Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Print-on-demand Wars. IngramSpark VS CreateSpace

For Print-on-demand book distribution, which is better, IngramSpark or CreateSpace?

This article is written by an Australian for Australians, but it may be informative and interesting to readers located outside Australia as well.

In the following example, the book is 372 pp, 129 x 198 mm (5.06 x 7.81 inch), black and white, gloss cover. From my research done at the end of 2016, here are the pros and cons for print on demand via IngramSpark vs CreateSpace.

Able to maintain current page size of 129 x 198 mm (5.06 x 7.81 inch)
Appx price per book
6.42 USD
5.31 USD = appx 7.13 AUD
Wholesale discount
Commission kept
40-60% depending on how book is sold**
Retail price required to make min AU$2 profit in USD (appx 1.49 USD)
17.99 USD (24.17 AUD)
1.68 USD profit
16.99 USD (22.83 AUD)
1.48 USD profit
(profit is higher depending on sales channel)
Retail price required to make min AU$2 profit in GBP (appx 1.18 GBP)
13.49 GBP (22.82 AUD)
1.21 GBP profit
9.49 GBP (16.05 AUD)
1.27 GBP profit
Retail price required to make min AU$2 profit in AUD
2.10 AUD profit
Unable to set AUD price separately

Note: prices vary in territory as print prices vary in different territories.
**     as Amazon are the retailer, I’m assuming that their commission encompasses the wholesale discount.



Con: Has a higher price for printing than CreateSpace in the USA for this book size. However, some publishers are able to get volume discounts (contract/deal) with IngramSpark.

Pro: Allows the setting of Australian territory pricing, in AUD, which CreateSpace does not (at time of writing).

Pro: Although with the USA, CreateSpace’s printing and shipping charges were more competitive than IngramSpark’s for this book size, globally IngramSpark’s printing and shipping prices are better than CreateSpace’s, and others, because IngramSpark has printing facilities in major western countries like the USA, Canada, UK and Australia.

Pro: Distributes to over 39,000 retailers including Amazon.

Pro: Seems to have a global focus, not so USA-centric. Has a customer service centre within Australia.

Notes: On IngramSpark the publisher would be able to maintain the current page size, etc. They charge/keep no sales commission. Some printers don’t offer book sizes.


Pro: The $5.31 USD appx price per book (plus shipping and handling) was lower than that of IngramSpark, however this is only for printing in the USA. Generally and globally speaking, I have witnessed higher prices from CreateSpace than from IngramSpark. This may be because the latter has printing facilities in major western countries like the USA, Canada, UK and Australia, whereas Amazon CreateSpace has to charge to print in the USA. Top this with the extra price to ship to the country in question and you have a significant Con instead of a pro if you think your target market is not just people in the USA.

Con: Does not allow separate setting of an Australian retail price. Australia is a tag along on the USA Amazon pricing and store (Australians have to buy physical printed books from the US store,

Con: Has an ‘expanded distribution network’ in the USA, i.e. to compete with IngramSpark’s distribution not just to Amazon but to over 39,000 retailers, but seems to be limited to the USA.

Con: Seems to be more USA-centric. Does not have customer service within Australia.

Pro: Amazon probably gives priority to its own (CreateSpace) titles over competitors print-on-demand titles. For example, they will be shown as ‘in stock’ whereas sometimes the titles of other providers (like IngramSpark, LuLu etc.) will show as ‘Temporarily unavailable’ even though it can be ordered by pressing the button to buy. That is after all the point of print on demand. It also seems likely that Amazon will let its own recommender system prioritise CreateSpace books over other indie books, though I have no evidence to back up this theory.

Notes: On CreateSpace the publisher would be able to maintain the current page size, etc. Some printers don’t offer all book sizes. See:

Unclear wholesale discount, but their commission seems to encompass it. CreateSpace keep between 40% and 60% of list price depending on how it is sold. See here: 

My printed books are available to purchase online, through IngramSpark print-on-demand. My ebooks are available through major vendors. All the links can be found at along with further information.

1 comment:

Print On Demand said...

I am from USA, and I am using to print my design. It's free.