Lightning Source builds up print capacity around the world after publishers turn to POD distribution

Print-on-demand specialist Lightning Source is adding print capacity with investments in the US, UK and Australia.

Ingram Content Group, which owns Lightning Source, believes recent supply chain disruptions show how the company can help publishers cope with unpredictable challenges of managing consumer and retail demand.

In the US, millions of dollars are being invested to increase capacity in the Lightning Source manufacturing plants in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Jackson, Tennessee; and La Vergne, Tennessee.

New printing, binding, trimming and shipping/sortation equipment is being installed over the next few months and will increase US capacity by double-digit percentages. Ingram also expects to hire hundreds of new associates in these facilities.

In the UK, Ingram bought international book distributor NBNi in 2017 and recently completed the move of the NBNi warehouse operation from Plymouth to a new 98,000 sq ft facility in Milton Keynes, close to its well-established print-on-demand operation, allowing closer integration between these two services.

The Milton Keynes print-on-demand facility is also completing further equipment upgrades and other manufacturing investments which are projected to increase print capacity by double-digit percentages.

Ingram says it has been seeing growth in its Australian business and is investing in a new, purpose-built, plant in Melbourne along with additional printing and finishing equipment.

The company adds that its print-on-demand distribution service in Australia has become very attractive to overseas publishers. It says the current fragility of traditional supply chains and increases in export freight costs have made integrated, local, manufacturing solutions more attractive.

Ingram’s new Melbourne 50,000 sq ft/5,000 sq metre operation will double the firm’s print and shipping capabilities in Australia while adding dozens of new jobs.

During the global Covid-19 pandemic, Ingram’s global print facilities and distribution have continued to operate as essential businesses.

Ingram CEO and President Shawn Morin. says, ‘Ingram remains committed to supporting the industry and our Lightning Source business. We look forward to working with clients and customers as our new capabilities come online, and continuing to help content reach its destination.’

Indie authors with fewer than 30 titles can use the IngramSpark operation to access Ingram’s print-on-demand services.

This is widely regarded as the best way for indies to offer print books to the book trade and libraries. Bookstores are generally reluctant to ordering books through Amazon’s KDP Print service although Amazon’s Expanded Distribution option is actually through Ingram.

It is possible to use both KDP Print and IngramSpark to get the widest distribution for print books but you need to buy your own ISBN and use the same ISBN for both distribution routes. IngramSpark does charge a set-up fee of $49 per print title and also charges revision fees.

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

Ingram Spark raises book printing prices