9 THINGS TO CONSIDER BETWEEN INGRAMSPARK & KDP

Printing press letters. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Printing press letters

1. UPFRONT COSTS

Ingramspark has an upfront cost, whereas KDP is free — but the pros of using IngramSpark outweigh the cons of any costs, in my opinion.

  • Opportunity to get into brick-and-mortar bookshops
  • The ability to create hardbacks, which Amazon doesn’t have.
  • They also have UK distribution so you can order your own book at an Author discount with fair postage prices, this will like pass onto retailer who may buy your book on wholesale.

2. ISBN NUMBERS

KDP offers you a free ISBN for your book, but with the limitation that it’s only applicable to Amazon. On top of that, the KDP assigned ISBN lists them as the publisher, which is typically what you want to avoid when self-publishing and aiming to get into bookshops as many retailers don’t look favourably upon “CreateSpace publishers” listed on the ISBN. IngramSpark offers a placeholder “ISBN” which you can use while sorting out your cover files and manuscript in their author portal, but you can’t go to print with it and will require a real ISBN number to publish your book.

3. YOU’LL NEED A DIFFERENT ISBN PER BOOK VERSION/TYPE

On an ISBN-related note, this is worth being aware of especially as both KDP and IngramSpark offer multiple book formats which you can create (eg: eBook, paperback, hardback).

4. YOU CAN BE LISTED AS THE PUBLISHER NAME WITH YOUR OWN ISBN

With Amazon, the publisher is listed as “CreateSpace” (it may be KDP now, I’m not entirely sure) and to many bookshops and distributors, this is a red flag and has the connotations of being a poorly-written self-published indie book which they rarely want to touch (regardless of whether the content is amazing). IngramSpark has no other choice but to use your own ISBN number, as they don’t provide any.

5. THERE ARE SOME ISSUES WITH EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION ON KDP WHEN ALSO USING INGRAMSPARK

Amazon KDP “Expanded Distribution” crosses over to Ingram automatically. This is fine if you only use Amazon, but if you are using both, you can’t have Expanded Distribution and sell individually on IngramSpark. Personally, I use IngramSpark as my “expanded distribution” to try and get into bookshops and keep Amazon purely on Amazon; that way the royalties will also be slightly better.

6. INGRAMSPARK HAS A RETURNS POLICY WHICH IS AN INCENTIVE FOR BOOKSHOPS TO TAKE YOUR STOCK.

If you are in the US you can have any returns bought via Ingram sent directly to you if you cover the postage — or you can have them destroyed. As I’m in the UK, destroying is my only option. But either way, having a proper returns route is an incentive for retailers who often buy in bulk but may not sell everything.

7. INGRAM OFFERS A DISTRIBUTOR DISCOUNT

IngramSpark offers “Wholesale Discount”. Basically this means that you can set the cost price retailers buy at in order to stock it, and the level Ingram offers is more in-line with traditional publishers (usually 30% or 55%, the latter being the retailer preference).

8. AUTHOR DISCOUNTS

Until recently before KDP and CreateSpace merged, IngramSpark was the only one to offer UK-based printing for author discount copies of your book. But now, both Amazon KDP and IngramSpark can print and post to the UK without incurring hefty overseas postage from America. I think Amazon is typically cheaper with the author discount, but not by much.

9. INGRAMSPARK SEEMS THE BEST ROUTE FOR GETTING INTO THE PHYSICAL BOOKSHOPS

…But unless you have a high cost book, the trade off will be less royalties. So I’m basically using IngramSpark for “expanded distribution”, and relying on Amazon for any decent royalties to make up for the loss from Ingram.

BONUS: IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN ISBNS AND BARCODES

Buying an ISBN isn’t the same as getting a barcode (though that will depend on where you buy the ISBN from). If you get a cheaper ISBN you may have the number, but not the barcode image. So in order to get a barcode image to put on your book cover, you’ll need to generate one.

ADDITIONAL INFO & OTHER RESOURCES

Some comparisons and tips from IngramSparks official blog: http://www.ingramspark.com/blog/ingramspark-vs-createspace

“40 Days with the Fathers” book series by Luke J. Wilson

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Luke J. Wilson

Author • Blogger • Entrepreneur. | Get my new book, 40 Days with the Fathers here: https://lukejwilson.com/amazon