IngramSpark vs CreateSpace: Battle of the Print on Demand Services

IngramSpark-vs-Createspace

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.

Why?

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

CreateSpaceIngramSpark
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
HardcoverNoYes
ISBN IncludedYesNo
Setup DifficultyEasyDifficult
QualityGoodExcellent
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.

Cheers,

Dave-Signature

81 Comments

  1. TuckerdogNC on January 12, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    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?

  2. BrilliantADHD on July 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Dave, I just discovered your site – so much good info. I’m wondering about the rumors about Createspace going under. What is the lowdown on exactly what`s happening. I’m a Createspace author but I have not received any information about this. Thanks very much.

    • Dave Chesson on July 21, 2018 at 1:10 am

      I dont’ think Createspace will go under. I believe we’ll be able to maintain our books there. However, I do think Amazon is taking actions to make it that for your future books, you’ll want to use KDP print instead.

      • BrilliantADHD on July 21, 2018 at 5:04 am

        Thanks very much, Dave!

        • Dave Chesson on July 21, 2018 at 6:16 pm

          Absolutely and glad to help!

  3. Katie Anderson on April 20, 2018 at 2:30 am

    If only a few internal pages require color, will that bring the price down?

    • Dave Chesson on April 20, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Yes it would

  4. Dr. Pam Young on February 2, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Do they take the same PDF? Or are their requirements so different, you have to make a PDF especially for each one?

  5. Dr. Pam Young on February 2, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Do they take the same PDF? Or are their requirements so different, you have to make a PDF especially for each one?

  6. Jason Tremere on January 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Hey Dave, great comparison, after ordering 1,356 physical copies of my 1st paperback in the last month, I believe I have already outgrown Createspace and now looking to Ingram. The 35-page guide you link to seems to have moved, gives me, “Looks like we got lost somewhere along the way”.

    • Dave Chesson on January 31, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Jasn, Oh thanks for that! We’ll get to hunting down that copy again 🙂

      • Jason Tremere on February 2, 2018 at 8:07 am

        thanks, you da man

    • Dave Chesson on January 31, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      And….fixed 🙂

  7. Jason Tremere on January 31, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Hey Dave, great comparison, after ordering 1,356 physical copies of my 1st paperback in the last month, I believe I have already outgrown Createspace and now looking to Ingram. The 35-page guide you link to seems to have moved, gives me, “Looks like we got lost somewhere along the way”.

    • Dave Chesson on January 31, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Jasn, Oh thanks for that! We’ll get to hunting down that copy again 🙂

    • Dave Chesson on January 31, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      And….fixed 🙂

  8. Amber LT on January 24, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    2018 -create space is horrible, I know wish I’d paid the upfront money for Ingram. their “previewer” barely works on any browser, took me 3 different broswers and searching the internet for 5 days to find an article that showed me how to get chrome to work. THEN they do not have any shipping ranges listed. So it went live and I wanted to ordered a few Paperback copies (20) they tell me It is going to be 18 days, pay extra still 15 days!!! again no where listed was even a general “this is how long standard shipping for 50 or less will take, 50+ will take” etc. So After that my book was live and I never got a link to it on amazon (also it doesn’t link to your ebook ntil 3 to 5 days later so It is separate listings on amazon-I printed PB on CS and Ebook directly with KDP-guess what nothing on CS told me that either) so I asked for the link and finally got it, I go spread the PB link around as many people prefer that over ebooks, I even create a promotional giveaway on Amazon for the PB and then out the blue Createspace “suppresses” my book (took it down) and send me an email asking for my “copyright proof” (I believe because I write under a pin name though I listed that in the info they ask for). How in the heck do you ask for that AFTER you make it live AND take my money for 20 copies??? It was live for almost 3 days!! I send my info over (I actually got a LCN and officially Copywrited my work with the govt) I sent them all of that. THey do not give you the “exact reason” why this happened to your book btw. I called just a few minutes ago and got the run around and told “might take 5 days to review the info you sent” so, you take my book down after I spread the link around and make promotions and then take a LONG time to reverse the suppression. Honestly they have no posted upfront rules or procedures I am seriously thinking about using anyone but them for the next book in this series. I might still use them for my poetry book as I do not plan to market that as heavily. I researched them months beforehand and NONE of this info was posted as things to except

