During August and September of 2018, Createspace officially merged with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and the usage of the previous interface, rules, and pricing were no longer valid. The migration process was a bit of a learning curve for many people and caused some indie authors and publishers to steer away from Amazon’s services altogether. Each person has their reasons as to why they want to move away from Amazon’s KDP, this blog post is not to discuss the why. So where do you go and how do you do it? There are other print on demand services out there such as Lulu, Blurb, and IngramSpark. In this post, we’re going to look at moving from KDP to IngramSpark.

Why IngramSpark?

Competitive pricing and customization. Some of the other print on demand services offer excellent products as well. I have used Blurb before and like it. However, they don’t have the same customizations or price point per book as IngramSpark has.

Yes, Amazon’s KDP is still cheaper, but this post isn’t about convincing you why you should move from Amazon’s KDP. We’re going to assume you already made your choice why, for whatever the reason may be. This post is about how to do it.

From the time I migrated my first book over to IngramSpark – which was January 2019 – there was very little information online. The process I took was trial and error, a couple of months of determination, and some costly mistakes. I hope the information here helps you avoid some headaches during your migration!

Step One: Do you own your ISBN?

Okay, so we’re ready to migrate our book from KDP to IngramSpark. The first question to ask yourself is: do you own your ISBN? Or did Amazon provide one for you? If you own your ISBN, then great, you can migrate the same version of the book over to IngramSpark. If you don’t own your ISBN (Amazon provided one for you), you cannot migrate this edition of your book. This is a critical step. The process below is intended if you own your ISBN and need to make the migration over to IngramSpark.

Find out more about getting your own ISBN on selfpublishing.com.

Why Transfer an ISBN Vs Making a New One?

The benefit of keeping your ISBN vs just making a new one is you keep the edition of your book. All sales, stores, libraries, and archives reference the ISBN to know what book is what. When you get a new ISBN, you are creating a new version of your book, and it needs to be resubmitted to book stores like Indigo, sites like Goodreads, etc. Basically, you are publishing a new book.

Step Two: Creating an IngramSpark account

This should be a no-brainer but make sure you create an account on their website. Follow their steps which are very similar to Amazon’s KDP. There are a few different choices on terminology, but that is all.

Do not begin re-creating your title in IngramSpark yet. Doing so, your re-created title on Ingramspark will be replaced with the latest-live Amazon version if you migrate the same ISBN version. Read the steps below to see if you need to create the title or not.

Using a New ISBN

For those that do not own their own ISBN, you need to obtain a new one. This process is more straightforward than transferring an ISBN you own. In Canada, they are free through the Government’s website. If you’re in the USA, IngramSpark does let you buy an ISBN through Bowker. Once you obtain a new ISBN, you can follow the steps of creating a new novel on IngramSpark’s website, order a proof, and publish.

Step Three: Migrating Your Existing ISBN

Remember, with Amazon, once your book is published, it can never officially be removed from Amazon. Even if you unpublish it, the book still appears on search results and your author page. It’s up to you if you want to continue having your book available on Amazon for people to buy or if you want to unpublish it completely. The steps below are the same.

  • Log onto KDP and edit the paperback you wish to migrate.
  • Go to Paperback Rights & Pricing
  • Uncheck “Expanded Distribution”
    • Both KDP and IngramSpark have a distribution with the same resellers and leaving this checked on creates a conflict between the two distributors. Be sure to uncheck it, so the book is only on the Amazon marketplace.
  • Contact Amazon by going to their help, under Book Details and ISBN. Choose either E-mail or Phone, whichever you prefer.
  • For email, be very specific what you want to do.
    For the subject: Migrating my ISBN 000-0-0000000-0-0 over to IngramSpark
    For the message include this sentence: Please release my ISBN 000-0-0000000-0-0 to allow IngramSpark to migrate the book.
    Amazon’s support prefers exact instructions. I failed to mention IngramSpark the first time, and they denied releasing my ISBN. Be polite and respectful too. It gets you a lot further than demanding.

