Jamie Jo Hoang - Author & World Traveler

Why I’m Publishing with IngramSpark

Paper quality–Look at the difference in ink quality between the two.


When I started thinking about writing this article I googled CreateSpace vs. IngramSpark and found an awesome blog post about the pros and cons of each. So rather than duplicate what’s already been done (and done well), I thought I’d explain why I chose to go with IngramSpark over CreateSpace.

My number one concern with the book was quality. Since I’m publishing my first book, this might seem like an unnecessarily thing to be overly concerned with. But I am. I spent the last 3 years of my life working and reworking this novel and I want it presented in the best possible way. So I started at the top. I e-mailed 20 of the top book printing houses and asked for samples (some of which I had to pay for). Then, I looked at pricing. Almost immediately, 5 of my top choices went away. I love my book, but $45/each is crazy talk.

So I found myself looking at CreateSpace and IngramSpark as the two top choices. Here’s why:

1. Print on Demand just makes sense.

2. I wanted to sell paperbacks for no more than $8.99

3. I needed a platform that easily connected to Amazon and simultaneously allowed me to sell to bookstores.

4. Worldwide distribution.

photo 2 (1)

For me personally, I feel like the createspace book looks more like a manual.

CreateSpace is an offshoot of Amazon so it makes a lot of sense to go with them. They are likely streamlined and I’m sure the process has less roadbumps. BUT when I received my sample copies, the decision was an easy one. IngramSpark, had a better matte finish bookcover, the binding was nicer, and the paper was leaps and bounds ahead of the stuff Createspace uses. A quick comparison of the paper quality of any book published with any of the top five publishing houses, makes CreateSpace’s book look like a cheap manual you’d pay $1.99 for. For me, quality matters more than the profit–if no other reason, than I want to feel proud of the product I’m selling/giving to reviewers. I also didn’t spend years, perfecting the art of crafting beautiful sentences so then release my work on a crappy platform. That being said, if my goal was to publishing a lot and very quickly, CreateSpace would definitely be the way to go, because it’ll generate revenue more quickly.

photo 1 (1)

The ultimate goal is to have your book match up with the high quality books sold in bookstores. Which one looks better to you?

Now, for the ebook part.

For the e-book, I’m releasing it on the Kindle directly through Amazon. There are 2 reasons for this.

1. The % of profit you make back is greater if you do Kindle Direct.

2. You can chose/change your set prices.

3. There are really great promoting tools. Ex. Match your paperback and sell the ebook for $2.99 when purchased together.

Note: if you’re publishing your first book (as is the case with me) doing the 90-day KDP Select program is maybe not the best idea. Jane Friedman, wrote a great article on the pros and cons of KDP Select here.

Looking over all of the different options for self-publishing is overwhelming so I hope that this article helps shed some light on the benefits of publishing with IngramSpark. Of course, this is my first book so it’s all just one large experiment for me too! If you’ve had a different experience or have an opinion of better services I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


  1. Nicely done, and very helpful. When I self-published my first book c. 4 years ago, it took forever to go through all of the choices, which still leaves you in a rock/paper/scissors dilemma with no perfect solution. Thanks for sharing, as I’m revisiting the topic in preparation for pulling the trigger on my second book.

    • It’s not a perfect science and there are definite drawbacks to both, but in time I think things are only going to get better for indie authors. Best of luck to you!

  2. Thank you. I too, I find it hard to get samples. I asked for a color premium sample and it has not arrived however the standard colour 70 sample from IngramSpark came; it is Ok for some things but not as nice as photo plates in traditional memoirs. They want us Australians to wait 8 service days to get a colour proof done, then 3 days to ship, so I think it must come from somewhere else like US or UK.

    • Yeah. That’s definitely a drawback! They’re still working out a lot of kinks. For example, my release date was April 25th but if you order the book now it’ll ship to you so you lose the advantage of being able to set up pre-orders. What I will say, is that people are always surprised by the quality of the print and it makes a difference in how they think about the content.

  3. Hi Jamie,
    Thank you so much for this informative article! Can you tell me how you ordered a sample from IngramSpark? I’d love to get my hands on one before I decide what publisher to use, but can’t figure out how to order. Thanks!

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