Updated: Aug 30
Hi readers! If you’re an aspiring author who plans to self-publish, you might be feeling overwhelmed with your options. There are a dozen questions when you first begin looking into self-publishing. What is POD? What is IngramSpark and what do they do? And why should you self-publish via IngramSpark?
Firstly, POD stands for Print on Demand. According to the online Cambridge Dictionary, POD is “a way of producing books or other documents in which copies are printed only after they have been ordered.” This means that you don’t have to order dozens or hundreds of copies of your books and hope that you can eventually sell them to make a profit. Instead, copies of your book are only printed if someone purchases them. As stated by the Self-Publishing School, “IngramSpark (IS) is a self-publishing company with a global distribution network, that allows self-published authors to publish and distribute print books and eBooks.” IngramSpark prints and distributes your physical books and eBooks for you, so the hard work is taken care of.
Now that the definitions are out of the way and you understand a bit about POD and IngramSpark, you are probably still wondering why you should choose to self-publish with IngramSpark when there are so many other options, including Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble Press, Draft2Digital, Lulu, and BookBaby. There are a multitude of reasons why IngramSpark is the right choice for many self-published authors.
1. IngramSpark has a global distribution network.
If you choose to self-publish with IngramSpark, you will have access to their Global Connect Program. This means that, unlike some other POD companies, IngramSpark can distribute your book to many places around the world, including the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Therefore, IngramSpark has the widest reach of any POD company.
2. You could potentially get your book into bookstores and libraries.
Many bookstores and libraries won’t even consider stocking your book if you’re only published with Amazon KDP. For independent bookstores, Amazon is their biggest competitor, so they are more likely to agree to stock physical copies of your book in their stores if your books are available for order with IngramSpark.
IngramSpark also allows you to set a discount for retailers. This is a requirement to sell your books in bookstores because they will not buy your book for the retail price and expect a wholesale discount from 30-55%. The discount required depends on the specific store. In addition, your books must be returnable at a bookstore, which is an option you can choose via IngramSpark, but it is not possible with Amazon KDP and several other POD companies.
3. You don’t have to publish exclusively with IngramSpark.
Amazon KDP requires authors to publish exclusively with them if they want to use their extended distribution program, while IngramSpark does not require exclusivity for an even wider distribution. However, some authors choose exclusivity with Amazon because some authors get most of their book sales through KDP anyways. Although, this varies from author to author.
4. You can publish your book as an eBook, paperback, and hardcover.
IngramSpark offers the widest range of formats, page sizes, and options for your book. Although Barnes and Noble Press is another POD company that offers hardcover, as far as I know no other POD companies currently have this option.
5. IngramSpark provides the convenience of distributing your book across numerous channels within a single platform.
Some authors choose to self-publish their book by directly uploading to each platform they want their book available on to save money and earn potentially earn more in royalties, but if you choose IngramSpark, they automatically distribute your book to retailers like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, etc. This saves you time and effort, since you don’t have to set up an account, format your files, and then re-upload your files on multiple websites.
IngramSpark may not be right for all self-published authors. Every author wants something different out of self-publishing. You have to consider your goals when deciding which POD company is the right choice for you.
Let me know if you have any other reasons you chose to self-publish with IngramSpark or if you chose another POD company!