This article explains the entire title set up process. Click the “Add a New Title” button on your Dashboard or under the “Titles” tab to begin the title set up and file upload process. During the title set up process you will be asked to provide details on the specific features and dimensions of your book. Ingram needs to know a lot about your book in order to distribute it effectively, and this article covers much of that information in detail. You can change your book’s metadata/information at any time.
Short description: A very brief summary of your book’s content. Think of this as an elevator pitch (i.e. a descriptive mini-speech introducing someone to your book, which should be quick enough to deliver while riding an elevator). Once you’ve written it down, practice it out loud so you’ve got it memorized the next time you’re in an elevator!
Keywords: Enter 7-11 words or phrases that describe the content of your book (memoir, paranormal, Renaissance, etc) and use keywords from the book description. These keywords will help your book appear in online searches made by customers.
Series Name and Number: If your book is part of a series, enter the name of the series here to link all titles in that series together. Then enter the correct series number of the book you’re uploading, to keep your titles in the correct order.
Edition Description: For your first time uploading a title, you can enter “1st edition” in this field. If your book undergoes a revision where 25% or more content is revised or if you add a chapter or more new content (enough to warrant assigning the new version a unique ISBN), you should consider setting up the new version as a new title and marked as the “2nd edition,” and so on. With print on demand, when you revise or add additional content to your book, you don't have to set up a new title for the new edition nor do you have to use a new ISBN/EAN. However, using a new ISBN and adding 2nd edition to the book helps consumers distinguish the newer version from the older version.
Description: In this space, copy and paste the marketing blurb from the back cover of your book. Also, feel free to use bold, italics, and other formatting of fonts in this field. You’re required to fill this space with at least 200 characters before you can continue—if you have no description prepared, you could simply fill the space with 200 zeros to skip this step so you can move forward through the title set up process. You can come back later and update this.
Contributors: Enter the last name of the author here first. Then add the author’s first name and middle initial (optional). This is the name that will be listed as the author of your book in Ingram’s database and global distribution network; so, if you write under a pen name, pseudonym, or nom de plume, now is the time to use it. If your book credits another author, an illustrator or editor, enter his or her name as well, then choose the appropriate job title from the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the “About Contributor . . . ” button for any contributor you would like to provide additional information about.
Biography: This is a summary of each contributor’s identity. If you’re stuck on how to write a bio, look at the bios for authors in other books for ideas; be brief, while also communicating something unique and interesting about the contributor.
Imprint: This is the publishing company name that will appear for your book in the market place. Many larger publishing houses who also have separate publishing companies for different genres of books, will list those publishing companies, also known as imprints, instead of the larger publishing house name. By default, your imprint will be listed by Lightning Source as the business name you used when setting up your Lightning Source account. You can request an imprint name be added to your account by clicking the imprint link and completing the request form. The Lightning Source support team will add this for you. If you set up your account under your personal name, you can create a publishing name to be used as the imprint, which may help your book look more professional in the marketplace.
Subjects: (also referred to as BISAC codes) Rather than typing into the space provided here, click the “Find Subjects” button. This will open a new window with a search bar; type into that search bar a very simple category for your book such as fiction, science, biography, history, dogs, crafts, etc. The keyword you enter will generate a list of possible genres, which you can choose by clicking the square next to the appropriate classification. If you don’t see anything that accurately describes your book, try another keyword; it’s normal to try a few times. You can apply up to three subject categories to your book, which we recommend to help narrow down the search for your book, though you’re only required to choose one. The more subject category codes you apply to your book, the more frequently it will appear in the search results of customers searching for similar books online.
Regional Subject: If your book takes place in a particular region of the world such as the Pacific Northwest US, South Australia or some other place, you can search for that locality by clicking the “Find Regions” button.
Audience: Identify your book as a textbook, children’s book, young adult book, adult/general book, or scholarly/professional book. If your book is not marketed to a particular age range, it’s best to select adult/general.
Table of Contents: Here you can add your table of contents to provide a list of all chapters included in your book. This is not needed for fiction, but for nonfiction, it can be very helpful for readers to see exactly what kind of information they can acquire by reading your book.
