Lightning Source

Lightning Source Inc. is a digital printer based in La Vergne, Tennessee. They serve over 25,000 publishers all over the world with print facilities in the US, England, and Asia. If a book is digitally printed, Lightning Source probably did the printing. If the name is not familiar, it is because Lightning Source only works with publishers, unless you self-publish with your own ISBN. Then they view you as a publisher and you can print with them. The only catch is, you will have to provide them with print-ready files for your book. I know two publishers that will supply those files and Lightning Source will accept them.

If you order a book online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, the order goes to Lightning Source (LS) and in a few days you find it in your mailbox. LS is
owned by the same parent company that owns Ingram Book Company, the largest book wholesaler in the US (located just three blocks from each other). All bookstores order books from Ingram's database which electronically stores several million titles. 

Getting listed in Ingram's database is essential if you want your book available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and every other internet bookseller.

Lightning Source only prints for publishers. Authors must go through a publisher to print at LS and get listed with Ingram—unless, as I said, you, as an author, truly self-publish your book with your own ISBN. You don't have to start your own publishing company, but it is easier than you think and it is a good idea if you plan on writing more than one book.
I started JC Publishers LLC in Florida for $125.00.  You can do that online in your state with a credit card. Then apply for a state tax number certificate (Books sold in your state are subject to sales tax whether sold personally by you or online to residents in your state). You can easily do the simple quarterly form to report and pay sales tax collected. The state of Florida provided a free one-day seminar to teach the process. It costs me $125 for a CPA to do the annual corporate tax return. 

Then you can apply to LS as a self-publisher, make royalties payable to you personally and make all the profit yourself. Plus you can print future book runs at the publisher price.

Read a more detailed article about
Lightning Source.

You are on the Lightning Source page.


Updated January 1, 2015