POD Services & Distributions Compared

Expanded Distribution


Now as Amazon Create for print books is coming into the picture – and hopefully soon out of the Beta version – Authors get even more choices to get their print books on to the Amazon market – but maybe not much else. Bookstores are not eager to deal with or to carry books, produced an Amazon company, such as CreateSpace or AmazonCreate.

Did you choose Extended Distribution for your print book version on CreateSpace? This option at CreateSpace on their distribution page offers to make your book available to bookstores and libraries.

However, bookstores are often not willing to order from Amazon-owned CreateSpace – as Amazon is their biggest competitor, and the discount offered through Extended Distribution is so low that stores won’t accept it. Plus, these CreateSpace print books are non-returnable.
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What is the Solution?
If you did not opt for Expanded Distribution you are fine and you can just go ahead and use IngramSpark for bookstore and library use and CreateSpace for distribution to Amazon. Uncheck the Extended Distribution option and contacted CreateSpace to request that they don’t use (or remove the book from) their IngramSpark account. They also offer hardcover books which are not available at CS. If your title contains lots of inside color images – it is also a benefit of working with IngramSpark. They are widely seen as the better print quality provider, that also offer a wider bookstore and library distribution, although check out their 35-page guide on how to properly upload your book – a bit more effort than with CreateSpace – and their FAQ’s.
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Title Transfer Information
The Title Transfer Addendum needs to be completed by the publisher receiving the title transfer. A transfer form can be found here. Their requirements are:

  • “We need written permission from the publisher who currently owns the title stating that the title is released and can be transferred to a new account.
  • The account receiving the transfer must be fully active, i.e., all account set up tasks on the Dashboard must be completed.
    CreateSpace Transfers
  • The Title Transfer Addendum needs to be completed by the publisher receiving the title transfer.
  • If CreateSpace owns the ISBN or if it is CreateSpace exclusive, it cannot be transferred.
  • If the print service company owns the ISBN, it can be transferred once Expanded Distribution is removed and CreateSpace confirms the transfer with Ingram.
  • If the title has never been in Expanded Distribution, it can be set up as a new title on the Spark account without transferring.
  • The account receiving the transfer must be fully active, i.e., all account set up tasks on the Dashboard must be completed.
  • Once a title is transferred to the new publisher’s account, the publisher will be responsible for the title moving forward. This includes invoices, returns, and compensation (royalties). The new publisher will have the ability to update metadata, submit new files, and make alterations to the title.”

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Lightning Source International
Many micro-publishers and indie authors use both CreateSpace and IngramSpark simultaneously for effective distribution of print books. There is another (the parent-) company in the picture: Ingram offers two services for publishers: Lightning Source International (LSI) for “real” publishers and IngramSpark. LSI’s contracts are sometimes called daunting, its interface is a bit clumsy, and communications are a bit slow and sometimes difficult to understand due to the trade publishe jargon.  LSI is a business-to-business operation, and its clients are all book publishers—not authors.

If you are hiring professionals, have a real plan for publishing and marketing books to a definable audience, and plan to grow your business, consider Lightning Source as an invaluable strategic partner in your growing business.

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