Why IngramSpark’s new Quality Control Measures for its Print on Demand Service are great for Authors and Publishing

Please also check the News & Analysis section of WriteZero for the latest News and Analysis of the eBook and Publishing business for Authors & Publishers

This News & Analysis post is from March 13th, 2020

Here is an Ingram Spark Service Alert which raises the quality bar for what IngramSpark will accept. You can also download the PDF with additional details about what Ingram Spark will no longer accept

Found via The Digital Reader

In-Depth Look at Ingram Spark’s Quality Control Measures

Please Note: At the moment this applies only to PRINTED BOOKS and not to ebooks

  1. Summaries and workbooks and similar content will not be allowed until and unless permission of the original author has been taken
    1. This is a beautiful move. An unauthorized summary is basically copyright theft masquerading as fair content use
    2. It also adds close to zero value
  2.  Content that is 90% or more blank pages will be removed
    1. This includes notepads, journals
    2. There is not really a good reason for these to be a Print on Demand Book
    3. You could argue either way, to be fair
  3. Mimics/Mirrors popular titles and has similar covers or similar design or similar titles or similar content
    1. Basically, this was dishonest people skirting around copyright
    2. It was also people preying on reader confusion
    3. Eliminating these really cleans up the ecosystem
  4. Content that is misleading or confusing
    1. A good move
  5. Content that is listed at prices much higher than its market value
  6. Content scanned from original versions where part of the content is hard to read
  7. Content created using automated means or mass produced processes

Basically, low value content and content that skirts copyright laws is being removed

Additional Details about Ingram Spark’s Quality Control Measures

  1. Policy change will come into effect April 27th, 2020
  2. It will apply only to print content, at this time
  3. No separate notification will be sent for content that is removed
    1. It will just stop showing up in the Ingram Spark catalogue
  4. You can contact the Customer Service team at Ingram Spark if you feel your content was wrongly removed
  5. Title setup fees will not be reimbursed
  6. Content will be removed starting April 27th, 2020 and can be removed any time after that date
    1. As started earlier, there will be no notification
  7. You will still be able to order print copies for your own purposes
  8. By Mass Uploads they mean content created by applications and programs and via templates

Why IngramSpark says they are implementing these Quality Control Measures

They say

IngramSpark is taking a necessary stand to uphold the integrity of and reduce bias against independently published works. To align with our industry’s needs for content integrity, we will actively remove print content from our catalog that does harm to buyers and affects the reputations of our publishers and retail and library partners.

In plain English – To eliminate low quality books, and improve the general reputation of self published books

We think – Yes, that seems the logical reason

If you’re on the service provider side (as we are), there are a few things authors don’t see

  1. There are a very large number of people pretending to be authors, who are just trying to take advantage of readers
  2. They bring down the reputation of ALL self published authors
  3. They make everyone miserable
    1. It might come as a surprise to you
    2. ‘Authors’ who just want to make a quick buck, will often screw over readers
    3. They will screw over other authors (by turning readers away from self published authors)
    4. They will screw over everyone they work with
  4. There is a plague of locusts who have read ‘courses’ on How to Get Rich from the Kindle Store
  5. They are flooding the store with low quality content and hurting all the actual authors and actual publishers

Why these new Quality Control Measures are great for Authors and Publishing

Currently, there are four very big problems self published authors and independent publishers face

  1. Discoverability – It’s very hard to get ‘discovered’ by readers
    1. Low quality ‘authors’ and ‘publishers’ flood the market
    2. It makes it very tough for quality authors to get seen
    3. In the time it takes an honest, dedicated author to write one high quality book, the spammer has sent out 30 low quality ‘books’
      1. It’s like the adage – In the time it takes the truth to put its pants on, a lie has traveled halfway around the world
  2. Perception – Self Published Books have a bad perception among readers to begin with
    1. Low quality people send out low quality books and drag down the reputation of all self published works
    2. The perception of self published work keeps becoming more and more negative
  3. Survival – The foremost challenge for self published authors and smaller publishers is to make enough money to stay in business
    1. Low quality content takes the money that would go to actual authors and actual publishers
    2. Because the people churning out copious amounts of low quality content have low ethics, they will use illegal marketing tricks and unethical tactics to get a disproportionate share of the money readers pay
    3. That leaves less for the real authors and many are unable to survive in this tough market
  4. Profitability – Ideally, after achieving Survival, you want good and great authors and publishers to start making a decent living from their books
    1. Low quality content creators are taking the money that would go to actual authors and actual publishers creating high quality books
    2. A very significant portion of book sales are siphoned away by low quality content creators
      1. They then proceed to create even more low quality ‘books’
      2. Please keep in mind that a good author writing 2 good quality books a year keeps getting further and further outpaced by a low quality ‘author’ producing 30 low quality titles a year
      3. In 5 years the first author has 5 to 10 books, but has to compete with the spammer who has 150 or more books

The only solution is to keep out low quality content ‘authors’ to begin with

There is no other solution. If you let in such people they poison the ecosystem. They are so focused on extracting money out of the ecosystem, while providing as little value as possible, that they do not consider the impact on other authors. They also don’t consider the impact on the ecosystem. Readers who are getting ‘the least possible value’ for their money, go away and never come back

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