Frequently Asked Questions


Who can use IngramSpark?

Short answer, anyone. If there is one thing 15 years of providing print-on-demand services to publishers has taught us it is that every publisher, and every title, is unique. Trying to categorically say which publisher segment IngramSpark services has been impossible. Simply stated: If you find this platform useful, then IngramSpark was built for you.

How do I set up an account?

Setting up an account is easy. All you need is your book’s files, ISBNs for each format (which can now be purchased from your account's dashboard through Bowker), a credit card, and an email address. See the How It Works section for step-by-step instructions.

Does IngramSpark offer book editing, cover design, or marketing services?

IngramSpark draws on Ingram’s strength—helping books, in any format, reach their destination worldwide. As a distribution company, we don’t currently offer proofreading, editing, typesetting, or design services. If you need assistance in any of those areas, we recommend contacting an author services company.

I already have an account with Lightning Source or Ingram Publisher Services. Can I use IngramSpark as well?

Yes! However, if you have an existing agreement with Lightning Source for Print-On-Demand or e-book services or are currently working with Ingram Publisher Services for distribution services please contact your client services representative (CSR) or IPS account manager before setting up an IngramSpark account.

Where will my book be available for purchase?

IngramSpark is connected to the ordering systems of 39,000 independent and chain bookstores, libraries, and online retailers worldwide, plus every major e-book retailer (including iBookstore, Kobo, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, etc…) See the full list of IngramSpark retail partners in the Global Reach section.

I already have an e-book available on the Apple iBookstore. Do I need to remove that title prior to uploading it into IngramSpark?

Yes. Also note that any reviews or ratings of that title will not transfer when it reappears in the iTunes Bookstore.

Does IngramSpark distribute internationally?

Yes! IngramSpark includes distribution to print and electronic retailers in more than 195 countries, so your titles get true worldwide distribution.

Can independent bookstores buy my books?

Here is a fun fact: Ingram is the world’s largest wholesaler of print books to independent bookstores. Independent bookstores can purchase your title directly from Ingram or through any of our distribution partners.

Are my books returnable?

Historically publishers grant booksellers the right to return unwanted or overstocked copies of books. IngramSpark allows you to designate whether or not your titles can be returned. Please note that many booksellers will not stock books that are not returnable; however, the cost of the returned books is deducted from the proceeds of your titles.

Do I have to make my books available to all Ingram partners?

With IngramSpark, you can choose just print, just electronic, or both. For electronic distribution, publishers have the option of opting out of Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle distribution (in case, for example, you already have an existing agreement.) Your e-book would still be distributed to the other 70+ CoreSource e-retailers.

How quickly are my titles available?

The turnaround time for e-books and print-on-demand books is provided during the order submission process.

What formats do my books need to be in?

For print books, you just need a PDF of the cover and a separate PDF of the interior content. E-books require an EPUB file of the interior content and a JPEG of the cover.

Can you convert my book into a EPUB file for me?

Yes. If you have an approved print PDF uploaded to your IngramSpark account we can create an EPUB file for you. Click here for more information.

Where can I find the design specifications for my print or EPUB files?

Specifications for both print and e-files can be found on our help page. If you are working with a designer or an author solutions company that provides design work, we strongly recommend providing them with a copy.

Does IngramSpark provide an example of how to build my cover?

To make cover design easy, IngramSpark provides a cover template generator that should simplify the process.

How do I get an ISBN?

You can purchase an ISBN from Bowker when setting up a title in your IngramSpark account. Look for the purchase an ISBN option next to the ISBN field when setting up your title information. IngramSpark customers who purchase ISBNs through their account get a special rate, so lucky you.

Do I need different ISBNs for my e-book and print book?

Yes, you need a different ISBN for each format of your book.

What is metadata?

Metadata is the descriptive detail for each format of a book (such as author, description, table of contents, etc…) Good metadata is very important. Computer systems—such as inventory management and online search programs—use metadata to match titles with inquiries. With IngramSpark, metadata input is part of the title set up process so getting your info right is easy.

How much does IngramSpark cost?

IngramSpark offers a competitive and easy-to-understand package specifically designed to give small publishers looking for print and distribution services the best possible value and return. Account setup is free. Title set-up, printing, and market access costs vary based on format. View all charges in the Costs & Revenue section.

How does the pricing for IngramSpark compare to similar services?

There are many vendors in the market with varying pricing and services. This is especially true for e-book services. A publisher can go direct to many e-retailers, and for publishers who are able to manage the complexity associated with submitting the same title to multiple vendors, that usually leads to higher revenues. IngramSpark pricing reflects our ease of use, convenience, and global reach. With IngramSpark, publishers can make their titles available to the world’s largest distribution network without having to set up accounts with each individual vendor. You are able to make more, by spending less time.

Can I use a debit card to sign up?

Yes, you can pay with a debit card as long as your card is associated with a major processing vendor such as Visa or Mastercard.

What percentage of the costs do I receive?

Dependent upon wholesale discount, IngramSpark publishers receive 45 - 70% of their list price on print titles sold through the distribution channel, minus manufacturing costs (some markets may vary). Publishers are paid 40% of their list price on e-books sold through e-retailers. Learn more in the Costs & Revenues section.

What is agency pricing?

Agency pricing is the pricing model Apple uses for books that are sold in the iBookstore. All agency prices must end in a “.99”.

How much does printing cost per book?

Printing costs vary depending on the trim size, binding, and color options selected. To figure out the cost of your title, try our Print and Shipping Calculator.

How and when am I paid for my sales?

Your compensation will be deposited directly into your bank or specified PayPal account. The first payment made to your account will be made within 90 days, as we receive payment from the retailers and libraries. All other payments will follow monthly.

Where can I see how many books I’ve sold?

IngramSpark includes a convenient dashboard to track your title information and sales. You will get a snapshot of sales on bestselling titles within your account dashboard, which is updated daily. Publishers also have access to detailed monthly reporting showing retail sales activity.

Who prints books for IngramSpark?

IngramSpark titles are printed by Lightning Source, Ingram’s print-on-demand program that has been in operation since 1997.

How is IngramSpark/Lightning Source different than other print-on-demand vendors?

Our world leading print-on-demand capabilities give you the widest range of paper, trim sizes, bindings, hardcover, paperback, and color options. Plus, we’re backed by the world’s largest book distribution network, so not only are your titles printed in the highest quality, they’re also available to more readers worldwide.

Can I get my book in hardcover?

Yes! You can get case laminate, cloth bound, or jacketed binding, in addition to perfect bound (paperback) and saddle stitch.

Can I print in color?

You can! You have two color printing options with IngramSpark. Choose between Standard color, an economical option printed on state-of-the-art inkjet technology, or Premium color, a higher-quality color option for superior color books. For more information on IngramSpark's color printing options click here.

What are my trim size options?

You can view all available trim sizes in the Products & Services section.

Do you offer cream paper?

Yes! Black and white titles can be printed on cream paper. Color books will be printed on white paper.

What are my cover lamination options?

Covers are printed in four color with the option of gloss or matte lamination.