ReviewWriting

Ingram Spark vs Book Baby: Full Review

Writing a book is half the battle, however for a self-publisher, you still have a ways to go. The second half of your journey is choosing the right publisher.

Because your publisher will either complicate the process or enhance the experience and your reach as an author. Two of the biggest print-on-demand publishers have to be BookBaby and Ingram Spark. In this Ingram Spark vs Book Baby review, we discover which of the two is the better option for your needs.

Pricing

As a self-publisher, cost is going to be critical to your success in print. Not only do you want to have a print option for your many readers who prefer print to digital formats, but you also want to keep the cost of the book down, so your readers aren’t spending a fortune. 

BookBaby has a straightforward pricing guide and estimator that allows you to see the cost of printing your book upfront.

However, using Ingram Spark, the process of getting a quote for your book is rather complex.

Firstly, you need to upload your book. They charge a fee of $49 to upload a print book, $49 to upload a print and ebook and $25 for an ebook only. They also run frequent promotions where you’re able to upload your books for free.

In addition to this fee, they charge $25 per revision you may want to make once you’ve submitted your book.

But even with all these fees, IngramSpark still manages to be cheaper than BookBaby.

To determine which one is cheaper, we entered the same specs into the estimator on BookBaby and Ingram Spark.

The specs we used were a 100-page paperback book of 6″ x 9″ printed on 50lb paper, with a black and white interior and a matte cover, providing our own ISBNs and ordering 100 copies.

The total, including shipping and excluding tax, was $669 on Bookbaby. In comparison, the total including shipping, but excluding sales tax, was $312.53 on IngramSpark. Even if you add the cost to upload a book, it still works out to be cheaper than BookBaby. 

Winner: IngramSpark

Distribution

Both IngramSpark and Bookbaby have options to distribute your book to libraries and bookstores around the world. Bookbaby also has an option to sell your book via the BookBaby Bookstore. But with BookBaby, this comes at an additional fee of $399 and one of the distributors happens to be IngramSpark. Therefore, you can cut out the middleman and distribute your books to the same list – if not a more comprehensive list – of distributors by going directly with IngramSpark.

Winner: IngramSpark

Set Up

While there’s a learning curve to any print-on-demand service, especially if you want quality work delivered on the first go, it’s ideal if the learning curve isn’t immense. When you consider pricing, the last thing you want is to have to complete a reprint because you didn’t set up your print specifications for your book correctly. 

Setting up your book with IngramSpark, you’ll have to endure quite a steep learning curve, especially if you’re a writer who remembers the ease of use available when setting up with CreateSpace. 

BookBaby, however, has a fairly straightforward setup process, and you get a guide that walks you through the entire process, requiring less of a time investment to get started.

Winner: BookBaby

Customer Service

If you’ve ever been in a pickle with a company, or have had queries about an order, you know how having a contact number is essential. As having a contact number is key to dealing with the situation and ultimately resolving it. 

Consider that self-publishing a book with a print-on-demand service will be far more critical and time-sensitive than other ordinary customer complaints or queries you’ve had in the past. The least you’d want is a number or an email where you can speak to a REAL person.

This is where BookBaby is miles ahead of IngramSpark. Book Baby has a number you can contact should you have any queries about your book or need help with any process. Whereas scouring the website of IngramSpark, all you’ll find is a contact form and live chat support. If you ever need help urgently, live chat support is often not enough.

Winner: BookBaby

Conclusion

Although this review is meant to determine a clear winner, you can see from each of our four rounds that we’ve ended in a tie. Therefore, if you’re deciding whether to use BookBaby or IngramSpark, you should make the decision based on what’s most important to you. While you may make savings on the cost of printing a book with IngramSpark, are you willing to forego customer service? 

Overall, BookBaby is the better choice if you want ease of use and a helping hand throughout the process. Whereas IngramSpark is the superior option if you want to spend less upfront and have the possibility of having your books in mainstream retailers and libraries. 

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