I didn’t know better when I first self-published and I took that free ISBN from Amazon!
But that free ISBN… Oh, no. It locks you in to KDP only and guess what – they are listed as your publisher!
After the dismaying discovery that KDP doesn’t distribute everywhere, (while they say it is global distribution, it is NOT! – Read this article at New Shelves Books on WHY you should do KDP AND Ingram…) and that IngramSpark offers a whole ton of things that KDP doesn’t (we’ll go into this in a different article), I learned that small bookstores and retailers often won’t order inventory from Amazon and will only order your book if it’s on IngramSpark.
Oh, by the way – you can and SHOULD be listed in BOTH places! Once I made this realization, I started making the transition.
But it wasn’t easy.
I set up my account on IngramSpark, started loading things, and entered my ISBN.
Only to rudely receive a warning that the ISBN was already in use!
But I thought the book could be distributed everywhere and of course would have the SAME ISBN. RIGHT?
In theory, yes. But that’s not the case in two situations.
- You used an Amazon KDP ISBN
- You selected Expanded distribution on KDP.
If you’ve chosen expanded distribution, in theory, KDP (is “distributing” to IngramSpark. So your ISBN is already showing up in the database. Even if it’s not TRULY available for wholesale purchases.
But, don’t worry, we can fix it.
Transfering Your Book from KDP to IngramSpark
Assuming you have purchased your own ISBN from Bowker, you CAN transfer a title from KDP to IngramSpark. It’s not the easiest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s possible.
- Go into KDP and look at your distribution channels. This is under the Paperback Rights and Pricing Tab – in the block on pricing and royalties. You’ll want to NOT select the check box that says global distribution! If you’ve loaded to Ingram first, it’s not even an option – it’s already de-selected on your behalf.
NOTE – YOU CAN STILL DISTRIBUTE TO ALL OF AMAZON’S GLOBAL MARKETPLACES (LISTED UNDER THE MARKETPLACES) AND INGRAM. This places your book into the global Amazon stores… so amazon.ca, .de, .uk, etc.
- If KDP owns the ISBN or if it is KDP exclusive, it cannot be transferred. You must get a new ISBN. See below.
- Once you have deselected and saved, head on over to the Help/Contact section and send KDP an email letting them know you are distributing your book to IngramSpark and you need them to release your ISBN. This is VERY important because as I mentioned earlier, when you try to load your book to IngramSpark, using the same ISBN (because that’s what you should do) – IngramSpark believes it’s already in use. Because in theory, CreateSpace is “distributing” to them through expanded distribution.
- Fill out this form: Title Transfer Form
- Note that it can take up to 30 days for the transfer to happen. They will email you back and let you know if there are errors, changes to be made, or if it is processing.
How to fix it if you used a free ISBN and then purchased a new ISBN
So, this is a bit more complicated, but still do-able. I’ve done it.
FIrst, note that if you are still using a KDP ISBN, it is owned by them and you cannot transfer a KDP ISBN anywhere. However, if you’ve purchased new ISBNs… you can republish your book with the new ISBN.
To do this, you will have to re-publish your book again as a new book with the new ISBN. We recommend getting your ISBNs at myidentifiers.com through Bowker. Make sure you’ve changed the ISBN in your interior and cover files!
Once you’ve received the approval on your files, Do NOT choose expanded distribution.
You will also need to UNPUBLISH the original book.
It’s a long process and can take a month or two to rectify, but hold strong. And know that, yes, you can be on KDP and IngramSpark using the exact same ISBN.
Are you frustrated with trying to figure out all of the things you need to know to successfully self-publish your book? Check out WIP School.
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