What's the difference between Lightning Source and IngramSpark?

One of the most common questions we receive at Ingram is “what’s the difference between IngramSpark and Lightning Source?”

IngramSpark and Lightning Source are both companies at Ingram Content Group that provide print-on-demand services for publishers.
IngramSpark is ideal for independent publishers or self-published authors looking for the high-quality, professional products and services that Ingram provides.
Lightning Source is for mid to large-size publishers seeking a more expansive, hands-on publishing service from Ingram.

In this article, we’ll explain how the two options are similar and how they differ, to help you understand whether IngramSpark or Lightning Source best suits your publishing needs.

Let’s start by discussing what you’ll receive from both companies.


IngramSpark and Lightning Source provide customers with the same:
• Print-on-demand book manufacturing
• Book trim sizes, cover options, interior papers, and interior print options
• Global distribution network of more than 39,000+ retailers, bookstores, and libraries
• File requirements for print interior and cover files
• Access to a customer support team 7 days a week


Now, let’s discuss how they differ.

• Account Setup: You can activate your account and set up titles all on the same day.
• Ebook Services: Offers ebook conversion and distribution.
• Credit Terms: Accepts credit cards only, and clients must be able to provide digital signatures on contracts and agreements.
• Discount Terms: Allows publishers to offer between a 30% and 55% wholesale discount.
• Fees

  • Paperback or hardback - $49 Setup fee
  • Paperback or hardback AND ebook (if set up at the same time) - $49 setup fee
  • Ebook Only - $25 Setup fee
  • Ebook Conversion Services - $0.60/page
  • Global Distribution – Free
  • Revisions ($25 per file once in production)

Lightning Source
Account Setup: With Lightning Source, it may take several days before an account is activated, depending on how quickly banks provide references and information.
Ebook Services: ebook setup is not available through Lightning Source, but is available through Ingram-owned CoreSource for publishers with extensive digital asset management needs.
Credit Terms: Lightning Source offers both credit card and credit terms to publishers, depending on their business eligibility.
Wholesale Discount Terms: Allows publishers to offer between a 25% to 55% wholesale discount.
Scanning: Lightning Source can scan an already existing book ($75 for the cover and $0.25 per page for BW interior) and create the digital files needed for printing.
BOLT Pricing: Similar to a loyalty program, opt-in Book Long-Term (BOLT) Pricing is designed to help publishers get the most out of print on demand by providing incrementally increasing printing discounts over the long term.

  • Paperback or hardback - $80 setup fee
  • Global distribution - $12 yearly Market Access Fee, per title
  • Revisions - $45 per file (once in production)

Those who would benefit most from Lightning Source typically have an established list and do frequent business or will be establishing consistent business over time.

We recommend that you review your true business needs and both Ingram options before making your decision. 



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