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Difference Between KDP and Ingramspark

Gone are the days when bookstores were just about the only place you could buy books from, and in a choice of two formats: paperback or hardback. Then along came the online revolution. The online publishing services have revolutionized the way authors publish their books. The introduction of various services has enabled aspiring self-publishing authors to write, edit, design, and format books without having to leave their desk. The two most prominent names in the self-publishing ecosystem are KDP and IngramSpark.

What is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)?

Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is Amazon’s in-house self-publishing platform that allows aspiring authors to independently publish their books directly to the Kindle Store, an Amazon-operated e-commerce store. Amazon is the world’s largest online book retailer. In fact, the name Amazon is synonymous with books. Amazon is the one-stop retailer for those who write and publish books. Publishing your books on KDP is pretty easy, which is why KDP has taken the publishing world by storm. Authors can self-publish their books on the platform and the readers can purchase them as eBooks or print-on-demand books. You earn up to 70% royalty on sales with KDP and you can set your own prices while keeping control of your rights. 

What is IngramSpark?

IngramSpark is yet another online self-publishing company and an award-winning independent publishing platform offering global distribution of print-on-demand and eBooks. The company claims to be different from any other self-publishing platforms out there. They not only provide a platform for authors to publish and distribute their books, but they also provide step-by-step instructions on how to do it. They channel books from publishing houses to retailers. If you were to ask the employees at almost any bookstore in the U.S. where the books came from, they’d likely tell you that most of them were ordered from Ingram. Its global distribution network comprises of over 40,000 retailers and libraries, both online and in-stores.

Difference between KDP and IngramSpark

Selling Platform 

– With KDP, you can choose to sell your books on Amazon and if you choose KDP’s “expanded distribution,” they will sell your books on non-Amazon channels such as additional online retailers, bookstores, libraries, and so on. IngramSpark is the equivalent of KDP, but it does not have a store page or a direct link to buy their books. IngramSpark is purely a distributor, like a backend system that sells through various online retailers including Amazon.

Print Options

 – Both KDP and IngramSpark offer a variety of standard and non-standard trim sizes, matte and glossy cover options, and multiple print formats. When it comes to paperback, both have fairly similar offerings, with a choice of white or cream paper. The paperback quality is pretty much the same in both. However, IngramSpark offers a wide variety of trim sizes and clothbound with a dustcover or casebound for its hardcover books.

Publishing Cost

 – KDP does not charge anything to upload the file. Authors get royalties of 35% to 70% of the sale price, depending on whether the book is sold on KDP or through non-Amazon channels. IngramSpark does charge a fee for uploading a book; they charge $25 per title for eBooks, $49 for print books, and they also provide a value pack, charging $49 for both print and eBooks. Additional charges are also applied for revisions.

Proof and Author Copies 

– With KDP, you can offer proof copies after you upload and approve your files but before you actually go live. So, you can order a proof copy of your book, when you upload to KDP before you actually publish. You can order author copies after the book is published on KDP. IngramSpark, on the other hand, does not offer proof copies, but you can purchase author copies prior to publishing your book.

KDP vs. IngramSpark: Comparison Chart


Both are popular self-publishing platforms, and both are print-on-demand which means books are printed as they are ordered. IngramSpark is just an ordering system, and they are a distributor so you are still the one responsible for selling and marketing your own books. They will not sell your books for you. Also, IngramSpark takes $25 per version for publishing and an extra $25 for make revisions. KDP, on the other hand, does not charge a penny for publishing through their platform. Royalties are pretty much similar. One of the major differences between the two is that IngramSpark allows authors to make their books returnable, whereas KDP does not.

Is KDP or IngramSpark better?

There are pros and cons to both. So, the decision depends on you. KDP does not charge any up-front fees, while keeping uploading and publishing absolutely free of cost. IngramSpark does charge a $25 upload fee for each file. However, IngramSpark allows authors to make their books returnable, which is a big plus.

Can I use IngramSpark and KDP?

Yes, you can use both IngramSpark and KDP for you book distribution at the same time. However, note that IngramSpark is purely a distributor, which means you are responsible for selling and marketing your own books.

Does IngramSpark put your book on Amazon?

IngramSpark’s global distribution network comprises of over 40,000 retailers and libraries, both online and in-stores, including Amazon.

Can you use the same ISBN for KDP and IngramSpark?

No, if you use a free ISBN you can only use it on that particular platform. This means if you get a free ISBN from KDP, you cannot use that number on IngramSpark. On another note, if you plan to publish on both the platforms, you should purchase an ISBN straight from Bowker, the company that is authorized to administer the IBN program in the U.S.

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References :

[0]“Kindle Direct Publishing.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, 28 Sep. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle_Direct_Publishing. Accessed 24 Dec. 2021.

[1]Williams, M.K. Going Wide: Self-Publishing Your Books Outside The Amazon Ecosystem. Florida, United States: MK Williams Publishing, LLC, 2021. Print

[2]Clark, Brendan. The IngramSpark Guide to Independent Publishing, Revised Edition. Portland, United States: Graphic Arts Books, 2018. Print

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