Review Quotes: Use this field to enter quotations from people who have favorably reviewed your book (and given you permission to publicize their words). For recommendations longer than a couple sentences, it’s best to provide a brief excerpt rather than the full text.
Illustrations/Photographs: Confirm whether your book contains images or not. If you select “Yes,” you’ll be prompted to specify whether your images are black & white or color, and how many there are total.
Trim Size: Choose the appropriate physical dimensions for your book from the
drop-down menu. Due to the nature of print on demand we do not offer distribution for custom trim sizes. You must select one of the trim sizes listed if you want the book to be sold through Ingram's global distribution network. Our minimum trim size is 4” x 6” and our maximum trim size of 8.5” x 11.688”.
Popular sizes for trade paperbacks are 5x8 (203 x 127 mm), 6x9 (229 x 152 mm), and 7x10 (254 x 178 mm) A4, while 8x8 (203 x 203 mm), 8.5x8.5 (216 x 216 mm), and 11x8.5 (216 x 280 mm) are very popular for kid’s picture books. You should make your decision based on what you think would be the best fit for your book.
Interior Color and Paper: Next, select whether your book should be printed in black & white or in full color. For black & white books, you can choose between 50 lb/74 gsm cream and 50 lb/74 gsm white paper. Lightning Source offers two levels of color print, standard color, and premium color. Standard 50 color which is printed on 50 lb/74 gsm paper is suitable for most books where you just need spot or light color. The Standard 70 color option is printed on 70 lb/104 gsm paper and is a great choice for books with a lot of color and more children’s authors are making this choice because of the price: it is roughly one-half to a third of the cost of the premium color option.
- If selecting color, you will have the option to choose between 3 color interior types:
- Standard Color – Printed with an inkjet printer on 50 lb/74 gsm white paper
- Standard Color 70 – Printed with an inkjet printer on 70 lb/104 gsm white paper
- Premium Color – Highest color quality with more vivid color. Printed with an inkjet printer on 70 lb/104 gsm white paper
- Paperbacks are perfect bound and bound with hot glue applied to the spine.
- Saddle-stitched books are held together with staples applied to the spine and only available for premium color books with 4-48 pages.
- Case Bound Hardcovers are bound with the cover image printed directly onto a rigid cover.
- Digital Cloth Bound Hardcovers are bound to a rigid cover, covered with blue or grey paper and a textured coating that gives the cover a "linen feel". Digital cloth-bound hardcover books can be produced with or without a dust jacket and can have a gold-colored text (non-metallic) printed on the spine. See the section on Spine Text below for more information.
Depending on which trim size you selected earlier, some binding types may be unavailable; for example, Lightning Source cannot produce a 7x10 (254 x 178 mm) book as a cloth-bound hardcover, only as a paperback or case bound hardcover
Up to 42 characters may be stamped on the spine in the following order and must not exceed the following number of characters per field:
- Left: 12 characters
- Center: 26 characters
- Right: 12 characters.
If the number of characters allowed per field is exceeded, text will overlap on the spine.
The available characters include the 26 upper and lowercase English-alpha letters, numerals 1-10, space, period, comma, a hyphen, quote, apostrophe, and the two parentheses.
Please type the text exactly as it should appear on the finished book.
Spine Text may match or be typed differently from the Title and Contributor information entered under the General Information section for the book.
LAMINATE TYPE: Lightning Source offers two types of laminate coating for the covers; gloss covers are reflective and enhance vibrant colors, while matte covers feature a muted finish that softens colors and makes type-heavy covers easier to read. Again, this choice is really up to you and your own personal taste.
PAGE COUNT: Enter the number of individual pages in your book (including all the blank pages); one sheet of paper, back, and front, counts as two book pages. Your final page count must be an even number equal to or greater than 18 pages and lower than 1,200 pages. Premium color saddle-stitched books have a minimum page count of 4 and a maximum page count of 48. Lightning Source adds an additional left-hand page to the end of your page block for the printer’s barcode that provides information as to where the book was printed, so if the last page of your book’s interior is a right-hand page, Lightning Source will add one page to the total page count, and if the last page of your book’s interior is a left-hand page, Lightning Source will add two pages to the total page count. These additional pages are added to the print cost of your book.
