If you’re a self-published author printing with Ingram Sparks, you’ve probably heard of their new offering to sell direct using their e-commerce platform, also called Share & Sell. This is an exciting new opportunity for you to sell direct to your customers. I gave it a try, and here's my review:
I was scheduled to publish my debut children’s book, The Late Bloomer, on February 5, 2024. A few weeks prior to this date, I received an email from Ingram Sparks about their new direct sale links. At the time, I decided to hold off as I wanted to test it out before giving customers the ability to order direct. 
However, on publication day, Amazon, who had previously listed my book as available for pre-sale, disabled the option to purchase it and listed it as “Currently Unavailable.”
A panicked search of self-publishing forums told of similar tales. Apparently, Amazon does not always play nice with Ingram Sparks.
Having no other option to sell the hardcover version (other than Barnes & Noble), I quickly signed up for the e-commerce option with Ingram Sparks so that customers would have a way to purchase my book. It was launch day, after all!

Signing Up

This was very easy. All I had to do was accept their terms and conditions, select my book, and put in some required information, such as price. Please note that you cannot sign up until your book is 'live', but it also does not need to be enabled for distribution. 
Ingram does the math for you, telling you the minimum price you can list your book. This price is cost to print + a processing fee of $3.50. You then pick your price and are able to see what your royalties will be in real-time. There are a couple of other options, such as limiting the number of links and orders, which I did not select. Overall, I had a sales page, sales links, and a QR Code in less than 5 minutes.

My First Test Order

I put in a test order on February 5th, a Monday. I ordered one copy of my book (using the sales link, as a customer, not an author) and chose basic shipping, which was $3.49. I received an email confirmation and was told I would receive another email when it shipped. Two days later, my book had printed and was shipping to me. This was so fast for basic shipping!
The Late Bloomer arrived the following Tuesday, February 13th, just six business days later. I was very impressed with the turnaround time as I have been worried about competing with Amazon Prime (spoiler alert -  you can't).
Unfortunately, when the book arrived, the binding was awful. The pages weren’t glued correctly and easily ripped when I tried to turn the page. There were huge white lines down the center. I was crushed! And also worried that others who had ordered would receive similar terrible quality (as of the publication of this article, I have had zero complaints from customers).

Getting a Replacement

Figuring out how to get a replacement was an issue. I had to find the “Shipping Soon!” email, scroll to the bottom, and click on FAQ’s just to find the link to complain about the book (I have since added this link to my own FAQ section on my website). 
I submitted my complaint, along with the required pictures. I received a response the same day approving my request. This was incredibly fast customer services! I was told I would receive another email when my replacement was shipping.
Two days later, on the 15th, I received an email that it was shipping.
The replacement arrived on the 20th, and I’m happy to report it was in perfect condition!

My Second Test Order

After receiving the first book with such poor quality, I decided to do a second test order, once again, as a customer, not an author. That order was placed on the 13th and arrived on the 21st. It arrived in perfect condition!

Final Recommendation

I love being able to sell direct. I thought the customer service was amazing, and the printing and shipping times for basic service was fast. Of course, quality control was lacking, but having worked in printing, I do understand that things happen. I do wish there were better shipping prices to better compete with Amazon, but competing with them is basically impossible for any business.
In the end, this is an additional way to get your book into the hands of readers. To me, it’s a no brainer. 
I'd love to hear your experience with selling direct with Ingram Sparks. Send me a comment or find me on IG and let me know!
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