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Why you need IngramSpark AND CreateSpace – UPDATED

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I have been asked one question more than any other: “Do I need IngramSpark if I have CreateSpace?”

I know it’s tempting to avoid the extra expense and hassle of taking on a second print on demand (POD) provider, but I want to take a moment and share some of the experiences we’ve had at New Shelves Books with our POD work.  I hope these statements help you determine if you need one or both.

So . . . do you need both?

Yes:

  • CreateSpace does a terrific job with Amazon.
  • CreateSpace charges less for printing and set up fees than IngramSpark.
  • CreateSpace does offer “extended distribution” for bookstores and libraries (sort of . . . more later).
  • IngramSpark charges set up fees and a lot more for proofs than CreateSpace does.

But:

  • CreateSpace’s “extended distribution” is only fully available to those books using a CreateSpace ISBN. (You should always buy your own ISBNs and have a direct relationship with your book’s brand and ISBNs.)
  • Even if your book has extended distribution and can be bought by bookstores, it most likely won’t be. Bookstores do not relish the idea of giving their biggest competitor money.
  • Books in extended distribution ARE listed at Ingram Wholesalers, but NON-RETURNABLE and at a lesser discount so bookstores and libraries do not get the good terms that they would if they could buy from YOU at IngramSpark.
  • In addition, the extended distribution offered by CreateSpace is actually IngramSpark! CreateSpace uses IngramSpark for the distribution. It does not, however, offer competitive discounts to the bookstores, further narrowing your chances of being stocked.
  • You will be instantly relegated to the pile of “self-published” books before the buyer has a chance to review the quality.
  • IngramSpark allows your book the chance to be ordered in many countries and formats that CreateSpace does not.

So:

  • Use CreateSpace for Amazon. It does a great job and takes less money for each sale.
  • Use IngramSpark in addition so that your book can be ordered by the bookstores and libraries from the large wholesalers with which they prefer doing business.
  • Use your own (Bowker-provided) ISBN so that you have the benefits of your publishing company’s brand on all databases.
  • Don’t cheap out. IngramSpark and CreateSpace are two different tools for two different markets. If you don’t want to be in the retail store and library market, then you don’t need IngramSpark. But if stores and libraries are your goal, then spend the money to provide the books to them in the manner that gives them the best chance of saying “yes.”

Finally

If you really cannot stand the thought of using more than one POD provider, go with IngramSpark. It will allow you access to more venues even if it makes you less money per unit.

IngramSpark and CreateSpace take all comers.

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POD Math

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coins-72714_1280A number of you have asked me about how the math works when you go to IngramSpark for POD.  Here is an example:

A 204 page POD paperback book costs $4.98 to print. (.02 a page plus .90 for the cover)

The book is priced retail at 16.99

Ingram will purchase the book from Ingram Spark at 55% discount off of the retail price.  That will leave you $7.65

Ingram Spark will take the $4.98 out of that total due for the printing and send you $2.67.

Ingram will then take the book that they bought from  you (through Ingram Spark) and sell it to bookstores and libraries at a discount of anywhere from 20% – 42%.

You make $7.65 but have to pay for printing out of that.

Ingram Spark makes $4.98 for printing

Ingram Wholesalers make $2.21 – 5.95  but they have to pay for shipping and handling out of that.  (FYI-If you choose the short discount and only let Ingram offer a 20% discount, you are severely limiting the number of places that will take your book….)

The bookstores and libraries make between $3.40 – $7.13 but they have to pay for employees, rent, lights and the rest out of that.

Does that make more sense?

A number of authors have questioned why they only get to “net” $2 or less in some cases.  I would argue that once the stores and wholesalers pay THEIR expenses, they make a LOT LESS than that!

As long as you are making 11% of the retail price as a net before taxes, you are in good shape! (most established publishers would be thrilled with that)

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Why Can’t My Book Be 6 X 9?

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book-1281238_1920 In a Facebook group I administer, the question of trim size has come up.  (Mainly because I rashly claimed that 6 X 9 was not an acceptable trim size for most books.)

This started off a firestorm of questions and requests.  “What trim size SHOULD my book be?” was the main thread throughout.

So, I decided to do some research by category. I cannot tell you what trim size YOU should make your book, as a publisher, that is your call. However, I have gone through the USA TODAY bestseller list, the Amazon top-sellers and the NYTimes bestseller lists and have compiled a list of the most common trim sizes that they all have. When there was an even split (or close) I reference both.  Many of the trim sizes were SOOOOO close to sizes available at Ingram Spark and Create Space so if they were a 10th of an inch or less “off” I have referenced the  available sizes.

What is clear, is that the major houses are not using 6 X 9 in any meaningful way… and if you want to emulate a successful publishing house (hint: you do….), then you should consider the following trim sizes.

In NO particular order, here are the most common trim sizes of book genres in the current bestselling lists:

General Fiction  5.25 X 8

Thrillers/Mysteries  5.25 X 8.25 OR 5.5 X 8.5

Women’s Fiction  5.25 X 8.25

YA General Fiction  5 X 7 OR 5 X 8

YA Dystopian, Fantasy, and SciFi  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.5 X 8

General Self Help  5.25 X 8

Inspirational/Spiritual  5 X 8

Memoir  5.25 X 8

Reference (writing, editing, etc) 6 X 9 (See?  I can admit when I am wrong!) and 5.5 X 8.5

Mid Grade Fiction  5 X 8

Early Chapter Books  5.25 X 7.5

Picture Books HC  11.25 X 9.25

Picture Books PB 8 X 8 OR 11 X 9

Board Books 6.25 X 6.25

Business  5.5 X 8.5 OR 5.25 X 8

The bottom line is this…

Go to your local bookstore and get on-line.  See what the major houses and YOUR biggest competition is doing with their trim sizes.  You can still choose to print in any size you wish, but you should know what the market is looking for right now.  Buyers are human and like things that look like previous successes.  Why not borrow from that phenomenon where you can?

 

 

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