  9. Amber LT on January 24, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    2018 -create space is horrible, I know wish I’d paid the upfront money for Ingram. their “previewer” barely works on any browser, took me 3 different broswers and searching the internet for 5 days to find an article that showed me how to get chrome to work. THEN they don’t have any shipping ranges listed. So it went live and I wanted to ordered a few Paperback copies (20) they tell me it’s going to be 18 days, pay extra still 15 days!!! again no where listed was even a general “this is how long standard shipping for 50 or less will take, 50+ will take” etc. So After that my book was live and I never got a link to it on amazon (also it doesn’t link to your ebook ntil 3 to 5 days later so it’s separate listings on amazon-I printed PB on CS and Ebook directly with KDP-guess what nothing on CS told me that either) so I asked for the link and finally got it, I go spread the PB link around as many people prefer that over ebooks, I even create a promotional giveaway on Amazon for the PB and then out the blue Createspace “suppresses” my book (took it down) and send me an email asking for my “copyright proof” (I believe because I write under a pin name though I listed that in the info they ask for). How in the heck do you ask for that AFTER you make it live AND take my money for 20 copies??? It was live for almost 3 days!! I send my info over (I actually got a LCN and officially Copywrited my work with the govt) I sent them all of that. THey don’t give you the “exact reason” why this happened to your book btw. I called just a few minutes ago and got the run around and told “might take 5 days to review the info you sent” so, you take my book down after I spread the link around and make promotions and then take a LONG time to reverse the suppression. Honestly they have no posted upfront rules or procedures I am seriously thinking about using anyone but them for the next book in this series. I might still use them for my poetry book as I don’t plan to market that as heavily. I researched them months beforehand and NONE of this info was posted as things to except

  10. Rachel on December 26, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Great article once again Dave.Thank you!

  11. Kay on December 6, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Does anyone know if Amazon Advantage is now the only way to set up Preordering for Createspace? It seems that even if I plan to use Createspace and IngramSparks that IngramSparks is the way to go for preordering to avoid paying the 99USD fee for Amazon Advantage. Or do I need Amazon Advantage anyway if I’m going to print through Createspace? I’m a bit confused at this point what the difference is between the two.

  12. John Bernhardt on November 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    What about the ISBN charge? A great advantage of Createspace is the free ISBN. What does IngramsSpark charge for ISBN’s?

  13. Jane Ann McLachlan on September 19, 2017 at 1:24 am

    VERY helpful, thanks!

  14. wonderland on September 11, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    I am a graphic designer and I am now in my 3rd week of trying to get a file approved to be printed by IngramSpark. They easily have the worst customer service of nearly any company I’ve ever dealt with. They know nothing. They help with nothing. How in the world this is possible is beyond me. They are only in the business of helping books get printed, and they are terrible at helping authors and publishers get books printed! I am spending today looking at their competitors instead. It has been a horrible and exhausting experience that I do not wish upon anyone.

  15. Osarusan on September 5, 2017 at 12:38 am

    I’m curious as to how you came up with those costs for color book printings. I have been using CS exclusively and am looking into switching IS to compare costs, but when I did that the other day, IS actually charges more per book than CS for color printing. Significantly more. I haven’t tested it yet so I can’t compare the quality, but I’m wondering where you got that IS’s color book printings costs that are a fraction of CS’s.

  16. emmi rose on September 1, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you for this article. I needed a clear explanation of both and you gave it.

  17. Sitta Wa Ishroon on August 1, 2017 at 2:46 am

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  18. Raimonds Gudrups on July 11, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hey! Amazing article! Thnx a lot!
    I am in final process to publish Hardcover book in English and Latvian language, and the same eBook in two languages.
    Hardcover, lots of colorful pictures, “8” 10″
    Now after reading this article – it seems that IngramSparks will do the work for printed books and CreateSpace for ebooks.
    I will buy ISBN for each book, but my question is – will I be able to sell IS hardcover books next to my ebooks on Amazon? I’m lost there..
    Thnx

  19. Russell B Hanson on March 4, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I have only used Createspace so far. As I read that IS has lower cost for books, I tried the calculation for 100 8.5.x11 300 page color books at each site. CS doesn’t let me have glossy paper, but the print quality OK for what I am doing. CS, with shipping cost $2400 (with no other costs for anything as I do the complete setup myself) IS quotes $1142 for the printing and shipping. Then you have to add the other IS costs ($50 setup and ??) I plan to try IS for the color books and see how it works. Am worrying a little as CS and KDP are appearing to head towards merging under Amazon, which in my experience usually means the worst of each get joined in a new more expensive and more difficult system!

