What is Lightning Source Ingram?
In the simplest explanation, Lightning Source is a printing company, just like Createspace. The difference between LSI and Createspace? LSI is more geared towards working with publishers, while Createspace was set up to work with individual authors.
Lightning Source will act as a Print-on-Demand company, or they will do an offset run (which is where they can print you 1+ thousand copies of your book for you to stock and sell on your own). The big benefit to printing my book through LSI is that they have a current and on-going relationship with Barnes and Noble already. They support returnability and the standard trade discount, which are two things B&N requires before they will buy a book and put it on their shelves – and it’s the only way they would let us do a book signing at their store.
Pros to LSI over Createspace:
- you can print your book cover in glossy or matte finish
- Barnes and Noble and other large bookstore companies will be willing to stock your book
- you can do book signings at large bookstores
Cons to LSI over Createspace:
- returnability means that you take a risk that you will have to pay for any books that are returned
- you won’t get paid by LSI until you’ve made $100 (Createspace pays out when you’ve made $10)
- author wholesale price is slightly more expensive (LSI $7.50 to CS $5.50 – before shipping)
- because they’re slightly more expensive, your book has to cost more for the buyer and you get a much smaller royalty from each sale
However, both companies set themselves up to have non-exclusive printing rights to your book, so you can do what we’ve done and use both simultaneously.
And that’s my brief explanation of what Lightning Source is. If you’re a fellow author or small publishing company looking into a printer, you can find out more information here.