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We all want to know WHICH is the best self-publishing platform and book distribution for our books or eBooks.  When you have a choice of Lulu, Kindle Direct, Blurb and IngramSpark… you might get confused.

(Please do not consider AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris or Balboa Press as publishers. They are self-publisher services of Author Solutions Inc, an American company with 200,000 past customers.) If you find a Self-Publishing platform you would like reviewed before going ahead, please let me know.

If publishing under your own imprint, Jennifer and Power of Words can work as your Editor/Production Manager, if available.

IngramSpark is the self-publishing division of Lightning Source International.

Their Self-publishing calculators, templates and guides are important to use, particularly noting the royalty you are left with under varying options.

Pros are: excellent cover quality; printing of black & white books within Australia; fast ship times and a range of urgency pricing; and the backing of a huge company. Colour printing mainly has slower times as these are printed in the UK.

Colour printing mainly has slower times as these are printed in the UK.

IngramSpark offer a range of paper: standard white/creme, standard color, standard color 70 (105 gsm), and premium color. The price for premium colour is exorbitant and it’s not quite cookbook level, but it’s nice.

Order a ‘print sample’ from IngramSpark and from Blurb if your project is full colour, and compare the print + ship cost calculations. Blurb’s Trade books are from $5.60 B&W to $18 Econ. Color, for 188 pp, compared to $4, $7 or $11 with IngramSpark. Please re-check these prices as there have been price rises at IngramSpark.

Cons are the extra fees upon re-loading interiors or covers (US$25 each), slow to reach support (and they only answer one question per email), and the Royalty to retail is set at 55% unless you specify a lower amount.

Want to order 1 copy? POD (without a retailer) inside Australia attracts $8.50 postage/handling. However, you can order 50 to 100 copies cost-effectively and sell books privately all you like.  The prices are quite competitive at these low numbers. And some books fit in a document envelope and weigh under 500g, which saves a lot in postage.

Should I pay the $80 for IngramSpark Advance new book listing?  Well, it doesn’t have that wide a distribution, being 11,000 bookstores/librarians (US) and 3,000 international, but it’s entirely up to you. Every author must choose the best marketing methods to reach their audience; sometimes word of mouth and library supplier messaging is better than a lone print ad. See what other experts say at CreateSpace forum

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