KDP vs. IngramSpark: Which Self-Publishing Platform Is Right For You? ∣ Self-Publishing Relief

by | Self-Publishing | 5 comments

KDP vs. IngramSpark: Which Self-Publishing Platform Is Right For You? ∣ Self-Publishing Relief

Updated for 2024

Now that you’re ready to self-publish, it’s time to decide which of the print-on-demand platforms you’ll choose. The biggest, most popular options are Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark. The experts at Self-Publishing Relief know there are many similarities between these two self-publishing companies—and also some key differences. When it comes to KDP vs. IngramSpark, here’s how to decide which self-publishing platform is right for you.


KDP vs. IngramSpark: How To Know Which Is Right For You


KDP: The KDP platform is very easy to navigate and use, even for first-timers. KDP provides clear instructions and steps that guide you through the entire process.

IngramSpark: The IngramSpark platform is a bit less user-friendly, though certainly not impossible to figure out. Going through the self-publishing process can take longer, but this is because there are more options offered in multiple areas.


KDP: With KDP you’ll find a decent selection of trim sizes, glossy and matte covers, cream and white interior paper, and both black-and-white and color printing. However, KDP only prints paperback books—hardcover is not available.

IngramSpark: We give IngramSpark a bit of an edge in this category. IngramSpark offers everything KDP does, but also creates hardcover books (including dustcovers/jackets in matte, glossy, or fabric) and has a few more color options. This self-publishing platform also prints books in landscape, which KDP does not do.


KDP: Because KDP is owned and operated by Amazon, this platform only allows you to set up and sell Kindle versions of your e-book.

IngramSpark: With IngramSpark, you can select e-book distribution through multiple channels at once, including Amazon, Apple, Nook, and Kobo.


KDP: With KDP, your self-published book will automatically be available on Amazon, one of the world’s largest book retailers. You can also choose KDP’s Expanded Distribution program to gain access to non-Amazon channels.

IngramSpark: Since IngramSpark doesn’t have its own sales platform, the company instead allows you to make your book available through multiple channels. IngramSpark also offers a better chance of your book being picked up by brick-and-mortar bookstores, because retailers are familiar with ordering from this company and your books will be returnable.


KDP: Free.

IngramSpark: Free.



KDP: On average, KDP pays authors about 60% in royalties for paperbacks. For example: if your book is listed for sale at ten dollars, Amazon will give you 60% of that minus printing costs. If you choose expanded distribution, the royalty drops to 40%. For e-books, KDP offers a 70% royalty to the author.

IngramSpark: Determining the royalties at IngramSpark is more complicated since you control any discount offered to potential distributors. IngramSpark provides multiple calculators you can use to estimate the printing costs and royalties for your self-published book.


KDP: You can order print proofs from KDP before making your book available for purchase—which means you can make any last-minute fixes BEFORE it’s published! And even if you do publish and find a mistake, it’s free to upload a new copy and make the correction.

IngramSpark: At IngramSpark the process is different. First you approve the book for printing, then you order a copy for review, after that, you can approve it for distribution.


Both KDP and IngramSpark offer author copies at printing cost plus shipping. The main difference here is that KDP is generally cheaper than IngramSpark for printing costs.


KDP: For print books, KDP offers a free ISBN. You can also purchase your own ISBN.

IngramSpark: To publish your book through IngramSpark, you will have to purchase your own ISBN.

The Choice Is Yours…

IngramSpark and KDP are both great ways to self-publish your book. The choice rests on your priorities and plans! And here’s something to keep in mind: You CAN publish your book using both KDP and IngramSpark at the same time if that works best for you!


Question: Which element of a self-publishing platform is most important to you, and why?


  1. Wanda

    Great post on the differences! I use IngramSpark for my children’s books because of the paperback and hard cover options but I use KDP for my ebooks. I knew these different things but couldn’t articulate them as well as you. Thank you for an all-in-one information post!

    • SPR Staff

      Thank you, Wanda! The differences can certainly be important in various situations, such as the one you outlined. I’m glad you enjoyed the way we laid it all out!

  2. Danielle

    Thank you so much for the clarification. I am getting ready to publish and my indie publishing company was recommeding one over the other. This helped a lot with the decision process.

  3. L. G. Cullens

    One aspect of publishing with IngramSpark that I don’t find any mention of on internet searches is the difficulty of unpublishing/removing a book. The only way I’ve come across to try and do this is dealing with IngramSpark’s so-called Customer Support who after dragging their feet going on a month aren’t even responding to my status requests. They responded to my initial request saying they needed more clarification, to which I replied that as previously stated I wanted the book removed period. Then they responded that they had to refer my request to another level of their Customer Support. I waited a week, then asked what the problem was with removing my book. No replies from them have been received, and I’ve since asked that my account with them be closed. Again no replies.

    I didn’t ask for any monies back, and there are no outstanding sales.


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