The Independent Publishing Magazine runs a regular Publishing Service Index to track the popularity and uptake of the various self-publishing support services and platforms available currently to self-published authors. Rather than tracking scammers like Author Solutions and its various offshoots, this index is more about gauging the merits of the real services that writers are likely to use, and their options in getting their work out. And the top ten list of services in the latest iteration, for December 2014, shows that Kindle Direct Publishing is falling in popularity, consistent with the reports elsewhere that KDP and Kindle Unlimited have helped sour authors on at least some of the Amazon services.


This doesn’t indicate a wholesale retreat from Amazon as a platform, as CreateSpace, also an Amazon offering after all, has shouldered its way up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the rankings. But IngramSpark is clearly finding a lot of favor among authors, perhaps justifying the deals that many publishing outfits have signed with the Ingram Content Group. And Mark Coker’s Smashwords is also sustaining its reputation at the top of the league, and perhaps increasing it.

The full index, which is a handy checklist of services in its own right, is available here. For aspiring or current self-published authors, it’s recommended.


  1. Interesting trends and perhaps ones that show a maturing of independent authors.

    The contrasting moves for KDP (down) and CreateSpace (up) doesn’t surprise me.

    * Amazon pays too little in royalties for ebooks while imposing too many conditions and that shows. Their long-term ebook plans, ones they conceal behind rhetoric about lower ebook prices, are to force royalties down from the current industry standard 65-70% to the 35-50% range. That why, for all the conditions it imposes on author, Amazon’s crowdsource scheme only pays 50%. Pitiful.

    * On the other hand Ingram/Lightning Source/Ingram Spark are giving Amazon some solid competition in the POD market. Amazon not only doesn’t match the reach Ingram has to bookstores and globally, it may never have given the hostility many bookstores have to getting books from CreateSpace. The result is that CreateSpace pays better than Ingram’s two plans. As for quality, from what I’ve seen, it’s a wash. CreateSpace handles interior images better, while Ingram does a better job with the covers. That’s why I tell authors that, like it or not, they need to do their POD publishing through both. They can use the same interior PDF. They merely need a different cover to deal with different spine thicknesses.

    Smashwords, while clearly very pro-author, is a mixed bag. It is great for authors who write simple-to-format novels in Word for Windows and there are a lot such people. But it still missing the boat for those who’d like to use it to distribute digital books that they’ve formatted themselves. It’d be more versatile if it had a genuine small publisher path that took advantage of all the outlets it distributes to without tilting so heavily to a Word input. I layout books with InDesign. I don’t have the time to downgrade them to Word documents and format them yet again. I simply want Smashwords to pass through epubs (3.0 reflowable and fixed format) to retailers whose marketshare it too small for a direct relationship to make sense. It’d also be great if we could upload our own PDF versions.

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