Agency Price: The price at which Apple sells the title through iTunes. All prices must be in dollar increments that end in .99, except if you set the price for $0 (i.e., free).

BarCode: A machine-readable image on the back of books to indicate ISBN and possibly the price. Barcodes are required by many retailers for print products that they carry. This can be in the form of an EAN (European Article Number) barcode, used for books, or a UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode, used more commonly in the US for non-book products.

Bleed: The area that goes beyond the edge of the page or cover before trimming, and it is ultimately trimmed off. If you have an image or background that you want to print to the edge of the book, when it is bound and trimmed, you will need to extend the image or background past the trim. If you do not, the pages or cover may have white on the edges.

Contributors: Persons who are credited with the content or creation of a book (e.g. author, editor, illustrator, etc) Up to three contributors can be provided for any title in Lightning Source. These are saved and communicated to retailers via Lightning Source catalog information.

Copyright: A form of intellectual property, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to that work’s publication, distribution, and adaptation for a certain time period. After this time period, the work is said to enter the public domain. For information on US copyright laws, visit

Description: This brief description of the book will be communicated to distribution partners who wish to describe and market the book on their website(s) and to their customers. We recommend that you provide a book description for all new books to assist booksellers in presenting your books to their customers. The book description should be at least 40 characters, but should not exceed 4,000 characters including spaces. In addition, no HTML tagging, bullets, or other special for- matting should be embedded.

Digital Rights Management (drM): A system or technology used to place limitations (in regards to access or copying) onto digital content (books, movies, music, etc). A publisher or author, not the retailer, determines the level of restrictions applied to it. This includes how many times the content can be downloaded for a single purchase, and the number of devices (computers, readers, etc) to which the content can be transferred. DRM is usually administered by those that convert or sell the content.

Direct Store Programs: A web portal from e-retailers, such as Apple and Barnes & Noble, where you can upload your content and then post it for sale only in their online store.

Distribution: Supplying goods to retailers, and retailers can sell those goods to their customers. Ingram Book Company, the industry’s largest book wholesaler, sells and distributes to bookstores, libraries, and online retailers.

Distributor: A party that handles all fulfillment, credit, and collections on behalf of a publisher. A distributor looks for an exclusive agreement with the publisher within geographic areas and types of markets and, therefore, is likely to stock all titles from a publisher in their warehouse. In the case of the book industry, a distributor would sell to retailers and to wholesalers.

Download: The act of transferring a file from the Internet to your computer or mobile device.

E-Retailer (Online Retailer): An online retailer that sells books, both physical and digital, and often other related merchandise to readers. E-retailers source their products from various players in the supply chain including publishers, wholesalers, distributors, and fulfillment companies.
Edition: A version of a work. A new edition means that there has been a series of corrections and/or a new feature added (such as a preface, appendix, or additional content), or that the content has been revised.

Electronic Book/e-book: Digital equivalent of a conventional printed book. E-books are read on personal computers, smartphones, or readers. There are many formats available; some can be used on multiple devices while others are only available on certain devices.

EPUB (.epub): A format from the International Digital Publishing Forum, “.epub” is the file extension of an XML format for digital books and publications. EPUB reflows content, so that text can be optimized for the display screen being used at the time.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP): A way to transfer files to and from websites without using a browser. Usually requires FTP client software.

Fulfillment: The process of filling orders. Fulfillment firms usually provide storage, pick, pack, and ship services for publishers. A company can also offer file creation, storage, and delivery to online retailers or e-books. Could also be called Digital Distributor.

I/O Error: An ‘I/O Error’ is a computer error when your service provider for internet access cannot input or output the file to our server (I/O = Input/Output). The most likely scenario is that there is temporarily an excessive amount of traffic on your providers' bandwidth, causing a slowdown in your internet access performance. Since the file cannot upload quickly enough the attempt to upload the file times out, giving you this error message. Please re-attempt and if it persists, contact your internet provider.

Imprint: An imprint is a trade name used by a publisher to identify a line of books or a publishing branch within the publishing organization. An imprint is distinguished from a corporate name in that it does not represent an entity with a corporate life of its own. The imprint appears on all books produced in the line. Imprints are optional and not required.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number): A unique 13-digit number provided by your country’s ISBN agency and assigned by the publisher to identify a particular format, edition, and publisher of a book. ISBNs are used worldwide as a unique identifier for each book title/format combination. They are used to simplify the distribution and purchase of books throughout the global supply chain.

JPG or JPeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group): An image file format ideal for digital images with lots of colors, such as photographs and the cover image for your book.

