Lightning Source has sent a notice to all publishers who use Ingram’s print-on-demand service informing them that, effective April 27, it will remove print content from its catalog that falls within certain prohibited areas. In its message, Lightning Source said it is implementing the new policy as “a necessary stand to uphold the integrity of, and reduce bias against, independently published works.”

Kelly Gallagher, Ingram v-p of content acquisition, told PW the new rules are in keeping with the company's policy of improving the integrity of its catalog and to "protect against copyright infringement."

To enforce the guidelines, Lightning said that, beginning April 27, “we will actively remove print content from our catalog that does harm to buyers and affects the reputations of our publishers and retail and library partners.” Ingram noted that it can remove the content without prior notice and that any fees paid to Lightning will not be refunded—although it did say any sales earned prior to the take down would be paid. For now, the policy applies only to print material, not e-books.

Gallagher emphasized that Ingram is giving clients ample time to review their content and get questions answered before the company removes any content. He said going forward, Lightning Source may reject content based on the criteria, but noted that since the book industry is always changing, Ingram will maintain some flexibility.

The seven areas where books containing the following content could be removed are:

  1. Summaries, workbooks, abbreviations, insights, or similar types of content without permission from the original author.
  2. Books containing blank pages exceeding 10%, notepads, scratchpads, journals, or similar types of content.
  3. Books or content that mirror/mimic popular titles, including but not limited to similar covers, cover design, title, author names, or similar types of content.
  4. Books that are misleading or likely to cause confusion by the buyer, including but not limited to inaccurate descriptions and cover art.
  5. Books listed at prices not reflective of the book's market value.
  6. Books scanned from original versions where all or parts contain illegible content to the detriment of the buyer.
  7. Books created using artificial intelligence or automated processes.

Asked whether, under criteria #1, study guides such as Cliff Notes may be removed from the catalog, Gallagher said: "Long standing publishers with a reputation for quality and commercial success will certainly be in a position to succeed through the catalog."

In its message to publishers, Lightning reiterated much of what Gallagher said. “We are committed to supporting authors and publishers for the quality content they've produced and continuing to provide our retail and library partners with high quality, trusted catalog feeds,” Lightning wrote.