Is Amazon Slow-Walking Books from Ingram Spark?

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 recently, 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 appear quickly on Amazon. Maybe that’s just how Amazon wants it.

4 thoughts on “Is Amazon Slow-Walking Books from Ingram Spark?”

  1. I’m having this same issue. The paperback version of my children’s picture book was published through KDP, but because their hardcover formatting required too many pages, I ended up publishing the hardcover through IS instead. Since then, AZ refuses to show the image of the hardcover on their website and it’s been months. This isn’t happening with any other retailer. They also changed the book hardcover category from “bedtime story” to “sleep issues”. Finally, I just found out that they are charging customers in Canada $45! That’s more than double what anyone else is charging for the hardcover, including resellers. I definitely feel like they’re attacking my book because I dared to use IS instead of KDP for all versions. It’s ridiculous.

  2. This is what I think is happening: Ingram sends an automatic feed to Amazon for all books they have listed as Title Available to their online retailers, as well as listing the book in the Ingram catalog. The author does not have a choice about having the hardcover book listed on Amazon or not.

    And Amazon is a retailer and THEY can set the price wherever they want. You might see the price set higher than what the author set in IngramSpark or LSI if the author-publisher set the discount at less than 55%. Amazon/Book Depository US will set the price where it needs to be for them to make money.

    I suspect that if you or your authors were to check the link that is underneath the “hardcover” price box on the sales page, they will see that the book is still available for Amazon Prime purchases. However, I have not yet done a KDP hardcover edition yet for any of my authors. And if I did, I would have to use a different ISBN anyway for a jacketed hardcover from IngramSpark since it is different from a laminated casewrap edition.

  3. This is not just happening to you. I am a member of the Authors Guild and read the AG Forum every day. There are writers on the Forum complaining about this all the time. So this is definitely a deliberate policy on the part of Amazon to punish authors who do not use their services.

  4. It all feels such a racket! Having created a Children’s Picture Book Series for families from our award winning documentary film project. I never knew it would be so hard to get books out there for the public to engage. Currently finishing up a parent book to accompany the project as a whole – trying to decide where best to publish it. Wondering now if I should of invested the money into a publishing house instead of IS and Amazon. Is it them or is it you need huge marketing dollars? Can you go to a private publishing house if you’ve already chosen IS and Amazon?
    I thought making a film was hard haha – seems easier than the publishing business?!


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