If you’re a self-publisher, searching for a Print on Demand platform that helps your book get a wide reach (e.g. to libraries in Australia), then IngramSpark Print on Demand (POD) could be of interest.

IngramSpark is a self-publishing option offered by Lightning Source, a massive book printer. 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, e-commerce companies and other partners — including Amazon, Wheelers, and book wholesalers.

I believe IngramSpark is suited to business-minded self-publishers, as an ABN is needed. The setup fee is now waived, and instead, authors pay a 1% distribution fee of the final retail sale price.

book order example IngramSpark

It’s easy to make a direct order through IngramSpark, once set up with your ABN and ISBN.  The printing for AU orders 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 printing can be less sharp and more expensive (per copy) on some projects.

IngramSpark have reach globally, but that does not mean instant orders. Old Mate Media writes that, “Ingram books get penalised on Amazon through delivery times. IngramSpark printed books will sometimes show as much as a four to six weeks’ wait for shipping.”  (All true.)

Promotion is very important at every step.  For the serial publisher, also consider the benefits and drawbacks of retail bookstore distribution. (Distributor Listing).

Latest IngramSpark Update

Ensure that your Global Print & Ebook Agreement is up-to-date to continue printing and distributing title(s) through IngramSpark.

A 2021 deal allowed Ingram and LSI to remit to authors up to 85% of the net revenue received by IngramSpark for every sale of your ebook, no matter the reseller. (In other words, beating the 70% offered by Amazon!)

The royalty for print sales is on a sliding scale, but about 45 to 65% goes to you. For instance, a $23.95 paperback with 190 pages at a 55% wholesale discount (45% royalty) comes out at $3.94 royalty. Wahoo! Bring out the coffee.

Fees or Costs Incurred

Things have changed (2023) and now we don’t have to pay out an upfront fee or a revision change fee in the first 60 days (which used to hurt). The new 1% market distribution fee on local sales will not hurt a bit. It’s like 23c on a $22.95 book.

Each year printing prices rise, so existing Ingram authors should continue to check their royalty is still in place, particularly on colour interior books or hardbacks. Raising your retail costs every two years can combat this royalty squeeze.

See the printing fees sheet over at IngramSpark site.

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 tutorials on how to proof and set up are available in my Book Creation Success course)

You might then realise that you’ll 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 MS Word –> InDesign typesetting without images might take 7-9 hours. Or with images/tables and chapter headers, from 10-30 hours.

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. Or you can provide an outsourced designer with your book draft.

Next, your designer also needs to download the cover template. The Cover Template is available from the Resources tab on IngramSpark.com, in InDesign CS or in PDF. You would use the PDF to check the dimensions of a Photoshop file, say.

Warning! Cheap book cover designers often give the cover PDF but the spine is of an incorrect proportion. This will be rejected!  Artwork can be fixed by first giving the designer the cover template originating at IngramSpark after the number of typeset pages is realised. (So, after lay-out of the internal pages).

eBook Conversion 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 get the ePub file made prior to uploading.

IngramSpark also handle ebook conversion, from 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 $60 AUD.  Otherwise, with Ingram, you must wait 20 days for files or else 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 now gives authors an eBook royalty of 85% and it takes LESS administrative time as you don’t need to go to TWO platforms to fill out all the details (eg. Kindle & Smashwords). So just go get your ePub file done and upload and review the eBook before approving.

Please check with IngramSpark pages on their current royalty rates and prices, as this page easily gets out of date.

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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