Alliance of Independent Authors, Also Ingram Spark Lightning Source - any one used either of them?

Montero

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So was taking a look at the Alliance of Independent Authors and came across this blog
That says Amazon is being difficult about Ingram Spark books.

So I thought I'd consult our multitasking oracle - i.e. you folks and ask

Anyone a member of Alliance of Independent Authors and would you recommend it?
Any comments on Ingram Spark, including any problems fulfilling orders through Amazon?

Any recommendations for other organisations filling the same niches?
 
When I was looking at self-publishing, I really didn't think Ingram Spark had anything much to offer the vast majority of people self-publishing. IMO Amazon has long powered past all these alternative services in terms of efficiency and benefits.

IMO the bottom line is that if you're self-publishing and don't think you'll sell millions of books yet, then just use Amazon KDP. If you get close to selling millions of books, publishers will active seek you.

All these additional service options I think just over-complicate and confuse, and will never be able to deliver on similar favorable terms to Amazon. Additional options are great if you want to feel utterly in control, and great if you want to protest some aspect of working with a billion-dollar multinational, but crap if you actually want to sell books.
 
You can't get paperbacks on physical bookstore shelves with KDP was my understanding, ditto library catalogues won't stock them.
 
So far as I understand it, book sellers can order paperbacks so long as the KDP author opts in to Expanded Distribution. However, unless they have a massive local following I personally don't see this as an issue, especially as readers could buy directly through Amazon anyway (though Jo may disagree - she has more experience here).

I don't know any reason why a self-published author would want to fill libraries with their books, other than egotistic reasons. They could slip a copy into their local library if that really matters to them.

Am I coming across a big hard-headed? :)
 
So far as I understand it, book sellers can order paperbacks so long as the KDP author opts in to Expanded Distribution. However, unless they have a massive local following I personally don't see this as an issue, especially as readers could buy directly through Amazon anyway (though Jo may disagree - she has more experience here).

I don't know any reason why an author would want to fill libraries with their books, other than egotistic reasons. They could slip a copy into their local library if that really matters to them.

Am I coming across a big hard-headed? :)
In my experience in bookstores

a. indie books don’t sell. Even really good indie books. It’s not what that market is looking to buy
b. Expanded distribution titles are difficult to order, generally firm sale and often low margin
c. Libraries are worth getting at least the odd copy in
d. Signing up to ALCs will pay more than being on Ingram ... (You are all signed up to it, if you have any material out there, right?)
 
Expanded distribution titles are difficult to order, generally firm sale and often low margin
Could you translate this for the non-bookstore owners please?

Are you saying it is harder for a bookstore to order an Ingram Spark POD book than an Amazon POD?
Or that you need to do an actual print run rather than POD?

BTW No-one has mentioned the Alliance of Independent Authors - any experience?
 
Could you translate this for the non-bookstore owners please?

Are you saying it is harder for a bookstore to order an Ingram Spark POD book than an Amazon POD?
Or that you need to do an actual print run rather than POD?

BTW No-one has mentioned the Alliance of Independent Authors - any experience?
A bookstore would never order an Amazon POD. They might agree to the author supplying their own printed copies direct to the store on a sale or return basis, but many refuse altogether as they see Amazon as their biggest competitor. So yes, you’d need a print run. And Waterstones and the like won’t look at it at all.
it is easier to order an Ingram title but they tend to be set up so that unsolds can’t be returned, and give a very low margin so bookstores won’t ordinarily buy them in
 
it is easier to order an Ingram title but they tend to be set up so that unsolds can’t be returned, and give a very low margin so bookstores won’t ordinarily buy them in
Thanks.
Can Ingram Spark be set up so that you can return unsolds or improve the margin? As in by the author setting up the publication?
I've recently heard of Book Vault - are they any better?
And are there any small print run outfits that are OK with book sellers?
 
Thanks.
Can Ingram Spark be set up so that you can return unsolds or improve the margin? As in by the author setting up the publication?
I've recently heard of Book Vault - are they any better?
And are there any small print run outfits that are OK with book sellers?

I use Ingram and Book vault for author copy printing only. I sell mainly through Kickstarter and online and, for what I want, they're both the cheapest option in terms of printing and postage for the volume I turn over.

Bookvault has higher quality paper for full colour books (mainly comics). They also have wordpress integration which means a customer only needs to buy a comic from my site and it'll be automatically fulfilled without me having to do anything. Because of this, I'm thinking of moving over to Bookvault for all online sales, even though their print costs are marginally higher than Ingrams.

I don't list through their sales corridors as the RRP after store mark-up would be ridiculous. As I understand it, Ingrams DO allow publishers to choose if they accept returns or not, but from what I've heard this can be a bit of a horror show, where people have had returns from book stores and ended up with significant debts.
 
I don't list through their sales corridors as the RRP after store mark-up would be ridiculous. As I understand it, Ingrams DO allow publishers to choose if they accept returns or not, but from what I've heard this can be a bit of a horror show, where people have had returns from book stores and ended up with significant debts.
Thanks.
Do you know if Ingrams hang onto returned copies and use them for the next sale, or bin and charge the author?
 
Thanks.
Do you know if Ingrams hang onto returned copies and use them for the next sale, or bin and charge the author?

They offer the following options:


Three Return Options for Publishers
  • “Yes – Deliver” Costs: Quick reminder—choosing this option means you would like to receive the physical copy of the returned book. In addition to the wholesale cost of the book discussed above, the below shipping and handling fees will apply.
    • Returns to US addresses - $3.00 per book shipping and handling charge
    • Returns to non-US/international addresses- $20.00 per book shipping and handling charge
This option can be costly and should be carefully considered. In addition to the shipping charges, the quality of the book when it is returned to you is not guaranteed.
  • "Yes – Destroy" Costs: If you chose this option, your returned units will be shipped back to Ingram and destroyed. You will be charged the current wholesale cost of each book returned, but no shipping and handling fees will apply. This is a more cost-effective option than “Yes – Deliver.”

  • No or Non-Returnable: This option is available in all markets. Select this designation if you do not want to allow your titles to be sold on a returnable basis. IngramSpark will not accept returns from booksellers for any title so designated. Returns can be very costly and if you are not financially prepared for returns, this may be your best option.
 

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