With the threat of a “hard” Brexit looming, European Union-based POD publishers are wondering where to go to print their books. Many so far have been using the services of Lightning Source UK, a division of the Ingram Content Group. But in the event of Britain failing to remain in the European customs union, the importation of books printed in England into the EU may suddenly become subject to customs duties and certainly to both costly and time-consuming formalities. No one knows for certain. In the worst case, it would be the very business model created by Lightning Source in the early 2000s that would become obsolete.
Some publishers have approached Lightning Source-France, a joint venture established with French publishing giant Hachette, but the reports so far are disheartening. The French company has no file-sharing protocol with LS, nor, it seems, does it have any procedure to accommodate standard US or UK LS files. Others have turned to Eastern European printers such as Bulgarian Artline Studio, but, despite being competitive on prices, they lack the flexibility offered by LS.
Most SF publishing in Europe is now done through POD technology and LS had successfully managed to corner a hefty chunk of that market in France, Germany, etc. A hard Brexit would be a blow to genre publishing in Europe, as well as to Ingram’s UK subsidiary.
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