Welcome to
Lightning Source in Europe

Turn to the global leader in print on demand services for publishers.

Now you have an alternative to the limitations of offset printing. With Lightning Source, you can make books available worldwide in any quantity at any time…and profit from every copy sold.


Who is Lightning Source?

Lightning Source is the global leader in print on demand and distribution services. Established in 1997, we serve the world from our manufacturing facilities in Great Britain and the United States.

At Lightning Source, we combine printing and distribution into a single process to get your books to customers quickly and cost effectively. Our book manufacturing is the fastest anywhere, often fulfilling orders in just a few days. As part of the Ingram family group of companies, we offer you access to the world’s largest channel of book wholesalers and retailers.

Publishers around the world are discovering that the print on demand capabilities of Lightning Source offer new opportunities and help them operate more efficiently.

In January 2001, Lightning Source set up its first international sales office in Milton Keynes near London, with a focus on print –on –demand services. Milton Keynes is located North of London on the M1 motorway and is centrally placed for rapid distribution of books throughout the UK. By August 2001, Lightning Source UK Limited was printing books on demand in a new facility under its UK Executive team. The UK operation is a customer service centre for EMEA. Our European service centre has representatives conversant in English, French, Spanish and German languages and we have both courier and postal delivery services available to all European shipping locations.


What is print on demand?

Print on demand is a process that offers many advantages over offset printing. All books are held in a digital library and are immediately available to print in any of our facilities. The text portion and the cover are typically printed simultaneously and bound together. The complete book is automatically transferred to our shipping department and the book is dispatched as desired. The quality of our books is comparable to offset printing and manufactured to the highest specification.

There is no minimum order requirement—order a single copy or 10,000. Because each book has a unique identifying number, we are able to print 10,000 books and send them to 10,000 different locations - to wholesalers as well as individual customers.


Key benefits of print on demand

Never miss a sale - because titles are always available. Your titles are always in print, always “in stock” and always available for fast delivery.

Increase sales and build revenue by entering new markets. Add translations in new languages affordably. Bring out of print books back to life and generate new sales. Increase the global exposure of your books by becoming part of our huge network of distribution channels.

Print only as many books as you need. Many publishers have reduced or eliminated warehousing because they no longer need to keep a supply of books on hand. With Lightning Source, you are never understocked or overstocked.


Our products

We offer a wide variety of trim sizes, bindings and print stocks, as well as choices for distribution and delivery.

Hardback books
Hardcover books are available in case laminate, cloth or jacketed with marks of craftsmanship such as stamping available upon request.

Current sizes: 216x140mm, 229x152mm, 234x156mm, 254x178mm, 280x216mm

Paperback books
Trade paperback books, available with perfect binding, are our most popular offering.

Current sizes: 203 x 127 mm, 198 x 129 mm, 203 x 133 mm, 216 x 140 mm, 210 x 148 mm, 229 x 152 mm, 234 x 156 mm, 244 x 170 mm, 246 x 189 mm, 235 x 191 mm, 254 x 178 mm, 254 x 203 mm, 280 x 210 mm, 280 x 216 mm, 297mmx210mm

Colour books
Colour books are available in saddle-stitch, hardcover and perfect bindings starting with a page count of only 4 pages.

Current sizes: 216x140mm, 229 x 152 mm, 234 x 156 mm, 254x178mm, 254x203mm, 216x216mm, 280x216mm

Journal Publishers
If you are interested in journal issues printed-on-demand then Lightning Source UK may be able to help. Lightning Source is piloting a journals production programme with leading journals publishers. Please contact journals@lightningsource.com if you would like further details.


Our process

Our process is very simple. For more information, click on the links.

Open an account online.

Submit titles which are stored as electronic files in our digital library. If you do not have digital files, we will scan a copy of your book to create a high-quality digital file. Your files are then ready to be used to produce copies of your books whenever an order is placed.

Fill orders. As requests are received, we quickly print the required books at the facility which will provide the fastest, most efficient delivery.

Orders are dispatched according to your established procedures.


Import/export solutions

Publishers in Europe who want to expand their borders to reach North America can do so easily with Lightning Source. We can manufacture your books in one of our US facilities and send them out through the appropriate resellers. By producing and shipping your books in North America, you avoid the expense and complication of getting physical inventory across borders. You accelerate order fulfilment while cutting freight costs.


Delivering your orders

Whether you would like a single copy, sent to the home address of the person buying the book or a short print run sent out quickly to take advantage of a special opportunity, we are ready to serve you. Unlike traditional printers, we offer a variety of choices to get your books to the marketplace.


Print to order – Reselling books to the channel

Invented by Lightning Source, we turn the traditional model upside down by selling titles on your behalf, sending your books to our distribution channel and paying you the wholesale price (less printing) Using your ISBNs as identifiers, we print as orders are received from wholesalers, retailers or booksellers so you’re never out of stock of a desired book.

Each month you receive a statement of inventory activity and a check which reflects the number of books sold. In essence, you are compensated for the use of your copyrighted content with practically no effort required on your part.


Print to publisher – Publisher direct ordering

With this direct-to-publisher model, we serve as your invisible partner in order fulfillment. We receive your orders, print the quantity of books specified and deliver them on your behalf to warehouses, retailers, authors and consumers using shipping tags with your logo so it appears orders are coming directly from you. For this comprehensive service, you pay Lightning Source for printing, handling and shipping. Discounts are available starting at order line quantities of 50 copies.

Web orders for paperbacks require 3 to 5 days in the U.S. and 5 days in the U.K. Hardback web orders require 5 to 10 days in the U.S. and 10 days in the U.K. Paperback orders submitted via Excel or EDI are printed in 2 days; hardback turn-around is 5 days in the U.S. and 8 days in the U.K.



Consider this example of a 200-pg. paperback submitted digitally:

Publisher sets Retail Price
% Publisher sets Retail Discount
Wholesale Price
Less Print Cost

Publisher earnings for each book sold

Payment can be made in Euros, British Pounds Sterling or U.S. Dollars.


Contact us

Lightning Source UK Ltd.
Chapter House
Kiln Farm
Milton Keynes
MK11 3LW
United Kingdom
Email: enquiries@lightningsource.co.uk
General Enquiries Tel: 0845 121 4567 or +44 (0)1908 829517
Sales Enquiries Tel: 0845 121 4555
Fax: 0845 121 4591

Lightning Source UK Ltd.
Registered in England and Wales
Company number 4042196
Registered office 5 New Street Square, London, EC4A 3TW