If you're an independent author, you've probably heard of Kindle Direct Publishing. This is Amazon's book publishing portal, which gives indie authors direct access to the megastore via their titles. The closest competitor is IngramSpark, which offers an alternative portal for print-on-demand sales. IngramSpark books can also be sold on Amazon.
In your online travels, you'll run across the IngramSpark vs KDP debate frequently. These two print-on-demand supplies frequently appear in our library of free indie author guides.
Independent authors self-publish using both services every day. Each with its own preferences and process. Today, we dive into a comparison of KDP and IngramSpark to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of both. So, if you've been on the fence wondering what platform to publish on, read on!
- Amazon KDP
- What Is The Difference Between KDP And Ingramspark?
- Can You Publish With Both KDP And Ingramspark?
- Can You Use the Same ISBN for KDP and IngramSpark?
- Should You Upload to Kdp or Ingramspark First?
- How Do You Get Paid Through Ingramspark?
- How Do You Get Paid Through KDP?
- Does IngramSpark Distribute to Walmart?
- Does KDP Distribute to Walmart?
- Pros and Cons Of Using Either
- Which Platform Should You Publish On?
Self-published authors can publish and distribute print books and eBooks through IngramSpark (IS), a self-publishing company with a global distribution network (Ingram Book Group). Ingram Book Group (IBG) has been serving brick-and-mortar and online book retailers for nearly 50 years. It is the world's largest book distributor.
In a sense, locking into IngramSpark means a lot for many authors and publishers.
Publishers use Ingram to channel their books to retailers. Of course, it helps that the distributor also owns Lightning Source, one of the world's most technologically advanced print-on-demand companies, which produces books worldwide.
Through IngramSpark, books can be uploaded into the same system as titles from established publishers. These books can be searched for and ordered by retailers like any other distributed title. A book ordered in this way is printed on demand and shipped to the retailer for sale in a bookstore.
How Do You Use Ingramspark?
If you can get your book written and edited, IngramSpark will handle the remaining steps to get your book into your readers' hands via major bookstores. When you are ready to use Ingram, the steps to get started are simple. Simply:
- Get an ISBN from a trusted agency in your country. You can buy them from Bowker if you live in the U.S., or get one free if you live in countries like Canada.
- Ensure your book is formatted for IngramSpark. IngramSpark gives guidelines for the proper format (cover and interior) of each format (eBook, hardcover, and paperback).
- Decide what IngramSpark book package you will use. Select a publishing service with IngramSpark, then make your account. For the up-front publishing cost, you will need to select one of three options:
- Print-only price of $49.
- The eBook version is $25.
- Print and eBook versions cost $49.
As soon as you finish those steps, all you will have to do is follow the onscreen instructions on Ingramspark to set up your books then press 'publish' to release your book into the world! Through your IngramSpark dashboard, you can manage your book versions and keep track of sales and orders.
How Will My Books Get To International Bookstores?
IngramSpark makes your book available to over 40,000 universities, libraries, stores, bookstores, and online retailers once it is published.
Your book is printed by IngramSpark when someone places an order for it so they can deliver them directly to the buyer.
When you start selling your book, you receive royalties (or publisher compensation, as IngramSpark calls it) based on the sales. The dashboard in IngramSpark lets you keep track of all of this.
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is Amazon's print-on-demand book publishing platform. Currently, it dominates the self-publishing book market and is one of the top self-publishing companies. Amazon KDP holds more than 80% of the eBook market, making it a major player in the publishing industry.
Since the rise in remote writing jobs began about a decade ago, writers of all disciplines have gained a great deal of career flexibility. As a result of this explosion, more print books, eBooks, and self-published books are being published.
Traditional publishing or self-publishing are the two options for authors to publish their books. The high royalty rates on KDP, as well as the ease of self-publishing, are important factors when weighing traditional publishing versus self-publishing, as there are no competitive hoops to jump through as there are with traditional publishing.
How Do You Use KDP?
Self-publishing eBooks and paperbacks are possible with KDP Publishing.
When authors upload their eBook files, they will appear in the Kindle store as an eBook that readers can purchase and instantly download.
The paperback book is printed once the author uploads the file to KDP Publishing, which uses print-on-demand technology. Each time you sell a book, the printing costs will be subtracted from your royalties.
The KDP Publishing process is as follows:
- Register with Amazon KDP to upload your book.
- Submit your book to Kindle Direct Publishing.
- Your eBook can be purchased and downloaded instantly to the reader's device.
- Once your book is purchased, you will be able to use Amazon's KDP platform to have your book printed and shipped directly to readers via print-on-demand technology.
- Amazon will pay you book royalties per book sold on the KDP platform.
What Is The Difference Between KDP And Ingramspark?
If you choose KDP's "expanded distribution," they will sell your books on channels other than Amazon, such as additional libraries, bookstores, online retailers, etc.