  20. Anma Natsu on February 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Just to note, Ingram hasn’t required that annual subscription fee since at least 2015 (when I first published with them) 🙂

    I also use both. CreateSpace for Amazon, Ingram for everyone else so that I get comparable earnings for sales. I also have used Ingram for hardbacks, though decided to hold off on anymore just because of the added costs and no longer doing my covers myself.

  21. Jacqueline Britton on February 7, 2017 at 6:24 am

    So I have my ebook on amazon and just finished creating the paperback on Ingramspark (I chose ingram so retail stores can order through ingram). How do I link the ingram paperback to my ebook for consumers to purchase? Do I do this through KDP or an amazon sellers account? Do I have to pay a monthly sellers account fee to sell the paperback? Or alternate scenario, If I choose to also publish paperback on create space do I use the same ISBN number that I purchased through ingram. Thank you for your help!

  22. Kevin Obermeyer on January 17, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Do you have an opinion about blurb.com? I’ve seen mixed reviews about it. Sorry if you’ve already addressed that somewhere else I’ve missed.

    • Dave Chesson on January 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      I haven’t personally tried them. But my team and I are going to create a comic book about A Writer’s Life next quarter (and create full how to on comic book self publishing). Might try Blurb just for that experience and then write about that as well.

  23. Kimmy Paulino on January 9, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the tips! It is only a consideration at the moment for https://wattaylor.com/. A lot of benefits listed on making the hard copy books available, especially if it is your first ISBN!

  24. Mark on December 14, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the article. If a self-published POD book is listed on IngramSpark / LIghtning Source but not on CreateSpace, will Amazon carry it? For simplicity I am thinking of just going with Lightning Source, but would like it to be on Amazon. Or is CreateSpace the only way to get it on Amazon (unless you are already famous like a known celebrity) Thoughts?

  25. Mark on December 14, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Thanks for the article. If a self-published POD book is listed on IngramSpark / LIghtning Source but not on CreateSpace, will Amazon carry it? For simplicity I am thinking of just going with Lightning Source, but would like it to be on Amazon. Or is CreateSpace the only way to get it on Amazon (unless you are already famous like a known celebrity) Thoughts?

  26. Jenni Li on October 28, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Hey, “writer,” might want to proof-read your own column.

  27. Anette Christensen on October 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Can anyone explain me how Ingram Spark works. I am writing a press release and want to inform my readers where they can buy the book. Ingram Spark says they distribute to 195 countries and thousands of wholesellers and retailers.But how do I tell my readers exactly where they can purchase my book? And will a physical bookstore purchase a copy on request? (I am not interested in making my book refundable)

    • Dave Chesson on October 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Ingram Spark is a Print on Demand service. So, to enjoy them, you need to set them up as your POD on Amazon and other services. So, if someone goes to Amazon, they’ll see your book listed there. If they click and buy it, then Amazon sends the info and money to that POD so that your book will be printed and shipped to the person who ordered it.

      • Resheda on December 1, 2016 at 9:39 pm

        Say you already have a decent amount of printed copies, when someone buys your book on amazon does the POD notify you and can you ship the book from your location, this is as if you to ship a sign copy of the book ?

        • Dave Chesson on December 2, 2016 at 2:28 pm

          That’s a good question and in truth…I don’t know how to handle that. I’ve never been in that situation. I’ll do some research though.

          • Resheda on December 4, 2016 at 12:15 am

            Thank you and what is the process if you want others to pre-order your book?



        • Luca Paltrinieri on May 18, 2017 at 9:24 pm

          I think the printed copies you have are for you to sell, for example through your website. If someone buys your book on Amazon, Amazon will print a new copy and send it to the customer – which still is THEIR customer, even though he’s buying your book…

    • Jenni Li on October 28, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Why don’t you either read their website or a Wiki article where all that is explained?

