How to Set Up a Title with IngramSpark

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Your IngramSpark account setup is complete – now what? The first step in moving forward is uploading a book into your account, so here’s how you would go about doing that!

You can add a new title by selecting “Add a New Title” on your Dashboard, or you can add a new title from the “Titles” section of your account.

Print Book or Ebook?

To start, you’ll decide if you’d like to set up a print book, ebook, or both. We recommend setting your title up in both print and ebook formats simply because you don’t always know how your readers will prefer to read your content, so it’s helpful not to limit your audience if your readers have a format preference. Some genres lend themselves better to ebooks and some better as print books, so do your research and be sure you make the decision that’s best for you, your budget, and your book.

Book Metadata

When you begin the book setup process (whether for ebooks or print books), you will be asked to provide information about your book. This is what we refer to as book metadata. The metadata conveys information about your book to customers, bookstores, libraries, and other retailers. For this reason, it is best to make your book metadata as accurate and specific as possible. 

Book metadata is important to your book’s categorization, discovery, and overall book sales. It should be part of any author's overall book marketing strategy, and successful self-publishers know how to incorporate as much quality book metadata as possible into their sales plans.

For tips on successful book metadata, check out our free online course.

As far as book metadata is concerned, more is better, because the more information you provide, the better chance your book has to be discovered by the right readers. For example, we only require you to enter one BISAC subject code, but we offer you the opportunity to provide up to three. While one code is required, a book is rarely about only one thing, so why not provide all three to help readers and retailers know exactly what your book is about and where they should stock it? We understand some people want to be able to upload their books quickly, however, so we only require what’s absolutely necessary for your book to become available for distribution.

What's Required for Book Setup with IngramSpark?

As you navigate each book setup step in your IngramSpark account dashboard, you will see a red asterisk beside the required information. You will not be able to continue to the next step until the required information is completed. Fields without a red asterisk are not required, but you are given the option to include more information in these fields that will enhance and improve your book metadata. 

  • Title – This is the title of your book, and it is one of the first things customers, retailers, and libraries will see.
  • Language – This is the primary language in which the book is written.
  • Full Description – The book description should describe what your book is about and provide the reader with a general idea of what to expect when reading your book.
  • Contributor – At least one contributor is required (e.g. author, illustrator, etc.). Take note that this is the name that will be publicly listed as the author (or other contributors) of your book in Ingram’s database and distribution network; so, if you write under a pen name or pseudonym now is the time to lock it in. Click the “About Contributor” button next to any contributor to provide an author bio or additional information about that contributor.
  • Imprint - An imprint identifies a branch of your publishing company and is typically displayed as the publisher on most retail sites.
  • Subjects – Subjects (also referred to as BISAC codes) describe and categorize your book with standard codes accepted by the book industry. You can search subject codes by clicking on “Find Subjects.” You can also access a complete list at the Book Industry Study Group website.
  • Book Types -  There are also Regional and Thema Subjects. Regional Subject is a list of geographical places used to modify the major subject. For example, a book on the football team "Tennessee Titans" would have a BISAC category as "Football" with the regional BISAC of "Tennessee". Thema Subjects offer global and unique subjects to categorize your book.
  • Audience – Classifying the intended audience is required by some retailers, and it helps categorize your book even further. If your book will not be marketed to a particular age range, it’s best to default the audience to adult/general.
  • Trim Size – If you’re publishing a print book, this is the finished cut size of your book. You should make your decision based on what you think would be the best fit for your book and its genre. You can base this on popular book sizes.
  • Interior Color and Paper – Here you will select if you would like your print book to be in black and white or color. If selecting black and white, you will have the option of white or crème paper. If selecting color, you will have the option to choose between four color interior options.
  • Binding Type – If you’re publishing a print book, you will select either paperback or hardcover, which comes with several additional options to choose from. Note that not every interior or binding type is available for each trim size. To see the combinations of available offerings, you can use our Print and Shipping Calculator or view our trim sizes here.
  • Page Count – This is the total number of pages in your interior file (including blank pages).
  • ISBN – The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number assigned to every book and is required for distribution. No two books can have the same ISBN. Additionally, each format of a book must have its own ISBN. For example, a paperback, hardcover, and ebook of the same title will each have their own unique ISBN. Bowker-issued ISBNs can be purchased at a discount from IngramSpark during title setup for US publishers.
  • SKU – If you do not want to purchase an ISBN, you may use a SKU instead. It is important to keep in mind that SKUs are not accepted in the distribution channels, so distributors will not be able to stock or sell your book if it has an SKU instead of an ISBN.