Keywords: Single words or short phrases that describe your book and help improve search results.

Market (Channel): Bookselling outlets are often grouped by the type of customers they serve. Examples include traditional bookstores (known as trade), big-box stores (e.g. Costco, Target, Wal-Mart), religious bookstores, gift stores, libraries, and educational accounts. E-commerce or sales through an online channel are another market channel.

Metadata: Details about your title that booksellers and buyers need to know. It includes details specific to a particular form of the book (e.g. price, hardcover, paperback, publication date) as well as general information that may apply to all forms of your work (e.g. author, description, table of contents).

Offset Printing: Printing on a traditional printing press where many copies of a book are produced at one time.

ONIX: The international standard for representing and communicating book industry product information via electronic form. This XML standard is commonly used by retailers, distributors, and wholesalers to communicate with each other about books that are available for sale.

On Sale Date: The date to determine when a book may be sold by retail partners.
Page Count: Page count is the total number of pages in the book, including blanks and front matter. The total number of pages must be evenly divisible by 2.

PDF (.pdf): A file format developed by Adobe to allow the creation and sharing of documents that will look and print the same on any machine.

POD: This refers to Print-on-Demand printing which is the process of printing books only when they are ordered.

Pre-media: This refers to our pre-media department. Pre-media reviews and processes files uploaded by customers. Our pre-media department is also known as “file technicians” or “file processing department.”

Print on Demand (POD): Printing, usually from a digital file to a digital printer. In this case, the physical book is only printed when it is ordered. The exact number of copies ordered is what is printed. No extra copies are kept on warehouse shelves.

Publication Date: The date on which a retail consumer or library may take possession of a product.

Publisher: The entity that owns the legal right to make the product available. This can be the same entity as the author, a company formed by the author or a group of authors to publish their own works, a self-publishing service provider that assists the author in bringing the book to market, or a traditional publishing company that purchases the right to publish work from an author.

Reprint: A new batch of printed copies without substantial changes.

Retailer: A store that sells books, and often other related merchandise, to readers. Retailers source their products from various players in the supply chain including publishers, wholesalers, and distributors.

Returns: Books that were purchased by a retailer or distributor and are returned. Lightning Source supports standard industry conventions by allowing publishers to designate whether or not their titles can be returned.

Safety: The area where text and graphics are not at risk of being trimmed off or lost in the binding.

Status: Indicates the availability of the book. The book industry uses terms, such as forthcoming (going to be published in the future), active (available for purchase now), and publication canceled (item will not be published now or in the future). When telling customers about your title, you may be asked to supply this information.

Subject: The Lightning Source distribution network partners use Subjects to categorize books. These categories briefly describe the content of a book. Retailers, distributors, and libraries require you to select at least one subject.

Suggested Retail Price: Publishers determine the suggested retail list price on all titles in all markets. If pricing is not submitted the title will appear as unavailable for sale in that market.

Territory Right: The rights of a distributor, granted by the producer or supplier, to sell a product in a particular geographical area.

Title: The name of a book.

Trade: Refers to traditional book-selling channels including independent bookstores (e.g. a single store, a local group of stores) and chain bookstores (e.g. Barnes & Noble, Hastings, Books-a-Million).

Trade Discount: An amount or rate by which the catalog, list, or suggested retail price of an item is reduced when sold to a reseller. The trade discount reflects the reseller's profit margin.

Trading Terms (aka Publisher Discount): Each publisher will need to set trading terms with each customer. When selling to distributors, wholesalers, or retail bookstores, you are expected to provide a price that allows them to resell the book and make money on that sale. First, you set the retail price (the suggested price the reader buys at) for each geographic market in which the product is available. Then you will set the price at which the distributor, wholesaler, or retailer would purchase from you.

Trim: Trim is where the page is cut, and the trim size is the final size of your book after trimming.

Waitspecs: This is a shortened term for “Waiting for Customer Specifications.” A title may be placed on waitspecs if there is an issue with a file. If a title is in waitspecs, the customer can upload a corrected file at no cost.
Wholesaler: A business that obtains books from publishers and their appointed distributors in order to fulfill orders for retailers and libraries. They offer nonexclusive distribution to publishers. Wholesalers will stock certain quantities of titles, but will usually not warehouse your entire inventory. Wholesalers meet customer requests for packaging books across a set of publishers and deliver the goods quickly to meet retailer or library needs.

Have more questions? Submit a request


Article is closed for comments.

Contact Us

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?

Submit a request