  28. Anette Christensen on October 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Hello! Great post! You write that Ingram Spark has lower external distribution costs. When I use the calculators for 125 books send to Turkey, Create Space charges 140$ but Ingram Spark 530$. So have I missed something?

    • Dave Chesson on October 10, 2016 at 11:06 am

      The information in the table was in reference to US prices and structure. Otherwise, I’d have to do 500+ comparisons to bring in the ‘other’ markets.

    • Belinda Pollard on November 3, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Hi Anette, using Spark, trying sending them to Turkey from Europe, not USA, and the shipping might be lower. 🙂 Search “lightning source shipping calculator”, then for printing location choose Euros, not US dollars.
      Also, for physical bookstores, they need the ISBN to be able to order your book through Ingram. Some will do it, and some won’t, as they don’t want to be stuck with the book if the customer changes their mind.

  29. Olesya Kalinina on September 1, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you!
    What do you think about Lulu.com?
    I’ve also heard people are using it instead of CS for cheaper color books, and I hope it may be more user-friendly (maybe)? Just in case you know. Thanks.

    • Dave Chesson on September 2, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Hi Olesya! I have’t used Lulu yet. There are a lot of peeps who are big fans of it though, but when I did initial research between all companies, I found that D2D and CS would be the best two to pit against each other in this article.

  30. tpapa on August 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    great piece. I learned alot. I just published a memoir “This Side of Freedom: Life after Clemency on createspace. I have no complaints as they are doing a good job getting my book done. However I am planning to publish a book with my paintings and will look into IngramSpark for this one. thanks

    • Dave Chesson on August 11, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Tpapa and I think that’s a good plan. A book on your paintings will find IS to be much more profitable.

      • tpapa on November 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm

        thanks, but I am not interested in making money

  31. Jon Galt on July 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I am a little bit confused here.. can I produce an ebook on amazon, then link it to a physical copy through Ingramspark? (in the same way that I would be able to through CS?).. I have heard you can / cannot.. and of the info I found on ‘you can’, amazon generally dislike it and show it as ‘shipping within 2-3 weeks’..

    • kindlepreneur on July 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Yes you can. But understand that the shipping for IngramSpark takes longer than through Amazon’s CreateSpace. IngramSpark does not have as many printing stations as CS and therefore shipping will take longer….especially if someone from Australia buys the book – IS doesn’t have a print-on-demand station in Australia.

  32. Julie Lomoe on May 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve published my three mystery/suspense novels on CreateSpace and Kindle within the past year and have been very pleased with the results. I used other professionals for the formatting and cover design but found the process of uploading fairly painless. I’ve now started getting them up on Ingram as well, primarily because I understand that’s what’s preferred or required by bookstores and libraries. The process is more annoying but looks doable. What’s really confounding me is the pricing. I listed two of the CreateSpace paperbacks at $11.99 and one at $13.99, and all three Kindle versions at $2.99 because I wanted to keep them as affordable as possible while making a nice royalty, but if I used these prices at Ingram, I’d make nothing at all according to what their site told me. Do I really have to keep the prices the same with both companies?

    The CreateSpace quality is excellent, BTW, and I’m not interested in hardcovers. What to do? Any advice would be appreciated. And I hope you’ll check me out on Amazon, especially if you’re interested in trading blurbs or reviews. Dave, thanks, and I’m glad I discovered this site.

  33. Scott Allan on May 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Great comparison between the two. I’ve only used Createspace because it fits my needs but through coaching other authors, this question has come up as to which one is the best option. Thanks Dave!

    • kindlepreneur on May 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Yeah, I decided to focus on this because I had heard of a couple of authors say that IngramSparks actually is better in certain situations….they were right.

  34. Kristin Eastman on March 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    IngramSpark is more geared towards small publishers with experience. They also give a lot of education to authors on the importance of using professional help with editing, formatting and design so the author gets the best quality book and in turn sells more books.
    You should do a blog on the importance of owning your ISBN too which is something Createspace doesn’t tell you. IngramSpark wants the ISBN to belong to the author or publishers imprint. If you use the free one from Createspace it’s their imprint on your book.

