A Visit to Our Print-On-Demand Printer

Exterior photo of Lightning Source buildingIn the spring of 2002 the Paraview Press staff paid a visit to Lightning Source, our print-on-demand (POD) printer in La Verne, Tennessee.

Seeing in person just how POD works is an enlightening experience. We took a few photos so that we could share the experience with you.

But before we begin, we need to set the stage. Let’s say an author has submitted a manuscript to us, which we have edited and sent to the designer. The designer then creates two files for the book. The interior text is a single PDF file; the front and back cover of the book is a single TIF file. These two files are then uploaded to Lightning Source via the Internet.

The book files are logged in, examined, and prepared for printing by the Lightning team that handles the Paraview Press account. Beverly Ness, our team leader, is front and center.  

  The files for the book are stored on computers in a small room at Lightning. These computers currently hold 40,000 titles, as well as serve ebooks directly to Lightning Source customers via the Internet. The fan helps keep the room -- and Kenny McDonald, the senior systems engineer -- cool.

Whenever an order for our book comes in, whether it’s for one copy, ten, a hundred, or more, the interior and cover files for the book are called up and loaded into the printers. It takes less than a minute to print the interior of a 300-page book.  

  Meanwhile, the color printer spits out the book’s cover.

The cover and book block are then bound together and trimmed.


  The finished book is either carted over to Ingram, our distributor, just down the street, or shipped out directly from Lightning Source’s shipping department.

Bookstore orders placed through Ingram are out the door within 48 hours. Multiple copy orders of 25 or more are normally delivered to the customer in about 10 business days.

With POD there’s no waste printing unsold books -- that’s good for the author, the publisher, and the environment. That’s why we think POD is the future of the book publishing industry.


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Transforming the World One Book at a Time