Unlike KDP, IngramSpark does not have a store page or a direct link to buy its books. This program is just a distributor, like a back-end system that sells through Amazon and other online retailers.
Options for Printing
There is a variety of trim and cover sizes available through KDP and IngramSpark, as well as glossy and matte options. In terms of paperbacks, both offer cream or white paper options. Both offer roughly the same paper quality.
For its hardcover books, IngramSpark offers a wide variety of trim sizes and casebound or clothbound options.
Costs Associated With Publishing
Uploading a file to KDP is free. Depending on whether the book is sold on KDP or through non-Amazon channels, authors receive royalties of 35% to 70%.
It costs $25 to upload a book to IngramSpark, $49 to upload a print book, and $49 to upload a value pack that includes both print and eBooks. Revising a book also incurs an additional fee.
Author Copies and Proofs
KDP allows you to make proof copies after uploading and approving your file, but before you publish it. When you upload your book to KDP, you can order a proof copy before it is published. When the book has been published on KDP, you can order author copies.
From IngramSpark, you can purchase author copies of your book before publishing it, but no proof copies are offered.
Can You Publish With Both KDP And Ingramspark?
Absolutely! In fact, many authors prefer to use both, especially for print books! Publishing on both KDP and Ingramspark enables you to collect Amazon's higher royalty rate for print books purchased directly on Amazon, and IngramSpark's higher rate for books purchased on wide platforms (outside of Amazon).
If opting to publish through both platforms, however, ensure that expanded distribution remains unticked on KDP to ensure there is no conflict between IngramSparks distribution of your book with other stores that KDP may also service.
Note: You cannot enroll your ebook in KDP Select, which gives Amazon exclusive rights to distribute your ebook if you pt to publish your ebook through IngramSpark.
How Much Royalty Do You Get From Ingramspark & What Percentage Do They Take?
Depending on the market, you can set your royalty rate between 65-70% on IngramSpark. For print books, IngramSpark offers a higher royalty rate than Amazon/KDP. For authors looking to get their books into bookstores, this is important.
To sell effectively to bookstores, you should offer discounts of 50-55%. You can retain more profit if the discount is set to 30% or less (the lowest discount available) if you are simply looking for online sales.
At IngramSpark, ebook royalties are 40%.
How Much Royalty Do You Get From KDP & What Percentage Do They Take?
According to KDP, the standard distribution discount for print is 40% (i.e., their royalty rate for print is 60%). This leaves no room for margin increases.
Depending on how you price your book, you can choose between 35% and 70% for the KDP royalty rate for ebooks.
Can You Use the Same ISBN for KDP and IngramSpark?
Yes, you can. Using the same ISBN for Amazon KDP distribution and IngramSpark is the only way to avoid opting out. The use of different ISBNs can result in duplicate entries on Amazon, which can result in both versions being taken down until the issue is resolved.
Should You Upload to Kdp or Ingramspark First?
It does not matter, it is all up to you. Your goal as an author is to make money and reach more readers.
According to ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors), you should simultaneously publish your print-on-demand books on both Amazon KDP Print (the print-on-demand service offered by Amazon) as well as IngramSpark (the print-on-demand service created by Ingram for independent authors).
Can You Upload a PDF to Ingramspark?
To make a print book, you must use a design tool (such as PressBooks or InDesign) to create a PDF, which is the standard format for a print book. To upload to IngramSpark and print a book, you will need two PDFs: one for the interior, and one for the exterior.
Does Ingramspark Distribute to Google Books?
IngramSpark does not as yet distribute to the Google Play Books store.
Does Kdp Distribute to Google Books?
After doing some research, it seems that KDP doesn't distribute to google book.
How Do You Get Paid Through Ingramspark?
As soon as someone orders your book, IngramSpark prints the necessary copies and delivers them directly to the buyer.
From the revenue generated by the sales of your book, you will receive royalties or (in the words of IngramSpark) 'publisher compensation.'
How Do You Get Paid Through KDP?
Royalties are paid by Amazon within 60 days of the first sale and continue to be paid every month thereafter. Paying you can be done by wire transfer, bank check, or direct deposit, which is also known as Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).
Nevertheless, you cannot receive your royalties before 60 days, no matter which route you choose. If you need to pay bills, don't expect your royalties to arrive immediately if you have bills to pay.
Direct deposit has no payment threshold, so you can choose the method that works best for you. You will only receive check and wire payments after you have earned a certain amount of royalties (for example, 100 CAD and USD, or 100 GBP).
Does IngramSpark Distribute to Walmart?
At present, IngramSpark does not distribute paperbacks or hardcovers to Walmart as part of its expanded distribution. It is still the author's responsibility to market the book. So, if you would like to have your book sold in your local Walmart, you are free to reach out to make them aware of your book and that it is available for purchase from Ingram (preferably with little to no risk to them if the books aren't resold).
Does KDP Distribute to Walmart?
