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IngramSpark Share & Sell Direct to Readers—How It Works, Who It’s For

Hoca

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Selling books direct to readers allows authors to bypass the intermediary—often Amazon—and pocket the profit. It’s also touted as a way to build a closer relationship with your readers, as many people like directly supporting their favorite author.

IngramSpark’s new Share & Sell with shareable purchase links is one way to do that. It is simple to set up, assuming you have your book distributed via IngramSpark. This article explains what it is, how to use it, and what it costs—how it works financially.

Just as important, we explore whether it’s the right fit for you. We’ll end with alternatives for selling direct to readers, FAQs, and resources.

What is IngramSpark Share & Sell?​


Share & Sell allows any US-based IngramSpark account holder to sell print books direct to readers from a website or via social media. Here’s a summary of the details.

  1. At launch, this is only available to US IngramSpark account holders. (A version for the UK is scheduled for March 2024.)
  2. Books can be shipped only to US addresses.
  3. Your book does not have to be enabled for distribution (more on this below).
  4. It’s as easy as creating a shareable purchase link. So instead of, or in addition to, linking to your book on Amazon, you link to your book on a custom-branded IngramSpark page.
  5. The fee to you is $3.50 per book + the cost to print your book. The customer pays for shipping, and you set your retail price.

What’s great about this feature for the author/publisher:

  • Books are printed-on-demand—you do not need inventory.
  • IngramSpark prints the book, mails it, collects any sales tax, and provides customer service.
  • There is no investment needed on your part, and all costs are pay-as-you-go.

How to use it​


Log in to your IngramSpark account and you’ll see a new menu on the left.

IngramSpark Share and Sell Direct to Readers Menu Location


Select Ecommerce and you’ll get a list of your books. Click the Create Purchase Link button on the right. Now simply add this link to your website or social media post the same way you would link to your book on Amazon, Bookshop.org, BarnesandNoble.com, and so on.

IngramSpark Share and Sell-steps to prepare a book to sell


How much money do you make?​


Let’s assume a 300-page, 6”x9” black-and-white paperback, with a list price of $18.

The IngramSpark print cost for this book is $5.48.

When your book is purchased from a retailer​

  • List price of $18, less a 40% discount for the retailer. Your profit: $5.14.

When purchased from your website​

  • List price of $18, less $5.48 (print cost) and less $3.50 e-commerce print surcharge. Your profit: $9.02.

What does your reader pay?​


This obviously depends on the retailer, because they have the final say about the retail price, and shipping rates can vary. But here are three examples:

  • If your reader has an Amazon Prime account, on Amazon they will pay $18 (plus tax, and assuming Amazon hasn’t discounted the book).
  • If your reader buys your book from Bookshop.org, they will pay $18 plus $3.99 for shipping: $21.99 (plus tax, again assuming it isn’t discounted).
  • If they buy from your website using IngramSpark Share & Sell, they will pay $18 plus $9.69 for shipping: $27.69 (plus tax).

Asking your reader to pay about 50% more (Amazon vs. your store) may or may not be an issue. Some readers are passionate about supporting their favorite author and may not mind spending more. In fact, those readers might not even shop at Amazon.

Also, IngramSpark allows you to set the retail price of your book. Perhaps it makes sense to charge less than retail, considering that you’ll have a profit of $9.02. (Also see the FAQs.)

Let’s say you charged $16. You’re still making more than if you sold through a retailer, and your shopper feels like they are supporting the author.

This is an example of what what your store page looks like. Also click the image below.

Is it the right solution for you?​


There are three main benefits of selling direct to readers:

  1. To make more money per sale.
  2. To build a relationship—generally, this means you can sell them other things, like your other books (see 1).
  3. To offer something they can’t otherwise get when buying from a retailer. For example, an autographed copy of your book. Or maybe a study guide, or bookmarks, or some other collateral.

IngramSpark Share & Sell satisfies benefit number one. You can certainly make more money, but your reader’s contact information is now the property of IngramSpark.

And because this is print-on-demand, there is no way for you to sign those books or include any collateral.

