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Customer "service"

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14 comments

  • Book Services

    I don't know what company you are talking about, but based upon our experience with Ingram Spark your overly long tirade sounds like an alternate reality.  Over the past 12 months we have placed over 200 orders for books with Ingram Spark with quantities from single books to over 200 copies per order.  Some of the books were under $5.00, while an appreciable number were over $15.00.  Yes, in December there were delays of seven business days until shipment, but in other months Ingram Spark shipped in five business days or less.  About 10% of our orders are express service, and the books shipped in the two days promised.

    We have been ordering from Ingram Spark for five years and have only returned two books for defective trimming, and received full credit. Consistent quality, on time printing, and NO LOST SHIPMENTS.

    Today, when the cover template system stopped responding, a five minute online chat with customer support got the problem fixed in under half an hour.

    Based upon my experience it appears you posted to the wrong web site.

  • Erik Istrup Publishing

    Hello, Mr Nelson.

    I have not read your post, but your headline tell me the subject.

    I differ between customer service (the whole IS) and support because the UK support is excellent.

    Sometimes I am surprised how fast IS ships out. Only two times, I had to ask support to check why an order is still 'in print'.

    I think it all comes down to the fact that the print facility is full automatic. My greatest issue is the packing. I look forward to true AI implementation.

     

     

  • D. T. Nelson

    Well, book services, I’m glad you have had such a pleasant experience. It would be nice if all of IS’s customers could share that with you. For me, rush shipment of a single book took a week to ship. An order of 7 hardcover books took a month before they were shipped. This has been the standard for me. I haven’t had lost shipments, or even heard that was a problem for anyone. But, I have seen more than a fair number of complaints about people receiving orders only partially filled. Maybe you receive special treatment since you order in large quantities. My largest order was for ten books 7 hardcover, 3 paperback. I’ve missed  important deadlines because of the delays.

  • Erik Istrup Publishing

    I usual order one to four books. 

  • D. T. Nelson

    Erik Istrup Publishing - I have heard that the service is routinely faster in the UK, for the most part. I'm not sure why there is such a difference.

    Don't get me wrong. By and large, I like IngramSpark's services. They are the only ones I've found that offer hardcovers as POD. When I listed my books, preorders were made available on multiple online stores very quickly (with the exception of Apple's ebook store. In the three months shince I added my book to IS, they have yet to list it, but I think that is on them, not IS.). My one complaint outside of customer service is the overly stringent, contradictory, and obsolete file requirements... especially for the color covers. I had an extrememly difficult time getting my cover to come out right (and I have a history working in graphic design and printing). Overall, though, they provide a much needed distribution channel for the indie author/publisher. 

  • Erik Istrup Publishing

    I have used PrintOnDemand-worldwide.co.uk in the past. They also print outside the UK including US and Australia. They print hardcover, use color inserts, and they will print out and add a pdf you upload to the shipment. I really miss that with IS.

    Good luck,
    Erik

     

  • Dover, Pam

    Hello D. T.,

    Thank you for your post. And thank you Erik and Book Services for your posts as well.

    D. T., I'm sorry to learn of the problems and displeasure you experienced as described in your posts. Our customers are very important to us. I reviewed your account and your contacts with our support team about the issues you experienced and it appears these were addressed and resolved. If you are still experiencing problems, please let our support team know so they can resolve as quickly as possible.

    I'd like to share some information with you that may be of help. One item is our print turnaround time. When an order is submitted, it is not routed to the print floor until the following business day, which is when the print "clock" starts. At one point during our busy season, the print turnaround time for a hardcover book was 20 business days or 4 weeks. The print turnaround time does not include weekends or holidays.

    Another item is shipping a "Rush" order. An order may be split up and routed to more than one print facility, depending on the print volume in each facility and type of printing to be done (color of interior & binding), which appears to have happened with several of your orders. When placing a rush order it is best to also select expedited shipping to ensure you receive your order in time.

    I hope this additional information is helpful. We are always working to improve our customer's experience. We sincerely appreciate your feedback and hope your future experiences with IngramSpark are all positive ones.

    Many thanks,

    Pam

  • Nathalie M.L. Römer

    I will add some feedback based on what Pam Dover stated about print turnaround timings as well as some of my own experiences.

    D.T., you stated you had an order of 7 hardcover books and 3 paperbacks. I had an over the "busy time" just before Christmas. My publishing company is based in Sweden and it gets its orders always from England. I can confirm that Pam's information about turnaround is precise.

    That said, some feedback for you Pam. I would suggest, partly in support of what D.T. states, that more information is supplied on our account in response to a submitted order. You state that an order can be split into parts. When an order is placed, maybe supply us with details of the status of an order in more detail. Here are my suggestions for what could be improved:

    1) If the order is going to be split into different print runs, tell us that this is happening. List this on the status of the order in the same way you already do for new book submissions where you DO get a detailed ("ish") list of what is going on with a submission (i.e. Title Status History). We should have a "Shipping Status History" in addition to this, going from "Order Received" to "Order Shipped" with ALL steps in the process listed, such as "Order Split For Printing" or "Order Packed" and other such status postings. (I'm sure other users of this forum may add their own ideas for what should be done).

