CreateSpace (KDP) vs. IngramSpark

Added by Brian Schwartz about 6 years ago

CreateSpace (now KDP) is the recommended option for print-on-demand to sell your print edition at the highest possible profit on

When you publish through KDP, Amazon retains 40% of the retail price + printing cost, making it the most profitable route for authors to sell on Amazon.

However, to sell books in print outside of Amazon, you'll want to get setup with IngramSpark.

IngramSpark is owned by Ingram, a distributor who keeps anywhere from 5-15% (depends upon the terms they have with the individual retailer). So you'll make a less per book sold, but retailers and libraries will never buy your book from CreateSpace (explained why below).

Why the difference? CreateSpace is both the printer and the distributor (although in reality, CreateSpace has no actual inhouse printing, they outsource the printing).

Here's what KDP doesn't tell you:

Any other retailer or library who wants to purchase your book and comes to CreateSpace to buy it at wholesale will get unfavorable terms. CreateSpace will only give them 25% discount off retail price and not allow returns. On the contrary IngramSpark gives a 40-50% discount and allows returns, which is what retailers expect. They have to be able to know they can return your book if it doesn't sell.

So... what you need to know is...

  • Get your own ISBN (or get one from us).
  • Have us setup your title with KDP for best terms with Amazon (on your account).
  • Have us setup your title up with IngramSpark for best terms with other retailers and libraries (on your account).

One key advantage that IngramSpark has over KDP is worldwide distribution. Because IngramSpark has printing facilities all over the world, distribution is truly world-wide. If a book is ordered from Australia, the book is printed in Australia. If it's ordered from the UK, it's printed in the UK (or the closest facility). This comes in particularly helpful to help reduce the cost of shipping for your readers. For a potential reader, you don't want to a higher shipping cost to be the barrier (and it's usually cost-prohibitive to print a book in the US and ship it to Europe).

PS: I want to reiterate the importance of NOT taking an ISBN # from KDP. If you do, you won't be able to use it with IngramSpark, they will require a new ISBN. And then you'll have two different ISBNs for your print edition, which will confuse your readers (and book buyers).

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RE: CreateSpace vs. IngramSpark - Added by Brian Schwartz almost 6 years ago

What about LSI (Lightning Source) ?

Before there was IngramSpark, Lightning Source was the only option for print-on-demand with Ingram.

IngramSpark and LSI are owned by the same companies.

IngramSpark doesn’t charge the $12/year catalog fee like Lightning Source does.

They also have better title management tools than Lightning Source does.
Plus, the setup fee for new titles is lower an IngramSpark ($49.95) vs. LSI ($75).

However... there are now pricing differences (cost to print) between LSI and IngramSpark. I did a quick comparison here.