Distribution Information

One of the major benefits of using Lightning Source is the distribution that is offered. When you self-publish with Lightning Source, you have access to one of the industry’s largest global distribution networks.


What is distribution?


When retailers order products, they are typically purchased through a distributor. The company who owns the product sells it to a distributor who turns around and sells it to the retailer.


Who are your distribution partners?


Ingram Book Company is a major distributor in the United States, distributing to almost 40,000 retailers, libraries, schools and universities.

Lightning Source publishers also have access to Ingram’s global distribution partners. This allows your titles distributed around the world. All you need to do is add market pricing to your title.


A list of our global distribution partners is outlined below:

United Kingdom | Europe

  • Adlibris
  • Agapea
  • Amazon.com
  • Aphrohead
  • Bertrams
  • Blackwell
  • Book Depository Ltd
  • Books Express
  • Coutts Information Services Ltd
  • Designarta Books
  • Eden Interactive Ltd
  • Foyles
  • Gardners
  • Trust Media Distribution (formerly STL)
  • Mallory International
  • Paperback Shop Ltd
  • Superbookdeals
  • The Book Community Ltd
  • Waterstones
  • Wrap Distribution

Australia & New Zealand

  • Rainbow Book Agencies
  • The Nile
  • James Bennett
  • ALS
  • Peter Pal
  • University Co-operative Bookshop


How does distribution work?

When a retailer wants to order a book, it is typically purchased through a distributor instead of the printer or publisher directly. With Ingram’s Print on Demand service, a retailer can order a title through Ingram Book Company (or one of Ingram’s other distribution partners), and the order prints, ships, and arrives to the customer or store within a few days. The order is added to your monthly compensation report, and you receive the compensation (royalties) 90 days later.

Other distribution channels


Your book can be sold through two online retailers located in Canada- if they choose to pick up the title. The companies are www.chapters.indigo.ca  and  www.amazon.ca. If they receive an order for your book, they purchase it from Ingram, a US distribution channel partner. This means any sales through those websites will actually appear in the US market and you will be paid the same amount of publisher compensation as you are earning for US sales.


The Global Connect program will allow your books to be printed by our printer partners in Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, China, Spain, and South Korea. The printers will print the books that are sold by bookstores located in those countries. This saves you and the booksellers the overseas shipping charges they would have to pay if they ordered your book from the US. You will receive publisher compensation payments as you normally would, based on the pricing you have provided us for your book in the US market. The printers will convert the US retail price to their currency and increase it a bit so they can make money on the sale of your book too.

Using the US retail price for all Global Connect markets is the easiest way to add pricing. However, you can set a different retail price/discount for any and all Global Connect markets if you choose. You will be paid publisher compensation in US currency,  based the pricing you provide in each Global Connect market. Example: in the US you have a retail price of $10 but for Germany you set a retail price of $12. You will be paid for sales in Germany based on the $12 price you set.

For more information on Global Connect, click here


This is a network of POD machines located in the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Australia that are often located within bookstores and libraries. From the digital files you provide us, these machines can print and bind black and white interior paperback books with color covers on site within a few minutes. Trim sizes this machine can print range anywhere from 5" (127 mm) to 10.5" (267 mm) in height and 4.5" (114 mm) to 8.25"(210 mm) in width, containing 40-830 pages. If your book is printed and sold through the EBM network, you will be paid as if it were sold in the US with the US price and discount that you’ve provided.

Please visit www.OnDemandBooks.com for more information or to view a list of the locations for these machines in the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Australia.

NOTE: If you have an account with Lightning Source, a separate agreement for the EBM service is required and you will add the service to titles during the title set up process. If you have titles already set up in our system and want to add this service, please contact the client services support team for help.


How do stores know about my book?

Ingram sends a metadata feed to our distribution partners and their retailers. A store can search for your book and see the metadata linked to it.

*It is important to keep in mind that Ingram allows your book to available to distributors, but there is no guarantee that stores will order your book. Stores have the ability to order your book if they want to, but we do not guarantee sales.

*In many instances, stores will not order a book if they do not know it exists. Publishers typically market and promote their books to encourage sales. More information on marketing can be found here:



Who can order my book?

Any bookstore, online store, library, or school that Ingram Book Company (or our any of our other distribution partners) distributes to can order your book.

How long does it take?

Once you enable your title for distribution, it typically takes 2-6 weeks before appearing on retailer websites or on a distributor or retailer’s internal ordering system.

Can I expedite the distribution process?

There is not a way to rush the distribution process. When a title is first enabled for distribution, we send out a metadata feed to our distribution partners and their retailers. How quickly the metadata is uploaded into the distribution database or retailer website varies and is not controlled by Ingram.

How can my customers order my book?

Customers are able to order your book through bookstores or online retailers.

Why can’t customers order through Lightning Source?

Customers need to order books through a retailer or bookstore. Only the publisher has access to direct printing and shipping costs, and only sources who have agreements with Ingram’s distribution services can order books through distribution.

Market Access Fee

The Market Access Fee is a $12.00 for US/AU, £7.00 UK and, €8 for EU yearly fee that provides access to Ingram’s distribution channels. You can read more about the Market Access Fee here

How do I enable my title for distribution?

Enabling your title for distribution is quick and easy, and steps are included below.

  • When you go into your Lightning Source account, click on the title of your book, and scroll about halfway down your Title Details page. This brings you to a box with a blue button that says “Enable.”

  • Click the “Enable” button, and a new window will appear confirming that you want to enable distribution.

  • Once you confirm, you will be asked if you would like to promote your title in our Advance catalog (to read more about Ingram Advance, click here)

  • Once you have proceeded past the promote section, you will be asked to pay the $12.00 Market Access Fee (for LSI customers the fee is $12.00 for US/AU, £7.00 UK and, €8 for EU – there is no fee for Spark customers). Click “I Accept” and your title is in distribution.



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