To maximise your reach, you should publish your book on both KDP and IngramSpark. Here's your step by step guide.
Why publish to both KDP and IngramSpark?
As you complete your book, you may be wondering how you will now reach customers and get your own copies. Using a print on demand service is the easiest and most economical way to sell your books around the world. The two bigges players in this space are KDP and IngramSpark.
We've previously done a big analysis of KDP vs IngramSpark, but the long and short of it is that you should aim to publish on both services.
Why? Well, KDP Paperback is the print on demand platform for Amazon. This is the best distribution choice for selling print on demand on Amazon, as naturally they preference their own supplier first.
IngramSpark is the best wholesale distributor for bookstores and libraries. These retailers won’t order through Amazon as that is supporting their competition. IngramSpark and Amazon now have printers in Australia and other locations, where KDP is more resticted. Using both platforms broadens your reach and is even recommended as the best strategy by the Head of IngramSpark.
We’ll take you through the steps to publish the same book through both platforms, avoiding the potential pitfalls along the way.
Step 1: Choose your book size
Your book size for print books is called your Trim Size. KDP has a whole range of sizes available for print books and IngramSpark has a whole different range available.
The first thing you need to do is select a size that is available on both platforms. There are a lot of trim sizes to choose from, with more available from IngramSpark than KDP.
These popular trim sizes are available from both platforms:
- 5 x 8 inches
- 5 x 8.5 inches
- 6 x 9 inches
- 5 inches square
- 8 x 10 inches
- 5 x 11 inches
- 27 x 11.69 inches (A4)
Step 2: Buy an ISBN
The ISBN is an identifying number for your book. There are many views on the importance of these and a lot of information to cover. Our guide to ISBNs walks you through the basics. Publishing to IngramSpark requires you to provide your own ISBN. You can’t use the KDP supplied one for external distribution.
There is no need to purchase a barcode. You can create the barcode as part of your IngramSpark cover template. You can even embed the price there if desired.
Step 3: Design the interior of the book
Both KDP and IngramSpark require a high resolution PDF file for upload to create your paperback book. While it’s true you can upload word documents, we don’t recommend it. It’s always best practice to provide a PDF for print books.
The same interior file can be used for both KDP and IngramSpark. You will need to make sure it meets their specifications and requirements for bleed and margins. When you upload your file, the system will flag any issues that need to be fixed with you.
Step 4: Decide on your paper type
There are a few different paper options for each platform. Your choice of paper affects your paper thickness, which changes your spine width. This changes your cover size, and this should be decided on before doing your cover design.
For more tips on preparing your cover, read our 10 Questions to Your Best Cover Ever.
Black and white books can be printed on cream or white paper. Cream paper is slightly thinner and is used more often for fiction.
Colour books only have one paper option for KDP Paperback. IngramSpark has two paperweights, white 50 lb / 74 gsm and white 70 lb / 104 gsm. We always recommend the thicker paper as this prevents the image bleeding through to the other side.
Step 5: Create your covers
As I’ve mentioned, the cover size for KDP and IngramSpark does vary. It’s only a couple of mm but it does mean you will need two covers to have your book on both platforms.
The best way to do this is to download the cover template from KDP and Ingram and provide these to your cover designer. You will need to know the interior page count, remembering that there will be one blank page at the end of each book.
Here at Old Mate Media we do this preparation step for our clients to ensure their book fits perfectly. However, we have also fixed many covers for authors whose designer did not take this crucial step. If you are not working with us, save yourself the potential issue and provide the template.
Step 6: Upload your book to KDP
Work your way through the upload process for KDP Paperback. KDP has the more straightforward process and it’s an easier platform on which to see any errors in your files.
There is one very important thing to remember here. DO NOT select expanded distribution.
Once it’s all approved and published you can then add in the IngramSpark option.
Step 7: Upload your book to IngramSpark
Finally you will upload your book to IngramSpark. After the user friendly interface of KDP, many authors struggle with IngramSpark. Breathe, take it slowly and work your way through each step.
There is always a code available to get free upload at IngramSpark. Get the current one from our article here.
You will need some more metadata than you needed for KDP. One tip to make things easier, is to gather all this before you start your upload. We have a great article that walks you through metadata. We also have a template that will help you gather all your information.
Once your book has been approved, click to enable distribution. This will put your book into all the Ingram Distribution channels. The system automatically checks Amazon and sees that it’s already available through KDP Paperback and will not distribute there.
Step 8: Celebrate your wide distribution
You’ve done it! Your book is now available to bookstores, libraries and retailers across the world. Be aware that some stores can take four weeks or so to populate, so don’t expect it to be listed tomorrow on Book Depository. To see just where it’s available online now, you can use Booko to check stores and prices.
A note. Many dodgy publishers promise “worldwide distribution to libraries and bookstores” as part of their overpriced packages. As you can see, you can achieve this yourself just by following our step by step process.
Where to next?
I hope this guide has helped you step your way through getting your book published on both KDP and IngramSpark. This is just one of the many indie author guides we have available. The best way to keep in touch with the latest guides is to sign up to our mailing list. Just by doing that you’ll receive some great templates (I love a good template) and special deals from us. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Plus you can see all our current titles in our shop.