It can be tough to choose how to distribute your books and, to make it even more complicated, you can use combinations of services to maximize your marketing and profits. Lots of self-publishers sell their book directly to Amazon using CreateSpace and distribute elsewhere with IngramSpark because they think that they make more money on Amazon by doing that. A quick test showed me that isn’t true.
HOW TO CALCULATE ROYALTY
There is a formula for calculating royalty, and here it is:
List Price – Discount – Print Cost = Publisher Compensation / Royalty
I used IngramSpark’s Publisher Compensation Calculator to determine the cost of a 6×9, 280-page paperback book: $5.93 profit. When I plugged these same numbers into CreateSpace’s Book Royalty Calculator, I got $4.78, which is $1.15 less royalty than IngramSpark.
Let’s take a look.
INGRAMSPARK ROYALTY CALCULATOR
Here’s what IngramSpark’s publisher compensation calculator looks like and the results for my 6×9, 280-page paperback book.
I’m applying the 30% discount (to distribute to online retailers) because I want to see how much it will cost to distribute to Amazon in particular. (But this also applies to B&N, iBooks, Kobo, GooglePlay, and other online retailers.)
If I was marketing to bookstores I would need to set the discount to 53% and enable book returns.
(List Price – 30% IngramSpark Discount – Print Cost = Publisher Compensation)
$14.99 – $4.50 (30%) – $4.56 = $5.93
CREATESPACE ROYALTY CALCULATOR
As you see in the table below, Amazon takes 40% of the list price. (They may discount your book, selling it for below that price, but you will always get the 40% of list price.)
So, based on the 40% of list price, here are the results for the same 6×9, 280-page paperback book.
(List Price – 40% CreateSpace Discount – Print Cost = Publisher Compensation)
$14.99 – $6 (40%) – $4.21 = $4.78
Instead of doing the backwards math to find the print cost, which is not provided in the Print Options calculator, above, you can use the Member Order Calculator.
DESPITE THE DIFFERENCE…
Despite the fact that I want to make $1.15 more per book with IngramSpark distribution to Amazon I know I need to go one-on-one with Amazon to keep in their good graces.
If the book doesn’t sell, Amazon is likely to list it as out of stock. If it’s a hot seller, they’ll probably keep listing it as in stock.
But I don’t want to take that chance. So I go direct with Amazon and use IngramSpark to reach all the other retailers.
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Again, here’s the formula.
- List price is $14.99, which is the same on both platforms, minus
- Discount, which is 30% for IngramSpark and 40% for CreateSpace, minus
- Print cost, which is $4.56 for IngramSpark and $4.21 for CreateSpace
WHY USE CREATESPACE TO DISTRIBUTE TO AMAZON?
The disadvantage of using IngramSpark to distribute to Amazon is that if your book isn’t just flying off the (virtual) shelves Amazon might mark your book as Temporarily Out of Stock or Ships in n Days status. So, understandably, you may want to use CreateSpace to keep your print book in stock in Amazon so you don’t lose customers (who want instant gratification) in the highest-volume bookstore on the planet.
WHY USE INGRAMSPARK TO DISTRIBUTE TO AMAZON?
As we’ve seen in this post, the advantages of using IngramSpark to distribute to Amazon is financial. Who doesn’t want to make more money selling each book. If your book sells, you’ll probably be okay. In addition, IngramSpark offers:
WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
I welcome your thoughts and questions on this topic.
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