Ingram Spark: Good or Bad?
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Hi, everyone.

I recently started an account with Ingram Spark, and I'm awaiting my first e-book title to complete the validation process, so that it can go on sale for e-readers (Kindle, Nook, iTunes, etc.).

Has anyone here got any experience with Ingram Spark?  What are your thoughts?  Please share your pros and cons.  It's all very new to me, but if the service and quality of the product turns out to be really good, I plan to publish more titles with them.

Thanks, everyone!

  • Thanks, so much. That is helpful. I was afraid of as much about the sales through those particular outlets.  I, too, have a certain level of concern about the behemoth that is Amazon, but I'm trying to work within the systems that I have.  And behemoth or not, good customer service is always golden.

    I've only heard bits and pieces about Smashwords.  I'll have to go check them out, for possible future projects and easy distribution.  I like easy, and I really like free!

  • This could be just me, but I'll tell you my experience.

    I used Smashwords. It's free and very easy. I had a designer put the book into InDesign before I uploaded, so it looks professional and not just a pdf uploaded from my computer.

    Smashwords distributes to Nook, iBooks, and all kinds of other places I've never even heard of. The uploading is free. The distributing is free. They take a cut of your sales, but everyone does that. People can also go to Smashwords and buy the book in any of its formats directly from the site.

    You could upload your book to Nook on your own, but I found their process to be messy and difficult. I gave up and let Smashwords handle it.

    Truth: I have had one sale on Nook and a couple on Smashwords. Almost everything else has been from two sources: hand-selling (book fairs, appearances and  book stores that do consignment) and, you guessed it, Amazon. I know a lot of people in the industry don't like Amazon, and I'm leery of a behemoth like that. But they treat the writer like a customer and they take good care of you.

  • That's great to hear, Petrea.  And I agree that online chat is just as useful and phone contact. In fact, I prefer online chats to phone contact help (unless they have the call me back feature), because it usually takes too dang long to get through to a live person.  (At least it does for my cable company.) But Ingram Spark doesn't have online chat option, either, which falls into the cons column.

    As for CreateSpace, are your e-books compatible for other e-readers besides the Kindle? I know that Kindle is the most popular (that's what I have, too), but some of my friends have Nooks, and I hear that the iBooks are a pretty popular option, too.  I'm just wondering about that.

    I know that I have to go and revisit my CreateSpace account to catch up on all of its offerings, including the prices.

  • They were very helpful. Charming, sure.

    Some services have online chat, which works out as something between a phone call and an email. I've found that to be useful at times with services other than publishing.

  • Petrea,

    That is so cool. I can't imagine why all services don't have live help, at least for a few hours a day. Guess it all boils down to money and costs to run a business.

    But I hate the thought of not talking to a live person, and waiting for email replies that may/may not be clear enough for me to know what they heck I did or didn't do. I just need them to be really responsive, if all they're going to give me is email as a means of contacting them for help.

    I've heard one review describe Ingram Spark as "CreateSpace without the charm."  Not sure if that was supposed to be sarcasm or what, because I don't know how "charming" the folks at CreateSpace are.

    I'm glad to hear that you like it, though. I have a CreateSpace account that I just never got around to using.  Maybe I will check them out, too. Just to compare services and finished products.

  • Regina, I was surprised to find that CreateSpace had live help, and they were very responsive! They have a system on the website where you can click to have someone call you. You choose "right now" or "in five minutes." And they do! Shocker. And they were very helpful.

    If you find you need help and get get it at Ingram Spark, I'll bet you can find it here. Or maybe google it?

  • Hi, Petrea,

    Yes, it's another one of those little branch outs from big Ingram.  I have both a Lightning Source and Ingram Spark account.  The Ingram Spark account does the e-books, but the regular Lightning Source doesn't.  It's free to sign up for both, so I figured, why not?

    Right now, I'm waiting on Ingram Spark to tell me that my e-pub file that I submitted for my e-book is good-to-go. I don't like the fact that you can't just pick up the phone and dial live help, but have to wait for email replies.  But it's seems okay, so far.  Maybe this is a lesson is patience for me.

  • Hi, Carol,

    As best I can tell, Ingram Spark is a more of a DIY type of service, while the regular Lightning Source has a live customer service team, and you get an individual sales rep.  From what I have learned so far the prices are the same.

    My concern is that the regular Lightning Source account doesn't offer e-book uploads yet, but the Ingram Spark doesn't have live help.  I'm hoping that the difference is transparent.  I'd like to know what others' experiences have been/are with Ingram Spark.  So far, I'm really pleased with my Lightning Source account.

  • Hello Regina,

    I've been looking into this new "Ingram Spark" thing .. trying to discern the differences between Lightening Source, Ingram, and now - Ingram Spark.  The publishing Industry in constantly changing and vying for a piece of the pie and a new way to market the same services.  It's hard to tell what's ... what.  I appreciate you sharing your experiences with them.  Keep us posted, and thanks for the discussion!