IngramSpark bans low-content journals, summaries and classic ‘clutter’ to clean up catalog

Print book distributor IngramSpark is banning low-content books such as notebooks and journals, summary books and any books that mirror popular titles and will remove any existing content that falls foul of its new policy.

The company says, ‘Recently, some “questionable” or even “deceptive” content has been uploaded into online platforms that creates confusion in the marketplace.

‘Part of the deception we’ve seen at IngramSpark includes blank books with cute covers, books masquerading as non-book products, and summaries representing popular books that pretend to be the original. Hundreds of versions of public domain content (examples: Art of War, Pride and Prejudice) are also becoming excessive clutter that prevent us from maintaining the optimum digital book catalog.’

IngramSpark has sent out an email to authors and publishers about ‘Maintaining Catalog Integrity’ to spell out the policy changes which it says are necessary to maintain the high level of catalog integrity and reputation Ingram holds within the book industry.

The new policy takes effect from April 27 and IngramSpark says it will actively remove print content from their catalog that falls within the problem areas. Set-up fees paid for publishing the titles will not be reimbursed. 

There has been a proliferation of summaries of popular books over the past few years. Traditional publishers have protested about this increasing sector, saying it’s infringing copyright and hitting their sales. Low-content books have also boomed, with some organisations uploading thousands of notebooks and journals on to the Amazon KDP Print platform.

It has obviously taken a long time for the wave of low-content books to reach IngramSpark and that’s possibly because the company usually charges a print set-up fee of $49 plus a $25 charge for any revisions, which would be far in excess of what most low-content books would get in revenue. It’s reckoned that hundreds of thousands of low-content books published on Amazon never make a sale.

However, since November 2019 IngramSpark have been offering a special promotion of free title set-up and free revisions for print and ebooks for five months all the way through to March 31, 2020 so the company has actually opened up the path for low-content and summary publishers.

IngramSpark says the following types of book will face removal:

  • Summaries, workbooks, abbreviations, insights, or similar type content without permission from the original author. For example: A Summary of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • Books containing blank pages exceeding 10%, notepads, scratchpads, journals, or similar type content.
  • Books or content that mirror/mimic popular titles, including without limiting, similar covers, cover design, title, author names, or similar type content.
  • Books that are misleading or likely to cause confusion by the buyer, including without limiting, inaccurate descriptions and cover art. For example: A book with a cover design that does not match the interior content; a cover that appears to be for a product other than a physical book.
  • Books listed at prices not reflective of the book’s market value. For example: a blank journal listed at $99.99.
  • Books scanned from original versions where all or parts contain illegible content to the detriment of the buyer.
  • Books created using artificial intelligence or automated processes.

IngramSpark does have an ebook distribution business but the changes only apply to print books at present.

Even if books have been in distribution with IngramSpark for some time without contention they may no longer be accepted and will be removed.

Publishers will be paid for copies sold prior to removal based on stated contractual compensation payment terms. Accounts without valid, active titles for 45 days will be closed.

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