IngramSpark or KDP?
I use the Print-on-demand platforms with all my clients whose intent is to sell their books online. Print-on-demand is just what that term suggests. Each book is printed when it is ordered which saves the author money since they don't have to keep expensive inventory for future orders.
The biggest POD platform options are the ones I use for my clients: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark. KDP is owned by Amazon. Both companies are the gateways to selling your print book on popular online retailer websites.
There are many similarities between these two companies as well as some key differences which is why I choose to use both. Both IngramSpark and KDP offers many options for ink, paper, trim sizes, including color printing, however hardcover books are not available on KDP. If you want to sell a hardcover edition of your book on Amazon, you need to use IngramSpark.
Both companies publish books to retail websites and make them available to bookstores. Both IngramSpark and KDP distribute to libraries, as well with online and brick-and-mortar retailers, but keep in mind that in most cases distribution does not happen automatically. Retailers and libraries need to know that your book exists, and they can order it. IngramSpark sends out a catalog of books distributed through them. Once libraries and retailers know about your book, they can order it through the IngramSpark catalog. Even still, it is the author’s job to promote the book to readers so that readers will look for it online or request it at their bookstores and libraries.
The publisher compensation for your KDP Kindle book is higher than IngramSpark and the process is more streamlined. The benefit of uploading your eBook to IngramSpark is to manage all your eBooks on one platform, both ePub and Kindle.
There are two types of distribution: standard distribution and expanded distribution with Amazon. Standard distribution means the book is available for sale only on Amazon websites worldwide and only really matters for print titles uploaded to KDP. The wholesale discount for KDP standard distribution is 60% and 40% for expanded distribution. However, in my opinion their expanded distribution is limiting.
If your list price for a 5.5 x 8.5 size book of 142 pages is $15.00,
Wholesale discount is the discount offered to retailers to carry your book. The higher the discount, the more appealing your book is to retailers. Your book will be available to other online retailers, as well as bookstores, libraries, and academic institutions through KDP’s expanded distribution only.
With IngramSpark, there is no difference between standard and expanded distribution. Your paperback and/or hardcover book is available for ordering by retailers and libraries around the world. Instead of tying distribution to a specific wholesale discount like KDP, authors can select different wholesale discounts. If you use KDP’s expanded distribution, you cannot use IngramSpark for your book.
A 55% wholesale discount makes books more attractive to bookstores and libraries. Some authors decide to focus on online sales only by selecting a 40% wholesale discount at IngramSpark.
KDP charges the author more for expanded distribution than IngramSpark because KDP runs its expanded distribution through IngramSpark and charges an additional amount. At a 40% wholesale discount, KDP is the better choice for standard distribution to all Amazon sites worldwide. IngramSpark is the better choice for expanded distribution, which is why I choose both distribution platforms for my clients.
There are specific requirements for trim size, paper choice and ink color for KDP’s expanded distribution. Your ISBN must never have been distributed through another company (i.e., IngramSpark); additionally, if you have in the past used a “free” ISBN through a self-publishing company, you may not distribute that book using that ISBN through either KDP or IngramSpark.
Royalties (Publisher compensation)
The wholesale discount you choose impacts your publisher compensation, or what you get paid. Publisher compensation equals the retail price less the wholesale discount—less the cost to print and any other handling fees. The higher the wholesale discount, the less you earn.
Title Set-Up Fees
IngramSpark’s title set-up fees are $25 for eBooks, $49 for print books, and $49 for both print and eBooks together. See this page for an explanation of what is included in title set-up fees. Title set-up and file upload is free on KDP.
KDP Amazon distributes eBooks to Kindle only. Through IngramSpark, you can distribute your eBook, in the ePub format, to many eBook retailers, including Walmart (Kobo), Apple, and Barnes & Noble. You can sell your Kindle format eBook to Amazon via IngramSpark as well. If you have published ANY eBooks to Amazon Kindle 12 months prior to when you want to publish a new eBook, you cannot use IngramSpark to make your eBook available on Amazon Kindle.
As I have been indicating throughout this post, I recommend using both! With my clients I recommend KDP’s standard distribution for paperback books. Your paperback available only on Amazon and you will receive the highest possible publisher compensation for Amazon sales. Then, I recommend using IngramSpark for expanded distribution of paperbacks and ePub eBooks. Using both companies gives authors the widest distribution at the lowest cost and the best publisher compensation. Note that neither IngramSpark or KDP does not provide services to authors to prepare their books for publishing or assistance with uploading and metadata.
As a publishing services provider Williams DocuPrep specializes in preparing books for publication. We offer authors expert book design (covers and interiors), editing, typesetting, eBook formatting. If we provided the design work, we prepare your files to meet IngramSpark’s and KDP’s specifications, and we upload them and handle all the metadata for you. Your accounts with KDP and IngramSpark are under your own name with your own ISBNs ensuring that your publisher compensation goes directly to you. We don’t insert ourselves into your revenue stream, so you will receive the highest possible publisher’s compensation.
If you need to prepare your book for publishing Williams DocuPrep is your one-stop self-publishing option. Contact me today and tell us about your book.