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IngramSpark vs CreateSpace: Battle of the Print on Demand Services

As a self-publisher of ebooks, you might not be aware of the fact that we have the ability to also publish printed versions of our books as well.  Thanks to Print-on-Demand services like CreateSpace and IngramSparks, we can now sell printed version of our ebooks without having to hassle with the logistics.

However, with two top-notch services, which one is the best?  CreateSpace or IngramSparks?

Unlike my article Smashwords vs. Draft2Digital, you'll find that there is no ultimate clear cut winner.  However, there will be times when one totally beats out the other and can save you LOTS of money.  Let's find out when that applies to you and when you should choose one over the other.

In This Article You Will Learn:

  • Why you should think about using these services in the first place
  • IngramSpark vs Createspace pros and cons
  • Which platform gets my final vote and which one is right for you

When To Use These Services

If you want to get your self-published ebooks into print, you’ll need to use one of these services. Digital books are where the wealth of your income is going to come from; however, print books can still make up a small portion of your overall sales.

In fact, I've had two books of mine sell WAY better on print than as ebooks even though my ebook is half the price.  Let's face it..there are still some people and some markets out there that will pay double just to hold and smell that book.

CreateSpace vs. IngramSparks - Find out who winsClick To Tweet

Michael Hyatt seems to think so as well as he just detailed why he will be putting ebooks back on the shelf.

If you’re looking to add a printed copy option to your existing Amazon eBook, or other digital books, then these services will make the process as painless as possible.

You’ll still need to create a correctly formatted print book and beautiful cover, but these services will help you the rest of the way.

One more added benefit:  Did you know that having both a Kindle option and a Printed option of your book helps with your Amazon rankings?  It turns out that the Amazon A9 search engine LOVES this and will favor those with options over those that are just print or just electronic.


Because the Amazon Algorithm is all about increase sales and books that offer both options have a higher chance of providing what the customer wants over a book that only offers one.

So, if you're not offering a print version of your kindle book, then you really should give it a go.  But now, let's figure out which service is best for you.

Ingram Spark vs CreateSpace: The Showdown

Both of these services are very similar, meaning they deliver essentially the same results. IngramSpark used to be the big name on the block. But, now it seems that CreateSpace is more heavily favored since they partnered with Amazon. Regardless, it’s important to weigh our options.

We obviously have different publishing needs and goals, so one platform might be better suited for your bestselling book!

Let’s look at the main differences between the two platforms:

CreateSpace vs IngramSpark

Upfront Cost$0$49
Yearly Subscription$0$12
Changes to Book$0$25
Avg. B&W Cost$4.45$4.86
Avg. Color Cost$21.85$8.40
Profit If Sold On Amazon**$4.45$4.20
Profit If Sold Elsewhere**$1.45$4.20
ISBN IncludedYesNo
Setup DifficultyEasyDifficult
Formats AcceptedPDFPDF
Check It Out!Check It Out!

Price estimates are based upon a paperback, 6 x 9, cream, perfect bound, gloss finish, 300-page book.

Important Note: While Amazon owns Createspace and they tend to work together, understand that they are NOT Amazon.  It's as if the left-hand doesn't speak to the right-hand…just keep that in mind.

Pros and Cons of CreateSpace Publishing Service

CreateSpace is probably the most common choice for indie authors considering the fact that it's owned by Amazon and pretty seamless to get the two to mesh up – meaning having your physical book and kindle book sales page be joined.  Simply create a CreateSpace project with the same title as your previously published Kindle eBook and they will link together automatically (usually within 48 hours).

It’s also much easier to use, and if you have a completed PDF file, you can complete the entire process in about 30 minutes.

If you run into a bump throughout the upload process, their support team truly does have your back. All you have to do is enter your phone number, and a representative will call you in seconds. Even if you still make an error when uploading your book (like most of us mortals do), you can upload a corrected file again free of charge.

However, Createspace isn’t without its drawbacks. Here are a couple of areas that it falters when compared to IngramSpark:

  • The quality isn’t as high
  • Their colored prints are EXTREMELY expensive
  • They don't offer hardcover.
  • Their international shipping pales in comparison.

But, if you’re looking for the quickest and most painless option possible to get your physical book into the world as well as the cheapest (if you aren't picture intensive or requiring a lot of color), then Createspace might be the perfect fit for you.

Who's CreateSpace Best For?

  • Regular ebooks needing conversion to paper version
  • No need for lots of colored pages

Basically, this is better for us regular self-publishers.  Normally we don't need lots of colored pictures or hardcovers.  We just need a printed version of our books.  Therefore, we can skip the extra costs of IngramSparks and get a decent book.

Pros and Cons of Ingram Spark Publishing Service

Ingram Spark is a great choice for a certain kind of publisher. If you have more patience, or are confident in your print layout skills, and need an extremely high-quality book, then Ingram Spark is a great fit.

If you have a more international reader base or want wider bookstore and library distribution, then Ingram Spark can cater to your needs as well and help improve your profitability with their lower external distribution costs.

If you’re moving a lot of physical copies of your book, Ingram Spark also offers better discounts for high volumes of books.  Thus, earning you more cold hard cash.

However, Ingram Spark isn’t the most user-friendly platform, has a very steep learning curve, and their support doesn’t do much to ease your strain. Just check out their 35-page guide on how to properly upload your book (woah).

(UPDATE: RIP David Bowie, you were Amazing!)
But, if you’ve got the publishing chops, need a lot of print books, and demand a hardcover book, then Ingram Spark might be for you. Check out the pros and cons of the two main hardcover print services in this comparison post.

Who's IngramSparks Good For?

  • Want a hardcover
  • Have lots of colored pictures inside – ends up being cheaper than CreateSpace's picture intensive books
  • Want to focus on external sources other than Amazon

Although the costs are usually more, this is perfect for authors wanting to create children's books and other picture intensive books as well.  I'm going to keep them in mind when I publish my kids' book – not sure when that will happen but it's on my list.

Who Reigns Supreme: IngramSpark vs Createspace

My personal choice is Createspace.

However, take this with a grain of salt. They’re the perfect for my publishing needs, but they still might not be the best for you. Since I’m not printing hardcover books, or books that require color images, the overall difference in quality is negligible.

Also, since I’m prone to mistakes, I love that I can correct or update a book without incurring any additional costs.

In my opinion, it’s no wonder Createspace is the most common choice for indie publishers. IngramSpark does have its high points but doesn’t cater as directly to my current publishing goals.

So, right now, I'll use Createspace, but I'm definitely going to keep those pros and cons in mind so that one day, if I ever create a picture intensive book, I'll know about the benefits of IngramSpark and be prepared to shift.



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81 thoughts on “IngramSpark vs CreateSpace: Battle of the Print on Demand Services

  1. TuckerdogNC

    When will we start to see articles that remind people that createspace no longer exists. January 2019. The issue I have had with Amazon is we cannot get them to actually list the 2nd edition of an author`s book I edited. Since October. And, I cannot seem to figure out how a person purchases a book if they do not go through Amazon. You know, if they go online and want to use their Amazon prime, can they purchase it though it was published by Ingram? We’d like to get our particular book into libraries or schools and that cannot happen with Amazon as well. But I cannot figure out yet how anyone BUYs a book if it is not published by Amazon. We do not want to deal with purchasing, shipping and handling. is not that the number one reason for Amazon?

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