Ingram Touts Print-on-Demand Capacity Boost: UK, Australia, USA

In News by Porter Anderson

Book distribution giant Ingram announces today the autumn opening of a new printing and shipping facility in Melbourne, while American and British plants are being upgraded.

Ingram Content Group has a new 50,000-square-foot Lightning Source facility being built in Melbourne, Australia, to come online in the autumn. This photo is from June 8 in Melbourne during pandemic restrictions. Image – iStockphoto: Craig RJD

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Recent Shifts in the Market and Supply Chain’
Given “recent shifts in the market and supply chain,” Ingram Content Group‘s Lightning Source—the company’s international print-on-demand division—has announced today (July 6) that it’s planning to boost “capacity growth through equipment investments in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.”

It’s an interesting glimpse into what a worldwide pandemic might mean to an international book distributor to read, “After making a significant investment to replace and upgrade its print fleet just three years ago, Lightning Source is again making a significant investment to heighten support for the publishing industry given recent shifts in the market and supply chain.”

Referring to “virtual inventory”—which turns into physical books once a print copy is ordered—the company writes in its media messaging today, “For retailers and libraries, Ingram’s print-on-demand services capture every sale and circulation by showing inventory availability.

“Connecting Ingram’s global network of manufacturing and distribution helps make millions of titles available for purchase” in many parts of the world.

Probably the most element of today’s announcement is the new plant Ingram is building in Melbourne, Australia, “along with additional printing and finishing equipment.” The facility is to comprise 50,000 square feet (4,645.2 square meters) and, Ingram says, “will double print and shipping capabilities in Australia while adding dozens of new jobs.”

The new operation is to be online in the autumn, Ingram saying that its “virtual inventory and print-on-demand distribution service in Australia has become very attractive to overseas publishers. The current fragility of traditional supply chains and increases in export freight costs have made integrated, local, manufacturing solutions more attractive.”

Indeed, when you consider that one of the main issues for many Western publishers during the pandemic was disruption in print work in China, it’s easy to understand how Ingram may see some of its potential in the Australian installation.

UK and US Facilities

In the UK, as Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, Ingram in 2017 bought  Book Network International Ltd., referred to as NBNi, as a new part of its physical and digital book distribution operations under senior vice president for international content acquisition David Taylor‘s direction.

The NBNi warehouse move from Plymouth to “a new 98,000 square foot facility in Milton Keynes” between London and Leicester, “in close proximity to its well-established print-on-demand operation, thereby allowing further and closer integration between these two services.”

The print-on-demand facility in Milton Keynes has been undergoing upgrades, Ingram says, along with “other manufacturing investments which are projected to increase print capacity by double-digit percentages.”

And in the economically staggered States, no one will be sorry to hear that “Ingram expects to hire hundreds of new associates” for “millions of dollars being invested to increase capacity in the Allentown, Pennsylvania plant, as well as both the plants in Tennessee, at Jackson and Ingram’s base La Vergne. “New printing, binding, trimming and shipping/sortation equipment will be installed now through October,” the company says, “and will increase U.S. capacity by double-digit percentages.”

Ingram’s print and distribution operations have been deemed essential businesses during the contagion’s spread, meaning the company is well positioned to take advantage of expansion opportunities.

Publishing Perspectives has asked if there’s news on the Sharjah Publishing City plans for an installation in the United Arab Emirates. We’ll update this story if information is forthcoming.

More from Publishing Perspectives  on Ingram Content is here, and more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.