How to use IngramSpark for Pre-Orders with Amazon KDP Print
ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
How to get the same book release date when using Amazon KDP print and IngramSpark • Four reasons why pre-order is important • Caution about using temp files during pre-order period
How to use IngramSpark for Pre-Orders with Amazon KDP Print

How to use IngramSpark for Pre-Orders with Amazon KDP Print

Making your print book available for pre-order is a professional self-publishing marketing tactic. Here are four reasons why this is important:

  1. Prospective readers can place an order in advance. The book won’t ship until the release date.
  2. If this is your first book, having your book listed on Amazon means you can complete your author profile using Author Central.
  3. It’s real: media, influencers, and book reviewers you approach during your early marketing efforts can see all the details about your book. This helps them decide if they might want to review it or speak with you.
  4. You can link to it. The store link will not change after the book is released. Get this done now!

Offering your print book for pre-ordering on Amazon is possible if you use IngramSpark print-on-demand (POD). Amazon KDP print (formerly CreateSpace) does not currently offer pre-ordering.

This article explains how to coordinate using both IngramSpark and Amazon KDP Print to list a print book in advance of a release date. Once released, your book’s release date, also known as a publication date, will be the same for all stores where it is sold.

Note that Amazon KDP's new feature called “Schedule a Release” is not pre-order. Learn more here about the difference between KDP Schedule a Release vs IngramSpark pre-order.

In practical terms, offering pre-ordering means that your book will appear on Amazon (and other online stores), but it will not be shipped to the customer (or sold in a physical store) before the publication date. Orders accumulated during the pre-order period are released on or slightly before the publication date.

How AuthorImprints coordinates IngramSpark pre-ordering with Amazon KDP Print

Here is the typical six-step process we follow. It takes advantage of the faster and lower-cost proofing you can do with KDP Print while maximizing the benefits of IngramSpark for pre-ordering.

1. KDP Print publishing date. The first time you set your book up, you can enter a publishing date. Don’t do it; just skip that step. If you put a date in, it must be the current date or an earlier date. If you forget to update the date when you do officially publish, the official publishing date will be the date you first entered. By leaving this blank, the system will use the date you officially approve the book (see step six below).

2. Proofing. Once you have a PDF of your interior and cover, upload both to KDP Print. The proofing process with KDP Print is much faster than with IngramSpark, and you’ll be able to order a printed proof in about a day. It then takes several days to arrive, depending on the shipping option you choose.

The reason we like KDP Print for proofing is that the total cost is lower—both to print the proof and to ship—and the process is much faster (not to mention less confusing) than with Ingram Spark. You can continue printing proofs like this until your book looks the way you want.

Note: The cost to print a proof using KDP Print and the cost to buy author copies once your book is published is the same. Read our article about Amazon Fees and Royalties for Kindle eBooks and KDP Print.

3. IngramSpark Dates—They have two:

  • Publication Date: “The Publication date is the date that you plan to make the book available to bookstores, libraries and online retailers. If the On Sale Date field is left blank, the Publication and On Sale Date will be the same.”

    Presumably, yours is in the future. This is the same date that you will eventually use for Amazon KDP Print as noted in number one above.

  • On Sale Date: “The On Sale Date is the date before which the book may not be sold by Retail Partners.” Ingram further explains it this way: “Specifying an On Sale Date in your metadata allows you to set up a title in advance so that it becomes visible for pre-ordering to our established distribution partners.”

    Technically, you just have to enter a publication date in the future to activate pre-ordering. But it doesn’t hurt to open the “on sale date” calendar and enter the same date. This is the date your pre-orders become orders, which is the same as the publication (release) date.

    Pre-orders are accumulated in the Ingram system and then printed 10 or more days prior to the publication date, so that the books can be delivered to retailers and book buyers on or before the publication date.

4. IngramSpark setup. Set up your book and choose your publication date in the future. If you have already ordered a printed proof from KDP (step 2 above), we feel a printed proof from IngramSpark is optional. (You can easily download an e-proof during the setup process, which we highly recommend.)

5. KDP Print double-check. Now make sure your KDP Print information is complete and accurate and matches the information in IngramSpark. Keep the paperback in draft status on Amazon.

6. On the publication date. Once this date is reached, the online stores will change the book’s availability to “released and available for immediate shipping.” Go into your KDP account and enter the publication date on the “Paperback Content” screen. Save and continue to the next screen, “Paperback Rights & Pricing.” At the bottom, click “Publish Your Paperback.”

Once processed and approved by Amazon, orders placed on Amazon will be printed and shipped by Amazon, not IngramSpark. We tested this by immediately ordering a client’s book and it was indeed the file uploaded to Amazon that we received.

