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Lightning Source in POD Pact With U.K.'s Bertram, Blackwell's
Calvin Reid and Jim Milliot -- 7/31/00

Lightning Source, Ingram's e-publishing and print-on-demand unit, announced plans to establish a U.K. subsidiary along with completing a strategic alliance with the Bertram Group and Blackwell's, two of the U.K.'s largest wholesaler, distributor and chain retailers.

Lightning Source U.K., the new subsidiary, will provide POD services for the Bertram Group, a wholesaler and library supplier, and for Blackwell's, a U.K.-based distributor and retailer of academic and professional titles. A spokesperson for Lightning Source told PW that the company will use its U.S. facilities to begin immediately fulfilling U.K. POD orders. Both the headquarters for Lightning's U.K. subsidiary and the installation of its POD equipment in the U.K. will take place by the end of the year at an as yet to be determined location.

Ed Marino, CEO and president of Lightning Source, described the alliance as 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." Marino also said he expected the U.K. market for POD titles to be even stronger than the U.S. "The U.K. publishes 30% more titles than the U.S. and the typical consumer places a premium on a diverse selection of reading material--indicators of an environment ripe for POD."

Philip Blackwell, CEO of Blackwell Ltd., said that "POD technology is particularly relevant for our core academic and professional markets, which have seen steadily declining print runs over a number of years. The alliance will make more titles more easily available to more customers."

B&T Debuts Portal

While Lightning Source speeds ahead signing new deals, Baker & Taylor's recently formed e-commerce business, Informata.com (News, May 8), launched its first Internet portal at the American Library Association's annual conference earlier this month. TheLibraryPlace.com sells a variety of products for librarians, including books, music, movies, furniture and equipment. The site also features a mix of free online services and information, including industry news, career postings and new product information as well as paid premium services.
Informata now has about 150 employees headed by CEO Craig Richards, who also continues to serve as CEO of B&T. Other Informata executives include Robert Doran, senior v-p, database operations; Matt Carroll, senior v-p, information technology; and Pamela Smith, senior v-p, Internet portals. Glen Secor of Yankee Rights Management and Susan Frost of Replica Books round out the Informata executive team. The company is reportedly close to announcing new partnership agreements.
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