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News Release
25 Jul 2000
UK Alliance to Expand, Speed Access to Books
Lightning Source Opening UK Subsidiary in Concert with Bertram, Blackwell’s Alliance

La Vergne, TN (July 25, 2000) – Lightning Source Inc. announced Tuesday its intention to form a subsidiary in the United Kingdom and a strategic alliance with Bertram™ Group, the UK’s largest book wholesaler, and Blackwell's, a leading information distributor and retail bookseller. The alliance will result in the most sophisticated "on demand" printing service available in the UK today unleashing unprecedented opportunities for publishers, libraries, retailers and ultimately, consumers. The alliance brings together the technology, market presence and infrastructure to economically deliver books printed "on demand", one at a time.

Under the agreement Lightning UK will serve as the provider of print-on-demand titles for Bertram’s book wholesale and library customers as well as short-run and drop-ship services to publishers. Additionally, the availability of "on demand" services will enable the publishing arm of Blackwell’s to provide greater exposure for its authors and dramatically expand book sales. By storing content digitally, Lightning Source can print a book made-to-order in less than three minutes and ship within 24-48 hours. Delivery of "on demand" titles will begin within 30 days. Given anticipated volume from Bertrams and Blackwell’s, Lightning Source will immediately utilize its US operations for print production in the UK, and open its first full service UK facility by year-end.

"This initiative not only represents our commitment to expand our European presence, but also symbolizes the dynamic role technology is playing in revolutionizing the way people read around the globe," said Lightning Source President and CEO Ed Marino. "This is more than simply a commercial alliance. It’s a long-term strategic commitment built on leveraging technology, market position and a well-developed infrastructure to deliver a greater selection of titles in the fastest, most cost-effective fashion. That’s what print-on-demand is all about."

"Bertrams are proud to form a strategic alliance with the world’s leading print-on-demand provider. We see enormous advantages for our customers and publisher suppliers. Having a role equidistant between the two, in this area of new technology, exploits perfectly Bertrams’ leading position at the center of the supply chain," said Deputy CEO of Bertrams Julian Rivers.

"The Blackwell’s offer, both on and off-line, is about providing our customers around the world with targeted access to the most comprehensive range of books. Print-on-demand technology is particularly relevant for our core academic and professional markets which are heavily dependant on specialist information, but which have seen print runs for many such materials steadily declining over a number of years. The strategic alliance with Lightning Source and Bertrams will help us to make more titles more easily available to more customers and introduces an added-value resource which complements our existing bookshop stockholdings, our services to libraries and our bibliographic and ordering facilities," said Philip Blackwell, CEO of Blackwell Ltd.

By working in alliance with more than 600 publishers around the world, Lightning has amassed one of the largest digital libraries in the industry today -- having just topped the 10,000 mark and adding an average of 250 titles a week. By storing content electronically, many hard-to-find, out-of-print or low-volume titles can be made available to consumers while simultaneously lowering capital and overhead costs for publishers and retailers. By lowering the threshold costs of publishing, many more titles which would not have been economically feasible to publish, can now be brought to market. In turn, consumers have access to a greater selection of titles without having to compromise the quality of the book or the convenience of immediate delivery.

"While our print-on-demand services have enjoyed enormous success in the U.S. with over a million ‘on demand’ books printed to date, we fully expect the UK market to be even stronger," Marino said. "The UK publishes approximately 30% more titles than the US and the typical consumer places a premium on a diverse selection of reading material – both of which are indicators of an environment ripe for print-on-demand success."

"The facility to make any book available ‘on demand,’ coupled with our existing 250,000 title stock range will redefine book availability for our customers in all sectors. Cypher, for example, will connect with libraries to facilitate a more effective use of book funds by providing marginal or specialist titles, when they are needed. The frustration of ‘reprinting – no date’ will soon be eliminated from book supply," said Julian Rivers. Publishers and authors will now have a constant route to market through Bertrams, freed from the economic restrictions of conventional reprints."

Print-on-demand is one piece of a broader suite of digital fulfillment services offered by Lightning. A pioneer in capitalizing on new technology by bringing successful "on demand" printing services to market, Lightning is now paving the way for advances in the eMarketplace for the reading public, through electronic books, or eBooks. Using the same infrastructure that’s proving successful with "on demand" printing," Lightning Source now provides comprehensive end-to-end digital fulfillment services that are revolutionizing the options available to the industry in the conversion, storage, management and distribution of digital content.About Lightning Source Inc.

ABOUT LIGHTNING SOURCE
Lightning Source Inc., a subsidiary of Ingram Industries Inc., provides a comprehensive suite of demand-driven publishing solutions for publishers. The company is revolutionizing the options available to the industry in the storage, management, and distribution of digital content. Lightning Source stores books and other information electronically and delivers them “on demand” in either traditional printed format or as e-Books in response to orders from booksellers, librarians, and publishers. Lightning Source has printed over 40,000,000 books for over 4,500 publishers around the world. For more information, visit our website at www.lightningsource.com
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