Once you’ve handled important pieces of your book setup process such as format, title, author, and book description, it’s time to move on to pricing, book distribution, and file upload. Pricing and book distribution methods are additionally important pieces of your book’s metadata used to convey vital information about your book to customers, bookstores, libraries, and other retailers. And without files, there’s no book. Here’s what you need to know about each of these steps when setting up a book with IngramSpark.


In the pricing section of IngramSpark’s book setup process, you will see six different markets. Adding global pricing will allow your title to be distributed in each respective market. If you decide to include a list price for different markets, we recommend using our currency converter. Adding pricing in as many markets as possible allows your book to reach its greatest sales potential by not limiting your book’s distribution.

It is up to you to determine the list price, wholesale discount, and returns status. It is also important to note that the pricing of your book will affect your publisher compensation (your earnings on every sale).

List Price

The list price is the price that retailers will charge their customers when selling your book (retailers may offer discounts to customers for promotions or coupons, but those are taken out of the retailer’s profit, not yours).

Ebook Pricing

When completing the pricing information for ebooks, there are two columns: ebook Retail Price and Apple ebook (Agency) Price. The retail price applies to all ebook retailers except Apple. The Apple (Agency) price applies only to Apple and must meet certain requirements:

  • The agency price must end in a “.99” value.
  • The agency price must not exceed the retail price of the book.
  • Apple requires both an agency and a retail price for comparison.

Wholesale Discount

You can offer a wholesale discount between 40% and 55% for the US and Canada markets (35% - 55% for international markets). The most acceptable industry standard wholesale discounts are 53% to 55%. The wholesale discount you offer is what our distribution partners receive. They may pass on a portion of that discount to their customers. By offering a wholesale discount of 53% to 55%, bookstores may receive their normal trade discount or contracted discount from the wholesalers they buy from, such as Ingram. 

Returns Status

Knowing the purpose of returns and how they can affect a publisher is important to understand. Many brick-and-mortar stores will not order a book unless it is returnable, but if books are returned, the publisher is expected to pay the cost of the return (the wholesale cost of the book). 

Book Distribution

Global Connect

Ingram’s Global Connect program allows your book to be even more accessible in various parts of the world. We currently have relationships with printing facilities in Germany, Russia, China, Poland, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and India. With the Global Connect program, our distribution partners in these markets are able to print orders as they come in for their local channels and retailers.

Publication/On Sale Date

The Publication Date is the date that you plan to make the book available to bookstores, libraries, and online retailers. The On Sale date is the date before which the book may not be sold by retail partners. If you would like your book to be available for pre-order, you will use the On Sale date to determine when your book will be sold. 

Ebook Distribution Rights

Here you will select if your ebook can be distributed worldwide or only in certain regions. Selecting “Yes” allows your ebook to be enabled for worldwide distribution. If “No” is selected, you are provided a complete listing of Distribution Territories that will apply to your title.

File Submission

The file upload process is where you will submit your files to IngramSpark for review. Print books require an interior PDF file and a cover PDF file. Ebooks require an EPUB file and a JPG cover image. You can read more about our print file specifications in our File Creation Guide

Print File Submission

Once your files are submitted, they go through an initial Content Validation process. If our computer system flags something in the file that may cause an issue when printed, you will receive a notification. Some file issues you'll be required to fix before moving forward, and a new file with corrections may need to be uploaded. 

After submitting your files, they are reviewed by our pre-media technicians. If any potential printing issues are seen, you will receive an email notification with information about the issue, and you may be asked to upload a corrected file. The typical turnaround time for file review is 3-5 business days for new titles.

After the file review process, you will receive an eProof to review. Approving the eProof allows your book to be printed, and you will have the option to enable distribution. Your orders will not print until you have approved the eProof, so be sure you don’t skip this step.

Ebook File Submission

Your EPUB file and JPG cover image will go through a Content Validation process. If any issues are found, you will be asked to upload the corrected files. Once corrected files are submitted, the ebook moves into production. There is no proofing process for ebooks. We have ePUB guidelines that we recommend publishers follow for ebooks.

We hope this has been helpful in providing an outline of the title setup process with IngramSpark and that you feel prepared to publish a book! 

For more help, see Understanding IngramSpark Title Processing and Availability.


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IngramSpark Staff

IngramSpark® is an award-winning independent publishing platform, offering indie authors and publishers the ability to create, manage, and globally distribute print and ebooks.