How to Publish on Ingram/IngramSpark

Today on Lit Up! with Angela Breidenbach, Pam Dover and Jusine Bylo of IngramSpark help us learn the best practices for publishing and marketing with IngramSpark! 

What is Ingram?

Ingram is and has been the world's largest wholesaler and supplier of books and book related products  for 50 years.

Ingram is a "one-stop shop" for bookstores, libraries and retailers, providing products from

  • 30,000 TRADITIONAL Publishers
  • 50,000 INDY Publishers
  • More than 1,000 Christian publishers and suppliers

Ingram has over 13 Million Titles in their database, which includes more than 260,000 Christian titles, shipped from 7 US Distribution Centers and Industry leading fill rate (98%)

Ingram's distribution network reaches more than 39,000 

  • Specialty Wholesale (Spring Arbor) which includes more than 3000 Christian retail stores
  • Global & Regional Chain Bookstore
  • Independent Retailers
  • University Bookshops
  • Internet Retailers
  • Gift Retailers
  • Museum Shops
  • Public and School Libraries

What is IngramSpark?

IngramSpark is a one-stop platform which allows publishers and authors to have their book printed on demand and sold through the largest global distribution network available so your content is always available; you never miss a sale!

  • Free to set up an account, which takes about 20 minutes or less to activate

You will need a credit card to keep on file for fees, tax information (either tax id or SS#) International customers can find out what tax info is needed during the account set up process. You will also need an ISBN/EAN, if you want the book in distribution. IngramSpark provides ISBNs for $85 to US customers. If located outside the US, you can visit the following link to find out where to obtain an ISBN/EAN:

  • You set up your title and upload your print and/or ebook digital files into IngramSpark

You can view our file requirements by accessing the File Creation Guide. Go to and under the RESOURCES tab click on TOOLS and scroll down to the link for the guide. You will also find other helpful tools in this area.

If you have an IngramSpark account, you will login and find the guide under the HELP tab.

  • You can set your book for PREORDERS for your print book and ebook by selecting an on-sale date
  • You control list prices, discounts, returnable options...more on this later
  • Once you have approved the proof, you turn on distribution-title appears in Ingram's catalog, iPage
  • Ingram sends the metadata you provide for the book to our global network of distribution partners which includes

-      39,000 retailers and libraries  (Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, etc)

-      Largest network of 70+ online retailers for ebooks (Amazon, Apple, Kobo)

  • 39,000 Ingram customers can order your book from Ingram
  • Ingram uses POD to manufacture print titles

We have 4 print facilities in the US, 1 in the UK, 1 in France and 1 in Australia

  • We deliver print and e-book content to retailers

When one of our distribution partners receives an order for the book, we print it and ship to the distribution partner who then fulfills the order on their end. Shipping costs are handled between them and the consumer.

  • Ingram pays YOU for the sale

You know what you will earn: (list price-discount-printing) We pay you based on list price not net price. You are not charged shipping or any other fees for the order.

You aren't penalized if a retailer discounts your title. You may see your book sold at a reduced or discounted price on websites. This does not affect your publisher compensation earnings.

You are paid for the sale approximately 90 days after the end of the month in which the sale occurred. You can view sales through the online reporting on your IngramSpark account.

  • E-book orders

You are paid List Price - discount. You earn 40% of the retail price and if you do not select to have ebooks distributed to Amazon though IngramSpark, you earn 45% of the List Price.

Amazon and Apple are optional and require separate agreements. If you have provided any ebooks to Amazon in the past 12 months, we would not be able to supply you rebooks to Amazon.

  • Publisher Direct POD orders
  • You enter your customer orders in our system
  • You pay print and shipping fees and we ship direct to your customers in a plain brown box with a packing slip that lists the contents of the package and your return address. No pricing is included.
  • You collect from your customer.
  • No discount on orders less than 750 copies per title, shipping to one address.

Things to Keep in Mind About Distribution...

