How can you add another stream of passive book-sale income? Upload your books to IngramSpark.
Ingram has been a global book distributor for decades, and partnered with Lightning Source in 2009 to become a print-on-demand publisher. The beauty of print-on-demand is that you don’t have to pay for a print run—books aren’t printed until they’re actually ordered. As a long-time global distributor, Ingram makes books available for distribution to every outlet in the world, including libraries, indie bookstores, and university bookstores.
Some authors have complained that even local bookstores who love local authors won’t carry books printed by CreateSpace, because indie bookstore owners feel that Amazon has usurped so much of their business that they’re boycotting CreateSpace books.
Other authors complain about CreateSpace’s bad customer service, hidden costs, and the quality of the books. I’m not saying CreateSpace isn’t a great option, because I personally know several authors who are very happy with their experience of publishing with CreateSpace.
But why not take advantage of every market? I especially appreciate having my books available on Indiebound.org for readers who carry torches for indie bookstores. And the real plus for IngramSpark is that you can send a copy of your book for consideration to Barnes & Noble’s Small Press Department (http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/publishers-authors/sell-your-book-at-barnes-noble/). So far, I’ve had three of my books accepted, and when I sent two together, B&N ordered 36 copies of each. Plus, if you promote your books with B&N links, there’s nobody there selling used copies of your books to take new sales away.
If you use IngramSpark, you can bop around to bookstores and let them know your book is available in Ingram’s database (or, if you’re an introvert, just call and ask if they have it — maybe they’ll order a couple!).
Before you quit your day job, there is a caveat: if you want to sell many books, you have to choose the 55 percent discount to booksellers, and make the books returnable. After Ingram takes their cut, I only make a bit over $4 per book. You can choose a 40 percent discount, but probably won’t sell as many books.
Here’s a tip: IngramSpark usually has two periods during the year when they offer a free promo (spring and fall), so you don’t have to pay their standard $49 (print) or $25 (ebook) setup fee. If you’re in a hurry, that’s not even a high price. You’ll need to buy an ISBN (https://www.myidentifiers.com/). I have a lot of books, so I made one quantity purchase when I began, which was my primary expense ($295 for 10 ISBNs). Buying your own ISBN lets you provide comprehensive details about your book (including searchable tags) for Bowker’s Books in Print database, which is used by libraries.
Unlike Amazon, IngramSpark provides no setup support—you’ll need to complete the entire pre-production process yourself or hire someone to do the editing and the interior and cover designs, so you have everything (interior and full-size cover) ready to upload. Interior design is not that hard, and IngramSpark offers very clear info about their specs to make the learning curve easier. It does take some time to master the process. After you upload, you’ll receive specific info about any changes that are needed.
There’s also a Cover Creator tool, which will send you a template to work with based on the size of your book.
Two more reasons: the quality of the books is generally very good, and customer service is excellent. You can even get chat support during office hours in the midst of a frustrating issue.
Some authors use both CreateSpace (to get Amazon’s attention) and IngramSpark. Might as well cover all the bases…
BIO – Katherine Mayfield is the author of Stand Your Ground: How to Cope with a Dysfunctional Family and Recover from Trauma, What’s Your Story? – A Quick Guide to Writing Your Memoir, and a number of other books (www.katherine-mayfield.com). She teaches memoir writing online, is a book editor and formatter, and helps bloggers create books from their blogs. She blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.