If you’re self-publishing a book, then you may well be considering both KDP and IngramSpark as your print on demand service, both are great options and have huge distribution channels to offer an author, not only this, but they are quite straightforward to use and have promotional options to help you with advertising and ultimately selling your book.
But when it comes to the book cover, there are some differences that you should be aware of.
The good news is that they both offer a similar range of print options for indie authors, KDP recently started to print as hardback (case wrap only) which has been a game changer and offers loyal KDP authors the option of publishing their book in more than just eBook and paperback.
However, Ingramspark also offers case wrap along with eBook, paperback, and dust jacket too, so if you want to have as many formats covered as possible, IngramSpark will be your go to.
When it comes to designing the book cover for both of these print on demand publishers, there are several things you should be aware of.
Firstly, the most common question we get asked is if the book cover for KDP will fit the Ingram book too. The answer is no, both companies use different paper and processes in their printing, so the spine width for your paperback on KDP will differ to that of your Ingram paperback, so you do need two PDFs for the same paperback (one for KDP and another for Ingram).
You will see that both KDP and Ingram offer templates for their books, which when designing a cover, makes things very clear as to where they prefer margins and trim lines, if you look at the examples below, you will see the templates for the same paperback.
As you can see, even though the page count of the book is the same, and it’s still the same trim size and interior paper color, the actual spine width for KDP is 0.720in and for Ingram it’s 0.648in, a small variation, but one which still requires two separate PDFs.
If you look at the two images below, you’ll see the same book cover we created for both KDP and Ingram, the key here is to ensure that everything still lines up. By this I mean that when both versions of the book are printed and placed side by side, you should still have everything placed identically, especially so for the spine of the book.
The next thing that you should be aware of is the color profile of the book cover design, when you publish with Amazon’s KDP they allow you to use RGB for the artwork, text and elements such as the barcode, they also do not place any restrictions on ink levels for the design either.
However, IngramSpark does place a few more restrictions and are more in line with a traditional book printer in comparison to KDP.
So, what does this mean?
Essentially, you’ll have to set up your book cover a little differently for Ingram than you would if just printing with KDP alone. When designing the artwork and layout, the color profile should be in CYMK (and not RGB), you will also need to restrict the ink levels to a maximum of 240% (this is to ensure that the cover design doesn’t smudge when being printed).
You can read more about changing the ink levels in this great article: How to export your book as a PDF
But if you are publishing your book with both KDP and Ingram, then you should set up the color profile for both copies in the same way as you would for IngramSpark, this is because when you switch the color profile from RGB to CYMK you will notice a shift, the colors tend to soften down a little when in CMYK.
Restricting the ink is something that can be done within Photoshop, this ensures that the four color plates which place ink onto the design do not use more than 240% across all four of them and smudge the cover design. Along with designing the cover using CMYK in Photoshop, you can also use publishing software like Adobe’s InDesign, this will give you everything you’ll need to create a print ready book cover.
So, even though the book is the same, the cover will need to be set up slightly differently with your two print on demand publishers.
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