Moving Print Book Files from CreateSpace to IngramSpark

ingramspark-logoA couple of years ago Lynne Cantwell gave a great overview of three of the most popular choices for paperback distribution:  CreateSpace, Lulu, and IngramSpark. As Lynne explained, while all three have benefits, IngramSpark, owned by Ingram Content Group, “has the most robust distribution chain of any of the three POD services, as its parent company is the largest book wholesaler in the world.” In fact, when you choose Expanded Distribution for your paperbacks through CreateSpace, the business of printing and distribution actually goes through Ingram.

“Wait,” you’re thinking, “if Expanded Distribution is sourced out to Ingram, why don’t I just go directly through Ingram?” Or you might not be thinking that, but I was, because going directly through Ingram – in this case, their subsidiary, IngramSpark – offers some benefits you just can’t get with CreateSpace.

1. In general, bookstores won’t consider stocking books that a) aren’t returnable, and b) aren’t offered at a discount. CreateSpace doesn’t allow for either of those; IngramSpark allows for both. Additionally, even set at a 40% discount, I earn more from a sale through IngramSpark than I do through CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution. Why? Because selling directly through IngramSpark cuts out the middleman (CreateSpace).

2. Laurie Boris wrote a great explanation of ISBNs here. As Laurie explains, “If you opt for a free ISBN from CreateSpace, online vendors of your print book will list “CreateSpace” as the publishing imprint.” She also says, “In general (and this comes directly from CreateSpace’s website forum), bookstores are less likely to stock books published by CreateSpace, even if you’ve opted for expanded distribution.” I knew that, but what I hadn’t considered is that even if you own your ISBN, your book is listed in the Ingram catalog under the CreateSpace account.

Think about that for a minute. You buy your own ISBNs so bookstores will consider stocking your books, but to order your books, potential buyers still have to look under the CreateSpace account on Ingram. That didn’t make much sense to me.

So, long story short(ish), I decided to take the plunge and use CreateSpace for Amazon sales, but IngramSpark for distribution to other stores.

What I’ve learned:

1. When you distribute through both, Amazon will still order your books directly from CreateSpace (profit for them), so customers purchasing your paperback from Amazon will get the CreateSpace version. I had wondered how that worked; now I know.

2. One of the drawbacks to distributing via Ingram is the fee. It’s $49.00 to upload your book to IngramSpark, and there’s a $25.00 fee anytime you need to upload a new version (for corrections, etc.).

BUT if you sign up to receive the IngramSpark newsletter, you’ll frequently receive coupon codes that allow for free uploads or revisions. In the two months I’ve been signed up, I’ve received two different coupon codes, each valid for a month or longer – plenty of time to get my books uploaded.

3. You don’t necessarily have to upload your books to Ingram. Surprised you, didn’t I? But it’s true. If you already have your books available through CreateSpace and you own your ISBNs, first go set up your IngramSpark account, and then go remove your books from Expanded Distribution on CreateSpace. After about a week, email CreateSpace and tell them you want those ISBNs moved from their Ingram account to yours.

Within a few days you’ll hear back from CreateSpace asking you to verify that you want them to contact IngramSpark to have those ISBNs moved from their account to yours. I confirm but then always clarify (because I’m paranoid), that I do still want my book on CreateSpace, just not through Expanded Distribution.

Wait a few more days, then contact IngramSpark. You can call, email, or live chat. I prefer live chat, because if you get really lucky, you’ll find someone who confirms they were contacted by CreateSpace and then offers to simply move your books right on over from the CreateSpace account into your account. If that happens, within a few hours you’ll get an email from IngramSpark to come and approve your proofs.

If you’re not so lucky, you’ll get someone who tells you to fill out a Title Transfer Addendum, which you can find at the bottom of this page Title Transfers page. You’ll print it, fill it in, then scan and email it back to [email protected]. If you fill the form out correctly, within a few days you’ll get an email from IngramSpark asking you to approve your proofs. I say “if you fill the form out correctly” because I’m apparently deficient in filling out really simple forms, so it took me longer than it should have.

I’m still working out some bugs (changing prices, etc.), but overall it was a much simpler process than I’d anticipated.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

39 thoughts on “Moving Print Book Files from CreateSpace to IngramSpark”

  1. If you live in Canada it makes sense to always get your own ISBNs as they are free here. Then you don’t have the problem of having the Createspace ones.

    Great analysis, Melinda.

  2. Thank you for this post! I would love to have my books listed on Ingram, but I’m not willing to pay the $49 per book…but if there are coupons, and if it’s as easy as transferring distribution to Ingram, I’m all for it. You made my day! 🙂

    1. They send out coupons fairly regularly. If you haven’t yet, you might want to sign up for an account and start receiving their deals and emails. I *think* there might even be a coupon deal going on now through Jan. 1 (seems like I saw that somewhere).

  3. I publish the majority of my books on createspace and use the free createspace ISBN number. I do not use extended distribution because you have to charge a much higher price for your books and get a lower royalty. In the US, I urge you to check your cost/reward ratio before you select the extended distribution or buy your own bowker ISBN numbers. They are cost prohibitive to new authors unless you have very deep pockets and awesome sales. Make sure your sales and productivity justify doing it.

  4. Interesting idea, Melinda; thanks much for researching and letting us know. It sounds like something I might do one of these days when I have nothing else to do. No telling when that will be, but it’s a nice back-pocket idea. Thanks!