Another consideration for multibook authors is that each link results in one order. There is no way to group these together such that it lowers shipping cost, lowers the e-commerce print surcharge, and makes it easier for the shopper. Each book order (link) results in a single, discrete order, and buyers repeat the process for each book ordered.

For these reasons, IngramSpark Share & Sell is ideal for authors who want to supplement buying options for their readers. It’s simple to set up, but you won’t be building deep, ongoing relationships with readers.

Summary of additional considerations when using IngramSpark Share & Sell​

  1. You do not receive your reader’s contact information.
  2. You are not notified when a sale is made. You need to periodically check your IngramSpark account.
  3. Each book or format has a single link and requires a separate checkout process.
  4. The service fee of $3.50 is per book. So if a customer buys three copies of the same book, the fee is 3 x $3.50, or $10.50.
  5. Each order incurs a separate shipping charge. If your shopper buys three different books, it’s three times the shipping charge.
  6. You are paid 90 days from the end of the month in which the book was sold.

What are the alternatives?​


Admittedly, Share & Sell is one of the easiest ways to sell direct to readers, assuming you have an IngramSpark account. Here are some other options to consider:

  1. Buy copies of your book, and mail them direct to readers. This meets all three of the benefits noted earlier. The complexity of collecting money and addresses from your website ranges from relatively simple to complex. Some of the more popular tools to help you do that include:
    • PayPal
    • Gumroad
    • Payhip
    • Shopify
    • WooCommerce (on WordPress)
  1. Lulu, also a print-on-demand printer like IngramSpark, integrates with both Shopify and WooCommerce on WordPress. In this case, you get to keep your customer’s information.
  2. Another POD that works like Lulu is Bookvault.

4. Set up an Etsy shop.

IngramSpark Share and Sell-set purchase price and limits
With IngramSpark Share & Sell, you can set the purchase price, limit orders per link, limit number of books per order, and set a date range during which your link works.

Frequently asked questions​


Does Amazon have a feature similar to IngramSpark Share & Sell?
No, not at this time. You’ll have to buy author copies and sell them as noted in example 1 under the alternatives listed above.

Can I use IngramSpark Share & Sell if I currently use KDP?
Yes, but it depends on your ISBN. If you used the free Amazon KDP ISBN, you need to list your book on IngramSpark as nondistributable. That’s because you agreed to make Amazon the only printer of your book in return for getting the free ISBN. If you own your ISBN (you paid for it), you have a choice between nondistributable or distributable. If you choose distributable, IngramSpark will also list your book on other retailer websites such as Bookshop.org and BarnesandNoble.com.

Can my price on IngramSpark Share & Sell be different from its price on Amazon?
Yes, but it’s also possible that Amazon may match your price, which they have the right to do. This may affect your royalty.

What if I don’t have an IngramSpark account?
It’s free to list your book with IngramSpark.

What is the highest price I can charge when using IngramSpark Share & Sell?
Currently, the maximum purchase price you can set is $124.99.

Can I sell more than one copy of the book to the same customer and how does this work with the e-commerce print surcharge?
You can sell up to 25 copies per order link, but you pay the print surcharge of $3.50 per book, not per order.

What happens if someone outside the US tries to buy my book with this link?
As of now, IngramSpark ships only to the 50 US states, so the order would be blocked. US territories will be added in the future. This service is scheduled for release in the UK in March 2024.

Can I sell two different books, or the hardcover and paperback, with one link?
No, this is one link per book per format. If someone wants several different books, there is a charge of $3.50 per book. Also, the customer has to click multiple links for multiple books. In other words, they must place multiple orders.

Can I sell autographed books this way? Or other merchandise?
No. That’s because each book is printed when ordered and you won’t see the book before it goes to the shopper. You need to take possession of the books, sign them, and sell them via alternative 1, noted above.

Is this a way for stores to buy copies to sell?
The best way for stores to buy is via their Ingram iPage account. IngramSpark Share & Sell is designed for selling to readers, not to retailers.

Resources​

 
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