If located in the United States you can purchase an ISBN from Bowker, the US ISBN Agency (www.myidentifiers.com). Check their website for current pricing.
If located outside the United States you can visit https://www.isbn-international.org/ to find out where to purchase an ISBN or EAN.
If you don't want your book available for sale through Ingram's global distribution network, Lightning Source can assign a free inventory code (SKU) to your book for printing and manufacturing purposes. When setting up your title you can select “Click here if you would like a non-distributable SKU to be assigned to this title”.
Be sure to use the same ISBN/EAN for your book in all markets. Listing the same book with different ISBNs or EANs on multiple websites or with multiple distributors may confuse retailers and consumers wanting to purchase your book.
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number), also known as EAN (European Article Number), is a unique thirteen-digit item code provided by your country’s ISBN agency and assigned by publishers to identify the format and edition of a particular title. A published book will have a different ISBN or EAN for each product type—one for the hardcover edition, one for the paperback edition, and one for the digital/ebook edition. Retailers and distributors require published titles to have an ISBN/EAN assigned to them for sales and inventory purposes.
If you should decide to add an ISBN at a later time, you can contact the support team to ask if they can add this for you, or, you will need to set up the title again as a new title and supply an ISBN/EAN during the setup process. You can copy and paste all the metadata/book information to the newly setup version of the same book. You will need to upload the cover and interior files to the newly set up title.
NOTE: If you enter an ISBN and you receive the message ISBN already in use this means the ISBN is already in the Lightning Source system on a Lightning Source or IngramSpark account and you will need to contact the support team for help.
Pricing: On the pricing section of the title setup, you will see different markets you can choose to have your book made available for sale to. Adding pricing will allow your title to be distributed in each respective market. If you decide to include a list price for different markets, we recommend using our currency converter to help you determine the best list price for your book.
To add pricing to Global Connect Market, you can click the button "Copy United States Print Retail Price and Wholesale Discount to the Global Connect Market" so that anytime we add a new market to the program, your pricing will be automatically applied. Or, you can add pricing to each individual Global Connect Market. For more information on Global Connect, click here
It is up to you, the publisher, to determine the list price, wholesale discount, and returns status for each title and each market. It is also important to note that the pricing of your title will affect the amount of publisher compensation you earn.
If you need help determining what list/retail price you should sell your book for, we suggest visiting your local bookstore or online bookseller to see what books similar to yours in size and content are selling for. Be sure to look at the actual list price and not the discounted price.
Market: You can assign different list prices to your book for each market where you plan to sell your book. These regional markets include the United States (price in US dollars), the United Kingdom (price in GBP), the European Union (price in Euros), Canada (price in Canadian dollars), and Australia (price in Australian dollars). Other regions of the world get books through Ingram’s Global Connect Program, using a price in US dollars. You are not required to make your book available in all markets; so, if you don’t want to make your book available for sale in Canada, just skip the Canadian pricing. With the Canadian market, we do not have a print facility in Canada so books are shipped to Canada through Ingram, a U.S. company. Because of this, you are paid the same amount of compensation as you earn for sales in the U.S.
Print Retail Price: This is the price that retailers will charge their customers when selling your book (retailers may offer discounts to customers, but those are taken out of the retailer’s profit, not yours). Though you’re not required to display your book’s list price on the back cover of your book, doing so adds a level of professionalism to the visual appearance of your book.
Assign a price to your title that conforms to trade standard pricing, ending in .95, .99 or .00 in ALL markets. Some online retailers will list your book at a discounted price but regardless of the price they sell your book for, Lightning Source will pay you the amount listed in the “Compensation” section. This is a big benefit to using Lightning Source since your profits aren’t reduced if the retailer lowers the price on their site. If they lower the price so that it is less than the print cost, they are clearing a shelf for other inventory, so, you may want to buy up all the copies!