  • Distribution takes some time depending on the partner. It can take several weeks for the book to be fully listed and available for sale
  • YOU still need to market your book to retailers, so they know where to get your book
  • You tell retailers/libraries that your book is available from Ingram/Spring Arbor
  • Retailers and libraries prefer to order from Ingram/Spring Arbor
  • Ingram/Spring Arbor is not directly selling your book into stores
  • Changes to metadata, like pricing, is sent to our partners on the first of each month, but it's up to them to update their sites. You should have all changes submitted at least 1 week prior to the first of each month for it to be effective in IngramSpark on the 1st.


Advice for Indie Authors

  • Work with professionals if you want a professional book
  • Invest in editing, design and marketing, not inventory
  • Use POD to test demand for your book
  • GO STANDARD on binding and trim size (Shown further below)
  • Use Social Media to build platform and market to your readers
  • Own your ISBN
  • You don't know what formats readers prefer so offer multiple choices
  • paperback, hardback, e-book
  • You don't know how your readers prefer to purchase your book-use the widest distribution options
  • Join author organizations or groups


 POD Title Analysis


Gloss 75 %

Matte 25%

Investing in Editing:

Why it Matters No Matter How You Publish

Readers Notice Bad Editing!

It effects their experience. So, what can you do?

Editing Process First Stage of Editing

  • Beta Readers
  • Writing Groups
  • Online Workshops
  • Your Mom

2nd Stage of Editing- Developmental Editor

  • Plot Help
  • Character Development
  • Setting
  • Voice

Third Stage of Editing- Copy Editor

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Fact-checking

Last Stage of Editing- Proofreader

  • Hire AFTER your edits are done
  • Catches any missed mistakes- grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting

What Does it Cost?

*Expect to spend $1,000-$5,000

Editing Tips and Tricks

  • You need to be emotionally ready to edit your book
  • You need to be ready to put in the writing work
  • Know what you want to get out of the editing process
  • Know your budget & be financially ready
  • Find an editor with a good reputation that is also a good match for your work
  • Get your editing agreement IN WRITING
  • Payments
  • Time schedule
  • Editing takes time
  • Editors are not magicians!
  • Use the Editorial Freelancer's Association (EFA) as a resource- 


Metadata is Key to Help Bookstores, Libraries and Readers Find Your Book

  • Book Title and Description

Bolding a few sentences in the book description seems to help books be more easily discovered on websites. The more info in the book description the better!

  • Author bio, affiliations, physical location

Bookstores and Libraries are looking for local authors

  • BISAC (subject codes-3)

The first listed is the most important. Using 3 helps narrow down the search for your book.

  • Description/Short Description
  • Keywords, Table of Contents, Reviews, endorsements

Use up to 7 keywords or phrases. The first listed is most important. Don't use the title, author or subjects as these are also searchable by keyword. If your book is similar in content or writing style to another author or book, you can list it here, which may help your book be discovered

If your book has a table of contents, be sure to list tis as it helps people know more about your book.

Be sure to list any reviews or endorsements here. These will go out with the metadata for your book. Add them to your cover too!

  • Audience (Adult, YA, JUV-age, grade)

Be sure to select an audience for your book to help narrow down the search

  • ISBN's (for distributed titles)
  • Pricing in Global Markets (US, UK, EU, CA, AU)
  • Print Attributes (size, # pages, paper color)
  • Retail Discount
  • Print-30-55% of list price (53% - 55% highly suggested for bookstores to receive their trade discount when buying from a wholesaler such as Ingram)
  • E-book-60% of list price
  • Publication Date and On sale date-Preorders

The Publication date is when you announce the book to the market. You can also select an on-sale date for your book, which can be the same date or later than the publication date. If you want to collect preorders while you promote your book, use an on-sale date with a future date, later than the publication date. Once you approve the eproof for your book and click on "enable distribution", we send out the metadata for the book including the on-sale date. This gets your book into the market place so it can be ordered.

