An interesting piece explaining how some of the world’s biggest publishers have learned to live with and profit from their Amazon presence. The ongoing decline in real world bookstores (especially in the US) has made that more of an existential necessity than an optional extra. Remember when the Internet was going to bring diversity and choice? It certainly hasn’t worked out that way in browsers, search, social, ecommerce or just about any other field. Without some kind of regulatory restriction, it seems the natural evolution of any online business sector is towards aggregation and domination by one player.
Most independent authors opt to upload their print-on-demand book files to Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly Createspace) or to Ingram Spark/Lightning Source. Hence, designers tend to choose book sizes that conform to the standard sizes supported by these two providers (the sizes are very similar between the two platforms. The pages that detail the standard sizes for KDP are here, and for Ingram Spark here. For a head to head comparison of the two services, check out this article. Others argue for using both services at once.
For self-publishers, choosing between Amazon's Createspace print on demand service, and Ingram's Ingram Spark/Lightning Source service can be difficult. Both services have their pluses and drawbacks. For fence-sitters, here's an article that argues uploading to both services is a good idea. An author client recently indicated this approach was working well for him, and we'd be happy to hear opinions either was other print on demand using authors.
When authors set up accounts at Createspace/Amazon for print on demand or via Kindle for ebooks, they are confronted with a request for their BIC code. This is a unique identifier code used for international money transfers, and is also known as a swiftcode. To look up the BIC for your bank, go here.
One of the benefits of digital printing combined with online bookselling is the capacity of printing books as they are ordered, rather than pre-printing and warehousing. This massively reduces costs for small presses and self-publishers. Two major players dominate this field — Createspace, owned by Amazon, and Ingrams Spark (Lightning Source in Australia). The two services offer a very similar level of functionality, but there are differences in pricing, approach, assistance and sales channel availability. Check out these interesting articles discussing the relative merits of each service, and identify which one better fits your particular use-case.