ISBN. Now, Canadians, you have it great because you get free ISBNs from your country. In United States, we need to purchase an ISBN from MyIdentifiers.com.
I like to purchase them in bulk, because I know I’m going to be publishing multiple books. That way, I always have ISBNs I can use.
So, I have my own ISBN, which I’m also using on CreateSpace. You can use the same ISBN that in Create Space and IngramSpark. But you have to remember that you cannot use the expanded distribution on CreateSpace. If you use that then you are eliminated from uploading to IngramSpark.
So that’s the first reason – wider distribution – especially if you want the opportunity to get into book stores or to do book signings.
The second reason why you would want to use IngramSpark is if you want a hardback edition of your book.
Create Space currently does not offer hardback versions of your book, whereas IngramSpark does.
I recently published a children’s book, full color. I wanted to have a hardback version as that’s just what’s done typically for children’s books. So I used IngramSpark, and I have, now, a hardback version.
I also did the paperback version for this book. So I ordered a print from both Create Space and IngramSpark. For me, there wasn’t a huge difference, so I did the paperback version completely through Create Space. The hardback version is only through IngramSpark.
Now, I’ve heard a lot of people say that they think the quality is better for IngramSpark, especially a full color, or the paper quality. I personally have ordered proofs from both Create Space and IngramSpark for a variety of my books, and I really haven’t seen a significant difference in the quality.
But one thing to keep in mind is that IngramSpark have additional options you can chose for paper quality. They also have different aspects of your book. So, that could be another reason to print with them – if you want a higher quality book.
Just understand, however, that if you choose these higher quality options on IngramSpark, your profits are going to shrink. For instance, in publishing a hardback book on IngramSpark, I earn very little when I try to price it competitively.
So, it’s really not a great income producer to have the hardback version on IngramSpark. But you know what? It was cool! And I loved it. I love having that option available. So, that’s a really great thing to consider.
The third reason why you should consider IngramSpark is if you’re an international author.
Sometimes, for international authors the royalties are better on IngramSpark. Now, this is something everyone is going to have to research for yourself. When I was publishing my children’s book and Broken Crayons Still Color, I was comparing prices between IngramSpark and Create Space. It was interesting.
Sometimes it was a little bit cheaper on IngramSpark and sometimes it’s a bit cheaper on Create Space. So it may just depends on the book, the person, and it especially depends on where you’re living.
Create Space is really ideal for US based authors, but for international authors I recommend checking it out and comparing and seeing what is the better option for you.
Finally, I want to share that many times Ingram Spark will run specials.
Currently, you have to pay a fee to upload your files – I think it’s like $49 for the initial upload of your files. Then, you have to pay a fee every time you update your files. This is unlike Create Space where you can upload and upload and upload. You can proof it then upload it again, as many times as you want, for free.
IngramSpark charges fees, so you need to know this.
I did not realize that, so I got charged for my Broken Crayons Still Color, when I uploaded the adult version. I didn’t realizing it was going to cost me to upload before I was approving my proof. So, that’s a really big difference, and it can add up in a hurry.
If you are making little changes on your book, let’s say, next year, it’s going to cost you every time to do that. It really eats into your profits.
One thing to keep in mind though is that IngramSpark does offer coupons occasionally for the initial upload fee.
So, they have coupons that will waive that initial $49 set up fee. Those come through email so I recommend getting on their email list, if you’re interested in publishing with them.
Though, I have never seen a coupon that waives the fee when you re-upload a new file, which is an additional $25. So, that’s going to be a fee you’re going to have to pay no matter what. And, if you have to upload your files and update them often, it just may not be the best option for you.
Overall, Ingram Spark is a great option if you want wider distribution, hardback versions of your books, some different quality options, and potentially, for international authors. I’ve been happy with the books that I’ve published through them.
However, in my opinion, I will say the support is much better at Create Space than at IngramSpark. They rave about their support, and they say, “Oh, everyone says we’re so good.” Unfortunately, I have not had that experience.
I have had a poor support customer service experience with Ingram Spark, and it has been very frustrating a few times. But, overall, it’s a great company. It’s a great option to consider in certain circumstances.
However, for most of my books, they’re printed through Create Space only. Again, we’re talking about print books here. EBooks are a completely different training, a completely different topic. Actually, the first five podcast episodes of Author Audience cover publishing a Kindle eBook.
If you’re interested in publishing a Kindle eBook go back to the very beginning and you’ll be able to listen to my Procrastination to Publication training.
I really hope you found this training helpful.
If you have questions post them and let me know what your questions are. If you’re an Author Audience Academy Member, I have a step by step training on how to use IngramSpark in the Member Area in the Publish Module. It’s there for you right now.
If you’re not an Author Audience Academy Member, I invite you to join us. I have recently added back the monthly option, so you can get started for as little as $39 a month.
We’d love to have you join us, get instant access to my Ingram Spark training, plus all my training – it’s all inclusive and you will get everything that you need. Plus, you get a fun, active community in our private Facebook group.
So, I’d love to serve you inside Author Audience Academy. You can get started at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com.
Again, this is Shelley Hitz, and until next time!
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