Inside Indie Publishing: What is IngramSpark?

ingramsparkIf you’re an indie publishing author, chances are good you’ve heard of IngramSpark. They and CreateSpace constantly battle for slot #1 on the print on demand solutions list. And yet, a lot of authors still don’t know who they are or what they do.

This is the first installment of a multipart series in which I’ll dive into the ins and outs of the IngramSpark print on demand solution.

So what the heck is IngramSpark?

Like CreateSpace, they are a print on demand solution. You give them your cover and manuscript files, book description, and marketing copy. They give you a lovely print book and product listings on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other retailers.

Where did they come from?

SparksOnce upon a time, the Ingram Content Group created a printing and print on demand solution for small to medium-sized publishers called Lightning Source. As self-publishing and indie publishing became more popular, Ingram recognized the need for a lighter solution than LSI. They created IngramSpark as a print on demand solution tailored to the needs of single authors and micro to small-scale presses.

What is the difference between Lightning Source and IngramSpark?

In a nutshell: scale.

Where Lightning Source caters to publishers that carry 30 or more titles and require fulfillment services (warehousing) as well as direct to customer shipment, IngramSpark caters to the little guy. Their users are small presses with less than 30 titles and single authors just publishing their own titles.

13278085_10209771927555769_303659563_nWhere do they distribute books?

Everywhere. Because IngramSpark is part of the Ingram Content Group, titles published through the service make use of the largest distribution list of any print on demand solution. Ingram is connected to over 39,000 retailers, schools, libraries, and other distributors across the globe. In fact, CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution channels use Ingram’s distribution list.

What are the major differences between IngramSpark and

CreateSpace?

They aren’t free to use. You pay $49 to set up a print title. This is the major drawback for many publishers on a tight budget.

You cannot get a free ISBN from them. You must bring your own, which will cost you a minimum of $125 through Bowker’s service in the US. This is where I suggest you buy in bulk for cost-effectiveness.

But their solutions are much more customizable than CreateSpace’s. You have many more trim sizes to choose from, and you can even do hardcover books, if you’d like. It’s also been my experience that the quality is more consistent from one shipment to the next.

You also have a chat option for support, rather than just email and phone. I’ve also found the phone support reps to be extremely helpful in resolving issues quickly.

@IngramSpark or @Createspace. You decide. @amrycroftwriter #indie #publishing #advice… Click To Tweet

What’s Next?

Now that I’ve covered what IngramSpark is, in the next installment, I’ll go in-depth with the pros and cons of using IS over other print on demand solutions.

A.M. Rycroft
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A.M. Rycroft

A.M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror writer, and blogger. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

She has been writing since a young age, and though she attended art school for a time, she found her way back to writing again after art school. Her first dark fantasy/horror novel Into the Darkness was written while she attended the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has been compared to the works of David Eddings and Stephen King.

When she is not writing, Rycroft is a writing coach and a periodic cartoonist. She enjoys keeping fit with weight training and walks through her local parks. During the summer, A.M. is frequently seen riding the roller coasters at the Kennywood amusement park.
A.M. Rycroft
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