  35. […] you get your book printed on-demand from Createspace (a Amazon company) or Ingramspark? Read Dave’s blog post on the matter here.Having a physical book order option for your kindle book is another way to sell more […]

  36. David Freeman on March 9, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Dude!!!!…..That generally covers all of your content, Dave. Gracias. I’ve never seen a comparison of the two POD options. Great summary. Finally, a solution to printing a hard cover copy. Sharing with my peeps.

  37. Green Holiday Italy on March 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Great article! I was wondering if anyone has tried to print with IngramSpark without using their distribution option and sell on Amazon? I hear that Amazon delays listing books not printed on Createspace. I am thinking of doing POD with IngramSpark because, as Dave says in the article, it is the cheapest for full colour.

  38. BlueIsTheColor on March 4, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I have an interesting dilemma and wanted to see if anyone has any insight. I am about to publish a 300+ page full color trade paperback. Obviously, I’m using IngramSpark and not CreateSpace (insanely expensive for color). The demand for my book is highly specialized and local so I don’t need the distribution prowess of Ingram (absolutely no need for distribution), but their color print pricing is cheaper than anything I can find. My question is can I perpetually order books directly from Ingram without ever enabling distribution (there is literally a button that says “enable”, haha)?

    I can make more profit per book if I purchase directly from Ingram and sell through Amazon (even with “Fulfilled by Amazon”). If Ingram distribution is enabled, Amazon can purchase my book and sell it themselves. This would then show multiple vendors on the Amazon product page (“Sold by Amazon” and “my company name – Fulfilled by Amazon”). The prices would most likely be the same, but I would get a smaller profit from the “Sold by Amazon” source. Let’s be honest, we all go for the “Sold by Amazon” before resorting to “3rd party resellers”.

    • Nancy Straight on March 4, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Hi BlueIsTheColor – IngramSpark will let you limit distribution, but wider distribution didn’t cost much more. One of the things IngramSpark does do is it lets you assign a “discount” to resellers. So if your book retail is $25, you can give a discount of up to 50% ($12.50) to those who wish to distribute to other platforms (ultimately making your title more appealing to them). I know this is contrary to what you are trying to accomplish, but if you wanted to drive people to purchase the book directly from your company, you could assign a very low discount (10%) to the distribution network, while you would be able to purchase it close to cost and sell it through your business. This would allow you to have multiple distributors on Amazon listing your book with a much higher price than your company could offer it for, resulting in more direct sales to you. Does that help?

      • BlueIsTheColor on March 4, 2016 at 10:19 pm

        Thanks for the reply, Nancy. 30% is the minimum discount that can be applied through Ingram (at least at this part of the process for me) and I had already did exactly as you suggested. At this point, if Amazon were to pick it up and sell it for the same list price, I would be making the same amount either way. I’m basically hedging my chances. Maybe I will get more options for distribution once I enable it. Thanks again!

        • Patrick_Gerard on March 15, 2016 at 2:38 am

          Just watch out for “grudgingly” distributed books. A small discount may trigger retailers to claim your book takes 4-6 weeks to ship to customers.

    • Earl Henson on December 14, 2016 at 8:13 am

      BlueIsTheColor What happens if you don’t enable distribution and only let Amazon sell books that you send to Amazon for mailing [ separately from you mailing them to customers. Is this possible?] Have you solved this yet, how did it go?

  39. Nancy Straight on March 3, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Great article – again! Like Conrad Zero’s note below, I use both Createspace and IngramSpark but not based on distribution. I use full distribution with both, but Createspace does all of my paperbacks and IngramSpark does my hardbacks.

    • Conrad Zero on March 3, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      Nice. I like that plan. Thanks for the tip, Nancy!

    • kindlepreneur on March 3, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      THAT’S BRILLIANT! I never thought of that. I mean, why not, right? Wow. I’ll look into that and update to reflect that awesome sauce strategy. Nancy, if you have a website, let me know and I’ll credit you for that when I go to update the article.

      • Nancy Straight on March 4, 2016 at 12:19 am

        Wow! That’s really nice of you. My website is http://NancyStraight.com I’ve only routed one of my books through IngramSpark so far, the others are in process. For the record, their publishing process is more difficult, and the fees can get pricey, but having hardbacks was important for public libraries so I believe the frustration was/is worth the effort.