Caution: Are you using temporary files to set up pre-order?

If you are used to using Amazon KDP Kindle eBook pre-ordering, you know that it is possible to schedule a release date up to a year in advance. No eBook file is necessary, but you can upload a temporary or test file for proofing purposes.

Doing this with your print book on IngramSpark might result in that proof book being printed for customers. This very thing happened with David Wogahn’s The Book Review Companion. Due to pre-order volume, the paperback proof copy was printed in advance of the release date. 😫

Here’s some advice from our interview with Ingram’s Bailey Davis:

“If pre-orders are received, it is possible that they may be printed at the time of order but held until the live date. So, if you don’t have the final files in place, we may print what you gave us as the orders come in. If that is a temporary file, then that is what will be shipped, come the publication date.”

Careful coordination with marketing

We at AuthorImprints are experts at coordinating this process along with the production of book files and eBook files. We also optimize metadata and can coordinate advance reading copies (ARCs) orders with self-publishing authors or their PR agency. Contact us to learn more.

You might also be interested in reading How to Print Advance Reader Copy (ARC) Books Using IngramSpark

36 thoughts on “How to use IngramSpark for Pre-Orders with Amazon KDP Print”

  1. Jessica Rosenberg

    Thank you for these incredible instructions. Super helpful and easy to follow.
    I have a quick question, however. I followed all the steps and my pre-order is successfully showing as available on Barnes&Nobles, however, on Amazon, it’s showing as “currently out of stock.”
    Is there any hope that this will eventually shift to pre-order status? It’s been 72 hours or so since I set everything up.

  2. That’s not uncommon, Jessica. But if it doesn’t change in a week or so you can contact Ingram and ask if they can resubmit it to the retailers. Just know that they don’t like doing this so soon after the book has been approved for distribution which is why I say wait. Good luck.

  3. Hi! Great article and very helpful steps. After publishing direct through Amazon, do you then go into your IngramSpark account and remove Amazon from the distribution options? I’ve read that if you distribute through IngramSpark and direct through Amazon you have to be careful not to end up with two listings for your book on Amazon (one from Ingram and one from where you published directly). Or is this not a concern? Thank you!

  4. That would never happen. Publishing on KDP simply blocks the Ingram feed. You also cannot turn off any stores in Ingram. It’s all or none.

  5. Thanks for this article. I’m a little confused about the process. For many reasons, I’d like to create a pre-order for a book that has not been completed yet. If I understand correctly, the only way to do generate the pre-order is to upload a manuscript.

    But, after reading your article, I understand Ingram may print the temporary manuscipt prior to my release, no matter how far in advance the pre-order is created?

    Can you clarify? What would you suggest? I’d actually like to include a pre-order page in the book I’m publishing fnow or the next book that’s not completed yet… But, what you’ve described about Ingram’s process up-ends my strategy.

  6. I would upload the finished book. If you have to make changes, do that 30+ days before the release date. When you make changes, they take it off sale while the files are processing. Also, whatever you upload has to go through formal processing by their systems.

  7. I’ve read repeatedly that when Amazon gets paperback pre-orders it orders a bunch of copies from IngramSpark, and then tends to glitch and list your book as out of stock when you do the switchover. This could be catastrophic for sales and momentum in the first week of release – do you have any advice for avoiding the problem?

  8. Our clients have not experienced this. Also, we submit the paperback to KDP on the day of release.

  9. I’m using D2D print and ebook, which is ingram pod. I had set the release date out 45 days, to Jan 2023 on bowkers . I awaited my proof copy, but they never sent it. I finally got D2D to get another proof mar 23, and approved it mar 24, but that other proof print still hasn’t arrived. Anyway, it’s April 10, and Amazon has it pre-order not released, yet B&N has it on sale 72 hours later. D2D said they followed up. But still isn’t fixed. I probably should’ve changed my release date on bowkers when I knew it was going to be this late. I”d fire myself, but I’m employee of the month!

    I don’t have a portal from D2D or Ingram or Amazon for print books. So, when this happens you just wait, and realize that the other 2 options are better than D2D.

    Any idea on how long it will remain pre order after the Delayed release? Do you think I should change/update my bowkers release date after the fact, or would that be another snafu?

    The worst book release Ever!
    Ingram book over 3 months for a proof! through D2D.

  10. I would not be concerned at all with the release date entered in Bowkers. It’s not going to impact your sales or marketing. If a print book is set for pre release on Amazon, and the book is not available, Amazon will add a notice on that format’s page that says something like “this title is currently unavailable and we don’t know when it will be in stock.” Other sites have different wording, like Bookshop will say “Backorder (Temporarily out of stock).” Some stores may give you a few days before they add the wording. The point is: it can vary…up to the stores…it is a big tangled web.

