Do I need to be on IngramSpark if self-publishing?


What is IngramSpark?

IngramSpark is a KDP alternative (KDP is the publishing arm of Amazon). 

Just like KDP, IngramSpark offers print-on-demand books.

Most printers expect a minimum order of 100, 500, or even 1000 books or more.

Most authors don’t want to store hundreds of books under the stairs or in a garage somewhere. 

With print-on-demand, a book is only printed if somebody buys it.

Suppose you want your book to be available physically in bookstores.

In that case, there’s more chance of that happening if your book is printed on IngramSpark because many bookstore owners and book buyers are very familiar with IngramSpark.  

They are used to going to IngramSpark and buying books.


Which one’s best for me? Is it KDP? Or is it IngramSpark?

A major benefit of publishing with IngramSpark is it’s well known within the bookstores’ world.

So if you want your book to be available physically in bookstores, there’s more chance of that happening if your book is printed on IngramSpark than on Amazon KDP.

One more advantage is that IngramSpark offers hardback books. KDP does not.

Also, another wonderful thing about IngramSpark is you can state how much of a cut you want to give them for using their platform for printing and distribution. You can opt for 30% with IngramSpark.

Amazon KDP charge 40% for distribution on their platform, or 60% if you choose ‘expanded distribution’ (your book is available on Amazon and other online stores). 

This means you can make more money from your books with IngramSpark than you will do with KDP.


When should you go for KDP?

If your book is designed to be an authority creator, it’s there to position you as an expert, perhaps to send out to potential clients, summit organizers, conference organizers…

Or, if your book is mainly being used as a business card, it doesn’t make sense to go to IngramSpark. 

With KDP, you can upload your book files for free, which means you can make free edits to your book file.

With IngramSpark, every time you put out a new edition or make any changes, you have to pay them a fee.

You’ll be amazed how many mistakes remain in your manuscript that your eyes become ‘blind’ to, but the errors become glaring once the manuscript is in book format). This also impacts proof or galley copies (‘test’ books). It’s normal to send yourself a test book before publishing your book publicly to ensure there are no errors.

With KDP, if you spot mistakes, you can create a new book file after removing the errors and upload it without fees.

With IngramSpark, there is no proof or galley copies option. To send yourself a book to check, you have to publish it publicly.

And if you find mistakes, you have to pay IngramSpark to upload your new error-free book file. 

I’ve also found KDP to be consistently cheaper when it comes to publishing.

You’re looking at around 50 cents (40-45 pence) worth of difference per book, which doesn’t sound like much.

However, printing just 100 books will cost you 50 dollars more with IngramSpark than it will with KDP. It all adds up over time.


The ultimate question: what do you want your book to do for you?

If you’re stuck between KDP or IngramSpark, work your way backward from this fundamental question – what do you want your book to do for you? 

For example, if you want the sales of your book to become a worthwhile income, using IngramSpark makes sense because they take a smaller cut of sales than Amazon.

Also, the real clout of IngramSpark is that bookstore owners use it to order their books for their stores.

If it’s important that your book is in stores, IngramSpark is the obvious choice.

However, if you’re not bothered about stores, and the book is a clever marketing tool for your business, then Amazon KDP becomes the obvious choice. 

Yes, KDP has a slightly higher feed, but you get a far more extensive reach. Amazon is the biggest book retailer in the world by a longshot.

More people can find your book on Amazon and consume your message than somewhere like IngramSpark,

It’s also going to be cheaper for you to print on KDP.


When authors use both Amazon and KDP…

You can choose the 40% option to sell only on Amazon.

Then you can use IngramSpark to do the distribution elsewhere (in other words, you turn off the ‘expanded distribution’ on Amazon, where they charge you 60%).

This way, you get the best of both worlds!

You get a lower percentage fee from Amazon. And you get the expanded distribution through IngramSpark for a smaller fee than what you would pay Amazon.

In summary, the best way to remove confusion as to which platforms to use is by answering the fundamental question, what do you want your book to do for you? 

When you answer that question, you’ll find that one or the other (or both) become the natural choice. 


Next Step

If you’re interested in writing a business book that will generate leads and sales for your business, get a copy of The Freedom Master Plan that will explain everything you need to know about writing and marketing business books.

You can also download a sample chapter here