Is Amazon Slow-Walking Books from Ingram Spark?

March 2022 –

Photo by Cedric Fox on Unsplash

For over five years, I’ve been helping authors create jacketed hardcover books on Ingram Spark and sell them on Amazon. But last fall, KDP—Amazon’s self-publishing arm and a competitor to Ingram Spark—announced its own capacity to create hardcover books (laminated, without jackets), and now I find it practically impossible to produce a jacketed hardcover book through Ingram Spark that can compete with KDP’s laminated hardcovers on Amazon.

Why? Here’s what’s happening:

The Ingram Spark hardcover book we just published and sent to Amazon has been “bought” by the Book Depository US (an Amazon company) and redistributed to Amazon at a price that’s $1.24 higher than the retail price the author set through Ingram Spark. And because that price is higher than retail, Amazon reps tell me that the Book Depository has “earned” the right to distribute the book on the Amazon site. But that also means that the book is now not available through Amazon Prime, and readers must wait three to four weeks for delivery from The Book Depository.

Who waits three to four weeks for a book to be delivered these days?

This over-pricing and slow-walking of Ingram Spark hardcover books to the Amazon site, caused by a company owned by Amazon, seems suspicious to me, especially since both hardcover and softcover books produced by KDP are up on the Amazon site in 72 hours and available for 1-2 day shipping. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, and neither Ingram Spark nor Amazon has offered help in resolving this issue—or ever a cogent explanation. But as of now, I cannot recommend that authors try to publish hardcover books through Ingram Spark with the expectation that they’ll sell well on Amazon. Maybe that’s just how Amazon wants it.

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