    Which gets to the root: the fewer the parties that are between you and the retailer, the better. More control over metadata and you can reach someone responsible. I’m not being critical of your decision, because on the surface, solutions like D2D and PublishDrive make sense. But when the vast majority of indie book sales are on Amazon, it’s best to use KDP for for this reason (if print requirements can be met by KDP). We just moved a client’s ebooks from KDP to PublishDrive and learned we can’t use Amazon’s A+ content.

    Thanks for sharing your experience so others can be aware of the potential downsides. I’ll let HR know that it isn’t you, its them! Good luck, Thomas. -David

  11. Hello! Thanks for this helpful info! I had my book on Amazon for preorder because it was in Ingram. My Ingram numbers are quite large, and I’m nervous they’re reflecting Amazon preorders but I have no way of knowing. I’ve not switched the paperback ON for Amazon (2 weeks ahead of my pub date) as I’m very nervous Amazon preorders will be processed by Ingram (I make much more for each Amazon book purchased). Do you think the timing for this will prevent that from happening? Thank you!

  12. If you switch on Amazon for the print, the book will be available with the pub date you select and it is no longer available for pre order. You can’t game this.

  13. I just enabled my book for distribution on Ingram Spark. How long should I expect before it shows up on Amazon for pre-order? I have my final manuscript and cover ready to go and foresee making no more changes. My plan was to announce my book & pre-order link a month in advance on my socials to begin marketing, and I want to publish my book June 27. Is this too soon of a release date? Will I need to give myself more time for Ingram to upload my book to Amazon? Thanks!

  14. I imagine it may be there by now but there is no set timetable. We find that it appears on BN within about a week and Amazon can be a week or even a month. It’s between those two companies.

  15. Thanks for the great article!
    I was told that it wasn’t possible to order a proof from KDP if I set up my paperback on IS for pre-order. Or that if I set up my book on KDP that it would interfere with the paperback pre-order from IS.
    Are you saying that I can order proofs from KDP by not entering a publication date (the book is not live), then set up the ebook on KDP and the paperback on IS for pre-order, and finally publish with KDP for the paperback about 24 hours before the preset publication date?
    I appreciate your help in clearing this up for me.

  16. The short answer is yes. If a problem on KDP ordering a proof while the book is in pre-order at IS, you could use a free ISBN, but that should not be necessary. The date you choose on KDP for the paperback will depend on your time zone and the KDP clock. You said “about 24” so just clarifying that. Good luck.

  17. Kristen D’Amato

    Hi.

    Thanks for the article and comments. Super helpful! The last bit about how I actually share the Amazon pre-sale link is the only unclear part. (Also you say pub date & on sale date make the same and other articles say set on sale date as your pre-order date. ????????‍♀️)

    I just enabled my paperback for distribution on IS a few minutes ago. My pub date and on sale date are the same – August 15. Do I just start checking Amazon in a week or so for the book to show up with a pre-sale option? If so, once it shows up this is the link I can use for marketing?

    Thanks!

  18. Kristen, the answer your last two questions is yes, and I see you’ve already found your book and linked to it. But rather than use the link you are using from your website (or sharing), I strongly suggest you shorten it to remove a bunch of Amazon’s tracking codes. Use just this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C97SW7RW/. If/when you release an eBook, this link will also work (once both books are “joined” on the amazon page).

  19. Thank you, thank you for this industry expertise!

    Regarding royalties, for pre-orders filled by IS I will receive royalties based on the discount I set with them correct? On my publication date, once approved by Amazon and they start filling orders do I receive royalties from them based on their 60% royalty rate?

    And I go back and forth managing my IS dashboard for all other outlets and my Amazon KDP dashboard to see my Amazon sales, correct?

    Lastly, do you recommend building some margin (soft launch) once the book is published before announcing it to the world it so any kinks can be worked out between IS and Amazon?

  20. Wow, David, this is such an impactful post. My company typically launches Kindle, paperback, and hardcover versions at the same time via KDP. We “sell” the Kindle for free the first few days, via KDP Select. This helps us get reviews. If we continue with this strategy for our next launch (late September), do you see any issue with us doing an IS pre-order as you outline in the post, with the same publication date as our Kindle launch? Or should we just offer the pre-order and publish on, say, September 20, then publish our KDP versions a day or two later? Appreciate your help.

  21. Hi Mark, this is one of those “it depends” situations so I’ll share the guidance we give our authors. Generally, the pre-order period is only helpful if you are doing pre-release marketing such that when the book is published, sales are immediate. But it’s a bit of work and Ingram is harder to navigate than KDP. As for dates, we always release print and ebook on the same pub date.

