Lightning Source

Lightning Source Inc.
Industry Printing
Founded 1996
Headquarters LaVergne, Tennessee, USA
Key people
David Taylor, President
Products Books, Wholesale & Retail Distribution

Lightning Source is a business unit of Ingram Content Group. The company is a printer and distributor of print-on-demand books.[1] Originally incorporated in 1996 as Lightning Print Inc., the company is headquartered in La Vergne, Tennessee. Its U.K. operations are based in Milton Keynes. They also have operations in Maurepas, France and Melbourne, Australia.

Espresso Book Machine

The Espresso Book Machine 2.0 is a compact (3.8 feet (120 cm) wide by 2.7 feet (82 cm) deep by 4.5 feet (140 cm) high) book-printing kiosk that can be installed in a bookshop or public place to print, bind and cut books on demand while the customer waits. The EBM 2.0 can download encrypted book files from Lightning Source. Publishers must specifically give permission in order for their titles to be included in the scheme.

The EBM project can theoretically allow faster access to LS print-on-demand books in regions where there is no existing LS plant, and where shipping times would otherwise create significant supply delays. It also allows large bookshops to offer their customers almost immediate access to a wider range of titles than could be held onsite. However, to date, uptake of the Espresso Book Machine system has been low.

E-book services

Lightning Source has an e-book supply system that can serve up protected PDF copies of books from their library through a vendor's site, if a publisher chooses to participate.

Although the scheme originally allowed electronic LS editions to be sold on Amazon alongside "conventional" print-on-demand editions, Amazon withdrew from the scheme. Lightning Source still offer their e-book on demand service to publishers who have a suitable vendor website, and supply eBooks to their retail partners,,,, and, but have no online retail outlet themselves to sell eBooks.

In March 2010 Ingram Digital (a wholesaler part of the same group) warned its customers it might not be able to sell them e-books, as most large publishers were moving from the wholesale model (publishers offer wholesale discounts, and the final price is determined by retailers) to the agency model (publishers set the retail price and offer agents a commission, so retailers earn more by buying direct from the publisher rather than via a wholesaler).[2] This was triggered by the eBook pricing dispute between Amazon and Macmillan, and the imminent launch of the iPad.[3] However, in April 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple, Macmillan, and others on the basis that the agency model was anti-competitive and a form of collusion used to fix the price of e-books.[4] As of April 2012, Ingram Digital was still supplying e-books via its CoreSource programme.[5]


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