As of 1st May 2023, IngramSpark does not charge the US$49 upload fee. Nor will they charge the $25 revision fee in the first 60 days, which was levied if you had a revision after distribution time.

Not every title will be approved for distribution. Things like book summaries, or pricing the book at a lot more than necessary, are not allowed. You can read all the IngramSpark catalogue integrity guidelines to be sure yours is fine.

The Downsides of using IngramSpark

In Australia, Ingramspark do not offer a sales platform to advertise on. One-book purchases are high in postage. (It’s $8.50 + $2 handling).

Also consider, do I want to mess about with Adobe Distiller or InDesign ($29.99 per month) or pay for a book designer for my paperback?

The important IngramSpark Guidelines for Titles are on their blog.

Further, many people assume that print-on-demand books just sell themselves, however, many authors have gone private — selling from a website or in person — and done much better than those who uploaded a book and did no real-life or online marketing.

While KDP will let you get very cheap author copies, IngramSpark has reliable colour printing, including groundwood paper, offers hardback, and is known by library suppliers in Australia. KDP does not have any link with our library suppliers.

After launching a book in September ’23, I was disappointed with the distribution of IngramSpark and the pricing of KDP-connected international retail stores. So I wrote to IngramSpark and Fishpond.

Firstly, the cover had not shown in Booktopia and the listing buried, despite my rule to ALWAYS upload the cover to MyIdentifiers and Ingram well before the launch date. Why?

Ingram said: I have rebroadcast your title. This will send the title to the retail partner. It is up to the retailers what they wish to order. 

The Booktopia listing of My Personal Brand is now fixed.

My Personal Brand at Fishpond was priced at $51.55 (from the US), which is an enormous markup on an RRP of $22.50. This was rectified by Fishpond (another email sent) and the price has come down to $25.66 — and it shows as shipping from the UK in 10 days. Strange, considering the UK is nowhere near either KDP or IngramSpark’s nearest printer to me.

Ingram said: It is up to the individual retailers to charge and we can only guide them with your retail prices.

The Nile, another partner, does not show the book at all.

Wheelers Books are showing the Amazon version I think, as it says importing from the US. Now, this could be my fault for uploading to KDP first. After hating the print colour and quality, I went to IngramSpark. However, I did not tick international distribution on the Amazon version. It seems to have done it anyway, because the Amazon version went out to the online retailers down under.

Without much sales, I pulled the print version from Amazon KDP so the IngramSpark version can aggregate (a fancy word for feeding out the data again).

The lesson is to not list on Amazon KDP a print book that is better suited to listing on IngramSpark alone, and to ensure (after publication) that all retailers are listing correctly, at a similar retail price.

IngramSpark said they were sorry that my experience had not been good so far. Kudos.

Why publish with IngramSpark?

New Global Distribution Fee from 1 July

Most of us enable our books for distribution to the 40,000 retailers and libraries on that Ingram Content Group supply, however, these will now be charged a market access fee equivalent to 1% of the local list price when sold. This is perhaps 25 cents or so.

New Print Options from 1 July

Premium colour was always good colour print quality, for a top-shelf price. IngramSpark will introduce the Ultra-premium colour option, which will help those doing coffee table books to get awesome vibrancy. Move over Blurb, there’s a new kid in your colour book sandpit.

So, if you’ve had a book on KDP but want to get into libraries and universities in Australia, it might be time to upload it to IngramSpark and have a go. It always pays to fill out all library/school price sections on MyIdentifiers so that library suppliers are inclined to purchase directly from you — or at least from wherever it’s listed as ‘distributor’.

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If you have not changed either the format, title or content of your book at KDP, you can reuse that self-bought ISBN at IngramSpark. (Don’t forget to add their distribution to your ISBN title listing).  But, you cannot use a free KDP-given ISBN on IngramSpark.

IngramSpark allows for hardback, paperback (30-55% to retail) or ebook (55% to retail), although most of us indie authors use KDP for ebook or Draft2Digital to reach iBooks and Kobo.  

Kindle Direct is still a good way to upload ebooks, with less fiddle and an online previewer, but if you’re inclined to want a vetted print-on-demand service, then IngramSpark is a real possibility for you. They ask for an ABN when you start an account, and this may also help you avoid the pesky US sales tax form-filling. I surmise that the ABN in effect means that you are an Australian business and don’t have to pay full US withholding tax.

Extra Advice for Self-Publishers and Subsidy Authors

It is free to register for an ABN and it means “Australian Business Number”. If you are purely publishing under a business, you might also need a registered business name to earn income under that name. If you publish under your name, then you don’t need that and all taxes would probably be under your Individual tax status, however if you’re concerned, please see your accountant.

If you think doing it yourself is all too hard, you’re probably going to pay a self-publisher assistance company. If you do this, ensure you look up ProductReviews.com.au or Preditors, because I’ve heard a lot of sorry tales from older people. Particularly be wary of sales follow-up behaviour that involves putting pressure on you to purchase.

Can You Get the Designed Files?

Another thing to do is ask your service provider: do I get to keep the designed file?  It is very hard to part them from the Adobe Indesign files, so if you were to want a revision, you would be right back at the beginning again.

Full Wrap Covers (for printing) may come as a PDF, but if you want to change them, you would need the JPEG files or Illustrator or Indesign files they were made with. As nobody on God’s green Earth can change a PDF. Reverse engineer it maybe, but I think this only works with text.

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