    2) Higher transparency is needed overall in the account, so more information is available for users to understand how it works. This suggestion is because I tried to convince an author friend to come to IS but her words were: "It's too jumbled up for me to understand how it all works." She even found the manual too hard to comprehend. If you want to get a "Number One" status for your POD services over other companies you need to make certain it's as easy to use and understand, i.e. the KISS principle, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid" (NOT implying anyone here is "stupid"). The more information we have about the workings of the system the LESS pressure there would be on your staff. Any question, especially new questions raised by users, should become "common knowledge" in a knowledge base, and frankly, the access to such knowledge is rather limited on the user page in my opinion. I, or others here, should not have to go asking someone external for such information.

    3) Can't we, as users, not just simply set a "preferred currency" for everything that relates to income. I told a representative (or emailed it in) and I cannot remember which now, about the currency calculator, and it was changed weeks later to the "xe[dot]com version" which is more accurate and easier to use. Now if we could say which currency we prefer for orders and income reports to be in with a selector on the Account page, so you can remove the endless list on the Reports page it would make things easier.

    4) Something to calculate the time it takes for orders to be fulfilled. You already stated that they're done on business days. Okay, so from what time to what time are the printing presses working? Is it during business hours? I'm guessing the orders are processed as they come in. You should have an idea of how long printing a book takes based on the metadata you generate in Premedia (which I'm guessing this process is). Do you do a test run? If so, you'd know how long a book would take for printing, and that would mean you can calculate when in the business day that book goes through the printing process. In addition to what I stated in Point 1, you can, therefore, make it easier for us to know whether a book is awaiting printing, printing or in the post-printing process awaiting the packing process. If more detailed information is provided other than "which is when the print "clock" starts" you probably have more satisfied customers here.

    5) In busy (or busier) times, the timings on the Order page as to WHEN the order could be received should be adjusted in real time, rather than having an obscure message on the Account page just saying "we're busier right now." When the Order button is pressed the next page should immediately give an adjusted timing rather than the "guesswork" timings that are listed by default. I knew I was ordering in a busier time and I had to assume that the order would take extra days to fulfil and ship. This information should be listed in the "Shipping Status History" rather than me having to guess.

    6) Last point but one NOT addressed here and that's that the Economy Shipping shouldn't even be there as an option frankly. These are items of value we're ordering. I would want the minimum option to be "insured delivery with a signature of the recipient required" because this is our livelihood, and books that are lost in the mail are a burden to us. I'd suggest you remove it as an option. (This is a personal opinion that may or may not be agreed on by others).

    The most important way to get the best POD service is to work WITH the customers who use you, and for you to ask for constant feedback, opinions and suggestions for what can be done better. This forum is a start in that effort, but it could be done more expansively and done so fewer negative opinions arise.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Dover, Pam

    Thank you for your feedback, Nathalie!

    You'll be seeing some really great improvements to the IngramSpark website over the next year or so. The changes being made are due to the feedback we have received from our customers over the past few years.

    We also just added a place in community for customers to share their thoughts about the changes as they happen. We look forward to seeing your posts there!

    Thanks again!

    Pam

  • D. T. Nelson

    Nathalie,

    Many of those ideas would go a long way to alleviating some of the issues and misunderstandings. A way to track orders through processing in (more or less) real time would be extremely beneficial, though not necessarily something that could be done easily, or reliably. It would face many of the same challenges tracking systems with UPS, FedEx and the USPS face. Delayed updating, etc.

    While I also agree that the reports and information on IngramSpark's website (and the manual) could use some simplification, that hasn't been much of a problem for me. But then, as I mentioned, I have a lot of experience in the graphic design and printing industry. For the uninitiated, I can definitely see how the technical information could be overwhelming and confusing.

    You don't want to get me started on shipping costs (of course IS has no control over shipping rates). Personally, I agree with you on the economy shipping. I wouldn't dream of placing an order that didn't include insurance and tracking. However, I also know how expensive shipping is, and there may be some customers who are willing to risk their orders to save a few bucks. Just make it very clear on the order form what the customer is risking when choosing the economy rate. Cost of shipping is one reason I never use anything other than standard shipping. Anything more would erase any potential profits I'd gain from the sale of the books. Rush shipping alone would cost me more than the list price on the covers - and my hardbacks list for $37. I'm more likely to choose the economy shipping than I am expediated shipping. I'd never even consider rush shipping. $80 to ship two books is just insane. $15 is costly enough.

    I'm looking forward to see what improvements IngramSpark is planning. I've only published one book so far through IS, but I'm hoping it's the first of many (there are already six more books planned in the current series).

  • Peter Taylor

    The initial post made me worried about having shifted my books across from Lightning Source, but the following posts make me ok to wait and see.

    But if anyone has tips about how to get a response from another Ingram subsidiary, aer.io, I'd love to hear it. Has anyone found a phone number to get through to a human?

  • Erik Istrup Publishing

    Can't you ask someone on ingramcontent.com to get a contact?

  • Peter Taylor

    Thanks for reply. Is there a phone number for ingramcontent.com ?

  • Erik Istrup Publishing

    I only see the 'front desk' tel:6157935000, but you may dig a little on their web page.

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