IngramSpark for Australian Authors

Just finished a long conversation with a very nice lady from IngramSpark Australia, and I thought I’d share what I learned with other Australian self-publishers.

First and foremost, IngramSpark have a print facility right here in Australia. That translates to massive savings on shipping costs for Australian authors.

How massive? Roughly $4.90 for 1 to 28 medium sized paperbacks if you live in Melbourne. That’s because the IngramSpark print facility is located in Melbourne. Delivery charges to other states will obviously be higher. Nonetheless, I doubt those charges would come close to the cost of shipping books in from overseas.

Secondly, IngramSpark printing costs are a bit higher than CreateSpace but lower than Lulu. They also have:

  • a full range of trim sizes
  • hardbacks if required
  • global distribution to countries not available through Amazon.

Amazon distribution has become a sore point with Australians as they cannot buy print books on Amazon Australia. In the past, they would have to order print books from Amazon US or UK and pay shipping costs that often doubled or tripled the cost of the book. Now that we’ve been geo-blocked from Amazon international, print books will no longer be available at all. Unless…

And this brings me to my conversation with IngramSpark today. I rang to clarify whether I could use IngramSpark to provide print books to Amazon Australia. The question was complicated by the fact that I wanted non-Australian Amazon markets to continue selling paperbacks printed via CreateSpace and KDP.

Aussie authors will be pleased to know that the answer from IngramSpark was ‘yes’. ๐Ÿ™‚

Basically what happens is that my book[s] will be available for world wide distribution – to countries not covered by Amazon as well as markets already covered by Amazon. When someone buys one of my print books from Amazon US, UK or EU, Amazon will fulfil the order from their own ‘feed’. In other words, if they can supply from CreateSpace OR KDP they’ll do so.

But…for markets such as Australia, Amazon will source the print book from IngramSpark. That means my paperback will be available to Australian readers from Amazon.com.au, and it’ll cost readers a heck of a lot less in shipping.

Apart from availability and shipping, there is one more reason to print books with IngramSpark here in Australia, and that harks back to their distribution capabilities. If I can persuade a local bookshop to give my book[s] a try, the bookshop can order direct from IngramSpark at wholesale prices. Wholesale discounts range from 30% to 55%, which puts self-publishers/small publishers on a more even footing with large, traditional publishers.

-dance-

Okay, I’ll stop high-fiving myself now and get serious again because there are also disadvantages to printing with IngramSpark. The two biggest disincentives are:

  • the setup cost of $53 AUD per book, and
  • the need to have an ABN [Australian Business Number].

If you’ve never run a small business before – for example as a sole trader – the idea of getting an ABN can be daunting. The truth, however, is that it’s both free and relatively painfree to apply for one.

For detailed, step-by-step information about getting an ABN see this post. And see this one about why you should NOT pay for that ABN [because it’s free].

Now for a word about the cost. $53 AUD is a steep price to pay when you’ve got more than one book to setup. I have 7 to-date, so that would have been an upfront charge of $371 AUD. Luckily, I managed to setup all 7 books during a free promotion run by IngramSpark.

I’m not sure exactly when or why IngramSpark runs these promotions, but from what I can gather, they seem to happen once, or maybe twice a year. I have two more how-to books in the pipeline, so I’ll have to pay the full setup charge for those, but at least the cost will be staggered for them.

Oh, and one more disadvantage – once a book has been approved [by the author] and is available for sale, any changes will incur a $25 fee. So…be very sure your book is as ready as it’ll ever be before you approve it for publishing/sale.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll be ordering proof copies of all 7 books in the next day or three. Once they arrive I’ll take pics and write an update on the quality, timing etc.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

25 responses to “IngramSpark for Australian Authors

  • Tash

    Hi thanks for a great article. I’ve been trying to work out the U.S Tax side of things for a while now as i just can’t wrap my head around it. Please help. As an Australian what does the U.S tax have to do with me or my book? How do i fill all this out? Am i exempt? Ingram Spark have offered no advice and told me to see my accountant which i am going to do. Please help. What do i need to do? Do i need to fill out all those forms etc? Thanks!

