So I did a thing.
It’s not a new book. It’s a book I published four years ago, and pretty much the only novel I have that’s published wide. There are no revisions, the cover is the same. Most people wouldn’t notice anything new.
What I’ve done was switch print-on-demand and distribution services from Amazon print to IngramSpark.
It’s not really that big a deal. I barely make any sales of print copies of my book. If I decide to stop selling print copies of The Billionaire’s Price, I wouldn’t lose anything. Still, I do have the occasional reader who wants the book in print so I want them to be able to have that. Plus, as someone who grew up in an age where print books were there only books that existed, it was important to me that my book was available in print.
So why the switch? Amazon is evil, yeah, but they did a decent job of printing and distributing my book. My main reason is kinda ridiculous — I wanted my book in hardcover. Even if no one buys it and I’d be the only one who owns a copy. I don’t care. And IngramSpark is the only POD/distribution service that could d0 hardcover POD (print on demand) and distribution that I know of. A few successful indie publishers I know used IngramSpark, so I figured it was probably a safe bet.
The process wasn’t painless. In fact I was rather disappointed with the way it took them more than a week to setup my book imprint. I’ve used other book distributors — KDP, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, Publishdrive — and I could always create an imprint in under two seconds. IngramSpark has a button which says “create imprint” that doesn’t actually work and so you have to email them and ask them to do it for you. They told me it would take two days but which in fact took nine and only after I contacted support several times. Mind you, all these other services will let you set up books for free, while IngramSpark will charge you something like twenty bucks if you have to fix a typo.
(Luckily I found a discount code. You can use it too, it’s INGRAMSPARK2020. You’ll be able to do your uploads of new titles and revisions for free using that code, until June 30.)
Another thing I needed that I didn’t when putting up my books for POD on CreateSpace (it’s Amazon KDP now) was ISBNs for both versions of my book (paperback, hardcover). Yes, you need a different ISBN for different print versions/formats of the same book. Now, getting an ISBN here in the Philippines is a pain. Until recently, only registered companies could buy ISBNs. Now, you could buy an ISBN as an individual, but you have to be registered in the National Book Development Board as an author. If you go to the NBDB website, you won’t get anywhere. The site is a big ugly mess. The button you’re supposed to click if you want to register? It goes… somewhere. Just not to the online registration page. Or even a page that tells you how to register. I had to email them (email@example.com) to ask how I could register. They replied eight days later.
It was pretty clear there was no way I could get an ISBN anytime soon. Fortunately, a few friends’ media company had a few they hadn’t used yet, so I asked to buy a couple. Thank goodness for friends, amirite?
Still, it took me weeks before I was able to finish the process of setting my book up on IngramSpark. And I thought the hardest part would be formatting the hardcover design! It was the first time I had to make a cover design for a hardcover (I picked case laminate, with a jacket) using IngramSpark’s template and specs. Since I already had an existing cover, it was just a matter of going back to the PSD file and moving things around and resizing elements. I won’t know how it looks until I actually get myself a copy. When I do get a copy of the hardcover, I may do a video to show you what it looks like.
So what’s next? I’m just occasionally checking the online stores to see if the new editions are available. So far, the hardcover has been made available on The Ripped Bodice, BookShop.com, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository, and Amazon. The paperback is also on The Ripped Bodice, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository, and Amazon. I will be updating the list of links to buy both editions online here.
All in all, the process wasn’t entirely painless. Am I happy I made the effort to publish my book in hardcover? Yes, definitely. Was this all worth it to move my print production and distribution away from Amazon KDP? Absolutely. Am I excited to hold a hardcover copy of The Billionaire’s Price in my grubby hands? You betcha.
Would I recommend other indie authors do the same? I do! But like I said, it’s not painless. That’s why I’m writing about it, so you can see if publishing your book in hardcover or switching to IngramSpark is something you want to do. I hope this has been helpful.