IngramSpark℠ officially launches this week. So what’s the big deal? Why should you care? It’s time to change the way the publishing game is played, and starting today, IngramSpark℠ (IS) is doing just that.

What Exactly is IngramSpark?

It’s Ingram Content Group’s and Lightning Source, Inc.’s partnership to bring an easy-to-navigate print and eBook publishing platform to serious small publishers and independent authors who want to position themselves as experts in their industry. IS is a robust platform that will merge the ease of self-publishing services like CreateSpace with the power of true worldwide distribution and full marketability.

Why should you care?

If you’re one of the many independent publishers who have wanted to work with Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI) due to their superior print quality and trim size options (not to mention volume discounts that CreateSpace doesn’t offer), but the complex LSI interface and account setup system scared you off, now you get to choose the same power of LSI with an easier account setup and sales tracking system.

What about ISBNs, Editing, Cover Design, etc.?

IngramSpark℠ is still primarily a printer and distributor—not a publisher. Unlike vanity options like CreateSpace that sell you an ISBN registered to them (making them the publisher of record and creating all sorts of marketing issues), IS still requires you to obtain your own ISBNs from Bowker. There’s no word yet on if they will eventually provide this service, becoming in a sense a vanity publisher.

For other author services, IngramSpark℠ does plan to offer everything from cover design and layout to eBook conversion later in 2013. This could make IS a great one-stop-shop for authors looking for done-for-you publishing services.

One thing IngramSpark℠ will not offer, however, is a coach who will hand-hold first-time publishers through the process. Like most “vanity” publishers, they expect you to know what you’re doing. If you’re new to the world of book publishing, avoid producing a horror story for yourself (believe me, I’ve heard hundreds) with credibility destroying mistakes and get yourself a coach.

Is IngramSpark℠ Worldwide?

Yes… to an extent. Ingram Book Group currently services 87% of the world (195 countries, 80,000 retailers and libraries worldwide). (CreateSpace reaches about 40%.) Right now IS will be offered to small publishers in the United States, Canada, Europe, UK and Australia.

Why Would I Want to Choose IngramSpark?

I’ve set up almost 50 publishing companies with Lightning Source, Inc. Authors turn to our done-for-you publishing services to help them with this cumbersome process, and to an inexperienced first-time author it is cumbersome. IngramSpark℠ takes the cumbersome out of the equation and simplifies the process.

In addition, IngramSpark℠ has lower setup fees than Lightning Source, Inc. (unless you’re a member of IBPA) and they always waive the setup fee for books that have a first-time order of 50 copies.

Add to that the detailed almost instant sales reporting and tracking, and the not-so-small detail of full eBook distribution to all eBook retailers, including Amazon Kindle and iBooks, at one quarter the cost of BookBaby, and IngramSpark℠ is a huge win for authors and small publishers.

What are the cons?

Unlike Lightning Source, Inc., IngramSpark℠ doesn’t assign you a personal representative. For small publishers looking to professionally publish a lot of books and sell thousands of titles per year, dedicated access to your own personal rep can be the difference between a headache of being bounced around for an answer and a stress-free direct line to the top.

In addition, Ingram Content Group knows the sweet spot discount for retailers (offline and online) is 55% off retail. Therefore they automatically set this discount for you. This may cause some authors who don’t do proper market research to price their books too high for the market, severely limiting their sales potential.

Honestly those are the only two cons I can find. I’m excited at the possibilities IngramSpark℠ brings to the ever-changing world of publishing, and I look forward to testing them out for some of my students who want this easier, still robust distribution option.

Want to Know More about IngramSpark℠?

Click here to read IngramSpark℠’s detailed FAQ page.


Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy

Kristen Joy Laidig is the founder of The Book Ninja. She has authored over 40 books, started over 50 publishing companies, trained over 10,000 authors worldwide, has her black belt in karate, and eats way too much chocolate. She currently changes lives through her students… one published message at a time, manages her two retail stores Toy Box Gifts & Wonder® and Nerdvana Outpost in the heart of her newfound hometown, Chambersburg, PA, is in the start-up phase of at least three new businesses at any given time, and generally causes anyone reading this bio to be out of breath. On her “off” time (what’s that?) she brainstorms business ideas with her awesome husband, the great Public Domain Expert himself, Tony Laidig, and hangs out with her two ragdoll kitties. She’s even been known to sleep... occasionally.


  • Tracy says:

    I am an independent author. The IngramSpark site does not yet seem to address authors. Will you still have to become a publisher? I was interested in using Lightning Source to print my picture book. My image/text design is complete but needs formatting. I’m just a tad confused as to what IngramSpark will help me with.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Lightning Source is the printer for Ingram Spark. Ingram Spark is just easier to get an account with & keep the same great quality of LS. Either way yes, you do need to be registered as your own publisher with Bowker and own your own ISBNs. If you want to be a serious author, I highly recommend you do that anyway. The benefits of being an indie author/publisher are far greater than using a vanity publisher to get your book printed. Let me know if you’d like help with formatting and/or account setups. That’s a service my team provides. 🙂

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