Lightning Source — Electrified Book Production
Currently the facility in the United Kingdom, which grew 40 percent last year, works with hundreds of UK publishers. They have also begun to expand their efforts to other European publishers. They have hired their first sales representative for Germany and are also looking at opening facilities in other countries.
“Another aspect of POD,” Taylor points out, “is the ability to publish profitably in minority languages. These are very small markets and the publishers are very interested in the technology, not only for financial reasons, but for cultural ones as well.”
User Group Feedback
The British operation is also bringing new ideas to its American counterpart. Taylor explains that Lightning Source has a user group for its UK customer base that serves as an advisory group to management. The suggestion for a pilot journal-on-demand program came from this group. Aimed largely at academic and small periodical publishers, the idea is to improve speed to market, as well as to be able to offer one-off article reprints. A U.S. user group will be set up this year.
Lightning Source’s large print initiative, launched in 2005 and supported by the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB), is also a UK program. Through it, standard-sized books are converted into large print-format books for visually impaired individuals around the world. Publishers on board early included Time Warner, BBC Audio, A&C Black/Bloomsbury, Echo Library and Harper Collins.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for publishers to make available thousands of titles to readers with sight problems in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” Taylor contends. “For the first time, large print books can become widely available in book shops.”
Best adds that Lightning Source’s HP Indigo equipment is also allowing them to launch a new photobook initiative. “We’re jumping into the market for 4x6˝ prints developed and set up in a hard cover book for display,” he says. “There are about 80 companies that have photo software projects, and we’re hoping to be the back end for all of them.”