If you select an on-sale date, so people can preorder your book, please be aware that the book must be ready to print at least 2 weeks prior to the on-sale date. This means the files must be uploaded and all revisions completed and approved by then. We will start printing the book 2 weeks prior to the on-sale date, so they are delivered on time. This allows all bookstores and distribution partners to have the book available to sell on the on-sale date and they cannot sell it before the on-sale date. It is highly advisable that you not change the on-sale date once you have it set. This can cause some issues with some distribution partner's websites.  Also, if you submit revisions during this time, your title may appear as unavailable for a brief period while we change out your files and until you approve them.

If you buy the $85 annotation ad in the Ingram Advance catalog, the ad will run 3-4 months later so you can time it with your on-sale date, if you wish. (more about that in the next segment)

  • Returnability-3 options
  • No or Non-Returnable

IngramSpark will not accept returns from booksellers for any title designated as "No" (non-returnable), and the publisher will not receive any return charges.

  • Yes-Deliver

Choosing "Yes-Deliver" allows titles to be sold on a returnable basis, and the publisher will receive a physical copy of the book returned.

*Please note that IngramSpark does not guarantee the condition of the book being returned.

  • Yes-Destroy

This option allows titles to be sold on a returnable basis, and the publisher will not receive a physical copy of the book upon its return. The publisher will be charged only for the current wholesale cost of each book returned. No shipping and handling fees will apply as IngramSpark will destroy any returned books if this option is selected.

Shipping Costs for Returned Books

Returns for US Addresses: Publishers will be charged for the current wholesale cost of each book returned, plus a $2.00 per book shipping and handling charge.

Returns to non-US/international addresses:  Publishers will be charged for the current wholesale cost of each book returned, plus a $20.00 per book shipping and handling charge.  


$20 Retail/List price

-53%                Wholesale Discount

$9.40              Wholesale Price- what distribution partners pay for the book

-$3.58            Print cost for 200 page B/W Paperback

$5.82              Publisher Compensation You Earn

If a book is returned, we pay back the wholesale price of the book, which would be $9.40. If you elect to have the book returned to you, add the return fee of $2 or, if outside the US add $20.

Returns can be VERY costly so you need to be financially prepared to handle the cost of returns.

If you are not sure what to offer, I suggest starting with non-returnable. You can always change to returnable later if needed.

You can also be creative when working work with bookstores for events on this too. See if you can take your own books and give them a portion of the sales or offer to buy back any leftover books at the bookstore's cost. By doing this you have nice books you can reuse and you and the bookstore are not "dinged" for returns.

PRICING YOUR BOOK - Things to consider:

How much you need to earn for every sale.

The market you are promoting your book to. If promoting to bookstores and retailers, offering a 53% discount in the US market allows retailers to receive their trade discount when they buy from a wholesaler. You can offer a lower discount in other markets, but, it is best to at least offer 45% in the UK and Europe as there are many wholesalers there who are our distribution partners. In Australia, our distribution partners are online stores so you can set your discount lower there if needed. Also, it costs more to print in other markets. Because of this, use a currency conversion site such as and convert the publisher compensation amount for a market and convert to US currency to ensure you are receiving at least the same amount of pub comp as you are in the US. Adjust the retail price or discount in other markets until you end up with the right amount of publisher compensation. Another suggestion is increasing the pub comp amount in other countries by a dollar or two more than you are earning in the US, so you don't fall into a negative pub comp balance due to currency exchange rate fluctuations. This is important to think about if you are earning $1-$2 or less in the US.

Look at books similar in size and content, when pricing your book. Keep in mind, traditionally published books were probably printed at an offset printer and distributed in a different way so the retail price may be lower than what you need to charge. POD books tend to be priced a little higher than traditionally published books. But, at the same time, you don't want to price yourself out of the market. The great thing about POD is if the pricing isn't working, you can change it! However, if you listed the price on the cover, you would have to upload a revised cover file with the new price. Revisions are $25 per file.

