Thursday, November 17, 2016

Selling Your Books in Bookstores, CreateSpace, IngramSpark, ISBN Numbers, What Do We Do?

How do we sell books in bookstores? What do we do with CreateSpace, IngramSparks, Bookstores, ISBN numbers it is all confusing?

How do we work with bookstores and CreateSpace and print on demand. Even though there is a book store option in CreateSpace I have never had a store order books from CreateSpace. They just won't do it. It doesn't fit into their world, they work with distributors. Books need to be able to be returned if they don't sell and you can't return books to CreateSpace. All those books you see in a bookstore, they are there on consignment. They didn't buy them.

I have had festivals and workshops order my books. In that case they came through me and I gave them a good discount and used CreateSpace as my printer and shipper. It worked great but these weren't really bookstores.  I also sold them outright with no return. I gave them a really good discount, like 50% off with free shipping if they ordered 20 or more. I don't want anything coming back.

If you want to be in the bookstore business then you will need to go through Ingram is the world largest book distributor. They are all over the planet. IngramSpark is their print on demand side and is the leading company for self-publishers who want to be in the bookstore world. I learned a little more about how to set this up thanks to Daniel Hall of

Basically what you will do is have two accounts, CreateSpace for dealing with Amazon and IngramSpark for the rest of the world.

1. All print books are managed by an ISBN number, that is the bar code you see on the back. This is how books are ordered in the distribution system. You will need to buy your own ISBN number for your book, they cost $125.00 each. These are bought from the Bowker company Bowker manages all ISBN numbers. The free ISBN number you get from CreateSpace will not work for bookstores. If you are just staying with CreateSpace and Amazon then use their free one, but if you are going to sell in bookstores then you need to buy one. CreateSpace and Ingram use this new number

2. Work with CreateSpace for your Amazon sales, but turn off expanded sales and library sales in CreateSpace. Use your own ISBN number for your CreateSpace books. You will also need to buy the high res artwork for the back cover and build it into your cover file.

3. Manage your own Kindle/Amazon ebook sales. Kindles don't need ISBN numbers.

4. Use IngramSparks for everything else. Ingram puts you in their book catalog and that is how bookstores will order yourbook. Use the same ISBN number that you bought for CreateSpace and IngramSpark. You will need to act more like a publishing company, there are some costs involved in this. Ingram has fees. You also need to think like a publisher, reaching out to bookstores. Set up a page on your website about distribution and ordering.

An Option for Selling Books
5. If you are dealing with just a couple of stores in your local area and you have a personal relationship and want to drive around and manage them then you could do that using CreateSpace and just order the books yourself and collect the money yourself. But anything beyond that, IngramSparks is the way to go.

For me personally I just stay with CreateSpace/Amazon, it is free and easy to manage and I just don't worry about bookstores. Amazon is universally accepted and everyone loves it and I don't have to deal with all that other stuff. It is just a choice.

To learn more about how to publish your book check out my book publishing courses at

Check out this video on working with IngramSparks.


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