  5. You say to remove from “expanded distribution”

    Do you mean ALL of the options or just “Bookstores and Online Retailers”?

    Because there is also “Createspace Direct”

    1. I also had to move them from CreateSpace Direct. CreateSpace Direct was created, in their words, to “make your books available to certified resellers such as independent bookstores and book resellers. The CreateSpace Direct program allows eligible resellers to buy books at wholesale prices directly from CreateSpace.” If an author is affiliated with a bookstore that stocks their books, and the bookstore previously used CreateSpace Direct, the author has the option of generating a CreateSpace coupon to ensure the bookstore can still order books at a reduced price. K.S. Brooks explains how here:

  6. Also, perhaps you can post a sample of the email you sent to createspace to cause the transfer of the ISBN number. That would be very helpful.

    Thanks, Richard

    1. I didn’t keep a sample, but it was very short and straightforward. I listed the books and the ISBNs I removed from Expanded Distribution and asked CreateSpace to contact Ingram to have those books moved from the CreateSpace Ingram account to directly under my IngramSpark account. I made sure to tell them I did still want the books on CreateSpace, just not in Expanded Distribution. They were very helpful (not incredibly fast, but very helpful).

  7. Excellent post, Melinda! I have a question: When you publish through IngramSpark, can you format the book with one of the publisher’s templates? Or do you have to make your own book, using some other software program, and then upload it to IngramSpark? I’m not tech-savvy, which is why I’ve made only one of my books available in print–and I paid CreateSpace to format the interior. My artist husband took care of the cover.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Linda, do you mean with an IngramSpark template? Both CreateSpace and IngramSpark have interior book templates, and although I’ve heard you need to use the IngramSpark interior template for IngramSpark, I haven’t found that to be the case. All of my paperbacks were formatted in Word using the CreateSpace interior template, and then saved as a PDF-X, which works just fine for IngramSpark. If you do decide to publish more paperbacks and aren’t comfortable formatting them yourself, you can find formatters MUCH cheaper than using the CreateSpace service (and they do just as fine a job).

  8. ISBNs are free here, too, in New Zealand.

    It’s a simple matter of sending an e-mail to The National Library of New Zealand asking for one.

    I use CreateSpace Amazon simply because it is simpler for me.

    I am not particularly fussed about getting my books into New Zealand bookshops. They charge outrageously to customers (so do the on-line retailers).

    1. hello! Just talked to createspace’s senior support group. Very nice people and extremely helpful. They say there is no need to wait once you’ve disabled expanded distribution. In fact, we did together on the phone for 2 of my books and they started the process right there.


  9. Thanks for the explanation. I’m a senior citizen with limited technical abilities and find trying to work with Ingram incredibly difficult. If anyone has had any success with them, I would love to hear from you.

  10. Thanks for such an informative blog post! I own my own ISBNs, but opted for Create Space expanded distribution. Also, with a 6 book series, and another forthcoming, I’d like to revise the print editions. I’ve already done this with the Kindle versions. IngramSpark seems seems like the way to go.

  11. I have 6 books with Createspace on expanded distribution. If I am reading this right, I’d need to buy new ISBN’s for each and changing to the new ones in each book before sending to Ingramspark.
    If she keeps the books on Createspace, just not in expanded production, do they keep the Createspace ISBN’s?

    1. If you’re using the CreateSpace ISBN then yes, you’d have to buy your own before you could move them to Ingram Spark. You’re also right that if the books are kept in CreateSpace, whether in Expanded Distribution or not, those books can keep the CreateSpace ISBN as long as you’re not trying to move those same editions to IngramSpark. In other words, the CreateSpace generated ISBN is only good on CreateSpace, but can’t be used with any other distributor.

    1. If you own your ISBNs, you can simply set up an account at IngramSpark and ask CreateSpace to move your books from their Expanded Distribution to your account at IngramSpark. Then you’d have to follow up with IngramSpark to make sure it’s done, possibly by filling out the form mentioned above, or possibly – if you’re really lukcy – some nice IngramSpark person will follow up without making you fill out the form.

  12. I would guess that if you never put a title into expanded distribution, you wouldn’t need to do the first step of asking createspace to remove it? I wonder….

    1. You’re right – you wouldn’t need to ask CreateSpace to remove it before uploading to IngramSpark. But I’m assuming, since it hadn’t been in the Ingram catalog for distribution under CreateSpace (because it wasn’t in Expanded Distribution), you also couldn’t ask CreateSpace to transfer files to Ingram and would have to upload to IngramSpark yourself. That’s only an assumption, since I’ve never run into that situation.

  13. Melinda, thank you for the information. I have two novels with CreateSpace. My debut novel has a CreateSpace assigned ISBN. Are you saying that I won’t be able to transfer this one? Or can I if I get a new ISBN no. for my novel and remove the one on CreateSpace. Thanks.

    1. Hi Diana – that’s right- if you have a CreateSpace-assigned ISBN, you won’t be able to transfer that one. If, however, you order your own ISBN (from Bowker, if you’re in the U.S.), you can release a new edition with your new ISBN and either have it transferred from CreateSpace, or upload it yourself directly to IngramSpark.

  14. Catching up again and thank you for this information, it’s most helpful. I have my own NZ free ISBNs, don’t think I am with Creatspace’s expanded distribution so should be able to just upload my novels. Fingers crossed I can do it.

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