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Oh the Choices! Choosing Between Ingram Sparks, Create Space & Nook Press

For authors, there are many choices for printing your own books, including Ingram Sparks and Create Space. Also, Barnes & Noble just announced a print-on-demand service. However, there's not a whole lot here yet. My guess is Barnes & Noble is testing the waters to see if the service is viable.

For Nook Press, looks to me like there's a starter set of options for standard B&W and color:
5" x 8"
5.5" x 8.5"
7.5" x 9.25"
7" x 10"
8" x 10"
8.5" x 8.5"

With B&W, you have the book printed on 50# white or 55# crème paper. With full-color, you can have the book printed on 70# white paper.
Since Nook Press allows you to print without even having an ISBN and it's only for printing and sending books to you, this service is best for hobbyists, who want to:

A) Print up their own copies of a particular book as gifts
B) or Sell books from home.

I've use both Ingram and Create Space since they started operations years ago. Both are good options for self-publishers.
Here's my .02 and hope you find it useful:

Ingram Sparks is part of Ingram Digital, which also has Lightning Source Inc. Ingram Digital / LSI have invested heavily in printing machines and continue to update their machines. When it comes to full-color, they have premium and non-premium options as well with the premium being of exceptional quality. Their investment in machinery has always put them ahead of Create Space in terms of overall quality, but Create Space is working hard to catch up.
The relative quality and thickness of paper depends on the type of paper. Generally, for non-color, I believe Ingram Sparks uses #50 paper stock with both white and crème, while Create Space uses #50 white and 60# crème. Either way, the quality of paper stock is comparable.

Overall quality of the resulting product, also depends on how well the binding is glued, how the cover is fitted and more. Here, in my opinion, Ingram Sparks has always beat Create Space when it comes to overall quality, but again Create Space is catching up.
For me, the choice on whether to use Ingram or Create Space depends on the sales potential of the book.

With books where you expect low sales, you'll find Create Space can't be beat. Create Space has no setup costs and no annual fees for distribution. This makes it a low-cost choice. Create Space also gives you options for a free ISBN (for that specific print edition), $10 for a custom ISBN or using your own ISBN. Create Space staff is exceptional and you have many expanded distribution options that will get your books not only into online retailers but libraries and international markets as well.

With books where you expect better and continuing sales or want to do print runs of 20, 50 or 100 copies, you're better off using Ingram. With Ingram, you have to pay setup costs and annual fees for distribution. This is offset by the generally lower cost per printing (particularly with expanded distribution options). If you do print runs, you often can get discounts depending on the size of the print run, such as 10%, 20%, or even 30%.
Ingram staff also is fantastic to work with.

Both good Create Space and Ingram Sparks are good choices -- and better choices than Nook's service for self-publishers.
Thanks for reading,

Robert Stanek

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