01 May IngramSpark vs KDP
In terms of printing and distribution, Ingram and IngramSpark are the best and the biggest. They are well respected in the industry and have great reach to online retails, bookstores and libraries. If you publish your book via IngramSpark, it will populate to Amazon; however Amazon offers publishing directly through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and with the difference in royalty and print costs, it really can be worth pairing them together for your independently published book.
Ingram is an avenue that traditionally published authors have for distribution, and IngramSpark is a branch which lets independent authors access that same market but in a Print On Demand (POD) structure.
Part of what makes them the best is that bookstores love them and find them easy to work with—they can order every book they want from Ingram/IngramSpark in one order form versus when books are sold on consignment or through smaller less well known distributors.
In effect, bookstores want to make their buyers’ jobs easier, so less forms is better, which is why they like it when books are available via Ingram.
KDP is a separate distribution account directly attached to Amazon that distributes solely to Amazon. They have IngramSpark beat a bit in terms of printing costs but their royalties are really the benefit.
IngramSpark allows you to set the distribution discount percentage from 30-55%, but KDP automatically sets that at 40%. So if you have your IngramSpark percentage set at the 55% that bookstores expect and the lower percentage with KDP can help pad the lower royalties through IngramSpark.
There is the option to distribute exclusively through KDP, and either do distribution to just Amazon or apply for their expanded distribution, which gives a bit more reach. It does offer up some benefits, such as the higher royalty rates and access to Kindle Select.
However, you’d be essentially closing the door to any bookstore or library opportunities—not only because Amazon is their direct competitor but also because it is a totally separate order process and one extra step they have to do.
It can be tough out there for independent authors, and deciding how you’ll distribute with so many options out there can get overwhelming. When choosing which is right for you, it’s best to consider the goals and what you want for your book.