  40. Azul Terronez on March 3, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Hey Dave, great article once again. As always you provide a great comparison. I have heard that IngramSparks can be a pain in the butt and there are tons of fees, but definitely if you are looking to do hardcovers, the quality of books they produce are great. Though it is not well known, CreateSpace will do hard cover copies of books. They require a set up fee and a fairly large order of books before they will print. Thanks again buddy.
    Azul

    • kindlepreneur on March 3, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Hey Azul, as always, you are the man. You’re right about Createspace and hardcover, but it is trully a painful process…I just re-read my material and realized that I wrote it in a way that portrays Hardcovers as a complete no…i’ll change that. And yes, IS is very cumbersome and painful.

    • Patrick_Gerard on March 15, 2016 at 2:41 am

      If you’re looking at a large quantity, I’d look at a Chinese offset printer like PrintNinja.

      It’s quite likely that CS’s hardcovers are just produced through Ingram and sold to you at an upcharge anyway. POD operations frequently use one another at an upcharge to cover gaps in their service offerings.

  41. Conrad Zero on March 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Great article Dave!

    Did you know you can actually use BOTH CreateSpace AND IngramSpark? I plan to use CreateSpace for distribution to Amazon Only, and use IngramSpark for distribution everywhere else except amazon. CreateSpace gets you higher margin through Amazon and cheaper author copies for giveaways and hand sales. As you said in the article, IngramSpark gives you major worldwide distribution. This does take more work upfront, and any corrections have to be made in both places, but for some publishers this may be worth it.

    Cheers!
    -Conrad

    • kindlepreneur on March 3, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Awesome point…I totally never thought about that…I mean why not, right? I’ll have to test that out…but when I do, I’ll update the article to reflect that and credit you for the awesome pointer.

      • Patrick_Gerard on March 15, 2016 at 2:53 am

        Aaron Shepard is a blogger who pioneered that.

        You can get into some advanced decisions there. You ideally want to use the same ISBN both places (meaning you need to own it; otherwise your sales rankings will get diluted) and you need your coverprice the same at both places (since both require you not to have a lower cover price elsewhere).

        You can use both for distribution and set discounts differently for non-Amazon copies (as long as all other specs and price are the same). You might want to set non-Amazon discounts lower in soe cases. This drives traffic to Amazon and gets you higher profit elsewhere. Or you might want to set the non-Amazon discounts as high as possible under the rationale that fewer copies will sell through the other channels but a higher discount will make them reduce the price of your book, which Amazon will then price match.

        You can get into a number of interesting complexities there. For example: if you make the book returnable (which I really only recommend for college textbooks) but have CreateSpace handle Amazon copies then I believe you may have an interesting case where Amazon can’t return copies and has to count those as CreateSpace sales (CS trumps all other agreements with Amazon) but other retailers can return copies.

        In some cases, I think you might have a case where Amazon would pay you for a CreateSpace sale but source the book through Ingram, if the Ingram copy + CS royalty is less expensive than the CS printing + royalty, which MIGHT get you a double royalty for the sale. Amazon will pay your CS royalty since the book is live through CS (even though they’re sourcing from Ingram rather than printing) and Ingram would pay your royalty for their sale to Amazon. Probably a possibility with color books.

    • Kim Lambert on March 4, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Conrad – that statement about cheaper author copies is only true if you live in the U.S. And only print black and white interior books. I am in Australia, most of my non fic has color interior. I use both Createspace and Ingram. From Createspace, for a black and white interior, the raw book cost is slightly cheaper, for a color interior, the Ingram raw book cost is massively cheaper. And shipping…… Well, from Createspace, unless I order a huge quantity ( over 1000) the shipping cost per book can be as much as the print cost per book. Because Ingram have multiple POD print locations in different countries, including one in Australia, the shipping is way less. So I can get a copy of a 6×9 color interior 120 page paperback via Ingram inc shipping, for 60% less than I can on Createspace. So it’s a no brainer – if you are not in the U.S. And you want physical copies in your own possession, it only takes one order for the savings to pay for the setup fees.

      • JB on July 17, 2017 at 5:18 am

        Thanks for this Kim, that is valuable information!

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