How Does Distribution Work?

One of the major benefits of using IngramSpark is the distribution that is offered. When you self-publish with IngramSpark, you have access to one of the industry’s largest global distribution networks.


What is distribution?


When retailers order products, they are typically purchased through a distributor or wholesaler such as Ingram. The company who owns the product sells it to a distributor who turns around and sells it to the retailer.




 How does distribution work?

When a retailer wants to order a book, it is typically purchased through a distributor instead of the printer or publisher directly. With Ingram’s Print on Demand service, a retailer can order a title through Ingram Book Company (or one of Ingram’s other distribution partners), and the order prints, ships, and arrives to the customer or store within a few days. The sale of the book is added to your monthly compensation report when it leaves our print facility, and you receive the compensation payment 90 days later. For more information about publisher compensation, click here



How do stores know about my book?

Ingram sends a metadata feed to our distribution partners and their retailers. A store can search for your book and see the metadata linked to it.

*It is important to keep in mind that Ingram allows your book to available to distributors, but there is no guarantee that stores will order your book. Stores have the ability to order your book if they want to, but we do not guarantee sales.

*In many instances, stores will not order a book if they do not know it exists. Publishers typically market and promote their books to encourage sales. More information on marketing can be found here


Who can order my book?

Any bookstore, online store, library, or school that Ingram Book Company (or any of our other distribution partners) distributes to can order your book.

How long does it take?

Once you enable your title for distribution, it typically takes 2-6 weeks before appearing on retailer websites or on a distributor or retailer’s internal ordering system.

Can I expedite the distribution process?

There is not a way to rush the distribution process. When a title is first enabled for distribution, we send out a metadata feed to our distribution partners and their retailers. How quickly the metadata is uploaded into the distribution database or retailer website varies and is not controlled by Ingram.

How can my customers order my book?

Customers are able to order your book through bookstores or online retailers.

Why can’t customers order through IngramSpark?

Customers need to order books through a retailer or bookstore. Only the publisher has access to direct printing and shipping costs, and only sources who have agreements with Ingram’s distribution services can order books through distribution. 

How do I enable my title for distribution?

Enabling your title for distribution is quick and easy, and steps are included below and you can watch a video here.

  • When you log into your IngramSpark account, click on the title of your book, and scroll about halfway down your Title Details page. This brings you to a box with a blue button that says “Enable.”

  • Click the “Enable” button, and a new window will appear confirming that you want to enable distribution.

  • Once you confirm, you will be asked if you would like to promote your title in our Advance catalog (to read more about Ingram Advance, click here)

  • Once you have proceeded past the promote section, you will see a charge of $0.00 because there is no longer a distribution fee. Click “I Accept” and your title is in distribution!enabling_DI_screenshot.JPG



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    Jack Eadon

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