I’d been hearing a lot about IngramSpark, but I hadn’t ever figured out why I might need them as a print book manufacturer/distributor. My books were on CreateSpace and selling well through Amazon. It seemed as if my relationship with Amazon was filling the print book need.
At the NINC conference in October, it finally fell into place: bookstore distribution.
I tend to pooh-pooh bookstore distribution. My pooh-poohing is premature. I do, according to my Penguin-Random House royalty statements, still sell a lot of print books. The statements are, however, less than transparent, but I’m still going to assume that those print sales are also at non-Amazon retailers. I tend to have a dim outlook on the future of large, Barnes&Noble-esque booksellers, but the truth is that print isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and B&N isn’t the only game in (many) towns.
The point is that some retailers might rather not stock books or order through a competitor…Amazon. Additionally, Ingram makes international order fulfilment possible. They not only ship internationally, they print internationally. This ensures that shipping costs are kept to a minimum and that readers receive our titles quickly.
Also interesting is that IngramSpark purchased Aer.io. This acquisition may mean some cool opportunities to sell on our own sites and allow Ingram to do order fulfillment. You can embed a store on your site. Journalist Porter Anderson wrote an article, “Ron Martinez on Aer.io’s acquisition by Ingram: ‘We’re very lucky’” for The Bookseller that gives an overview of what this acquisition might mean for authors.
My first question was—can I be on both IngramSpark and CreateSpace? Yes, we can. This means that we’ll likely want to discontinue expanded distribution with CreateSpace (which we have to pay for) and that we’ll want to make sure that we use the same ISBN for both the CreateSpace print version and the IngramSpark print version (or else Amazon will “see” the title as a separate book).
This also means that we need to have an ISBN, obviously, of our own for the print format. Not the free CreateSpace one. IngramSpark does require authors to have ISBNs. I know this may be a sticking point for many writers. I’ve always just bought my own ISBNs, in bulk, directly from Bowker. I want my name as the publisher on record, not CreateSpace or Smashwords, etc. Bowker does run sales…I like to buy the ISBNs on sale. I wish they’d make the things much, much cheaper, but there it is. I write the expense off on my taxes.
Besides ISBN costs (if you don’t already have them), there are separate costs to working with IngramSpark. For instance, there’s a set-up fee. It’s $49. Here’s a link to the costs of working with them.
The process of uploading my files and creating an account was simple. It was very similar to the CreateSpace process, if you’re familiar with it.
I did find that one of my covers for CreateSpace did not pass through the IngramSpark review process. The bleed was off. I will need to get with my cover designer to make an adjustment. This cost is expected to be minimal.
If you’re going into the process with a brand-new interior/exterior file, you should be in good shape because you’ll use their specs. If you’re wanting to publish to both CreateSpace and IngramSpark, the general advice seems to be to choose a trim size that’s compatible on both platforms, right from the start. There are other considerations for production, too. Jen Lang has a very helpful post, “Book Production: More Tips on Using CreateSpace and IngramSpark Together” on ALLi’s blog.
You can also find more information on using CreateSpace and IngramSpark together in “How to Use CreateSpace and IngramSpark Together” by Karen Myers, also on the ALLi blog.
Hope this helps to make the two services and what they offer a bit less confusing. I know that I put off making a decision on IngramSpark because I didn’t understand what they could offer me. Have you taken a look at IngramSpark? If you’re using it, are you pleased?