TL;DR summary: for the next couple of months, if you want one of my books in paperback and don’t like shopping on the ‘Zon, buying direct from me will be the only way to get them. WHICH YOU CAN DO! Just contact me by email or through the site contact form. Or come to Indy Pop Con where I’ll be in June, or visit Printers Row in Chicago the same weekend (my books will be there but not me) or…well, you get the idea.
Anyway. I digress. Onward to the rest of the post.
I’ve gone to a bit of trouble to make sure my books exist as real, “ink-on-paper pages wrapped in nice, pretty paperback covers” BOOKS. Books with real publisher logos on them and everything. Ones you could order from bookstores.
Well. Until recently. But not at the moment.
At the time of this post, my only paperback printer/distributor/retailer is Amazon.com. That’s a temporary situation, but one I felt you dear readers should know, just in case you might be looking to purchase a book or four from your local independent bookstore in the near future.
Beginning this summer, Ingramspark will become my primary book printer, and Ingram LightningSource will be responsible for distributing my paperbacks to print book markets.
So. There’s a switchover process. Changes are coming down the road, and that means bumps in the road. So. In the meantime…
Why start with one company and move to another? Well, now. There’s a story.
(of course there’s a story.)
Back when I was getting started in this writing & publishing gig, I seriously doubted any humans outside my immediate friends & family circle would want Real Live Paperbacks of my stories. It was simpler (by FAR) to let Amazon handle print distribution to book retailers as well as the orders made through their site.
I mean, it wasn’t like people were hammering down the doors of their local retailers to get my books, nor was I retailing books myself. Easier just to have one-stop setup for al things book. So that’s the path I took. Least-resistance routing.
Welp, on the meandering road of life, I’ve come ’round to the same intersection again, and this time, I’m going down the road not-yet traveled.
Simpler never meant better. It didn’t even mean cheaper. It definitely didn’t mean superior quality control. So, for those reasons and more, I’m maintaining an Amazon print account for Amazon sales only (should any more Amazon orders of my books ever occur) and moving all other paperback ordering and brick&mortar distribution needs to another company: Ingramspark Lightning Source (No, I do not know why they have such an unwieldy moniker. I can understand why they go by LSI in most situations.)
Now. A disclaimer. DO NOT IMAGINE THIS CHANGE MEANS MY BOOKS HAVE SUDDENLY BECOME POPULAR AND/OR LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE CLAMORING TO BUY THEM. That would be inaccurate. Wildly inaccurate.
I’m investing the time & money in this setup with Ingramspark because things have changed a LOT in the 5 years since I first did a print edition–both on my side, and the publishing side. Ingramspark always had a lot more to offer than Amazon, I’m at a point where I can handle that more-ness, and Ingramspark now offers me an incentive to make the jump.
They used to charge an arm & a leg to set up a title for printing & distribution. Now it’s down to $50 a title AND they credit back that $50 if you order sufficient number of copies. In 2014 I couldn’t imagine selling 50 books. Now? Now that’s doable. Books don’t go bad like fruit, after all. I’ll go through 50 copies eventually. I won’t sell ’em fast, but I am regularly selling at conventions now & have my own Square account so mail-order is possible. (hint. hint.)
Ingramspark also offers a better selection of bindings and formats for Print On Demand clients than Amazon’s printing service does too. HARDCOVERS, anyone? Staple-bound chapbooks for novelettes or samples? Duplex covered paperbacks that have that extra style? For me, format options inspire content creativity.
Plus they’re set up to honor sales tax exemption for resellers and retailers…like, say, me. That balances out a slight increase in printing costs. And based on the delightfully transparent printing process, I expect to be getting a more predictable print quality too. (Fingers crossed, candles lit and all that. Testimonials from others are positive.)
Wrapping up, I have a good quantity of books on hand now, and I have the technology to make them yours, but ordering them anywhere but Amazon will not be happening for a undetermined time.
I’ll keep the world updated.