Availability status of IngramSpark-distributed books on Amazon websites

In the past, the availability listed on product pages of Print-on-Demand books distributed through Ingram’s network to Amazon varied. One common status in the past was “Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks”, which could effectively discourage readers from ordering such book, even though other sellers on Amazon marketplace offered the same book with reasonable delivery times. This is how the famous half-true myth was born and then repeated many times by people claiming distribution-related expertise (even though they lack a real-world experience), which scared most authors from using IngramSpark for selling print editions of their books on Amazon.

Worse still, to this day, many articles and blog posts are published claiming that CreateSpace (and now KDP Print) provides the best compensation for Amazon-sold books, while IngramSpark is best for the rest (because, even with 40% discount, it is better than KDP/CreateSpace Expanded Distribution, which is subject to 60% wholesale discount "forced" by Amazon). The root cause of this situation is most likely a blog post dating back to 2014. Back then IngramSpark only allowed selection between 40% and 55% wholesale discount, which is why 40% recommendation is repeated over and over again by those who don't have real-world experience with IngramSpark or don't understand the significance of lower wholesale discounts which Ingram has introduced later. The original blog post was factually correct at the time of publication, but lack of revisions and numerous thoughtless repetition by other people confused authors (misguided by those who they trusted to provide a reliable information) prevented many authors from earning considerably more (without actually increasing the sales) by using 30% as their selection of wholesale discount on IngramSpark, even if they sold most of their copies on Amazon.com (for which Createspace and KDP Print were recommended by many without consideration for the downsides), not on the other retailers.

Recent changes to IngramSpark wholesale discounts

Unfortunately, as of August 31, 2023, under pressure from unnamed US retailers, IngramSpark decided to go backwards and disable ability to set 30% wholesale discount for United States market. We covered this change in a separate article.

Even with this change and the resulting significant decrease in author profit from Ingram-printed books, it still makes sense to use Ingram to self-publish children's books and distribute them to Amazon. The same is true for hardcovers.

This is why, in early 2017, we have published an in-depth article explaining how wholesale discounts work and how they can counteract Ingram's higher printing charges (as compared to CreateSpace back then and to KDP Print now), so that all authors could understand it and make conscious choices based on that knowledge. We have expanded and updated it nine times since, to reflect the changing market situation (most recently, CreateSpace shutdown and transition to KDP).

If you want to understand how to use IngramSpark for Amazon paperback sales, read this article.

If you want to understand how wholesale dicsounts work and how to use IngramSpark and KDP Print together, read this one.

Putting the history of misinformation aside, all that matters is how things actually work, right now.

As of November 11th, 2019, print editions of books distributed exclusively through IngramSpark are listed on Amazon.com and Amazon's European sites (includes .co.uk) with different statuses. Status for IngramSpark books on Amazon.com is "Available to ship in 1-2 days". If your book is selling well and Amazon anticipates high demand to continue, they will order more copies from Ingram prior to customers' actually placing orders and the status will be "In Stock".

For Amazon's European sites, the status is “Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 months”. “Temporarily out of stock”. If there is a demand for the book, the status will indicate a specific number of copies which are in Amazon's stock such as "Only 14 left in stock (more on the way)".

Please note that these availability statuses, which are shown by default to readers who visit your book’s Amazon product page, apply only to copies sold by Amazon. When you use IngramSpark, your book will be sold on Amazon marketplace by other booksellers, regardless of availability status presented by Amazon for the copy it sells (or, pretends to sell, as it is the case with Amazon Europe currently unless the book copies are ordered in advance in anticipation of the demand).

These other offers are available by clicking on a link like “10 New from £9.99”. If you place a link on your website that will lead readers directly to this page with offers from all sellers, readers will be able to order your book from one of the sellers listing it as “In Stock”.

It’s unfortunate that Amazon shows unfavorable availability status for a copy they are supposed to sell, instead of focusing on buyer's experience and presenting other, more available offers. If Amazon marketplace sellers, and even Amazon-owned, UK-based Book Depository, can ship the book within 3 days, what would stop Amazon from doing the same? All of this suggests that Amazon tries to “force” authors to distribute through KDP Print (as they did previously favouring CreateSpace), at least as far as the European market is concerned.

Fortunately for authors, the biggest benefit of using IngramSpark for Amazon sales is with the US market anyway. And with “Available to ship in 1-2 days” availability, going this route is unlikely to affect your sales negatively. So, if you want to increase compensation for your paperbacks sold on Amazon.com, read this article and then check how much of the difference this strategy would make for your book, considering its page count and list price.

Status: in-progress (subscribe)

This article is work-in-progress. It is published in hopes of being useful, but it is not as comprehensive as our finalized articles, may be slightly outdated and contain small errors. Subscribe for updates.

Read our other article to understand why you would want to use IngramSpark for Amazon distribution in the first place.

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