Ingram logo20h The Ingram  Alternative

Ingram Spark is a print-on-demand arm of the Ingram Book Company. Along with Lightning Source, they are the king of book distribution and POD. Ingram Spark is the new wing of Ingram for Indie authors. Lightning Source does the printing for Ingram Spark.

POD (print on demand) saves you the cost of printing copies of your book in advance. These companies also give you world-wide distribution, which can be costly for an Indie author/publisher.

Ingram is the premier distributor in America, used by the big publishing companies. They are what your local bookseller looks up when you want to find or order a book.

Included in the Ingram database are 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries can order your book.

Lightning Source offers POD for publishers with 30 books or more and to folks like me who opened an account years ago. Currently, it costs $75 to upload a new book to LSI.

Ingram Spark is for publishers with fewer than 30 books. Currently, it costs $45 to upload a new book at Spark.

If you can do all the design and formatting yourself--or hire it done by someone like me--then Lightning Source and Ingram Spark eliminate the need for the turnkey services of companies like Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP is the former CreateSpace, and offers the same services. Their basic model is cheaper, but they charge an extra fee in order to have the worldwide distribution you get from Ingram Spark and Lightning Source by default.



What you get with Ingram:

Good service, for one thing. I can testify to that.

Distribution all over the world. They are “partners” with folks like and Barnes and Noble, so when you publish your print on demand book through Ingram you are automatically listed on their partner sites. Through Ingram, I have pages on Amazon and BN for my novels (paperback).

Control You determine the price of your book, the discount percentage you want to offer booksellers, all aspects of your marketing. The cover you get is the cover you want, the content is exactly how you want it to be.

What you don’t get with Ingram:

Inflated prices for printing your book. Go here for some cost comparisons.

Hand-holding. While the service is great, you have to do the work. And it can be complicated to get all the information into your account and the right files for your book uploaded.

However, if you could use a guide . . . ahem.

Help with Ingram:

Crrreative’s private Indie author efforts are  through both Ingram Spark and Lightning Source, and I’ve become well acquainted with their processes and requirements.

Some of the things you’ll have to do after you set up the account:

  • Upload press-ready PDFs of your book cover and interior
  • Enter data such as your book’s description.
  • Decide on a discount for booksellers.
  • Set your price.
  • Order copies for review.