IngramSpark offer the following formats for your books:
Many authors stick to one binding type (e.g. paperback only or e-book only) for simplicity and efficiency. Others emulate the traditional pattern used by major publishing houses—simultaneous hardcover and ebook release, followed by paperback release 6 to 12 months later. With Print On Demand you can offer all formats at the same time, allowing consumers a choice. For a list of all available trim sizes for each product type, please see the last 2 pages in the File Creation Guide.
By a long shot, the perfect-bound trade paperback is the most commonly printed book in the indie publishing arena. Its compact, lightweight shape makes it inexpensive to ship, which combined with its modest production cost has made the paperback the print format of choice for any publisher on a budget. Furthermore, many people who habitually read on-the-go prefer paperbacks, since they are more easily portable and are easier to hold on to than heavier books. Perfect binding involves binding the page block to a printed and laminated coverstock with hot glue.
Out of all the binding formats and trim sizes, a 6x9 paperback offers the most page area per dollar spent and the least waste of paper in production. The most important consideration when deciding on your final binding specs is what looks and feels right for your book. Since books with smaller page dimensions can hold less text on each page than books with larger page dimensions, the smaller version of a given book will have more total pages than the larger version of that same book. The total number of pages determines a book’s spine width, so authors can adjust page size to give their books a thinner or thicker shelf presence. Typically, books with fewer pages tend to be published in smaller formats to make them feel more substantial, while books with more pages tend to be published in larger formats to keep the spine from being too thick.
An alternative to the perfect-bound paperback for short books (4 to 48 pages) is the saddle stitch paperback, which is only available with our Premium Color interior. These follow the same binding procedure as perfect-bound books, except that the pages are bound to the cover with staples rather than glue. Books that are Saddle Stitched cannot have any spine text.
Unlike many print-on-demand services, IngramSpark supports hardcover bookbinding in a variety of sizes, with or without a dust jacket. For traditional publishers, the hardcover represents the flagship edition of a given book; hardcore book collectors pursue first-edition hardcovers above all else. With traditional publishing of debut books in most mainstream genres, the hardcover is typically released several months to a year before the paperback, in order to maximize sales to the portion of the market most dedicated to buying that particular title—this practice has become increasingly popular with ambitious indie publishers, thanks in large part to the advent of affordable print-on-demand hardcover binding.
Hardcovers produced by IngramSpark are made in two very similar processes: case binding and cloth binding. In both cases, pages of printed text are combined into a block that is glued to a rigid cover. The difference is that case bound covers are made of cardboard wrapped in laminated paper that has the cover image printed directly on it, while cloth bound covers are made of cardboard covered in fabric. While the production cost involved may deter some authors, hardcovers should be considered in every way the deluxe version of a book; committed readers are often willing to pay more in exchange for their durability and aforementioned collector’s value.
The most obvious example of case bound books are large format hardcover textbooks, along with cookbooks, children's books and art anthologies. Case binding can also be used to great effect in small formats such as gift books, novellas, and journals.
Most debut fiction titles first appear on bookstore shelves as a cloth bound hardcover with a dust jacket— likewise for debut titles in the history, biography, science, and social studies genres. IngramSpark offers either blue or gray fabric for cloth bound hardcover books, with the option of stamping the spine of the book with the title and author name in gold lettering. The dust jacket wraps around the cover, with inside flaps on the left and right typically used for the book’s synopsis and author bio.
When designing cover images for hardcover formats, extra bleed space is required in the hardcover templates, due to the paper cover wrapping around the cardboard cover stock. In the case of cloth bound cover spreads, the extra space afforded by the flaps of the dust jacket gives much more room for extra artwork or positive reviews recommending the book to readers.
Finally, IngramSpark allows authors to upload the digital edition of their books to a variety of ebook retailers all at once. Once your ebook enters Ingram’s distribution channels, it becomes available to readers shopping on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo readers and many others. Click here for a current list of ebook retailers, where your ebook may be listed as available for sale.
Many book buyers today use e-readers and tablets as an alternative or supplement to traditional print books. Certain genres in particular have been adopted by digital readers, including science fiction, paranormal fiction, and romance. Many of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in the independent publishing world originated in these niche interest groups and developed a dedicated fan base before spilling into the general market of readers.
Before an e-book can be uploaded and sold, it must be converted from the editable version of a manuscript into a free-flowing ePUB format. This process strips away most of the formatting that dictates how text appears on a page, in order to accommodate the many text customization options featured by e-readers, such as changing the e-book’s font size and line spacing to suit reading preferences. Because of this, it’s generally wise to have your e-book file conversion done after your manuscript has been heavily edited, as future corrections would have to be applied to both the print version of the book and the digital version individually.
One important decision you need to make as an author publishing digitally is whether to have your print book manually converted into an e-book by a human being or to have the file conversion handled by an automated system. Computer savvy folks can use applications like Calibre, Adobe’s InDesign, and Microsoft Word to convert their own text files from the comfort of home; this can be a time-consuming, though reliable method. There are also freelance technicians who will perform this function for a fee, and Automated conversion systems are cheaper due to the lack of human labor involved, though experience has shown that these systems can be prone to formatting errors (especially the free ones). Do your readers a huge favor—make sure that your e-book is glitch-free and readable before uploading it to the digital market.
Many authors and publishers take advantage of the ePUB conversion service offered through IngramSpark. The conversion charge is $0.60 per page and takes about 15 business days to complete. We can convert your print PDF files to an ePUB file once your print title is in production on your IngramSpark account. IngramSpark Conversions will ensure your newly created ePUB will validate to the latest standards.
Consider how your book fits into the situational preferences of your particular audience. Many authors publish their books in a single format only, and while this approach might also work for your book, the prevailing philosophy supports publishing your book in as many different formats as possible, with the goal of making your book accessible to as many different readers as possible.