Createspace vs Ingram Spark: Print/Ship Shocks, Body and Consciousness

In recent posts I have been lamenting the problem of not being able to get printed copies of books from Createspace produced in Australia. If you want your own copies eg to sell from your website (or car boot) or to use for publicity you have to ship them in from the US.


So I thought I’d try Ingram Spark since they print in Australia.

Good idea – but the Createspace files were not compatible. Resave in a different PDF format please! OK, but you can’t do that yourself unless you are working on a PC. On a Mac, you have to do it through Adobe. So long-suffering Keith my illustrator did it for me but when it was loaded to Ingram Spark the colour went red, the result of saving in the PDF X-1a format and/or their colour and printing machines. Sorry, they said, you’ll have to modify the files. But the problem doesn’t show up when we open them!

So being a strong supporter of “act local” I found a printer and asked for a quote to produce  the same product but on better paper and in the original colour format using the Createspace PDFs. It has taken more than a week and still I haven’t found a way to get the original PDF for the cover to go to this printer. I send the file by email and it turns into a jpeg. I send it in what I think is the original PDF version from my Mediafire site and he says it won’t let him access it. I change the settings on the Mediafire site and send directly from that and he still doesn’t get it. How much more of this can I take?

rage on computer

So I go back and take another look at the costs of ordering the books from Createspace vs Ingram Spark. And guess what? For The Priceless Princess the printing cost from Ingram Spark is higher than the cost from Createspace. Ingram Spark printing cost per unit is A$3.47, CS printing cost per unit is US$2.15 = A$2.91. So the saving as a result of lower shipping costs is undercut by the higher printing costs. Mind you, if the covers were as good as the Create Space ones it would still have been a worthwhile saving.

Going nuts, as I really need print copies in my hand, I just decided to order from Createspace and pay the extra shipping costs. At least the covers will come out right. And I’ll press on with the local printer and see if he can come up with a better better quality book for around the same total price. If I could just get the damn file to him! The problem is, I thought I was supposed to write all day, not do all this whatever you call it. My body, my feelings, my consciousness … now I’m dreaming about PDFs.

about writing

2 thoughts on “Createspace vs Ingram Spark: Print/Ship Shocks, Body and Consciousness

  1. This article is THE very reason why no one should ever publish a book alone irregardless of all those fabulous Createspace self-publishing commercials. They’re like casinos—Amazon isn’t spending money making those commercial so you can make money.

    I have to guess you also did the editing yourself. Writers write, editors edit, and graphic designers create files. You think Penguin has authors creating files? Does Random House have authors editing their own? Designing their own covers?
    Createspace makes a lot of money from self-published authors buying their own books in an attempt to market what is essentially an inferior, or at best mediocre, product—publishing a book takes a village.


    • Yes, Anna, but many or even most authors publishing on Create Space do not do their own editing, proofing and designing. Some pay hundreds or even thousands to others well before the book gets anywhere near CreateSpace. In fact CreateSpace itself was offering authors access to all kinds of services, for a fee, but as of April 2018 they’re no longer doing that are folding the entire print production into their new KDP publishing arm which, as far as I know, does not offer any additional author services. Books produced already by CreateSpace will remain available and (maybe) the original files will be retained by Amazon, not sure how this is going to work. But, to comment on your last sentence, publishing a book may take a village but unfortunately the village doesn’t want to publish many books and rejects something over 95% (or more) of all submissions, virtually without reading them. People want to write books, publishers don’t want to publish them. Self-publishing seemed to offer a kind of democratisation of the meeting between writers and readers, but that’s not turning out so well these days. Anyway, thanks for your comment and I will be making some more remarks about the general issues in a forthcoming post – have been trying to understand more about the print-book situation before I do so.


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