As a writer and independent publisher, your key to success is diversification. That means don’t put all your eggs in the Amazon KDP basket. Both IngramSpark and KDP offer Print on Demand, but which is the best platform for you? There are swings and roundabouts with each platform, but as you’ll read, there’s also a compelling reason to use both.
The main reason to use both is royalties. Let’s look at the maths.*
KDP offers 60% royalty off your list price. Remember this is for books sold through Amazon only. So, If your book is retailing for $10, you’ll get $6 less print costs. There are a few variables here; colour vs black and white, hard cover vs soft cover, page count. As an easy example, let’s say your print costs on a 6”x9”, trade paperback book, 270 pages, glossy cover is $4 per book. That leaves you with a $2 royalty payment from Amazon.
If you elect to sell through Amazon’s expanded distribution network (EDN), your royalty drops to 40% off the list price. While the expanded distribution network gives your book access to some bookstores and libraries. Suddenly, the maths don’t look as good. $10 retail minus $4 royalty MINUS $4 print cost equals ZERO. Now, you can put your prices up and juggle your margin calculations but you’re still not going to get much of a royalty from KDP Amazons expanded distribution network.
With IngramSpark, they take offer a 40-50% discount to their retail partner channels (bookstores and libraries). So, let’s do the maths again. $10 retail less the printing cost ($4). So $6 less 40% $2.40 = $3.60 less a handling fee ($1) leaves you a royalty of @ $2.60 per book.
Use IngramSpark AND Amazon KDP
What you can see from our comparison is that going through Amazon only, the best royalty rate is through KDP. If you want to get your book into bookstores and libraries, you get a better royalty through IngramSpark. That’s why you should use IngramSpark and KDP together for your print books.
KDP works really well with Amazon, IngramSpark works really well with bookstores. That’s because with KDP, you’ve got access to individual readers on the Amazon platform. Ingram Spark gives you access to bookstores and libraries through their well established network partners. To put it simply, use KDP to supply Amazon and Ingram Spark to supply everybody else.
Buy your own ISBN number
If you decide to use Amazon and IngramSpark together, you must have your own ISBN number. You can’t use the auto generated ISBN number that Amazon gives you. If you publish on KDP, you won’t be able to move it to IngramSpark if you change your mind later. You would have to unpublish from Amazon and republish with a new ISBN. It’s easy to register your own ISBN number through services like Bowker Identifiers.
Opt out of expanded distribution
The other thing to consider, is that when you publish with IngramSpark, they push your book to ALL retailers. There’s no option to ‘opt out’ of distribution to certain retail channels. With KDP, you have to ‘opt in’ for expanded distribution. TIP. DON’T opt in if you have a book listed on Ingram Spark, you’ll be going against Amazon’s terms and conditions and could get yourself banned from the platform.
Diversification lets you keep control of your book in all markets. You’ll earn a better return in bookshops and libraries. Always look at the big picture. Don’t put all of your eggs in the Amazon marketplace. Use both. Distribute your print book with both IngramSpark and KDP
* Our calculations are simplified for example only. Actual print costs will vary depending on your book size, paper, colour and cover choices.