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Book Publishing Just Got Greener

Ingram’s Lightning Source Inc. today announced that it has received Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification from three leading environmental organizations: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC).

Chain of custody (CoC) is an accounting system that tracks wood fiber through the different stages of production: from the forest, to the mill, to the paper, to the printer and ultimately to the finished book. CoC ensures the integrity of the paper supply chain and that the paper used in Lightning Source printed books are from responsibly managed forests.

This is a big deal because Lightning Source is one of the largest producers of the books on demand space. Currently, it manufactures more 1.5 million books per month — yes, per month — for more than 12,000 publishers. Some titles are released as print on demand only. Others are moved to print on demand once they hit backlist status. Print on demand is a big deal and impacts book publishing and consumption more than most people think.

There are currently more than 2.9 million books in the Lightning Source digital library alone. If you order a book from, unless it’s just been released by a major publisher, there is a good chance it’s printed on demand from LSI.

The fact that LSI now has chain of custody certification is a big deal for the environment. Let’s hope we hear the same announcement from other high-volume POD book printers in the coming months.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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