I’ve been told that the people to print the books that I have commissioned are Lightning Source. They have printers in the US and UK, and access through Amazon. The quality of the job is apparently rather better than Lulu.com.
But they do seem rather difficult to deal with. First they won’t give you any kind of information up front. At the moment I have no idea what they will charge for what I want.
Secondly they demand that you “apply” for an “account”, and they say, rather snootily, that they will review your “application” and deal with it within a couple of days. It’s an online form, and a bit over the top but liveable w ith.
But why the delay, the manual “review”? This I do not get. Now remember that these people are a business selling a service. Just imagine if Amazon took that sort of line! It’s unthinkably bad customer service. It discourages business, puts off the punter, and so on. All I want of these people, remember, is some printing. Why the third degree?
But there is worse. I filled in those forms this morning. This afternoon I get an email, which makes a whole series of further demands for information, with no indication given as to why they need to know all this. Here it is:
We notice that you have started to register for an account with Lightning Source and would like to ascertain your requirements.
You have populated the first part of our application for an account, but our application process is two-fold. Before we can open your account, we need to ask the following questions:
1. How many titles do you plan to print with Lightning Source over the next 12 months?
2. Do you own the rights to the title(s)?
3. Have your titles been printed/published by any company other than your own? If yes, by whom?
4. In what format do you plan to submit your titles for printing? (i.e. physical books for scanning or files? If files, what type? Are you familiar with creating pdf file?
5. Have you read and understood the File Creation link on our website covering Digital File Submission Standards, Cover Template Generator etc?
6. Have you previously spoken to a sales representative at Lightning Source? If so, with whom?
7. All publishers are required to administer their own web accounts independently of any intervention by Lightning Source. Do you agree to work with Lightning Source on this basis?
Content Acquisition Sales Representative,
Lightning Source UK Ltd., Chapter House, Pitfield, Kiln Farm, Milton Keynes, MK11 3LW, UK
What the heck is that!?! I’ve written back with answers, but remarked on how this is a lot of information to ask of someone trying to give them money. They sound as if I might get a telephone call — I’ve asked them not to.
All in all it’s a rather nasty experience, as an introduction to someone selling you a service. And “content acquisition”? I’m not selling them my content!