KDP does not currently distribute to Walmart, but the same applies to you reaching out to them personally to market your book to them.
Pros and Cons Of Using Either
The Pros and Cons of IngramSpark
This IngramSpark should have highlighted some of the main benefits and disadvantages of using this service.
These pros and cons may vary based on the type of author you are and where you are in your writing career. Let's sum it all up.
IngramSpark Has the Following Benefits for Publishing Your Book:
- Printing of the highest quality. The most advanced printing technology is used by IngramSpark. This platform is best for specialty hardcovers and children's books with a lot of illustrations because the print quality is top-notch.
- Discounts for bulk purchases. Bulk purchases at IngramSpark are offered at a greater discount.
- Distribution worldwide. The distribution network of IngramSpark is larger than that of any of its competitors.
- Support via email. Emails are responded to promptly. Throughout writing this post, I messaged IngramSpark over ten times to test their customer service. Every message was responded to within 24 hours [Monday through Friday]. Expect a response by Monday afternoon if you email on Friday night.
- An easy-to-use online platform for publishing, distributing, and managing dashboards.
Using IngramSpark as a Book Publisher Has the Following Cons:
- Expenses associated with printing. Hardcover books incur the most costs.
- Charges add up. There is a setup fee of $49. There is a recurring fee of $25 for revisions.
- The learning curve is extensive. If you want to publish with IS successful, you need to understand a lot of things. Did you download that 35-page report?
- The interface of the website. Navigation can be confusing, despite the dashboard being robust. If the page refreshes, your book details will be wiped out, so remember to save.
- There are many formatting requirements. Getting everything to IngramSpark's standards can become time-consuming.
The Pros and Cons of Amazon KDP
The Pro of Self-Publishing on Amazon
Easy to Use
It's easy to self-publish with KDP. You can learn about your self-publishing options by checking out their detailed documentation, forums, FAQs, how-to videos, and help center. No matter your level of experience, you'll be able to easily use Amazon's self-publishing services.
Is It Accessible?
With self-publishing, new writers have the opportunity to enter the world of publishing. For those who may have thought self-publishing was impossible, free self-publishing options can make that writing dream a reality. Being able to self-publish at an affordable and feasible price is a truly groundbreaking development for writers.
A Flexible Approach
Writing a book in this digital age means deciding which type of medium to use - either digital or printed. A book can be self-published on Amazon in a digital format (an eBook), in a paperback, or in both formats. It's up to you!
Most authors can set the price of their books through KDP. A few restrictions apply, though. You can, for example, sell your eBook in every market at $9.99 if you select the 70% royalty program. Before self-publishing on Amazon, be sure to read through the fine print carefully.
Authors have greater control over their finances with KDP, which lets them set their royalty plans. You have a choice of two royalty plans: a 35% royalty plan and a 70% royalty plan. Choosing the best option for you depends on how much research you do. If you choose the 70% royalty plan, you must account for printing and delivery fees, but if you choose the 35% royalty plan, you do not need to.
Various Payment Options Are Available
Lastly, Amazon pays its authors on time. Payment is made monthly to authors. However, payments are only made within a 60-day window. In other words, if you earn $100 in August, you will not receive it until October. When weighing the pros and cons of self-publishing, it is important to consider this large payment gap.
The Cons of Self-Publishing on Amazon
Marketing Strategy Is Not Built-in
Traditional publishing versus self-publishing has many pros and cons, but KDP authors are most affected by the lack of a marketing approach built into their KDP accounts. Typically, traditional publishers help plan a marketing and press strategy before publication, but self-publishers are responsible for this responsibility.
In the case of a printed or digital book, you may be able to get it published, but the next challenge is getting people to buy your book, and that is entirely your responsibility.
The Amazon Marketplace Algorithm and Paid-Only Reviews
Free giveaways and Amazon reviews have become the norm of many marketing strategies due to the recent digital transformation of the literary landscape. Sadly, the platform only allows paid reviews.
The result of this is that your readers will still not be able to leave honest reviews on your book's page even if they were given the book for free. Amazon's algorithm takes reviews into account when selecting which books to display to readers.
Clauses With Exclusive Rights
An exclusive clause is another con to keep in mind when choosing a self-publisher. Be sure to read through each section carefully if you decide to sign up with Amazon's KDP Select publishing option.
By signing up with KDP Select, authors agree that their books will only be available digitally. Once you have removed other digital versions of your book from other marketplaces, KDP will pull your book from their marketplace. It appears that this exclusivity clause only applies to eBooks, not to paperbacks.
Which Platform Should You Publish On?
Create self-publishing accounts for both platforms. There is no point in limiting your book's reach. Plus, being on both platforms opens you up to larger royalty splits.
IngramSpark is the leading distributor for physical stores and libraries, while Amazon/KDP reigns supreme for online distribution. Take advantage of both platforms to distribute your digital book, hardcover, and paperback worldwide. There is no restriction on how you distribute your book.