Step Four: Inform IngramSpark

After you have finished the initiation process with KDP, inform IngramSpark through their Live Chat which ISBN and title of your book you are migrating. Inform them that you want to distribute through IngramSpark and have already requested for KDP to release the ISBN.

Ingram will send you a transfer form for you to fill out and send back to them. Once this is complete, the process can take about 30 days for the migration to be finished.

Step Five: Review

Now, you wait 30 days. You will get an email when the migration is complete which can take less time. If it does, be sure to order a proof copy of your book and review all settings and metadata to ensure it is correct.

IngramSpark copies the last live published version of your book from Amazon KDP. Ordering a proof is a good indicator to ensure that you are printing the right file. Unlike KDP, there is a charge for updating the file. To avoid future charges, be sure that your proof is correct before hitting publish.

Summary

Moving from KDP to IngramSpark is a lengthy, technical, process. Be patient and professional during the process, and it will go as smoothly as it can. Again, for whatever the reason is for you to move from Amazon’s KDP, I hope this guide offers some clear direction on the process. When I went through the process, most information I could find was out of date and inaccurate.

If you have some of your own experiences with migrating from KDP or have questions, please share in the comments.

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11 Comments

  1. Dave Kwan

    August 2, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Konn,

    Thank you for writing this helpful article!

    The information and advice you share about IngramSpark is encouraging for indie authors. Presently, I have five (5) books listed on Amazon, and greatly wish to have my books available through IngramSpark’s distribution network.

    As a Canadian, I took your advice and secured my own ISBN through the Canadian Government website for my new forthcoming book. (Cool Eh?) At this stage I have a couple questions…..

    1. Do I obtain additional ISBNs, edit and just Retitle my books on Amazon, then submit the revised manuscript with new ISBN to publish via IngramSpark? Does that present any conflict?

    2. Should I just leave my books on Amazon and start writing books for IngramSpark?

    Thanks!
    Dave

    Reply
    • Konn Lavery

      August 6, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Dave,

      Glad to hear the article was helpful! Its a tricky web to work through with print on demand. Wasn’t that way a number of years ago but standards change.
      Canada ISBNs are a huge advantage where so many authors have to pay, like in the US.

      Great questions, I had a similar issue with one of my books, the third in a series.
      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but sounds like your print books are currently using an Amazon ISBN. If so, you can start a new book project on Amazon with the new ISBN and same title after retiring the original Amazon-only version. Then reupload the book on Amazon. Just make sure the “expand distributions” checked off so you can also publish in Ingram. The only downside is you do lose any existing reviews.
      If you want to keep the previous Amazon-only version, you can still upload to Ingram using the same name. Just add “Second edition” to the upload to clarify and avoid conflict.

      2. It’s up to you if you want to manage two dashboards. Keeping them on Amazon helps as you keep more of the sales cut if they’re directly on Amazon vs all through Ingram. But, you’re having to manage multiple dashboards for sales.

      Cheers!

      – Konn

      Reply
  2. Robert Nurden

    March 5, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Dear Konn Lavery

    Thank you for your very helpful analysis of the migrating process from KDP to IngramSpark, which is what I am wanting to do.

    Can you confirm one thing? I have my book on KDP/Amazon but would like to make some changes to the cover and add a page of reviews, plus add a new ISBN number (the one I have was provided by KDP). Once the migrating process up is set up, you say that IS takes the book from Amazon. So when and where do I make the changes – the altered cover and the page of reviews?

    And, as I am in the UK, do I by my new ISBN from IS or Nielsen?

    Reply
    • Konn Lavery

      March 6, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Hey Robert,

      You’re welcome! Glad to have helped.

