IngramSpark vs. Createspace: Print on Demand Battle Royal

Dave Chesson of kindlepreneur has made a very handy list of pro and cons for IngramSpark and createspace, really the only two printers/publishers I would suggest anyone use. I have used both for my clients and myself.

I would have to agree that IngramSpark is not as user friendly for those unfamiliar with the publishing process, but would also agree that their quality is more consistent.  The other thing that might throw a self-publisher is figuring out what percent discount to give the various distribution options that IngramSpark has. They say the standard is 55%, which is similar to selling a print book on Amazon. (I’m not sure the % createspace takes for its various distribution outlets, but I can’t imagine it’s different. If anyone out there knows, I’d love to hear!)

I have one book with IngramS at the moment (Will the Real Carolyn Keene Please Stand Up) and went with 50% vs 55% for US sales (less for international because of the cost) and I still get sales. I went with IS for this book because I wanted a hardcover and createspace doesn’t do hardcover (though I know some have managed it through them somehow). I also have a soft cover of the same book through them. Plus I wanted to see how my sales were on IS vs the couple books I have printed through createspace.

So far, I sell more print books through IS than createspace, but I’m not comparing apples to apples since they are different books and may interest different people (though they are both historical fiction books). And just so you know, IS distributes for Amazon, so any Amazon orders I get for a print book will be fulfilled by IS. And IS only has certain sizes for hardcover. My Carolyn Keene book is 5.5″ X 8.5″ which they do. My most recent MG book (Intrigue in Istanbul: An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure) is 7.75″ x 5.25″ which they don’t do, so I went with a local printer (Publisher Graphics) for that and they did a wonderful job. Now I have to decide if I want to do a soft cover with IS so I can get a wider distribution network or see if I can convince them do something custom for me. They have many size options for soft cover. And their shipping costs to me are less than createspace, but maybe that depends on where you live (I live in Wisconsin).

One more FYI. You can not use both companies. If you want to try IS and you currently have your book printed through createspace, you will have to take it off createspace before IS will print/distribute it for you.

If you have any other questions about either publisher, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help out.

Source: IngramSpark vs. Createspace: Print on Demand Battle Royal

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4 thoughts on “IngramSpark vs. Createspace: Print on Demand Battle Royal

  1. That’s good to know that IS does a good hardcover. Thanks for all the other info too. I didn’t know that about Ingram Spark.

  2. You can see how royalties are calculated in CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution channel here: If you look on that page, or back out on the main royalty page where you calculate your book’s production cost, you’ll find the info you need. In expanded distribution, CreateSpace takes 60% before distributing the book over to Ingram (which is how CS fulfills the expanded distribution titles) and then they take their percent . . . so you’ll receive a lot less via that expanded distribution channel than if you went direct with IngramSpark. Plus, as you mention you have much more control over the pricing and return policy.

    It’s possible things have changed in the past few months, but I understood that it was completely possible (and actually advisable) to publish the same POD title with both CreateSpace and IngramSpark. Then you’d only use CreateSpace to fulfill the Amazon orders and IngramSpark for all the other distribution channels. I have heard of other authors doing this. It certainly would help you sell more books as it open doors for you with other distribution options. For instance, in talking with the small or indie press office of B&N, they will never take a book for shelving in their stores that originates at CreateSpace, even if that distribution is fulfilled by Ingram (which it is). Although I know I should set my books up over at IngramSpark in addition to CS, I am able to take advantage of the visibility afforded to my titles via the CS expanded distribution as it feeds into the Ingram catalog which in turns feeds the many larger online retailers including B&N and BooksaMillion etc… Within two weeks of hitting the publish button over at CS, my paperback is already available for order at other online retailers–which was a much faster turn around than the 8 weeks they promised.

    • I can’t exactly remember when I published my Carolyn Keene book with IngramS (late 2015 or early 2016) but I had used createspace to start and had to take it off their shelves before IS would publish it. So I no longer think you can do both.

      Thanks for the distribution information, Valerie. Numbers and I have never mixed well, though I try 😉

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