Wholesale Discount: The book’s retail price is the amount of money a consumer pays when he or she purchases the product, that product’s wholesale price is the amount of money the distribution partners will pay the product’s manufacturer to acquire the product. The following is an example of the Print On Demand distribution pricing (US dollars) for a 200 page 6x9 paperback:
(This is just an example)
$20.00 Retail/List Price you set
-55% Wholesale discount (what our distribution partners receive)
$ 9.00 What the distribution partner pays Ingram/Lightning Source
-$3.66 Print cost
$5.34 Compensation paid to you for every book sold
Distribution partners may pass on a portion of the discount to their customers. If you offer a wholesale discount lower than 53% to 55%, your book will be considered a “short discounted” title and many bookstores will not order it unless the consumer walks in and requests to buy and pays for the book, before the bookstore will order it. However, if you decide to offer a lower wholesale discount, just select “Other” from the drop-down menu and enter a discount percentage.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you offer a wholesale discount, that is the discount our distribution partners receive. The bookstores, retailers, and libraries do not receive the discount you decide to offer. They receive a discount based on their agreement with Ingram or other wholesalers/distributors. In order for the bookstore or retailer to receive their standard trade discount, you must offer 53% to 55%. This is true for all markets.
»» Yes – Deliver: Returned books will be shipped to the default mailing address on your Lightning Source account. You will be billed for the profit you made on the original sale of that book, plus the cost of shipping the book (Shipping charges: $2 to U.S. addresses, $20 to addresses outside the U.S.).
»» Yes – Destroy: Returned books will be reduced to pulp. You will be billed for the profit you made on the original sale of that book.
»» No: Books cannot be returned and because of this, retailers are unlikely to purchase or stock your book in their inventory and may only order for customers when requested.
Compensation: This is the amount you earn from each sale of your book through Ingram to retail or library partners or through our other distribution partners. (Units that you order and sell directly are not factored into compensation.) You are compensated based on the retail price and wholesale discount you provided when you set up your title. This is calculated as:
list price – (wholesale discount x list price) – printing cost = publisher’s compensation.
So (hypothetically), if a book were priced at $15, had a printing cost of $3.20, and was set to a trade standard wholesale discount (55%), the equation would look like this:
$15 – (55% translates to $8.25) – $3.20 = $3.55 publisher compensation per unit sold.
Lightning Source remits these payments within 90 days of the month-end reporting period following the sale.
Publication Date: This is the official release date of your book. New books are typically released on Tuesdays through traditional publishers. Be sure to make this date far enough in the future so that you will have time to order a printed copy/proof, submit any revisions that arise from the proofing process, and have your first print run produced at least a month before your publication date. Publishing a book can be a chaotic process, and should any unexpected delays occur, a cushion of extra time will be your best friend.
On Sale Date: This is the date upon which retailers are allowed to sell your book. This is optional and you do not have to have an on-sale date for your book. If you should use an on-sale date, we recommend this date be the same as your publication date because some retailers, such as Amazon, do not recognize an on-sale date and this can cause problems with the availability messaging and listing of your book on their website. Once an On Sale Date is selected it is very difficult to change if it can be changed at all.
Setting Up a New Title for Preordering: If you would like your book to be available for pre-ordering, it is important that a future publication date and on-sale date are used. Usually, you would set the publication date earlier than the on-sale date in order to have your book available for pre-ordering. However, not all retailers, such as Amazon, are able to agree to or abide by the contractual "rules" of the on-sale date and only recognize the publication date. It is recommended that the publication date and on-sale date are the same to avoid any problems with the availability status or listing of your book on some websites.
Important things for you to know if you decide to use a future on-sale date for pre-ordering of your book:
We use the on-sale date to determine when we ship orders to our global distribution network (we ship pre-orders at least 10 business days before the on-sale date is reached).
