How to Make PDFs for Lightning Source Print-on-Demand—A Free Report

by Joel Friedlander on December 23, 2009 · 5 comments


See Download Link in Article

Digital printing has given rise to the print-on-demand distribution model that’s become so popular with self-publishers. Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI) is the principle provider of print-on-demand distribution, and the one I personally work with, and often recommend to my clients who are intending to become competitive self-publishers.

Like anyone else, I had to work out the exact steps LSI needed my book files to go through in order to guarantee that I wouldn’t have holdups later in the production process. I also wanted to ensure that I was getting the best quality printing I could from their system, so it was important to go over all the documentation and settings LSI specifies.

However, the information I needed was in at least 10 different documentation files and 2 very long web pages. In November I wrote a series of articles detailing exactly how to accomplish this task.

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Process

Today I’m making available a downloadable PDF file intended for anyone who needs to make reproduction files for Lightning Source’s digital print-on-demand process. Taken from my articles, revised and updated, this report will help you create a file that will:

  • Run smoothly at LSI
  • Get the best quality reproduction from their equipment
  • Conform to the specifications for LSI production.

The PDF, which can be downloaded from the link at the end of this article, brings together in one place the information necessary in a step-by-step, illustrated format so all you have to do is follow along. The report is 21 pages long.

Feel free to pass the report along, or to post it at your own website, or to make it available to users along with other products. As long as the report stays intact, it’s fine to spread it around to anyone who you think might be able to use it. I hope to release more helpful reports like this in the coming months.

Download the “Creating a PDF for Lightning Source” Report

Here’s the link I promised you:

Download Creating a PDF for Lightning Source in InDesign CS4 [ PDF – 868 KB ]

Leave me a comment if you’d like to suggest other topics for future reports, I’d love to hear which areas of book production or design need explaining.

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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    Morty S. September 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Thank you, Joel, but we’re using QuarkXpress.


    Anthony Payne January 18, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Hi Joel,

    I just came across your 2009 article when I was looking for advice on how to prepare a manuscript for “generic” publishing in both ebook and paperback formats – 6×9, black and white throughout except for a color cover. By “generic”, I mean usable by any reputable printer/publisher.

    Although I want the standard 6×9 black and white format, I am also hoping for a choice of say four “standard” ready-to-use, ready-to-choose templates for the page layout – different fonts, leading and so on. No graphics. Nothing fancy. Simple to use with Word, Open Office or Google Docs, without further tinkering. In other words, for a starter, non-techie author like me!

    Your Lighting Source report was written in 2009 and I’m therefore wondering if you have subsequently written other reports on the “generic” approach that I have outlined above. If so, I should much appreciate your advising me where I can find this information. Or perhaps you can point me in the right direction to find it elsewhere.


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