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Ingram Spark Challenges Createspace

IngramSpark-WebsiteLogoIngram has launched a new self-publishing option in addition to Lightning Source – handling both ebooks and print on demand. One of the complaints about Lightning Source is that it is not entirely user-friendly, so Ingram Spark can be considered a kind of Amazon-like version of Lightning Source. Ingram Spark still uses LSI as its print on demand service, so it’s not a wholly separate entity. From the site:

After 50 years in the industry, Ingram recognized the need to reduce the amount of time and effort publishers spend trying to manage the complexities of distributing a book around the world. The challenge was to integrate the best technology, manufacturing, logistics, and distribution capabilities available into a single, easy-to-use platform. Thus, IngramSpark was born.

Lightning Source prints, manufactures, and ships all IngramSpark print titles, fulfilling orders placed through any of our 38,000 retail and library partners around the world. IngramSpark also feeds book data into the CoreSource platform so e-books can be listed on major online retail sites, including iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kindle.

Helping publishers succeed and making it easier to do business is what IngramSpark is all about. By creating a streamlined platform connecting Ingram’s current services, IngramSpark has become the perfect tool for small publishers.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily avoid the main problem of printing with Lightning Source: Amazon has a tendency to list LSI titles as “Out of Stock” even though this isn’t technically possible with POD titles. It’s Amazon’s sneaky way of driving business towards Createspace, and it will probably work.

Set-up of a POD and ebook is $49. Ebook only is $25. Royalty is 40% for ebooks, which is worse than Smashwords and $2.99+ books on the Kindle. However, one of the major selling points is its global reach, which currently distributes to more outlets than Smashwords.

About Henry Baum

Avatar of Henry Baum
Author of three self-published novels and one traditionally published (Soft Skull Press, Canongate, and Hachette Littératures). Recipient of Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival, the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction, and the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He's the founder of SPR.

One comment

  1. Sigh! I’d so like Ingram Spark to succeed and give Amazon more competition. I already use Lightning for print, so I have no need to do POD with Spark. I pay less with Lightning and get more personal service. And with either I don’t escape that long-out-of-date $12 database fee.

    But I’d certainly like to see my ebook versions to reach more outlets. But paying $25 for setup and getting only 40% royalties in return makes little sense. Between Amazon, Apple, B&N and several others, my ebooks reach almost everyone who’s likely to buy them. If these other Spark-only outlets draw sales away from retailers who’re paying 70%, I might even end up losing money releasing ebooks through Ingram Spark.

    As is, it makes little or no business sense.

    –Michael W. Perry, My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer

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