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IngramSpark Hardcover: My Self-Publishing Experience

November 06 2020 – 05:36pm

Two years after publishing The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating on paperback – through both KDP Print and IngramSpark – I decided to also publish it as an IngramSpark hardcover (aka “hardback”).

Why did I publish an IngramSpark hardcover?

I published an IngramSpark hardcover for two reasons:

  1. To give readers an opportunity to purchase a “souvenir.” I know I like to have a hardcover edition of books I’ve really enjoyed. At the time I decided to create a hardcover edition, I had sold around 15,000 copies. Surely some of those readers wanted a “souvenir” copy.
  2. As a proof-of-concept for a future book, launched directly to hardcover. I was nearing the finish line on Mind Management, Not Time Management, and I was considering skipping the paperback edition, and going straight to hardcover. (Read on to see why I didn’t end up doing that.)

Now this “souvenir” edition would also sell for a little more profit. I figured that having a more expensive option available would also provide a psychological “price anchor” that would make the other editions look more affordable as well. These factors were just gravy, though – not main motivations.

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What were my options in publishing an IngramSpark hardcover?

As you can see on IngramSpark’s calculator, there are a number of options for your hardcover – including trim size and paper type. But the big question for my hardcover was: case laminate or digital cloth?

Digital cloth comes with a dust jacket, wrapped around a plain cover printed to look like cloth. Case laminate is just the cover printed so that it adheres to the hard-cover of the book.

Note that since I released my hardcover, IngramSpark has also introduced a jacketed case laminate option. That’s a case-laminate book with a jacket.

Since the jacketed case laminate wasn’t an option for me, I ended up going with digital cloth. It was a toss-up decision, really. I don’t personally like dust jackets – they’re annoying to deal with – but I do think they make a book feel more distinguished. Since I was creating a sort of “souvenir” edition, that’s the option I went with.

My IngramSpark hardcover specs

B&W 5 x 8 in or 203 x 127mm
Gray Digital Cloth™ Cover w/Jacket
White 50lb Paper (my only option)
Matte finished dust jacket
Page Count: 140
Spine Width: 0.37500 in
Weight: 0.566 lbs

My list price is $24.95. My average print cost is $9.05. The wholesale price is $17.47. So, my average profit is $8.42 per book. Here’s a peek at my royalty statement from Ingram:

ingramspark hardcover royalty statement

Notice that the list price for my paperback is $12.95. The wholesale price is $9.07, and my average printing cost is $2.90. So, my average paperback profit is $6.17.

(Note that through KDP Print, my average paperback profit is $5.26.)

kdp print paperback royalties

What does my IngramSpark hardcover book look like?

Okay, enough details. Let’s see the book! Click on any image for the highest-res my little iPhone SE can produce.

ingram-spark-hardcover-dust-jacket

The book.

 

ingram-spark-hardcover-dust-jacket-inside-flap

Author bio on back inside flap of dust jacket.

 

ingram-spark-hardcover-interior

Interior of the book. I was bummed that cream stock wasn’t available with these specs for some reason.

 

ingram-spark-hardcover-spine

You can choose what to print on the spine, but can’t choose fonts. Obviously, they struggle to keep it centered. Keep in mind, this is only a 140-page book, so thicker books would have more margin for error.

 

ingram-spark-hardcover-back-cover-barcode

The bar code is printed on the back, along with all of the fake “cloth” texture you see.

 

ingram-spark-hardcover-digital-cloth-closeup

A close-up of the “Digital Cloth™”. It’s essentially a texture printed on a case-laminate cover. It’s currently only available in gray or blue, so you’re limited if you want to match your dust jacket like the big publishing houses do.

How are sales?

Unfortunately, I had a hell of a time keeping the book actually in stock on Amazon.

For a long time, Amazon was showing “ships in 1 to 2 months” for the hardcover edition – which wasn’t even true! I had ordered the book myself and received it within a few days.

Amazon shows “1 to 2 months” shipping for the HTS hardcover – which is false!

Obviously such a long ship-time being displayed harms sales. So, I reached out to IngramSpark support, and they blamed Amazon. I reached out to Amazon support, and they blamed IngramSpark.

Honestly, I believe IngramSpark out of those two. I can see why Amazon wouldn’t want to bother fixing the ship date – I’m not sure how they make any money off of those sales. Whatever they make, it’s probably less than they make selling their own POD paperbacks.

However, in recent months, the book has been showing up as in-stock and available through Prime shipping.

ingramspark hardcover prime shipping

Notice it says “ships from Amazon.com.” I wonder if this has anything to do with a “big” order I saw come through on my IngramSpark reports. I had two major sales events for this book within the span of a few months: A BookBub Featured Deal through which I sold about 2,500 books, and a Kindle Daily Deal, during which I sold more than 400 books in one day.

I don’t think Amazon orders these books and actually keeps them in stock. As far as I know, it’s all Print On Demand. Or, maybe the high sales volume led to more hardcover sales, which led to this shipping problem getting fixed. Or maybe it just randomly got fixed.

Whatever the reason, as of late, my book is reliably available on hardcover through Amazon Prime.

Would I publish an IngramSpark hardcover again?

As I said, a main motivation for publishing an IngramSpark hardcover was to see what the process was like, to consider launching my next book as hardcover, instead of paperback.

But, these Amazon-availability issues ruined my confidence in selling IngramSpark hardcovers with Amazon Prime shipping. So, I begrudgingly launched Mind Management, Not Time Management as paperback only – through KDP Print on Amazon, and through IngramSpark everywhere else.

It’s a shame because I doubt it’s Ingram’s fault my book wasn’t showing up in stock.

However, I would absolutely consider doing another hardcover “souvenir” edition of Mind Management, Not Time Management. Again, with the main motivation being to give people a more “solid”-feeling option – with higher per-unit profits.

At this point, that book hasn’t even been out two weeks, so it’s too early to tell if or when, I might do that.

If I do that, I will not do the Digital Cloth with dust-jacket option again. I would do either case-laminate, or the new case-laminate with dust-jacket. In part, just to try something different (which I could add to this post and/or mention in one of my author income reports), but also for a more cohesive look.

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This post is filed under Self-Publishing.