How to Format a Book for IngramSpark: The Complete Guide

IngramSpark has long been the leading alternative to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Print for print-on-demand books. This is especially true if you are not exclusive to Amazon.

While this is not a comparison of IngramSpark to Amazon KDP print, most authors choose to use IngramSpark because of its expanded distribution channels (which make it much easier to put your print book in a bookstore), as well as its hardcovers.

Note: Amazon does offer hardcover books now, but there are significantly fewer options than what IngramSpark offers, such as a dust jacket.

One downside of IngramSpark that I often hear authors mention is the formatting process. In order to format a print book, you'll need completely different book cover templates, and know what you're doing when formatting the interior of your book as well.

Hint: there is a tool I recommend that will make the interior portion easier for you to format specifically for IngramSpark, but much of this can be done in other formatting programs as well.

In this article, you will learn:
  1. How to format your book for IngramSpark
  2. The interior file requirements
  3. What to do about your book cover
  4. The file formats that IngramSpark uses
  5. How to actually upload your print book to IngramSpark

Why You Should Trust Me

So I've been writing and formatting books for a long time. 10+ years as of this writing.

But I actually found formatting to be a huge pain, which is why I actually created my own formatting software that solved all my problems. I called it Atticus.

But this isn't meant to be a sales pitch. I just want to make sure it's clear that I know what I'm talking about. The amount of research that went into not only formatting my own books, but also creating a formatting software is huge.

I researched everything, from tiny margin requirements, to the specific type of quotes to use (curly or straight, it makes a difference).

And yes, of course, that includes how to format specifically for IngramSpark.

So if all that makes sense, hopefully you'll come along with me as show you everything I've learned.

How Do I Format My Book for IngramSpark?

trim sizes in atticus

We have a lot of other pointers on how to format a book for your print edition, so I won't go over all of the nitty-gritty details here.

Instead, let me introduce you to Atticus, which is (and I'm somewhat biased here) the best book formatting software on the Internet.

Atticus will help you format your book specifically for IngramSpark.

As you go, you will see that IngramSpark-compatible print sizes are clearly labeled, so you can easily know if that size is supported or not.

Then it's a simple matter of exporting your book after you've clicked the correct trim size, and voilà, your book is ready to be uploaded to IngramSpark.

Now, of course, there are more steps to take to create a beautiful book, and I will refer you to my How to Format a Book and Parts of the Book hubs to learn more, but actually creating the correct size, margins, and layout for IngramSpark is relatively simple.

File Requirements for IngramSpark

To make sure that your experience with IngramSpark runs smoothly, there are a few file requirements that you should be aware of.

What File Format Does IngramSpark Use? For creating a print book, IngramSpark uses PDF files only. This includes the interior file and the book cover file.

The Interior Files

Thankfully, Atticus takes care of what you need for the interior, but it's important to know the details just in case something goes wrong and you have to resubmit.

IngramSpark currently requires the following:

  • It must be a separate file formatted as a PDF
  • It should not include crop, registration, or printer marks
  • All fonts need to be embedded
  • The final page should be blank
  • Margins are a minimum of 0.5″ (13mm) from the edges
  • The gutter margin adds an additional .125″ (3mm) to the inside edge
  • For color, you must include CMYK images at 72ppi or higher

But don't worry if you have an issue with any of these. You can always make corrections and reupload a new file.

The Book Cover

The Book Cover is the trickiest part of creating your book for print on IngramSpark. If you've formatted a cover for KDP Print, unfortunately, those templates will not work.

Here are the file requirements for your book cover:

  • It must be a separate PDF from the interior
  • Barcodes are mandatory
  • The resolution should be 300ppi
  • The color space should ve CMYK
  • The Bleed is .125 (3mm) on all four sides except for hardcover files which are larger at .625 (16mm)
  • You cannot have spine text for works with a pagecount below 48

To make sure your cover fits the cover requirements, start by visiting the cover template generator to get your template. Fill out all of the information and it will send you an email with your template file.

a hardcover template for ingramspark

Here is an example of a template I downloaded for a hardcover book. This hardcover had a dust jacket, so it had extra space to add images/lettering on the inside flaps.

Once you have this template, you can modify your book cover to fit. Make sure all of your titles are centered correctly, that your ISBN is in the right place, etc. If you're proficient with a program like Photoshop, you can do this yourself, otherwise I would ask your book cover designer to do it for you.

How to Upload Your Print Book to IngramSpark

The process to upload your print book to IngramSpark will depend on what type of book you're trying to upload. A hardcover will have a slightly different process than a paperback. However, IngramSpark walks you through the process, and I'll give you a brief walkthrough here as well.

Note: for the purposes of this article, I created a hardcover with a dust jacket. This article also assumes that you already have your interior and book cover files ready.

Step 1: Start the Process

uploading a title in ingramspark

After you create an account and log in to your dashboard, you'll be prompted to “Upload a Title”. 

You can select Print & Ebook, Print Only, and Ebook Only (you only need the print, ebooks should be done directly through Amazon and other vendors). 

Step 2: Additional Options

selecting your file type in ingramspark

Next, it will ask you if your files are ready (if not, go back and finish before coming back to this step).

It will then ask you if you have specific files for your interior and exterior. Go ahead and check those off.

Then it will ask you if you want to print, distribute, and sell the book, or only print the book. If you're planning to sell this print book at any retailer, go ahead and select the former.

Step 3: Title Information

ingramspark title information

This is where you upload the basic info about your book, including title, author, categories, description, etc. The prompts here are well laid out so once you've filled out all the information, go ahead and hit “Continue.”

Step 4: Print Information

print information for ingramspark

In the next step, you select all your print details, such as your trim size, the color of the paper, the type of binding (paperback or hardback), your page count, etc. This is also where you will fill out the prices for your book, depending on which market they're in.

Step 5: Upload

uploading a print book in ingramspark

Now for the moment of truth. In the next tab it will prompt you to upload your interior and book cover PDFs. Once this is done, you move on to the Validation stage, which will automatically check for errors.

Assuming all is well, you can move on to payment.

Do You Publish on IngramSpark?

Have you published through IngramSpark before? What was your experience and did you find the formatting options intuitive?

Let me know on my contact page because I love to hear any information you have that could help us improve these articles.

Happy writing! 

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