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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An Ongoing Contest--Kindle versus Spark

As I was putting the finishing touches on my upcoming book on self-publishing, I realized that I could not come up with a definitive recommendation about the best indie publishing methods. Amazon Kindle Direct and Ingram's Spark are currently locked in an arm-wrestling match. Both offer simplified e-book publishing. Both have ways to move a manuscript from its electronic format to a paper version. Each one touts certain advantages over the other. Spark offers hard-back publication, but the process can take weeks or months. Kindle only handles trade paper editions, but its speed and efficiency are great. And each has a fan base of users who are convinced that its methods are superior. In the end, I waffled:
Both programs are changing rapidly, and they seem to be spurring one another on to greater and greater improvements. I cannot recommend one over the other. I would remind authors, however, that the final decision on publishing must not rely solely on quick and inexpensive options. If self-publishing is ever to compete with traditional publishers, or if you hope for best-seller lists and big-name reviews, your printed books must meet the same high standards as the rest of the industry.
This morning I discovered new reasons to keep watching this fight without betting large sums of money on either side. My e-mail box had a message from each of the combatants.

Ingram Spark announced a new landscape format:
Take advantage of the new 11 x 8.5 in (216 x 280 mm) trim size offered for Premium Color in both paperback and hardcover formats.This new trim size coupled with rich Premium Color is perfect for children's books, art & photograpy books, and more.
With 30 available trim sizes, you're sure to find the perfect size for your book.
And Kindle Direct Publishing countered with:


Did you know that with X-Ray for Authors, a free Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) tool, you can now add your own definitions, descriptions, or commentary that will show up when the reader engages the X-Ray feature? X-Ray is a unique Kindle eBook feature that allows readers to learn more about a character, topic, event, place, or any other term, simply by pressing and holding on the term or character that interests them. With X-Ray for Authors, you can add new X-Ray entries, edit existing ones, or enable X-Ray for a new book. Even a few descriptive words can make a big difference to the reader as they try and situate characters or learn more about terms or events.
I'm now wondering what others think about these latest offers. Would either of these innovations interest you? If you are a writer, would you use either one? Particularly in the case of the new Kindle program, would you be willing to spend the time it would take to set up the X-ray features? And what about you readers? Would you prefer to have a children's book in this new landscape format? Does it make the book easier for a child to hold? And what about the pop-up feature of X-ray. Would you really take the time to interrupt your reading to follow an explanatory link? Does either idea spark an interest? Do you have a burning desire for either one? Leave your comments below.








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