As you know, most of my books are available in print format as well. I use Createspace for this but have often flirted with the idea of using Ingram Sparks. How can one choose?
I recently stumbled on a great post by Giacomo Giammatteo on the Self-publishing advice blog. Giammatteo has posted a great comparison that details the pros and cons of each choice.
What To Compare
The following table compares various features to explain the difference between the two services. Two important factors emerge right away: Ingram Sparks has a setup fee of $49, while the book ends up 41c more expensive. So, price-wise, Createspace is a winner. However, the book’s quality is somewhat lower, and distribution depends on Amazon.
Distribution is an important point: if you’re planning on distributing into brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll earn the same profit everywhere. With Createspace, you may be looking at a $4.55 profit if selling on Amazon, and at a mere $1.55 if selling elsewhere. That’s a big difference.
It’s also time to put another myth to rest: that bookstores won’t stock books from CS because they are owned by Amazon. As with every myth, however, this one has a kernel of truth: few bookstores will stock Createspace books because of economics: CS charges the author 60% for expanded distribution, but the bookstores only receive about 25%.
A Good Option
Giammatteo suggests using both CS and Ingram. He uses CS for the advantages it offers:
- Fast and good distribution to Amazon.
- Fast and affordable shipping to US customers.
- Shipping “review copies” to bloggers and/or for giveaways like on Goodreads.
And Ingram for the advantages it offers:
- Distribution to all stores except Amazon.
- Fast and affordable shipping to international customers.
- Shipping high-quality copies as samples to bookstores, for autographed copies, etc.