The Ingram Content Group is expanding its Global Connect program to Russia, signing an agreement with the Russian media giant EE Media. Like the deals it signed with partners in Brazil and Germany, the agreement with EE Media will give publishers the opportunity to print titles through a local print on-demand service and then sell books through a domestic distribution network.

EE Media is one of Russia’s largest publishing and distribution companies and has the full confidence of Ingram that it will be able to deliver quality production and a full range of distribution services for publishers that want to use the Global Connect option. “EE Media has the print-to-order capabilities to meet Lightning Source standards and can roll out sales to a large network of stores and other resellers in the local market,” David Taylor, senior v-p content acquisition international at Ingram, said.

Taylor noted that Ingram chose Russia to be the third country to become part of its global alliance because it can be a difficult market to penetrate, something echoed by Yevgeniy Khata, CEO of EE Media. “Where it typically took one to two months for English-language books to reach consumers [in Russia], now it will take 24 to 48 hours,” he said. EE Media has more than 3,000 “retail points of sale” Khata added. Taylor noted another attribute of the Russian market is strong demand for books both in the consumer and education areas with Ingram estimating that the market for English-language titles in Russia to be about $100 million.

All publishers who take part in Global Connect set the price they want for their books in dollars, Ingram passes the price to its partners who convert it to local currency and adds their costs and margin. Publishers will be paid in dollars and Lightning will maintain file integrity and security.

Ingram began the Global Connect program in 2011 and has been operating partnerships with Singular Digital in Brazil and Books on Demand in Germany. Taylor said sales have continued to grow in both markets since the programs began.