Ok. So I thought that transferring from Lightning Source to Ingram Spark would be a cake walk, rife with easy publishing and also global distribution for ebooks. Only it did not pan out that way.
I moved there way back in October. While both offices were closed for the winter, thanks to several waves of super snowstorms making transportation and work impossible; I waited patiently. This was six months of patience. Finally, around late March I was able to plan ahead and revised covers, republished one book with a different title and cover, and set up my ebooks for sale. Not all of them went through, and I was not about to pay 6 cents a page to convert a 430 page book. I put it up on Smashwords instead, where it actually went through in several different formats. I waited a month for things to settle.
Only in April did I discover that my printed books were only available in the US, and they had not been set up for global distribution as with LSI. I had to go in and manually check every box to enable that. Then, I had access to both print and ebook sales reports, but this month I discovered that the ebook sales report hung up with a line about multiple currencies requiring an email report, when I was clicking on only one currency. I emailed ISpk about it, and received no response. Today, I went in to check on May sales, which would have reflected whatever happened in April. Again, the same response on the page. I emailed them again, then looked at BBB and found that they were not accredited. It’s not a hard requirement, of course, but it’s a sort of indication that any business might be legitimate.
Then I did some more digging and found that I was not the only client complaining about ISpk’s lack of motivation to respond to anything. Several other authors began comparing CreateSpace to ISpk, and while the distribution thing is very desirable, I knew all along that most book stores were not going to order anything POD, ever. It’s sort of like finding out that the neighborhood messiah is a fake. Anyway, I looked at my efforts over the last few years and found no practical advantage to stay with a company which apparently cares very little about its customers. The Facebook page they maintain is a little strange, too, with one of the admins apologizing for the phone system being down in March. Other than that, very little feedback about day to day operations. The page was really a sort of bulletin board for the employees and nothing else.
After all this, I finally decided to move my print titles back to LSI and my ebooks back to my site and Smashwords, and said goodbye to book stores. I do a slightly better job of selling them on my own, and I know that the online bookstores take my books readily enough. Brick and mortar has finally become an impossible dream for me. Maybe it never would have worked, but I had to try. Now, I don’t care anymore. It’s just another time-wasting headache, and I’ve got better things to do. I am planning to close my account at Ingram Spark and chalk it as an expensive failure and a lesson learned. Just because it may be cheaper to do does not mean it will have the same results as at LSI. And as long as I feel like rolling with the punches I’ll keep trying somewhere else.
I don’t count myself as a failure. Any good business enterprise is risky, at best. But I am tired of counting on others and finding that they don’t have my back. If anyone wants to read my books I’ve got them to sell, in any format. Just don’t look for them at your corner book store. http://www.antellus.com.