Distribution of Print Books

One of the major benefits of using Lightning Source is the access your books have to one of the industry’s largest global distribution networks, offered by Ingram. 

As an example, when retailers order products, they are usually purchased through a distributor or wholesaler such as Ingram. Ingram sells the products to bookstores, libraries, or other retailers at a wholesale price when the publisher provides a wholesale discount to Ingram. The bookstore or retailer then sells the product to consumers at the list price.

Can the distribution process be rushed?

Distribution Partners

Which distribution partner or retailer ordered books?

How do consumers order books?

How are distribution services added to books?

How does distribution work?

How do stores find out about books?

How long does it take for books to appear on websites as available for sale?

When is compensation paid for books sold through Ingram's global distribution network?

Where are books selling?

Where will books be sold?

Why can't consumers purchase books from Lightning Source?

How does distribution work?
With Ingram/Lightning Source’s Print on Demand service, books can be purchased through Ingram by bookstores, libraries, and retail outlets. The order prints, ships, and arrives at the customer or store within a few days.

How do stores find out about a book?
Ingram sends a metadata feed containing all the information and pricing for your books to more than 39,000 bookstores, libraries, and retail outlets all over the world. Ingram's customers and Print-On-Demand distribution channel partners will upload the metadata for your book to their website and will decide if they want to sell the book through their website. A store can search for your book on Ingram Book Company's iPage website or other websites and see the metadata linked to it.

*Ingram allows your book to be available for sale, but there is no guarantee that stores or libraries will order your book. We cannot guarantee sales.

*It is up to the publisher to market and promote the book to consumers, bookstores, retailers, and libraries, so they know it is available for sale. 

How long does it take for a book to appear on websites?
During the title setup process, once you click the enable button to add distribution services to your book,  it can take 2-6 weeks before appearing on retailer websites or on a distributor or retailer’s internal ordering system. Depending on the time of year, it can less than 2-6 weeks and you may see pieces of information appear and then disappear (depending on the distribution partner) until the title information and cover are fully uploaded onto websites. 

Where will books be sold?

Distribution Partners

Since the list of our retail partners can change, please see the most current list at www.lightningsource.com


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

The United Kingdom & Europe

  • Adlibris
  • Agape
  • 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

Which distribution partner or retailer ordered books?

We are unable to provide any specific sales information as to which bookstore, retailer or library purchased the book(s). Ingram is a private, family-owned company and sales information for the retailer or library who purchased the book(s) is proprietary information and cannot be shared. 

When is compensation paid for books sold through Ingram's global distribution network?

The sale of the book is added to your monthly compensation report when it ships from our print facility. You receive the compensation payment 90 days from the end of the month in which the book was shipped from the print facility.

Can the distribution process be rushed?
We are not able to rush the distribution process for your book. When the distribution service is added to a book, we send out a metadata feed containing the book information to our retail partners. How quickly the metadata is uploaded to retailer websites depends on that retailer and is not controlled by Ingram. Also, during the 4th quarter of each year, it can take longer for the book to appear as available for sale due to all the data feeds our distribution and retail partners are receiving.

How do consumers order books?
Customers are able to order your book through bookstores or online retailer websites.

Why can't consumers purchase books from Lightning Source?
Your customers need to order books through a retailer, bookstore or from you, the publisher. Only the publisher has access to direct printing and shipping costs through their IngramSpark account. 

How are distribution services added to books?
Enabling your title for distribution is quick and easy, and steps are included below:

  • When you log 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 or add distribution.
  • Once you confirm, you will be asked if you would like to promote your title in our Advance catalog 
  • Once you have proceeded past the "promote your title" section, you will see a charge of $12.00 for the yearly distribution fee for our POD distribution service. Click “I Accept” and your title will be sent to the retailers and libraries in our global network.
  • Books will be available for sale in the markets you provide pricing for. If you do not provide pricing in a specific market, your books will not be sold there.

If you have any questions, contact Client Services at:

United States

Lightning Source Inc. (US)

Email: lsicustomersupport@ingramcontent.com

Phone: 1-800-509-4156
Fax: (615) 213-4735

The United Kingdom and Europe

Lightning Source UK Ltd.

Email: enquiries@ingramcontent.com
Phone: 0845 121 4567
Fax: 0845 121 4591


Lightning Source AU Pty Ltd

Email: lsiaustralia@ingramcontent.com
Voice: +613 9765 4800
Fax: +613 9763 8492


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