September 22, 2015 by James Lee
Buy Your Own Book
As an author you depend on your printer having some level of quality control. One would hope that someone is examining the end product before it gets boxed. In my opinion this just doesn’t happen. When I spoke to a customer representative at IngramSpark, they told me that book stores or customers can return any flawed units. That statement led me to believe that the printer passes the task of quality control on to the bookstore or worse the customer. I cringe at the thought of a poorly printed version of my book finding its way into the hands of a customer only to leave them disappointed. As a self-published author, it is crucial that my end product have the same quality level as any book published by any of the big publishing houses.
When my book was available at the end of July 2015 through POD (Print On Demand) service IngramSpark, I ordered fifty copies to send out for reviews, enter various contests, and to give out free copies to anyone willing to post a review or plug my book. The copies I received only a few were acceptable. IngramSpark did send me a replacement batch and their customer service was a delight to deal with, but I often wondered how frequent this happens.
The Amazon Test
Weeks after my order of fifty copies of my book Tooth & Talon, my book finally got listed on Amazon.com in mid-August, then on Barnes & Noble’s website at the end of August. At that point I decided to order a copy of my book from Amazon, just to see what a typical customer would get. In the above image, the copy on the right is the book I ordered from Amazon. Of course I was upset. IngramSpark failed to deliver a single quality copy of my book. I ended up returning the book to Amazon and they sent me a better copy. In the end everything was made right, but as an author who wants their readers to receive quality, I’m not sure that I can fully trust IngramSpark.
The Big Takeaway
If you’re a self-published author, like so many other things that rest on your shoulders, you need to keep an eye on the print quality of your books. Buy your book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other large retailer, and check the quality.