Managing Your Own Print-On-Demand

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1106 Design

March 06, 2015

Updated August 10, 2022

If words such as “managing” and “print-on-demand” seem a little confusing, please force yourself to keep reading because, bottom line, I’m going to show you how to earn more per book.

Print-On-Demand: Who Does the Printing?

Here is the important bit: there are only two companies that do print-on-demand. Any other “self-publishing company” that offers you a print-on-demand service is only going to run your project through either Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark, something that you can do yourself quite easily. These “self-publishing companies” earn money by sleight-of-hand—hiding the actual cost of printing and what your royalties would be if you accessed the POD services of KDP or IngramSpark directly. Sometimes they report that the cost to print the book is higher; other times they quote a “royalty” without revealing how they got to the bottom line. Either way, you, the author earn less than you should.

Save Money with Print-On-Demand

As with any other product, the greater the number of middlemen between the manufacturer and the consumer, the greater the price paid by the consumer. Cut out the people in the middle, and you will save money.

UPDATE: This post used to offer a direct comparison between the publisher’s compensation at IngramSpark, KDP, and several self-publishing companies, that now either don’t provide the information at all or offer calculators for “potential revenue” without the specifics. Draw your own conclusions.

Working with KDP and IngramSpark

A few tips about working with KDP and Ingram Spark:

  • IngramSpark provides easy-to-use forms on their website to calculate options and costs.
  • You will need to set up an account and upload cover and interior files that meet their exacting specs. You can create these files, or you can avoid a lot of frustration in this area by hiring an experienced book designer. 1106 Design helps authors with this step.
  • KDP books generally are listed on Amazon a day after the proof is reviewed by them and accepted by the author. IngramSpark takes a little longer, for reasons that are unclear, but may be due to the retailers themselves or Amazon giving priority to KDP books.
  • Skip Extended Distribution at KDP and choose IngramSpark for that instead. Thus, the wholesale discount at KDP will automatically be 40% and the wholesale discount at IngramSpark for Extended Distribution will be 55%, ensuring that bookstores will place a special order (which is why you’re using IngramSpark in the first place!).

We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to move forward with your book project. When the time is right, send us a message and ask how we can help you self-publish your book.

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