Demystifying Print on Demand Publishing

One of the greatest game changers that have ushered in the new era of self-publishing is the technology of ‘print on demand’. Print on demand saves cost through inventory management. Books are printed when they are actually sold so that the author is not saddled with unsold books.

There are two big print on demand services – IngramSpark and Kindle CreateSpace. Together, they control the print on demand market. Now, what are the differences between the two? Let us take an average – a 200-page book with size 69. Cost of printing a copy of this book is cheaper by 30 to 40 cents on CreateSpace than on Ingram. In terms of reach, Ingram has a definite edge and you have a better chance of getting your books into physical stores especially NOOK and Barnes and Noble. Kindle CreateSpace is more biased towards
Amazon
and you need to sell exclusively on amazon.com if you are using their services.

So, what about the quality of the books? Well, here, both print on demand services provide similar quality of books and they are great. If you use Ingram, you have to have an ISBN number for your book. This is the identification number of your book and is followed by a barcode. On CreateSpace, you are provided this service free. Also, it is not necessary for you to have an ISBN number to start selling with this platform. One ISBN cost around $39 to buy but it is an investment you should make, as it is the identifier for your book. On Ingram, you need to pay a one-time start-up fee of $49 to get on the platform whereas CreateSpace is a free platform. You have to watch out that CreateSpace is more biased towards amazon.com and pushes books more that are sold exclusively on Amazon. Ingram pushes your books to wholesale and retail and has the larger reach.

In terms of commission, CreateSpace takes 40% for every book sold through Amazon. It takes 60% from the book price if your book is sold through standard stores and other retail outlets. In IngramSpark, you can choose between 40% and 55% commission for distribution.

Now, here is the final hook on CreateSpace and IngramSpark. You earn the same profit if you sell on Amazon but if you use CreateSpace to sell to brick and mortar stores and online retailers, this profit is greatly reduced. With IngramSpark, your profit is the same no matter where and to whom you sell.

So, here is the final verdict. If you are strapped for cash and just want to sell through Amazon and a few online stores, you can go from CreateSpace because it is inexpensive to set up and use their service. However, if you want a wider international distribution, especially to brick and mortar stores, retailers and shops, then IngramSpark is the platform for you. Sure you need to invest in ISBN and the setup cost is there, but their brick and mortar and wholesale distribution is massive and beats CreateSpace hands down.

So now, have a specific goal in mind and then decide which print on demand service you wish to choose.

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