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 publishing option offered by Lightning Source, a large scale book distributor. Lightning Source 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.
It’s easy to make a direct order through IngramSpark and the printing (if not all colour) is done in Melbourne. It’s printed in 5 days (for standard) or 2 days (for express, an extra charge), and shipped in 1 to 5 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.
If you want to print your book in colour, you might want to look at other local book printing options, since POD can be slower and more expensive 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.
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, and these can add up at US$25 each per time. So if you’re not quite finished, then try using Lulu or CreateSpace to have a look at it and get it perfected.
Preparing Artwork for POD
To prepare files for IngramSpark, you will need to view the File Creation Guide and PDF Checklist. (Unless you use my services!). You might realise then that you will need to put your book interior into InDesign. This is not an automatic process, i.e. every header, footer, italics font 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, 10-13 hours.
The 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, around two hours.
You also need to download the cover template. The Cover Template is available in InDesign CS3+ or PDF. You would use the PDF to check the dimensions of a Photoshop file, say.
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 can also handle ebook conversions, which at US 60 cents a page is a fair enough option for the more complex book (which normally takes ages to pre-format). You need to order the eBook service and give them 20 days though; it’s not instant. I use conversion software called Jutoh: bit of a tricky one to learn, but it does help do the job from Word to most digital formats, .ePub included.
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 & Lulu or Kindle & Direct2Digital).