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Saturday, 25 April 2015

IngramSpark vs. Createspace

To: Indpendent Authors:
Re: Createspace vs. IngramSpark:

A couple of weeks ago someone posted a link on Facebook to IngramSpark with free set-ups (I can't find it now - sorry), so I did some research into Createspace vs. IngramSpark.

Everything I found said do both.

Createspace distributes primarily to Amazon, but their expanded distribution isn't utilized by most bookstores because they don't give them a big enough discount.

IngramSpark gives the industry-standard 55% discount to retailers, plus the option to return books, which makes ordering our books attractive (I just did a signing at a Barnes and Noble, and had to bring all my own books because they won't order through Createspace). They also have printers in Europe and Australia, which makes international ordering cost-effective.

There is almost no money to be made for us on IngramSpark because of the discount to retailers. But it's the one way I've found to get into traditional brick and mortar retailers worldwide.

The account set-up on IngramSpark is fairly straightforward. It's when you try to set up your ISBNs that things get interesting.
     A. Your ISBN may NOT be Createspace-generated. You have to have purchased it yourself from Bowker.
     B. If you enabled expanded distribution on Createspace, IngramSpark will give you an error message that your ISBN is currently in use by another book.

To deal with this, go into Createspace and disable your expanded distribution. Then send an e-mail to IngramSpark with the ISBNs of all the books you want to transfer over to them. THIS WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR AMAZON DISTRIBUTION. It will, however, take some time. Createspace will eventually send you an e-mail saying they've done as you asked and released those ISBNs, and they'll tell you to call IngramSpark to proceed. I've gotten through to IngramSpark customer service in five minutes, and I also once waited an hour on hold, but when I finally spoke to someone, they were always helpful. Once they have your ISBNs, they will take care of transferring everything (cover, interior file) from Createspace, and there will be NO SET-UP FEE. A couple of days later your titles will show as available on your IngramSpark dashboard.

If you never enabled expanded distribution (I hadn't on one of my books), you'll need to go through the whole process of uploading the file directly to IngramSpark. They're fussier than Createspace about embedded fonts (I found a tutorial about how to do that) and graphics (manually went through to do that, too), but a couple of tries later it was up. I had to pay the set-up fee of $49 for that book, and I think in the future I'll go the backdoor route of enabling expanded distribution in Createspace, then asking to transfer it, and letting IngramSpark take care of the rest for free.

I did order a paperback copy of each of my books from IngramSpark to compare quality. Everything about it was more expensive than Createspace is (from the book to the shipping), and frankly, the quality is definitely less. The Createspace covers are more vibrant, and the paper quality is better.

One of the options IngramSpark offers is a $60 featured placement in their catalog that goes out to retailers and libraries. I've done that for book one in my series, which will apparently take two months to happen. I'll update this post when/if that produces results.

So, although there are a lot of reasons Createspace is superior to IngramSpark, (quality of experience, quality of product) I will keep uploading my books to IngramSpark for the bookstore distribution options, and for international printing and shipping.