  22. Thank you for this article — very helpful! Question: Following your steps above, do you know how long it typically takes a pre-order link to appear on Bookshop? I did all the steps above and the pre-order link has been on Barnes & Noble for 10 days, but nothing on Bookshop. (When I have done “regular” book uploads to Ingram — i.e. not used a publication date in the future — the ordering link usually appears on Bookshop within 1-2 days after it appears on Barnes & Noble.) Thank you again!

  23. It seems to vary in our experience and not sure why. Like IngramSpark says, it’s up to the stores as to whether or not they will list a book for sale.

  24. Hi! This was a super helpful thread. Thank you!

    I used Ingram spark to upload my manuscripts and they are available for pre-sale (30+ days) on Amazon. However, I made a few minor but crucial edits to the original files and I am nervous (after reading the above article) that those who ordered pre-order will receive the original manuscripts. Ingram says it sent out the new metadata to all retailers, but Amazon is still showing the old cover for the pre-sale (I am assuming the text inside is also not updated) and says they update their metadata files every 3-5 days. Any advice on how to ensure all pre-sale customers get the updated files?

    Also, when switching to KDP on the release date, KDP says it can take up to 3 days for the books to “publish” – are you suggesting that it will be automatic that day if it already has the files from the Ingram?

    Thank you!

  25. You just need to hope that the new files are used for printing and be prepared for people to contact you, if they even do. It really comes down to the effectiveness of your marketing. If lots are ordering, they may get the old files. For KDP, you’ll be uploading separate files. If you want a specific release date showing for your print book on KDP, I suggest uploading on the day of release after 0 GMT time for that date.

  26. Help! I did this process and the pre-order worked perfectly, but after hitting “publish your paperback” on Amazon, I got an email saying that they need to confirm I own the rights to my book. I assume this is because I already published on IS? I have no idea how to “prove” this to Amazon and now I’m really worried they won’t publish my paperback on time for my publication date (tomorrow 11/17). Have you ever heard of this? I can’t find a number to call KDP about this.

  27. This is not uncommon but we’ve never experienced this because a book was distributed via IngramSpark. It has to be something else triggering this. They will be in touch or you can use the contact form in KDP to ask about the status.

  28. I have a couple questions! I plan to release my picture book in April and want to announce a presale in January on IS. I realize for Amazon I can only set a publication date 60 days in advanced. Am I able to do my IS preorder for longer (90 days) and then make my Amazon book “draft” after and set the publication dates the same? Also, if I setup Amazon in advanced with an IS preorder will it “block” the preorder since I know Amazon eventually takes over the listing once it’s published through them? (I’m guessing as long as it’s in draft it won’t do that)

  29. You can setup print pre-order using IngramSpark up to a year in advance. For Amazon, I believe the feature you are referring to is “Schedule a Release” which is not pre order. In your situation, you’ll have to manually release the print book on or after the release date. We will have an article on this topic in our learning center in early January 2024.

  30. I am wondering, I had the link to POD thru Ingramspark on amazon, and the option has disappeared, is there an easy way to get it re-linked?

  31. I uploaded a book to Ingram Spark in October and initially set the publication/on-sale date to December 31st and then shortly thereafter, decided to change to February while I make some revisions. I saved those settings and it is still under revision on Ingram Spark. But as I’m getting ready to launch my pre-orders, I see that my book is already showing up on Amazon/B&N as if it were published on December 31st. Sigh. Any way to change that or am I stuck with that?

  32. You might be able to get their customer service to change the date. But if someone has purchased a print copy, it might be too late. In this case, an option is to retire that ISBN and use a different one. Sort of a messy book listing but no other choices. Good luck.

  33. I find all the info from Ingram so conflicting. I am new at this and had no idea what I was doing. I uploaded a place holder cover and manuscripts beginning of January (My on sale date is Feb 6th) I have had a few paperback pre-orders through Amazon, (But it is essentially through Ingram Spark) I thought the date to upload my final manuscript and cover was the date Amazon set for me which was Feb 2nd. I have customers that say their Amazon says the title will be delivered on my on sale date, however a rep from Ingram just told me none of my pre-orders have been printed and will be printed and shipped to Amazon for distribution on the on sale date. I’m actually hoping that is right because I would hate for my customer to get the premature files and have to return it to amazon and then wait for a replacement book. Does anyone have any experience with Ingram not printing the pre-orders until the on sale date? I only have ten for reference.

  34. Based on your note, the book will be printed and shipped on or around the release date using your temp files. The best procedure is to not enable your print book for distribution until your print files are final because Ingram can start printing books up to 6 weeks before the release date. You aren’t the only person confused by all this, not that this helps at this point.

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