I’ve written and presented many times on the value of using Print on Demand (POD) as a means to get broad distribution in bringing your book to the global marketplace while reducing your overall financial risk. This is an especially a good path for new authors with a first book where the demand is unknown.
IngramSpark POD Distribution
With IngramSpark, print on demand (POD) is tied directly to Ingram’s global network to make for a seamless and inexpensive way to distribute your print books. With no inventory on hand, books are manufactured (POD) or distributed (eBook) as retailers place orders. The publisher is paid for the sale minus the cost of printing (POD only) so there are no upfront inventory costs other than a nominal fee to set up your title in the IngramSpark platform.
But what if you’ve already printed your book and have inventory that cost you thousands of dollars? And how do you get that book into Ingram distribution if this is your situation?
This is a question I get very frequently, and I know BookWorks members have also posed it time and time again. So I decided it would be a good topic to address.
Getting Ingram Distribution
While I’ll stick to my guns by saying that it’s not the best idea to invest in inventory at the beginning of your publishing venture, if you’ve already done so, there are a couple of options for you.
Option 1: Typically, to get Ingram to carry inventory of your book(s), you should have at least 6-8 titles and have done at the minimum of $50K in sales (at cost) over two years in order to even be considered. If you meet this fairly high bar that I admit is very limiting for most new authors, you’ll need to submit an application and provide copies of your books that are reviewed by an Ingram committee. To learn more you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 2: Ingram works with a number of full service fulfillment and distribution service providers. After you establish an agreement with the distributor of your choice, they will contact Ingram to get your book listed in Ingram’s catalog. Your product will then be available to all our customers.
Option 3: If you can’t meet the requirements of Option 1 or decide that Option 2 won’t work for you, I often suggest that the author use their inventory for their own direct sales from their own website (as was discussed previously, here and here), promotions and events, but also get broader distribution by setting up the book through a POD/distribution program like IngramSpark. This will ensure you gain global wholesale distribution which is important to the success of your book without having to invest anything more than a nominal setup fee. With this approach, your book is listed in the Ingram catalog where a retailer or library can find and order it. The book is manufactured via POD and then you are paid for that sale. Many traditional publishers that are supplying inventory to Ingram also set their book up for POD distribution so that if there is a time when inventory isn’t available, POD can be used to fill the gap. So this is more common than you might have thought.
Things to Consider Before Creating Your Book
What I often hear when I talk to first-time authors who have printed their book is that they had an image of their finished book without fully considering the reader. They will sometimes opt for non-standard trim sizes, landscape orientation, and premium color printing and will pay thousands of dollars to realize this vision. More often than not, these beautiful books languish in stacked-up boxes in their garage.
My advice is to tell your story but be sensible about the formatting of your book—keep it standard. This will save you money and also ensure that your options remain open through the lifetime of your book. If you are investing in illustrations for a children’s book, consider a smaller trim size and go vertical (portrait) rather than horizontal (landscape) orientation. Trust me when I say that a child doesn’t care if they love your story and pictures. In fact, a smaller book is easier for them to manage. You may be surprised to learn that there are many trim sizes available with POD.
I hope this proves helpful and that you’re as happy as I am to welcome spring. Be sure to share your comments and questions. Your input and feedback help us target future posts.
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