For an author there are many choices when it comes to the publication of your book, but the two most popular (and most compared) tend to be Createspace and Ingram Spark, whilst Createspace is many author’s first choice, Ingram Spark does have a lot to offer and it can be wise to even go with both when publishing.
Now this may seem like a bigger task to many, however, going down this path of using two printing services does have its advantages, of course you’ll want to publish with Createspace because they are owned by Amazon (where 60% of books and eBooks are currently being sold). But by using Ingram Spark (Lightning Source) at the same time you’ll make your book available in most of the ‘Bricks & Mortar’ stores too, admittedly they may have to order it in for your reader (or purchase from their website), but they distribute to over 39,000 independent stores and all of the major players on line including iBookstore, Kobo and Barnes & Noble Nook.
So how do the costs line up between them both:
(Based on B&W and Color book as paperback at 6 x 9, cream, perfect bound, gloss with 300 pages)
The ease of use between the two is the main sticking point for many authors, Createspace is without doubt the easier system to use and you can normally have your manuscript uploaded along with its book cover in an hour or so. Ingram Spark has just recently undergone a major facelift to its website but there is still a bigger learning curve to the process in comparison.
From a book cover design perspective there are major differences between the two publishers, with Createspace their system allows for the use of the RGB color model which allows for richer colors, whereas Ingram Spark will require not only the use of CMYK (which is more commonplace within printing) but the limiting of ink levels down to 240% (across all four channels of CMYK), this can lead to a more muted finish to the book cover and needs to be taken into account when designing the cover itself, however, the finish and quality of Ingram Spark is excellent.
With the ISBN of your book Createspace will provide you one for free, but they will be listed as the publisher of record and you’ll not be able to use it anywhere else, Ingram Spark doesn’t offer ISBNs so your best option will be to go direct to either Neilson or Bowker to purchase your own ISBN independently, this will enable you to use both services (remember you’ll need one for the printed and one for the eBook), an ISBN costs $125 for one or $295 for 10.
So what should you do? Well it depends on how much you’re going to invest into the launch of your book and how seriously you’ll be promoting it, CS does offer a very reasonable entry point for any author and being that its owned by Amazon you’ll have your book available to a very large online audience. However, if you want to get actual printed copies and hardback versions (something that CS doesn’t currently offer) into book stores and other online channels then Ingram is a better option but you will spend more in the set up. If you’re able to, using both services will ensure that you cover all bases, again, this is down to how seriously you want to promote your book.