How to price for international markets



  • Build Your Platform!
  • Get Reviews- Legitimizes your book to booksellers, librarians and readers
  • Connect with your local independent bookstores and libraries- they like local authors!
  • Get the word out with social media
    • Pick a platform where your readers pay attention such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and others ( see links at end of this document)
    • Link to multiple buying sites- "retailer agnostic"
    • Talk about more than just your book- create an author persona
  • Be careful about galley copies! Mark as a galley copy to make sure your fans buy the book

What can Ingram do for you? Besides sending a metadata feed with all your book info to all of our distribution partners, we offer an affordable annotation ad in 1 of 3 Ingram Advance catalogs.

Advance Annotation Ad

Published monthly and distributed five weeks prior to the issue month. The Advance is a comprehensive title listing and purchasing tool.

Circulation: 7,000 top booksellers and librarians; and in PDF format to over 27,000 accounts

An annotation ad for a book can be ordered for either the Advance, Christian Advance or Children's Advance, during the title set up process. This includes a black and white thumbnail image of the cover, a brief annotation of the book and the retail price and discount Ingram customers receive.

Cost for the one-time ad is $85. The ad will run 3-4 months later.

USE PRESALES as marketing tool.

SPECIAL OFFER- promo code for free title set up for print and ebooks is GETPUBLISHED good through 2017

Web addresses and links

To activate an account, go to

Sign up for our free blog at

If located outside the US, you can visit the following link to find out where to obtain an ISBN/EAN:

File Creation Guide

In this video, you'll hear what metadata is and why it matters. How the metadata you choose dictates who, when, and how your work is discovered. The value of attaching a unique ISBN to each of your formats and what you should be monitoring in your data system.

In this video there is an intro to the basics of setting up your print book files.

Need help? For those who want to polish and refine their work, we have some friends who would love to make your acquaintance. We pride ourselves on the fact that everything you need to publish your book can be found here, but sometimes you may want a little something extra. From book design to book reviews, these fine folks will take your book to the next level of professional quality.

Editorial Freelancer's Association (EFA) resource

Print Distribution Partners

Ebook Distribution Partners


The Litsy community is a groundswell of passionate readers, authors, celebrities, and more. Share bookish moments with Quotes, Reviews, and Blurbs. Measure Litfluence to discover your "bookprint" in the world. Explore recommendations from readers, not algorithms.


Instagram for books!

Click on this link for 21 other Instagram accounts for book lovers.

Google: Instagram for books to find even more Instagram accounts for books!

Lick on this link for more info about other Book Social Networks



Kirkus-paid, could be a few hundred dollars. Legitimate paid review.


For Indies: Publishers Weekly: several months in advance

BookLife by Publishers Weekly.

About our guests:

Justine Bylo Key Account Sales Manager and has a passion for working with independent authors and publishers, getting their books into the world. Justine currently works with IngramSpark authors and publishers to expand their flourishing platforms. She is committed to the innovation behind IngramSpark so that clients always have the most cutting edge services. Justine has worked with Ingram Content Group for four years. Previously in her roles at Lightning Source and Ingram Publisher Services, Justine helped countless publishers grow their businesses. Justine started her career in the unlikely place of television where she worked in reality TV development at Oxygen and Bravo before making the switch to publishing. Justine was a graduate of NYU Tisch in Dramatic Writing and continues to work on her own novels during her free time. 

Pam Dover, IngramSpark Sales Specialist

Pam Dover is a Sales Specialist with IngramSpark®. She helps authors, independent publishers, and businesses share their story by understanding their needs and pairing them with the right insights and tools using Ingram's digital print on demand print and ebook distribution services. Pam has worked closely with authors, publishers and booksellers for the past 35 years in various leadership, product management, training, and sales positions. Pam truly understands the evolving book industry and the role print on demand and distribution services can serve publishers and authors faster. She continually works to improve the IngramSpark user experience and strives to help her customers succeed. 

Book Angie and her co-writers have published with IngramSpark, more are pending:

The Bucket List Dare

The Bucket List Dare (contemporary romantic fiction anthology)

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