If you’re a self-publisher searching for a Print on Demand platform that helps your book get a wide reach, with no sales machine, then IngramSpark Print on Demand (POD) could be of interest.

IngramSpark is a self-publishing option offered by Lightning Source, a large scale book printing house. They will make your titles available through Ingram Book Group, a leader in print and electronic wholesale distribution. They serve over 39,000 retailers, libraries, schools, ecommerce companies and other partners — including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and book wholesalers.

book order example IngramSpark

It’s easy to make a direct order through IngramSpark, once set up with your ABN.  The printing (if not all colour) is done in Melbourne.

Books are printed in 5 days (for standard) or 2-3 days (for express, an extra charge), and shipped in 1 to 4 days. Each book order print price is individually calculated on the screen, including all freight, tax, and handling. Ensure you use ‘Australian’ print options and re-calculate. Shipping is now (in 2020) much faster than suggested here.

If you want to print your book in colour, you may want to look at other traditional book printing options, since POD can be slower and more expensive (per copy) on some projects.

IngramSpark / LSI do have reach to 39,000 retailers and libraries, but that does not mean instant orders and worldwide fame. Promotion is very important at every step.  Also consider the benefits and drawbacks of retail bookstore distribution. (Distributor Listing).

Latest 2020 IngramSpark Info

The BISAC categories that are hot since March 2020 are:

  • Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Art
  • Crafts & Hobbies
  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Games & Activities
  • Education
  • Sports & Recreation

Fees for Upload

The title setup charge depends on whether you order a 50+ print run within the first month, but if you don’t, the setup charge is US$49 (for print, ebook or both). However, you will be charged for future uploads of either cover or book interior after your approval, and these can be US$25 each per time. However, have a hunt around and you’ll soon find a discount code that you can try.

IngramSpark title area

Preparing Artwork for P.O.D.

To prepare files for IngramSpark, you will need to view the File Creation Guide and PDF Checklist. (Video and Guides are available in my Book Creation Success Club on set-up)

You might then realise that you will need to format your book interior in Adobe InDesign. This is not an automatic process, i.e. every header, footer, image, caption, character and paragraph style needs to be set all again.

That means a WORD –> InDesign typesetting without images might take 7-9 hours, or with images/tables, 10-30 hours. Yes, 30 hours is upper end!

Setting up a styled InDesign Book Template (for you to work on at your leisure) is a cheaper option as it takes much less time.

You also need to download the cover template. The Cover Template is available from the Resources tab on IngramSpark.com in InDesign CS3+ or PDF. You would use the PDF to check the dimensions of a Photoshop file, say. Cheap book cover designers often give the cover PDF but the spine is of an incorrect proportion. This can be fixed by first giving them the cover template, after the number of typeset pages is realised. (So, after layout of the internal pages).

eBooks through IngramSpark

In the past I have experienced difficulty in uploading an eBook (.ePub) made with InDesign exporter. It just would not go through the system. So I advise ebook publishers to go direct to Kindle Direct (for a slightly better royalty) or your own preferred self-publishing service.

IngramSpark also handle ebook conversion, at US 60 cents a page, standard (no complex layout is included). But why bother?  You can order eBook conversions through Linda at Black Opal Editing for about $59 in AUD.  Otherwise, with Ingram you must wait 20 days for files. Unless you want to spend 3-4 hours working your way through the autovetter errors?

Tip:  If your eBook includes images, make sure they are 72 dpi and appropriate size (not teeny, not 2000px huge). This differs from your print version, which will be ideally 300 dpi and grayscale or CMYK.

IngramSpark gives authors an eBook royalty of 45%, which is not the best you’ll see, but it does take LESS administrative time as you don’t need to go to TWO platforms (eg. Kindle & Smashwords or Kindle & Direct2Digital) and do the account setup/upload/review and fix process.

Having trouble with your artwork? Reach out, as it might be a quick fix if you have the original native files and correctly sized (300 dpi) images.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Good advice here. I self-publish just to leave a footprint in troubling sands. Lulu perfect for me. No establishment / upload fees and good online progress reports of sales in Aus,USA,UK.If your work is important for posterity, it will be found by libraries, Unis, special-interest groups, individuals. Blurb is good, so too Kbuuk for e-book purchases. If you have something to say, get it out there. It will find ears.

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