Self Publishing – Choosing between CreateSpace and IngramSparks

Posted by Simon Avery

So you’ve decided on self publishing and are going to print your book. You’ve commissioned quality book cover art. Now it’s just a matter of deciding how to print-on-demand. Confused? You’re not alone. Many authors contact me, uncertain as to which outlet will showcase their book cover art to best effect. Here’s what I tell them…

Self publishing print on demand services

You’ve essentially got two choices, to display your cover art (and book!) to best effect. CreateSpace or IngramSparks.

Both these services will let you upload your book and book cover art for free. Both will make your book available to a wide range of outlets. Both allow readers to order and pay for a copy, which is subsequently printed. You will be paid directly for the sale, minus a cut for printing costs and delivery. Sounds good? It is!

So what’s the difference between these two services?


CreateSpace is linked to the Amazon platform. This means it makes it very easy to seamlessly link your ebook with your print book, with minimal or no effort on your part. If your start with CreateSpace, upload your manuscript and cover art, an ebook will automatically be generated to appear on Amazon at the click of a button.

It’s all very easy and seamless. You can also choose a ‘matchbook’ option, which means Amazon readers can buy your print and ebook in a bundle at a discounted price. They might buy your print book at full price, for example, and be offered the ebook at a 99p/c price.

So why would you even consider IngramSparks? It’s all about the cover art …


IngramSparks is the traditional choice for print-on-demand when it comes to self publishing. Here’s why. Firstly, it offers a degree more colour choice and finishing effects thanCreateSpace. This can make a big difference to the appearance of the finished book.

Ingramsparks also offer more flexibility, in terms of bulk discounting print runs for bookstores. This usually isn’t especially relevant for indie authors, since bookstores are often unwilling to consider books outside of a publishing house.

IngramSparks will also link up with ebooks and Amazon and more outlets besides. But it’s a little clunkier than CreateSpace. It all comes down to where and how you see yourself selling more books.

In either case, you need a professional designer who knows what outlet you are choosing, so as to compile book cover art that will look its best.


"Simon understood my thriller book cover design brief, and gave me a cover which has increased sales."

Susanna Quinn

"I gave Simon a tough brief, and his design just took my breath away. This cover looks so much better than other Regency Romance out there. The understated corset on the front is just the right amount of provocative, whilst still being elegant and refined. Simon was a true professional from start to finish. His prices were excellent value, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him."

A. Broughton