IngramSpark vs Lulu – What’s the best for Hardcover book creation?


Inspired by a guest post on Kindlepreneur, I invited two authors on today’s podcast to discuss creating hardcover versions of their books to sell on Amazon. The two platforms for doing so we’re looking at are Lulu and IngramSpark. Both have pros and cons we’ll discuss on the show, but depending on your niche, you may find one works better for you than the other.

John Pinedo, who uses CreateSpace for his nonfiction books, prefers to use Lulu to create hardcover versions to sell on Amazon. When using CreateSpace, the trim size is already 6”x9”, which is what Lulu already uses for their trim size. John also likes that Lulu is easily connected to Amazon, and the costs are pretty low when compared to other services. Lulu also gives you an ISBN.

Although John says it’s a low cost, there are certain situations where that cost does go up. Books that contain a lot of images, for example, require a higher manufacturing cost. The number of pages may also increase the fees, as well as how intricate the cover design is.

For both John and myself, the process itself, as well as the Lulu website layout, seems easier to understand. While it does seem simpler, there aren’t as many options available that are on IngramSpark.

Eevi Jones, on the other hand, finds IngramSpark works better for her and her clients, who are children’s authors. IngramSpark offers more trim size choices. Lulu’s trim size, though it works well for authors using CreateSpace for their book, may not work as well for a children’s author who may want a square 8.5”x8.5” or landscape format for their books.

There is also lower printing costs with IngramSpark for full-color books. Though the prices are similar for black and white books, Lulu can actually be more expensive for those looking to have books created in full-color. Because of IngramSpark’s direct connection to Ingram, which is one of the largest distribution networks, authors may get more compensation to make up for these setup costs.

The cons of IngramSpark, however, include the steep learning curve and the lack of customer service. As mentioned before, Lulu is a bit more streamlined when it comes to their website layout and getting set up. IngramSpark does have more options and, therefore, may not seem as user-friendly. Unfortunately, with the steep learning curve, this leads to the next drawback, which is their customer service leaves much to be desired and can be quite frustrating to deal with at times.

One more thing to note about using IngramSpark is that it takes a couple of weeks to show up in Amazon.

If you're planning to launch your paper back and your hardcover at the same time, then you will want to make sure to set this up a couple of weeks in advance. – Eevi Jones

The best way to gauge which one might be best for you is to determine what features you’re looking for more with your books. If you are looking for something simple for non-fiction, Lulu may be a good option. However, if you’re creating a book that may require a more intricate cover and full-color on the inside, IngramSpark may be the better option.

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Bio of the Authors in the Case Study:

John Pinedo is an online marketer and self-publisher who helps online entrepreneurs grow their business.

He talked about online marketing, self-publishing, and his online ventures on his blog, Freedom Bound Business.


Eevi Jones is the author of more than a dozen children’s books.

She is also the founder of EEscribe, a writing and marketing resource for aspiring children’s book authors.


Resources referred to in this episode:

“Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books."
- Kindle Direct Publishing

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6 thoughts on “IngramSpark vs Lulu – What’s the best for Hardcover book creation?

  1. Tatyana Valda Belinda Hill

    Hi Dave, Thank you for the podcast. Please can you explain more about Ingramspark “having much more reach” and why/how it helps an author end up in book stores, as opposed to another print on demand service like Lulu?… Just looking at Ingramspark`s homepage, it is much less intuitive than Lulu and I am definitely turned off about dealing with any company that is even half as terrible as Amazon with customer service to sellers. (It was not even clear what I.S. offers to me by looking through the website. I thought it was a different sort of service, which is why I was listening to this poscast to help clarify)… But of course if Ingramspark is “a must for people who end up on the New York Times Best seller list” that completely changes things. Thank you in advance :]

    1. Dave Chesson

      IngramSpark has a much larger reach and is a much larger corporation. Lulu is much easier to use and does have distribution but not as large as IngramSpark.

  2. TuckerdogNC

    Where can I get information and not waste time searching where CREATESPACE continues to show up since it is now gone gone gone girl?

  3. Clarissa Grace

    Oh my gosh, this was amazing! Eevi, I read your post on how to write a children`s book a while back and absolutely LOVED it! Seriously lady you’re on fire! And so generous with your knowledge, wisdom and expertise! THANK YOU Dave and Eevi! This was FANTASTIC!

    1. Dave Chesson

      Yeah, she really is fantastic!

    2. Eevi Jones

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Clarissa! I’m so glad you found it valuable!

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