A guide to self-publishing with IngramSpark


by Christine Yunn-Yu Sun

Eastern Regional Libraries (ERL) is partnering with IngramSpark to offer its members the opportunity to turn their novel, poetry, memoir, or family history into a beautiful print book and/or ebook.

Having worked with IngramSpark since 2017, this reviewer can offer some tips on how to use the platform to publish, promote, and distribute your book(s).

IngramSpark, operated by printer and distributor Lightning Source, is the print-on-demand (POD) unit of US-based Ingram Content Group. The company is headquartered in Tennessee and has operations in the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

POD means that copies of a book are only printed when an order is placed, allowing single or small quantity printing. This eliminates the costs of producing, storing and transporting large numbers of books.

To self-publish with IngramSpark, you need an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from Thorpe-Bowker. The 13-digit number contains essential information used in sales tracking, retail inventory systems, library catalogs, online bookstores, etc.

Each specific format of your book requires a unique ISBN, including print (hardcover or bound) and electronic (ePUB, PDF or MOBI). For books translated from another language into English or vice versa, each edition also requires a separate ISBN.

To publish a printed book, you need two files in PDF format. The first is the interior. It should contain the inner pages of your book, including the title, disclaimer, table of contents, and completed and edited content, along with page numbers. The other file should contain the front and back covers and spine.

IngramSpark has a cover template generator. Based on your book’s ISBN, trim size, interior color and paper, binding type, lamination type and number of pages, you can download a template and generated barcode automatically for your cover design.

Meanwhile, to publish an ebook, you also need two files. The Inside file, in ePUB format, contains the inside pages of your book, but without the page numbers. The cover file, in JPEG format, only requires the front cover.

Note: Ideally, your cover should be professionally designed in order to showcase your book effectively and effectively. Despite what people say, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover. IngramSpark has streamlined its publishing process significantly in recent years. Once the files are ready, all you have to do is provide the “matadata”, which transmits your book information to customers, bookstores, libraries, wholesalers and retailers.

These “matadata” include book title, language, full description, contributor(s), imprint, subjects (BISAC codes) and types (region and theme), and audience,

The fun part is setting the book’s list price in six different markets: US, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, and Global Connect (which covers all other territories). This allows your book to reach its greatest sales potential by gathering as many markets as possible.

This is a great opportunity to take control of your writing and editing career. You can even buy copies of your book at a reduced price (i.e. the cost of printing) to share with family and friends.

More details on the offer are available on the ERL website.


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