There are generally two choices with ebook distribution. First, you can put an ebook exclusively on Amazon. Amazon’s market is HUGE and the benefits from being in their exclusive Kindle Select program are massive. For nearly all of my books, I have them in Kindle Select because the enormous sales more than make up for not being in the other much smaller systems. The second option is to go “wide” – that is, to go in every single ebook online store possible and hope that reach makes up for losing the exclusive features on Amazon.
If you choose to go wide, at first glance IngramSpark might seem like a great way to bulk-publish an ebook. You load your book in once, pay a fee, and the book goes out to a bunch of locations.
Here is why in general you should avoid the IngramSpark route.
First, you should never, ever, use IngramSpark to publish TO Amazon. Even if you don’t want to be exclusive to Amazon, you should always load and manage your ebook ON Amazon. Amazon has a variety of options for categories, descriptions, key words, and so on. You want to be right IN the Amazon interface to always have access to the most up to date options. No third party every keeps up with their changes. Also, your changes in Amazon go live immediately. Your access to the series settings, Amazon advertizing, Author Central, ACX access, and other options are smooth and integrated. Always post your Amazon ebooks directly with the Amazon interface.
So that leaves “the rest”.
Once you take care of Amazon, the next three markets to make sure you reach are Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo. None of these even slightly reach the power of Amazon, but they each have their adherents. You can load directly into these, but at some point it gets to be a pain in the butt to hand-update every single system individually when you want to make changes. Note that Kobo (the user service) is different from Kobo Plus (the subscription service). So the best way to get access to Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo is through Draft2Digital.
Draft2Digital is wholly FREE. In my testing, it provides by far the best options of categories, key words, and other fields so that you get as many settings as possible in each system. Their turnaround is fast and their technical support is great. They reach:
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo (the user version)
Amazon (don’t load from D2D – always do that directly)
Scribd (subscription service)
Kobo Plus (subscription service)
OverDrive (library service)
Bibliotecha (library service)
Baker & Taylor (library service)
Hoopla (library service)
BorrowBox (library service)
With Draft2Digital you get high-quality professional FREE access to the key players in the ebook market. You should always make sure that you have access to Amazon as a top priority and then the others on this list down to Baker & Taylor as a next level of importance.
Once you get Draft2Digital set, you then want to load your ebook into SmashWords. SmashWords is HUGE – vast numbers of people use their library for their ebooks. In addition, by being in SmashWords, you get access to another block of external markets.
Here are the markets that SmashWords distributes to. Note that I would NEVER use SmashWords to distribute to a market that is covered by Amazon or by Draft2Digital. Amazon should always be used for Amazon ebooks. Draft2Digital should be used for every market it reaches, because of its great usage of keywords and other fields. Only use SmashWords to reach the remaining markets. These are primarily much smaller markets that you might as well get since you’re in SmashWords anyway.
So the list here is:
Barnes & Noble (avoid)
Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360
Gardners Extended Retail
The “avoid” ones are just because you should already have reached them through the two best systems. You do want to be in them in general.
Both Draft2Digital and SmashWords are wholly free.
For comparison here is the list that IngramSpark reaches for a fee. Note that they do NOT reach Kobo or SmashWords which are two of the most important markets to be in for ebooks. Many of the rest of these venues are barely used and not worth pursuing.
Barnes & Noble Nook
Ask with any questions!