    Like

    • acflory

      Hi Tash. I remember how confused I was by the IngramSpark tax questions. The good news is, you don’t have to apply for all those exemptions. They are basically for businesses that supply direct to bookshops in individual US states. As all these states seem to have different types or levels of sales tax, it can be quite insane.
      If, however, you are selling your books through Amazon in the US, you only have to worry about the standard 33% tax that applies to anything sold over there. Amazon take this tax out before you receive any money. Basically, you could then have to pay tax twice, once in the US and once here.
      This is a post I wrote about it:
      https://acflory.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/amazon-us-tax-and-australian-citizens/
      I can’t remember exactly how IngramSpark do it, but I think they have an electronic form too.
      Hope this helps, and good luck!

      Like

  • Paula Constant

    Wow, thankyou so much for this post. I googled ‘can Australians use Ingram Spark’s, and up came your wonderful blog. Thanks for taking the time to share your info.

    Best wishes
    Paula

    Like

  • aussieharleytourer

    Book pricing
    How do I know what price to set my book at so that I donโ€™t loose money on the print cost, postage and any commissions or charges incurred. This is my first time trying to publish something and I am not certain on how it all works. I was thinking of using Blurb or Ingram Spark to print and distribute my 200 page colour book.
    If I print off 100 books my costs are considerably cheaper, but the books would be shipped to me and I would have to distribute myself.
    If I am using POD I would be working on a quote of $30(approx) print cost for 1 book (200page colour), plus p&p and any commission they charge.
    If my book sells to a bookstore I would need to discount that book by approx 50% (?), if the book store only orders a few copies this would be costing me $30 +pp, thus the book would need to be priced at over $45 for me to at least break even.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’m no expert and things change all the time, but here’s what I do:
      1. I have my own ISBN so I POD through BOTH Amazon.com [the US one] and IngramSpark.
      2. Because Amazon.com don’t have a print facility in OZ and because they won’t ship to OZ now [GST], the company will source the book from 3rd party if available. Because I’ve done POD through IngramSpark, Amazon will source from Ingram.
      3. IngramSpark also distribute – to all the /other/ parts of the world – i.e. where Amazon doesn’t have a presence. This includes bricks & mortar bookshops in Australia.
      4. Australian bricks and mortar bookstores can buy from IngramSpark direct. They all seem to prefer a 50-55% discount though.
      5. Alternatively, you /can/ do a print run in OZ via IngramSpark and distribute yourself. The plus side of this is that Ingram have a print facility in Melbourne so IF you’re in Melbourne, shipping costs are ridiculously cheap. The downside is that you have to pay up front for printing, handling and shipping. Then you still have to find bookstores prepared to take your book.
      6. Now pricing. This is going to depend upon what you want your sales to achieve, and how you plan to distribute.
      a. the cheapest route for /you/ is to allow Amazon & IngramSpark to distribute. They will have their set margins & costs. On top of that, you must factor in a small return to yourself, otherwise why bother? That is going to mean an expensive book. BUT…coffee table picture books are always expensive so I’d research what other books similar to your own are selling for and try to set a competitive price.
      b. If you do a. above, you will still need to print some books as samples to show bookshop buyers. This will cost you, but nowhere near as much as doing a full print run – i.e. 100’s – yourself. So basically this cost will be for your marketing only.
      c. Doing a full POD print run. The price you set will depend who you want to sell to. If you want to sell at open air markets, for example, price will equal total print costs plus your own margin. If you want to sell direct to bookstores however, you need to know that very few of them will deal with you direct. They prefer to go via wholesales – like Ingram – who can guarantee delivery and/or returns [if appropriate]. And they will want to add their own profit margin to the price they pay you.

      Sorry to waffle on so much, but it’s not a simple process because there are so many variables. I hope I helped a bit though.

      Good luck with your publishing.
      Meeks

      p.s. even if you don’t plan on going through Ingram, or Amazon, I’d recommend using their pricing apps. to see what’s the minimum price at which you can sell your book and still make a small profit. It’s a good starting point for direct pricing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. It helped to clarify a few details for me. I have obtained my own ISBN but I have not set the price on it yet. I think I will look at IS and Amazon for POD distribution.

        Like

        • acflory

          You’re very welcome. Take your time on the pricing because it really is vital. And good luck! Once you’ve published, why not come back and post a link to your book?

          Like

  • anne54

    Yes, dance and be happy, because it is really good news! For me too, as I would love print copies of your books. Hugs to you xox

    Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    It’s all such a complicated process, isn’t it? You do a great job of making it simpler for people.

    Like

  • Frank Prem

    Ingram Spark seems to be the way to go Meeks. Has been recommended to me, as well.

    Like

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