Last December, I started talking about making one of my biggest publishing-related dreams a reality—releasing a hardcover version of When Stars Burn Out. The only way to achieve this as an indie author, however, was by working with IngramSpark (an expanded distributor and print-on-demand platform that competes with KDP).
Now, I've been in the self-publishing game for nearly six years, and throughout that time, I've almost exclusively heard *negative* things about IngramSpark. I've stood back and watched as IngramSpark sent out the wrong copy (first drafts, in a few cases!) of my friends' books on their release days. I've stood back and watched as IngramSpark sent out trilogies, some with discontinued covers and others featuring updated covers. I've stood back and watched what really can only be referred to as a shit-show of a company taking advantage of indie authors, who're just trying to expand their distribution networks and offer readers hardcover copies of their books.
And you know what? It's always left a bad taste in my mouth.
In my experience, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing—through Amazon) has been incredibly easy to work with. Their customer service is phenomenal. Their options are straightforward, easy to navigate, and intuitive. And most importantly, their pricing and royalty options are noted with impressive transparency for a company of Amazon's caliber.
I've had a number of fellow independently published authors ask me how When Stars Burn Out is being sold through Barnes & Noble's online store, the Book Depository (for oversees readers), and even Walmart (as well as a ton of other online retailers). This is made possible by KDP's expanded distribution network—which, for some reason, people don't know exists.
At some point in time, the rumor mill churned out the notion that IngramSpark was the only way in which an indie author could tap into an expanded distribution network—but that isn't accurate at all. In fact, if you're interested in a more detailed breakdown, J.M. Buckler talked all about this via IGTV. Definitely check out her Instagram for more!
Circling back to the point of this post—I've heard KDP is working on its very own hardcover option for indie authors. IngramSpark hardcovers are notoriously low-quality, but because it thus far is the only option for indie hardcover copies, it can get away with that. I'm interested to see what KDP releases, as it has always offered top quality POD. And, after learning more about IngramSpark's price-gauging and sketchy royalty practices (once again, I urge you to check out J.M. Buckler's IGTV about this), I've decided to hold off indefinitely on hardcover copies of my books.
It's a bummer. I was really excited about the hardcover copy idea. Again, it's one of my most vain publishing-related goals. (Ha!) But the reality is, I've never been one to settle for sketchy business practices—or low quality products, for that matter.
So, for now, IngramSpark can fuck off.
I'll be sticking with KDP. And hopefully it'll launch its own option of hardcover copies sooner rather than later! :)