Publisher Compensation FAQs

How do I calculate the publisher compensation for my book? 

Publisher compensation (pub comp) is calculated by subtracting the print cost from the wholesale cost. This is illustrated below for a book priced at $20 with a wholesale discount set at 55%. 

$20.00 (list price as set by you) 

-$11.00 (55% wholesale discount - this is the price our distribution partners pay us)

- $4.00 (print cost)


$5.00 (publisher compensation for each unit sold)

**NOTE ABOUT WHOLESALE DISCOUNTS: As you can appreciate, we are not the only piece of the distribution chain in your title. Each company that is involved in the distribution chain may receive a portion of your wholesale discount. Offering a 53% to 55% wholesale discount allows bookstores to receive their normal trade discounts from distributors and wholesalers.

You can also use our publisher compensation calculator. 


How long after a book has been purchased does it take to show on the pub comp report? 

Sales are recorded when your books are either shipped from our facility or downloaded and delivered to one of our retail partners. These sales will be reflected on the monthly Publisher Sales Compensation Report in the month when the transaction happened.

Please note that certain purchases will not be reflected in your pub comp report:

  1. Books purchased as ‘used’ or from an Amazon ‘store front,’ for example, would not be shown in your report as a ‘sale’ since the seller is already in possession of a copy of the title, and we would not be printing a book to fulfill the order for that title.
  2. If your title is listed with another printer, books printed through these sources also will not be reflected on our pub comp report.

You may view prior Publisher Sales Compensation Reports by logging into your account.


How do I update the publisher compensation information for my account?

Any changes to publisher compensation should be applied online by the publisher.  See below for instructions. 

Instructions for updating pub comp payment information 

  • Log on to your Lightning Source account 
  • Click the drop-down arrow in the top right-hand corner
  • Select “Publisher Compensation” 
  • Select one currency type. Note, the selected currency will impact all markets (US, UK, and AU).  Please contact the Lightning Source Accounts Payable Department if, for example, payment information for the US market differs from that in the UK.  These changes will be handled internally.
  • Click “Edit” or “Add Compensation Information”
  • Update or add payment information. When entering your bank checking account information, please do not use spaces or dashes when entering account numbers, routing numbers, etc. We cannot deposit compensation earnings into bank savings accounts. 
  • Click “Save”

Payment Options:

Publisher may select from the publisher compensation payment methods* listed below:

  • USD ACH direct deposit (must be US-based bank) - No minimum
  • USD PayPal – $30.00 minimum  
  • USD Check - $30.00 minimum
  • CAD ACH direct deposit (must be Canada-based bank) - $25.00 minimum
  • GBP BACS direct deposit (must be UK-based bank) - No minimum
  • EUR BACS direct deposit (must be EUROZONE-based bank) - €25.00 minimum
  • AUD BACS direct deposit (must be AU-based bank, NO NZL banks) - $25.00 minimum

Payments will be made to the publisher, via the selected payment method, 90 days** from the end of the month in which the sales are reported***. 

Negative publisher compensation will be reported through accounts payable with immediate terms and will be reflected in the next month’s report publisher-facing report. Negative publisher compensation can occur where the combination of retail price and discount doesn’t result in enough publisher compensation to cover the cost of printing the book. Use our publisher compensation calculator to ensure your pricing is set up correctly.

*PLEASE NOTE: Certain payment methods require minimum compensation thresholds to be met before payments are issued. Regardless of the chosen payment method or currency, Lightning Source may issue payments by check in USD. The ability to change payment currencies is provided for business reasons and should not be used to attempt to make foreign exchange gains. If foreign exchange gain use is suspected the facility may be suspended without warning.

** Payments are made to Public Domain / mass-produced providers 180 days from the end of the month in which the sales are reported.

***If the publisher’s compensation is less than the minimum thresholds for the selected payment method in a month, publisher compensation will be paid in the next applicable month that cumulative compensation is over the applicable threshold.

If you would like to change the currency of your compensation payment, for example from GBP to USD, please contact the Lightning Source Accounts Payable Department.

Instructions for Updating Pub Comp Payee Mailing Address

  • Log on to your Lightning Source account
  • Click the drop-down arrow in the top right-hand corner
  • Select “Account Information”
  • Scroll down to Publishers Compensation Mailing Address
  • Click “Edit” to update the address
  • Click “Save”


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