Quality Control? DOA

After a more than two week back and forth with CreateSpace /Amazon about the discrepancies in the quality of  my book “Two Weeks in Africa, A photo Journal” I pulled the book from their site and decided to re-release the book with their competitor-IngramSpark. This is apparently the only other Print To Order self-publishing company in the USA.


CreateSpace/Amazon’s lack of quality control among their printers is quite obvious.


Although I pulled my first edition of Two Weeks in Africa off of CreateSpace you will see it on Amazon because some retail site is attempting to sell  copy for over $500. Why? I don”t know. I suggest you don’t buy it because even the great copy I got from their printer in KY isn’t worth over $500.

Since I knew my book could  look good if it was printed on the correct paper, I didn’t make any changes to the interior of my book but I did create a new cover. IngramSpark charges $49 for setting up a paper-bound title and does not automatically assign an ISBN#. I bought one for $100. I chose ‘Premium Color’ Printing which was described as the ‘preferred choice for those who care about the quality of color photos in your book’.  That’s me!

I was extremely optimistic when I finally made my way through their process, uploaded my book & then ordered a printed proof. Shipping only took about a week. When I saw the package at my door, for some reason, without even opening the cardboard cover, my stomach filled with dread. It was one of those ‘feelings’ I get. Pushing this aside, I pried open the package trying to remain optimistic.

I have learned to trust my instincts, those ‘feelings’ when I am in the casino playing video poker work to my advantage. I  have a knack for finding the winning machines. My instincts were so strong on the Panama Cruise my husband & I recently took that I won…no kidding…$25,000. This is more money than i ever made in a year of working full time + overtime. My point is, my gut is usually right. And, unfortunately it was right this time too.

At first glance, I hated the photograph on the cover.  I chose an image of an elephant chewing on some grass. Instead of gray, the elephant was very yellow. I accepted full responsibility for this and immediately went back to the original photograph and set it up with less contrast and better color correction.  This was an easy fix.


New cover on my new edition of Two Weeks In Africa. Elephants aren’t yellow. I adjusted the colors and resubmitted my cover to IngramSpark

When I flipped through the book I realized that their ‘Premium Color’ printing is only a half-step above CreateSpace/Amazon. The paper was better quality and most of the images were true to color. But, the images were still washed out not like the beautiful book I received from CreateSpace that was printed in KY. This new edition was not, in my opinion, worth the $149 price tag of set up.

However, I was willing to accept this new edition as an upgrade even though the photos were not vibrant like I expected.  Although the quality is only slightly above Amazon I could sell the book for $47 instead of $60 that CreateSpace required so, I guess I was OK with this new book.


As I flipped through the pages of my new edition, I became incredulous. Every left hand page (even numbered page) has a scratch running from top to bottom about 2 inches in  from the spine. This scratch is not in the PDF and was never on any of the 15 copies of the book I bought from CreateSpace. So this tells me something was wrong with the printing equipment that produced this book.  It should ever have left the printer like this. So, once again I began a back and forth about the lack of quality control. Only this time it’s with IngramSpark.

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Today I resubmitted my complaint because I never received a response. I still do not know if they will replace the book (I had to pay $34 for my proof that is essentially garbage). More importantly, I don’t know if they can guarantee this isn’t going to happen again. As I type this, I am seriously considering pulling this book again. I may re-re-release it with Amazon because at least my book does look great if your order is lucky enough to be printed in KY. I’m not so sure about IngramSpark.

What has happened to quality control? What has happened to taking pride in the work you do? Why is it now acceptable to produce inferior products and then shrug when confronted?

The following is my email to IngramSpark. It’s short. I’m tired of being polite but I did exercise a bit of restraint  today when I replied to the response I got. This complaint is still ongoing. My dogged perseverance really has little to do with this book any more. But it does have everything to do with all of my future books. I am currently working on a new Wally & Petey Sock Monkey Brothers story book and I anticipate putting together another photo book about an upcoming Galapagos trip. I sure hope to have all these kinks worked out soon.



Love Sock Monkeys? You will love Wally & Petey!

 On May 29th I contacted you about a defective book I received. I was asked to submit photos of the damage and told that I would hear from you within 5 days. I have not heard a peep. At the very least I expect the damaged book to be replaced and an assurance that this will not happen again when orders are placed.
 I am attaching a few photos, my original complaint and the information on the inside back page of the book. I expect this resubmission of my complaint will take priority and not be overlooked or pushed to the side.
This is my first publication with you. It’s ironic that it was Amazon’s lack of quality control that made me give you guys a try. I must say that I find my complaint being ignored to be completely frustrating.
My original email:
 I just received the first copy of my printed photo book,Two Weeks In Africa: A Photo Journal,(order # SPK-6584088-1) and noticed right away there is a scratch on every image on the even numbered pages. It looks terrible. It’s in the same place on every page (about 2 inches into the page from the spine). This  is not on the PDF file, it is something that happened during printing, gluing or trimming. Is this going to happen on every copy? This is unacceptable.
This book should never have left the printer looking like this.
Thank you for your help,
Jennifer Wheatley Wolf
This is the information about the book:
Two Weeks In Africa: A Photo Journal Available for Printing/Download 9781732378100 Perfect Bound Wheatley-Wolf, Jennifer A

Premium full color

printer information:
CPSIA information can be obtained at http://www.ICGtesting.com
Printed in the USA

Jun 7, 4:41 PM CDT


Thank you for your email.

According to our premedia team, “The “scratch” is a jet-out. Also, in order for the cover to print less “yellow” the images should be color-corrected prior to submission. The light areas of the elephant are made up of mainly yellow (from the lightest area at the top of the elephant’s ear – C-1, M-1, Y-22, K-0).”

Please let us know if you need further assistance. Have a great day!

IngramSpark Customer Support


What the heck is ‘Jet out’ and how do you intend to correct the problem?
Since it is not on the PDF and it did not print with this flaw when I first published it with CreateSpace/Amazon, (15 copies) I deduce it is an equipment problem on your end. Your answer provided absolutely no information on how you intend to address this problem. Since this is my first publishing experience with you I don’t know if you are reading from a scripted answer, being obtuse or just assume I can read your mind. This is really frustrating and unacceptable.
I expect a replacement for the book I bought because the one I was sent is garbage. I also would like to know if this kind of sub-par quality is common with your company or if this was a one time occurance. I have nothing to compare this experience with so I can only assume the worst. I was really hoping my choice to use you for future publications was going to be a step up from CreateSpace/Amazon but after this experience, I can’t be certain.
 I paid $33.47 for something that is garbage. I really would like a replacement book so I can be sure the problem has been resolved. However, if that is not something you will do, I want my money back.
 I personally color corrected the cover and  resubmitted it. I don’t know if it’s better or not because you have not sent a replacement book.
Thank you for your help,
I can not in good faith recommend IngramSpark for your printing. I anticipate there will be a few more emails back and forth where their customer support responds with their scripted answers and I bang my head against the wall until I give up and pull my book off their site.  I still have faith that there must be printers out there who takes pride in their work in addition to the folks in KY.
(see my blog post -Createspace/Amazon “We aim to displease

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