The Ingram Alternative
Ingram Spark is a print-on-demand arm of the Ingram Book Company. Along with Lightning Source, they are the king of book distribution and POD. Ingram Spark is the new wing of Ingram for Indie authors. Lightning Source does the printing for Ingram Spark.
POD (print on demand) saves you the cost of printing copies of your book in advance. These companies also give you world-wide distribution, which can be costly for an Indie author/publisher.
Ingram is the premier distributor in America, used by the big publishing companies. They are what your local bookseller looks up when you want to find or order a book.
Included in the Ingram database are 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries can order your book.
Lightning Source offers POD for publishers with 30 books or more and to folks like me who opened an account years ago. Currently, it costs $75 to upload a new book to LSI.
Ingram Spark is for publishers with fewer than 30 books. Currently, it costs $45 to upload a new book at Spark.
If you can do all the design and formatting yourself--or hire it done by someone like me--then Lightning Source and Ingram Spark eliminate the need for the turnkey services of companies like Kindle Direct Publishing
KDP is the former CreateSpace, and offers the same services. Their basic model is cheaper, but they charge an extra fee in order to have the worldwide distribution you get from Ingram Spark and Lightning Source by default.