If you’ve been considering self-publishing, then you’ve probably spent some time trying to find out how to publish and distribute. Print on Demand publishers are the go-to for most self-published authors. The most common sites used are CreateSpace and Ingram Spark. If you do a bit of research, (which you’re probably doing right now) you’ll find mixed reviews about both companies. But the truth is, everyone has different experiences. What works for one, may not work for all. There are pros and cons to any service, but today, I’m going to tell you why I prefer CreateSpace.
CreateSpace has a simple set up for the most part. From choosing your book type, to filling out financial forms. It’s Literally easy to follow if you have basic common sense. One issue I had with Ingram Spark is that when it came time to choose my imprint, it wouldn’t let me change it from the name that I had given them when I filled out my account information. Instead of listing Chanel Hardy Publications, I decided to use my government name, which is what shows up on the 1099 tax form that you fill out. I wanted my government name on the tax forms. But by default, that would’ve been my imprint. When I clicked the option to request another imprint (Which would’ve been Chanel Hardy Publications) nothing happened. It took me nowhere. This may have been an issue with my browser, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. With CreateSpace, I did not have this problem. Although with createspace, trying to review your uploaded files may give you troubles, but that again, may be your browser.
Choosing BISAC categories for your book. These are basically categories that your book will show up in online. Okay, once you get the hang of what to search on Ingram Spark, it’s easy, but the one thing that threw me off, was the term “subjects”. I had no idea what this meant at first. It took me 3 tries to realize what I was doing wrong. On CreateSpace, they have a simple drop-down menu where you choose 2 categories. It’s that simple. The advantage of Ingram, is that they allow you to pick 3. Which is a step up I guess. The whole set up with Ingram was much more of hassle. If you’re familiar with self-publishing, Ingram seems to be geared toward you. But if you’re a newbie, it will be a pain in the ass. CreateSpace also has nicer and easier to communicate with customer service. Which is always important.
You cannot use an already taken ISBN number. Meaning, if you have books that are already on another platform, you cannot put them on a second platform unless it's a different format. Which brings me to the final part, distributing.
Now this is where Ingram has its advantages, and what I meant when I said that what works for one, may not work for all. Ingram Spark’s pricing has a wholesale option. If you are trying to get your books in actual bookstores, it needs to be listed with Ingram and have standard bookstore terms (return policy, ect.). What this means is, there must be a retail and a wholesale price, usually including a wholesale discount. While your book is technically listed on Ingram through CreateSpace, it will not have any standard bookstore terms because CreateSpace isn’t your publisher, you are. With Ingram Spark, it will have them, for obvious reasons. This makes it harder for your books to be picked up by actual bookstores. If that is your main goal, Ingram is a good choice.
If Amazon is your main choice for distribution, CreateSpace is your best bet. With Ingram, if your title isn’t generating enough sales on amazon, they will list it as “out of stock”. Most people don’t recommend Ingram if Amazon is a big deal for you. I have never had that issue with CreateSpace, even going weeks without a paperback sale.
There are no fees with CreateSpace. Ingram Spark charges $49 for paperbacks and $25 for eBooks. CreateSpace also provides a free ISBN if you choose, Ingram Spark does not. CreateSpace is the cheaper alternative, which does not diminish the quality of the books in any way. Expensive does not always mean better.
My takeaway from this, is that if you are new to self-publishing, Ingram may not be the best choice. Does that mean you can’t decide to go with them in the future? Of course not. At the end of the day, you do what’s best for you.