Around The World
Indie Authors Monthly magazine.
Once you hit the publish button, what happens to your book? Where will it be sold? The answer is one of the more difficult decisions for an independent author.
CreateSpace (CS) and IngramSpark are the primary players in the print book distribution game. For many authors, CS’s options, standard distribution and Extended Distribution Channel, are the most familiar. Standard distribution lists the book on Amazon.com and five sites for Amazon Europe (UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy). The actual distribution is more extensive as Amazon websites for Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Russia, and India can be added to the list.
The Extended Distribution Channel (EDC) reaches online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, and libraries and academic institutions within the United States. There is a limitation, though, to the latter. The author must use CS’s free ISBN which establishes CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform as the publisher of record. When the author owns the ISBN, the selection for libraries/academic institutions is blocked in the EDC channels.
The advantages to Createspace are—one account, one upload, and no fees. The book will be distributed to Amazon websites in North America and overseas.
The disadvantages are:
1) EDC distribution is limited to the US.
2) The distribution to libraries and academic institutions can be restricted.
3) There is no option for the wholesale discount and book return policy required by brick & mortar stores.
4) The royalties from a sale through the EDC distribution will be lower than a sale on an Amazon site. CS has partnered with IngramSpark to use their network for distribution. The added fees account for the loss of royalty.
IngramSpark is the world’s largest book distributor with an extensive list of retailers, wholesalers, libraries, and schools that comprise the international and US markets. Within the US market are Baker & Taylor (primary supplier to libraries and academic institutions), Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. The international component has been expanded with print facilities in the UK and Australia. With a reduction in shipping costs, book titles are more readily accessible.
The Global Connect Program provides advanced distribution with links to printing networks in Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Germany, Russia, China, India, and Italy. The partnership localizes the POD (print on demand) service in the country thus increasing visibility for book titles and decreasing shipping costs.
In the title setup, access to the global network is stipulated in the market pricing section. Individual markets (US, UK, European Union, Canada, and Australia) are listed, and each has a field for the entry of the book price. Additional options for each market include the wholesale discount and book returns. At least one market must be selected. The other four are optional. The selection indicates the author has the right to sell the book in the designated market and authorizes IngramSpark to distribute the book. An author must also authorize distribution to the Global Connect Program. If a market or the Global Connect Program are left blank, the book will not be distributed.
Despite Ingram’s extensive global distribution, there are several disadvantages:
1) The author must own the ISBN.
2) The file setup is not as user-friendly as CS.
3) The cover must be redesigned. The formula to calculate spine width is different from the formula used by CS.
4) A $49 fee is assessed for each title setup, though twice this year, IngramSpark waived the fee for a two-month promotional campaign. If the author orders 50 or more books, the fee is credited toward the purchase.
5) Once the book is published, a fee of $25 fee is assessed for any revisions to the cover or interior content.
6) Shipping costs for an author’s purchase are still slightly higher than CS, though IngramSpark recently reduced printing costs and are more comparable and in some cases, lower, than the price charged by CS.
Deciding which route a book will take through the labyrinth of the distribution networks can be challenging. The positive note, though, is there are options. An author can choose and implement a marketing plan tailored to specific goals. It is another advantage for an independent author.