You may see retailer websites list your title as available for ordering with no mention of pre-order. As long as your on-sale date is in the future, we are holding all the orders, although a retailer may not acknowledge this. Ultimately, Ingram sends out the metadata feed to the retailers, but we cannot control how every retailer lists a title on their website.
It is normal to see the pre-order status removed within the 10 business days before the on-sale date, as Ingram has already started shipping any existing orders.
We cannot make any guarantees as to how retailers will list titles. Some retailers only recognize publication dates and do not recognize on-sale dates.
Please ensure your finalized files are submitted before you enable the title for distribution. Uploading revised files after a book has distribution services added/enabled can cause problems with the revised files being processed- if we have already received orders and are already printing the book.
While the revised files are being processed the title is pulled from production and is no longer available for sale through our distribution network and the available status will change.
If the book is already in production and you upload revised files too many times, too often, some retailers may give an incorrect available status on their website. In this situation, you may need to contact the support team to help resolve this.
We use the on-sale date that is listed for a title at the time that title is enabled for distribution. If you update the on-sale date after the title is in production/distribution, we are unable to guarantee pre-orders will be printed and shipped 10 business days prior to the newly updated on-sale date and will refer to the original on-sale date.
Reminder: We ship books 10 business days prior to the on-sale date.
Pricing: Again, enter a list price for your e-book for each regional market you want to make your book available to. While the “E-book Retail Price” can be any numeric amount with two decimal places, the “Apple E-book (Agency) Price” must end in .99 (e.g. $3.99, $9.99, $0.99). Most e-book platforms price their books according to the “E-book Retail Price,” but e-books sold through Apple’s iTunes Store follow the “Apple E-book (Agency Price)”; furthermore, some e-book retailers will assign their own price to your e-book, but regardless of the price we will pay you the amount listed in the “Compensation” section. This is a big benefit to using IngramSpark since your profits aren’t reduced if the retailer lowers the price on their site.
Distribution Rights: If you own the rights to sell this digital content anywhere in the world, select “Yes.” This should be true if you are the author of the e-book you’re uploading, but research your regional copyright laws if you feel unsure. If you select “No,” you will be presented with a list of regional markets to go through and check or uncheck. Please contact the customer support team if you need any help completing this step.
With Adobe InDesign & Quark Xpress, yes, we do recommend using the "export to PDF" feature and choosing the PDF/X-1a:2001 or PDF/X-3:2002 setting when doing so. It is important to use this PDF setting to ensure you have a stable PDF for printing.
With all other applications, we recommend either:
- print directly to PDF using PDF/X-1a:2001 or PDF/X-3:2002
- print to PostScript file, then distill to PDF using PDF/x-1a:2001 or PDF/X-3:2002.
Before creating a PDF, we recommend converting all custom/spot colors (even those with transparencies) to CMYK.
This should allow you to produce a solid and stable PDF that is ready to print.
Print Interior File: This PDF file must include the full text of your book in single pages (not two-page reader’s spreads), formatted from the very first page to the very last page with the margins, fonts, and page dimensions of the finished book as described in the Lightning Source File Creation Guide. What you see on each page of the PDF is what you’ll see on each page of your printed book, so be sure that it is truly print-ready before you order a massive quantity of books. To upload the file, simply open the folder containing your interior PDF file and drag it into the box marked “Interior File”; you can also use the“Browse” button in that box to locate the file from within your computer.
Print Cover File
To upload cover art for your book, you must superimpose the full cover spread on the cover template generated by Lightning Source. To download a cover template, click the “Cover Template Generator” in the Tools section or click here. Lightning Source will then prompt you to enter some basic metadata for your book; you need only enter your ISBN/EAN and Lightning Source will auto-populate the rest of the data. Then, select the template file format you prefer from the drop-down menu InDesign, EPS, or PDF and enter your email address.
These templates come with a free barcode encoded with your title’s ISBN. Please do not resize the bar code. If you want to add pricing details to that barcode, enter your book’s list price, select your regional currency, and select “Yes” from the drop-down menu. Once you click the “Submit” button, Lightning Source will generate your template and send it to you as an email attachment.
