Why We Chose Both IngramSpark and Amazon KDP
In doing the research on self-publishing for print, it didn’t take long to get thoroughly overwhelmed. Of course, there’s a lot of great blog posts out there, but as you compare one author’s experience with the next, you’re left scratching your head at the contradictions as the industry expands leaving a trail of information obsolete. The good news is with the current resources available it has never been easier for an author to self-publish professional quality books and sell them globally with ease and total control from beginning to end. There is a way to succeed that fits your unique situation so long as you first define your needs and goals.
Advantages of IngramSpark
Ingram Spark is backed by the largest distribution network (Ingram Book Group, LLC) reaching well over a 100 countries (with 39,000 retailers in their network) and is the world’s largest book wholesaler for online or independent brick and mortar stores, big or small chain stores, as well as libraries and universities. The smaller publishers who offer wide distribution connect and sell through IS anyway, so by using them, you’re simply adding another mouth to feed – more on that later.
Face it, IS (through Ingram) has been around longer than anyone else. They have a long history of producing great quality books and they’re the largest distributer. For this reason, wholesalers are far more likely to order a book from the IS catalogue with an imprint from IS or even one created by the author as opposed to that published by their rival, Amazon.
ISBN and Printing Rights
IS refers you to RR Bowker’s MyIdentifiers.com to obtain an ISBN number; this is actually an advantage. As a self-publisher, it’s in your best interest to purchase your own ISBN number/s so that you retain the publishing rights of your work. If you own the ISBN, you can re-assign it to KDP or any other publisher in the future.
Royalties (your profit) are between 45-70% of the list price, less the production costs. E-books royalties are 40%. Printed books vary based on the wholesale discount, but the size of your audience makes up for any smaller percentage. Again, it all depends on your goals. You can make 60-80% (less the production) with other publishers, BUT the catch is the book is only sold in their online store. And how many people actually shop Joe’s Publishing online book store when they’re looking for books? There’s a pretty slim chance they’ll find your first one-off fiction book. Again, if you have a well done book, a broad audience will more than make up for smaller royalties. When other publishers offer wide distribution, realize they will take a cut of the margin, as well as IS. So in the end, you could be left with a buck and change or less if you’re lucky.
Excellent POD Book Quality
In my findings, many authors who’ve experienced both publishers say the book quality of IS is much better than KDP. They also offer hardcovers and more affordable color printing than KDP if your book is photo heavy, though color printing is never cheap. Also, IS offers the most options with regards to paper weight and quality, trim sizes, cover and binding.
Reliable, but not as quick to respond as KDP
Lower International Shipping Prices
Get cheaper global shipping prices with IS because they have multiple distribution centers all over the world. Expect longer delivery dates and higher shipping prices with KDP.
Advantages of Using KDP
Intuitive or hand-held PDF submission and seamless eBook transference for print book. Short and sweet upload process. Great if you’re not tech savvy.
60% royalties (less printing cost) if you’re selling strictly through Amazon. Excellent royalties for the selling in Amazon, clearly the biggest online bookstore out there – which makes KDP a great option for people who are content to sell through them alone. Read more about Royalties here.
Quick POD turn around – within the same day of order. Additionally, they’re probably one of the cheapest price per book POD’s out there.
You can re-upload your PDF files multiple times without extra fees. Great for the first time self-publisher or anyone prone to overlooking typos. HINT: Test your PDFs (cover and interior) at Amazon first but don’t publish. Get the files right, then publish at IngramSpark, then come back to KDP. IngramSpark needs to be the first one to see you using a particular ISBN, then Amazon.
Quick and available. By email, they are very responsive.
Although we think it’s a disadvantage, some folks are relieved to have one less to think about. If you only ever plan to sell your book on Amazon, this might not be that bad. Just keep in mind, they’ll retain the publishing rights. But, better safe than sorry: get your ISNB from Bowker. Just do it.
Conclusion: We Recommend You Publish Your Book on Both Platforms. IngramSpark and Amazon KDP both offer a seamless system and quality selling platforms that we recommend to all our clients. At Elite Online Publishing, we want to bring the best self-publishing experiences to you. Read more about our publishing process here.
Got questions? Ask away, and we’ll try and be helpful. Got corrections? Things change all the time. Let us know!