Because Amy Collins and I live just a few miles apart, we’re able to meet regularly for tea and shop talk. Today’s guest post came from a conversation last week over a cup of Earl Grey and a vanilla chai latte. Amy is the former director of sales at Adams Media and special sales director for its parent company, F+W Media. In 2006, she started the successful book sales and marketing company, New Shelves Books. Over the years, she has sold to Barnes & Noble, Target, Costco, Borders, Books-A-Million, and Wal-Mart and become a trusted partner and recommended sales consultant for some of the largest book and library retailers and wholesalers in the industry. In the past 20 years, Amy has sold more than three million books into the bookstore, library, and chain store markets for small and mid-sized publishers.
Guest post: Why you need both CreateSpace and IngramSpark
By Amy Collins
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
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.
Do you still have a question about this? Ask Amy in a comment.