      Since you’re doing a new ISBN (as Amazon provided the last one), you should be able to make a new book project in Ingram, and unpublish the KDP one entirely. It’s a far more simple process than requesting a migration. And I’m not 100% sure if Amazon will release an ISBN that they provided.
      For the new cover and added page reviews, you can do make that change and upload the files in the new book project initially. That way Ingram doesn’t charge for revisions.
      One cool feature in Ingram, I haven’t played with yet, is while making a new order, you can customize it order by adding a new page in the front of the book and only that print run gets that page. This they don’t charge revisions for. It’s cool for maybe having “First print run” as an example. Not fully relevant with what you’re looking to do though.

      Regarding the ISBN:
      I’m not familiar with ISBNs in the UK, but I’d go with whichever provider is within your country. In Canada the government provides them which seems like a clean way of obtaining an ISBN.

      Cheers!

      – Konn

      Reply
    • Nikki Weston

      April 2, 2021 at 8:15 am

      Hi Robert,

      as I’m based in Ireland, I thought I’d come in with your question on where to buy ISBNs – I bought mine online with Nielsen in the UK. They were great: quick, reliable, and buying from them as opposed to a publisher gave me peace of mind: I knew that no matter where I did my publishing that day or in the future, Nielsen wouldn’t impose conditions on which publishing platform I used them on, and you can’t guarantee that Amazon or IS won’t go moving the goalposts when the fancy takes them.

      Prices aren’t cheap, £89 for one, £164 for 10 ISBNs, £369 for 100, or £949 for 1,000. I bought 10 and so far, I’ve used three of these (e-book and print on amazon, and currently uploading to Audible).
      Here’s the URL I used to purchase them:

      https://www.nielsenisbnstore.com/

      Best of luck – Nikki Weston

      Reply
  3. Nikki Weston

    April 2, 2021 at 8:16 am

    Thanks Konn for bringing this issue up, the step by step description above is a massive help to me right now as I start the migration from from Amazon to IS. Think I’m clearer now on the steps and timeline involved, I’ll let you know if it all goes to plan.

    Many thanks again Konn – Nikki Weston, Dublin, Ireland.

    Reply
    • Konn Lavery

      April 4, 2021 at 9:54 am

      You’re welcome Nikki! Thanks for clarifying for Robert too. Its tricky finding the right info in all aspects of self publishing. Lots of digging…
      Let me know how it goes.
      Cheers,

      – Konn

      Reply
  4. Marianne

    May 15, 2021 at 7:37 am

    What if your book is using an Amazon assigned ASIN, do you correct that first, then start this process?

    Reply
    • Konn Lavery

      May 15, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Hey Marianne,

      That’s right. Unfortunately a print ASIN is bound to Amazon. You can unpublish the ASIN version from KDP and make a new print version with the new ISBN, linking it to the ebook.
      The old ASIN version will always stay in the Amazon searches, even though it says “unavailable”. Over time it will trickle down the searches.

      Cheers!

      – Konn

      Reply
  5. N.

    June 20, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Konn, thank you for the detailed info.

    If I publish with Amazon using KDP’s free isbn, and then I decide to publish elsewhere later on, does KDP own my book? Is creating a new edition of the book (and getting a new ISBN) the only way to leave Amazon?

    If I get a new ISBN, will my book have two ISBN’s in the database/ library (bowker)?

    Could I use KDP’s isbn with a different publisher?

    Thank you for your time xx

    Reply
    • Konn Lavery

      June 22, 2021 at 8:09 am

      Hi N,

      Glad to help!
      KDP wont own the book but they’ll own that ISBN which is more annoying because libraries and book stores use that isbn for searching. But you still own the book content.
      And yes … unfortunately that’s how Amazon handles their ISBNs. Your new ISBN will make your book a “new edition” even if it’s the same version.
      People searching your book will see two versions on a database, but if they go to buy the KDP one they’ll see its retired.
      You could also use the “new edition” as an opportunity to add a review snippet on the cover, adjust the colour so it stands out. And even add an extra note from the author… depending. Just so it stands out when people search for the two.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,

      – Konn

      Reply

Konn Lavery

About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and Literary Titan.

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