NOTE: Beginning in April 2020, InDesign templates requested will only support CS6 and newer. We will also continue to provide PDFs. Click here to learn more.
(Above is a typical softbound cover template showing the pink “active” areas and the blue “safety” areas.)
Inside printed duplex cover for a softbound book.
Cover template for a case bound hardcover book.
Cover template for a saddle-stitched book. Note the difference in setup around the spine area.
A dust jacket template for a cloth-bound hardcover book.
Download and open the Cover Template PDF you receive by email; once you’ve done so, you’ll see that your cover art must fit over color-coded spaces. The pink areas are active zones, while the blue areas are bleeds and safety zones. So, while the both pink and blue need to be covered by your artwork or background, any text and important elements need to be confined to the pink areas. The template also displays the exact width that your spine should be, so make any adjustments needed to your cover spread dimensions and place the full-resolution image on the color-coded areas of the template.
Due to variances in the binding process, borders or text can be chopped off or lost in a crease if they are too close to the edge of the book or the edge of the spine— hence, Lightning Source requires about a quarter-inch of extra space (also called bleeds) around all outside edges of your cover spread. Save the combined template and cover spread as a new PDF file, then upload it to the “Cover File” box as you did with the interior file.
At the end of the title setup process, you will upload a cover file and interior file for the book.
You will then be asked to pay the title setup fee. After the fee is paid, you will see the status “Title in Premedia” on your Dashboard for the book. This means that your files are in the queue to be reviewed and processed by our premedia team. They will check to see if your cover file is print-ready (we do not review interior/book block files). The file review and processing turn-around-time for new titles is 3-5 business days.
After the files have processed, you will receive an eproof to approve on your account, and you will also receive an email with a link to the eproof. Approving the eproof allows your title to be available for printing for orders you need and allows you to add distribution services to your book by clicking the "enable distribution" button.
eProofs for Case Laminate Covers
If your book has a case laminate hardcover binding, your eproof will be cropped to the board area of the book. Content in the gutter area will not appear when your cover is cropped on the eproof, but it will appear when the book is printed.
You will see the gutter content on the eproof page that displays your cover file on our template.
Lightning Source customers who do not use CoreSource for ebook distribution can open an IngramSpark account for this service. IngramSpark requires that e-books be saved in ePUB format, the universal opensource file format for digital books. If your ePUB file is ready, upload it to the “Ebook File” box. If not, there are many ways to get your print manuscript digitized into a full flowing ebook file, through IngramSpark and freelancers. IngramSpark offers a file conversion service for $0.60 U.S., per page; just select “Convert your PDF to ePUB with IngramSpark” from your Dashboard. You’ll be prompted to provide your contact information and some metadata for your book, including a unique ISBN/EAN that you’ve assigned to the ebook. Once the conversion process is finished, your new ePUB file will be saved to your IngramSpark account.
IngramSpark saves the easiest file for last. Your ebook cover image should be a JPG of just the front cover of your book, without bleeds. If you don’t have an image like this saved, ask your designer to prepare one for you or crop it down from your full cover spread and save the file as a JPG. Finally, upload the JPG to the “Cover Image File” box. Click the “Continue” button to enter the "content validation" phase, where our premedia team internally scans your book files for errors or glitches. If any problems are discovered, IngramSpark will provide you with an error message and how to correct them. It’s normal to have to upload files a few times, especially when books contain images or special formatting. You can upload revised files as many times as needed and will not be charged a revision fee- until you approve the eproof. After you approve the eproof, you are then charged a revision fee for every revised file you upload. Once your files have passed the scanner, IngramSpark will prompt you to pay your upload fees for this title. Your upload is finished, and your book has been transmitted to the premedia team, who will process your files for printing and binding. When processing is complete, you will be notified by e-mail to review an e-proof of your book. After approving the eproof, the status of the book will change to “Available for printing/download” on your Dashboard. Your book is now in production! Be sure to click the "Enable Distribution" button if you want the print book or ebook sold through our global distribution network.
If you need assistance or have questions, contact support at