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Lightning Source Complaints & Reviews

Lightning SourceRoyalty payments

Since June 20, 2020, I have received three emails saying that royalty payments now totaling $113.58 CAD will be deposited to my bank account. So far nothing had been deposited. I checked my account and my banking information is correct. They do not answer my emails asking them to look into why I'm not getting paid with no response. A telephone conversation got no results and the rep somehow cut me off without calling me back. Their customer service sucks big time!!

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    Lightning SourceBad service

    The customer service offered by Lightening Source is SO BAD they could also be a government department. They keep sending me proofs which have unacceptably low print quality with blurred text through the book and seem unable to tell me why the book looks like its been checked in a puddle. I keep telling that the proof is unacceptable and there response is that they don't know what's going and that I should fix. How can I fix it if they don't tell me what the problem is. They have completely screwed a deadline, lost me a lot of sales and refuse to take responsibility for their inability to print text correctly. And this is now my third horrific experience with them.

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      • Ka
        Karl49 Feb 03, 2016

        I recently received a horribly printed book from LSI's Fresno facility. I called LSI Customer Service, but after 30 minute hold there was no pickup on their end. So, I called the main number and was told I must work through CS. I asked the receptionist to connect me with someone in CS directly or in Management or in Quality Control. She would not do this. Eventually, sensing my ire, she said she would call CS and have them phone me directly. They did not call me. Nor have they responded to the email I sent to CS several days ago after the failed phone contacts. I know I just a "plain ole reader" and this is just a one-off situation, but, based on what I see, they care not about the customer nor about quality. I know that the online book store from whom I ordered who represents some publisher who, in turn, contracted with LSI are not directly at fault except for their involvement with this possibly incompetent and uncaring print service. Cast thy eyes on some pictures attached of my "book"

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      Lightning SourceLightning source service

      Lightning Source is terrible at customer service and completing a project for their clients on time. Rude, bad attitude, and ignorant. Here are the main problem employees Yolanda Hall (confused), Heather Henderson (clueless), Cassandra Walker (lazy), Dana Sanders (a real ###), & Leslie Sullivan (really stupid) Do yourself a favor publish your book as an ebook, this company single handed will kill print books.

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        38 Responses
        • Sm
          Small Press Dec 17, 2021
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          Verified customer

          A very interesting post. We've recently had an issue with LSI. They delivered damaged books. The cover of every book was dented and the trim shifted. When we reached out to them, we received no response until we asked American Express to reverse the charge. At this point, we heard immediately from a credit representative who froze our account and then only hours later threatened to shut it down completely, dumping ten years worth of book files, if we did not pay immediately. We were just trying to get a resolution as to the damaged books delivered. I see that our experience is not at all unusual. Somehow, I don't know if this should make me feel better...

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        • Bo
          Book Author Jul 08, 2021
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          33/100 books printed by Lightning Source Ingram (LSI) literally fell apart after opening them.

          I ordered a batch of 50 of my books for a book signing event. As potential buyers paged through them, pages started falling out. After further investigation, the glue was visible and looked like a 2 year old child glued the pages together. A total of at least 25 (known) books out of 50 fell apart. There were potentially more damaged books that were sold that I am unaware of.

          I reached out to my publisher and they were able to have LSI replace all 50 books. After receiving and checking them, 8 out the 50 replacement books fell apart. I informed my publisher and I’m waiting on a response from LSI. It’s unknown how many books that were sold by major retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble were defective. It’s also a great concern that a large amount of sales were lost and this will negatively impact the reviews for my book and will entail loss of royalties.

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        • Me
          MelanieLamb Sep 28, 2018
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          If you are capable, and would be willing to help me submit my book revision through LSI please contact me.
          [email protected]

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        • Da
          Darren Easterby Jul 16, 2018

          Yeah as a former employee of LS Australia in Melbourne I can honestly confirm that the Quality Control is terrible. All sorts of mistakes are made and shipped out. They are at best a bunch of amateurs who for the most part are unqualified and irresponsible. They even started employing refugees with no knowledge, skills or experience in printing and were quite willing to let their best workers leave in disgust. I would highly recommend avoiding this company like the plague!!

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        • Da
          Darian Zam May 02, 2017
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          I'm a pretty seasoned designer so I know what I'm doing, I had so many issues trying to upload the interior .pdf. Their system is complex, detailed and unnecessarily stringent - actually pedantic with no real explanation. What is with the stupid 13 mm trim to safety area? It can't possibly be that inaccurate. It is double of some other POD services! Why don't they just have a freaking page template generator like they do for covers? Cover, generated, not a problem. Saves everyone time and hassle. Interior: I think I had to upload it several times before it was finally accepted. The whole process was so tedious and frustrating. Nowhere is it mentioned if your file is rejected at that stage it just logs you out soo at first you're like WTF is going on? Finally, after nearly tearing my hair out, it turned out there were two files out of several hundred that were like 298 dpi instead of 300. I went through every. single. thing. before that to save some work, or so I thought. Gets uploaded finally and then notifies me they are going to do a automated reduction of dpi because the dpi was now too high! FFS. I just hit yes because I was OVER IT by that point. Next day I get an email, my cover is rejected, for elements outside the safety area. I designed it EXACTLY AS I WANTED IT. EXACTLY. The saga continues after nearly a week. I almost regret choosing them now. The book better look good. If it doesn't I may just give them the flick and go elsewhere. Blurb are ball breakers with their pricing but everything else - so easy, no hassle, done. LightningSource has made me want to brick my screen. The comments here about print quality and customer service are scary.

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        • Do
          Donald Gazzaniga Apr 03, 2017
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          I have about ten years experience with LS. Four years ago I pulled most of my titles from them and xferred to CreateSpace. CS is far superior to LS both with ease of uploading and with costs. CS is free from page one to the end. LS piles on costs and an annual $12 fee they claim is "mandatory" for retention of title, etc. Poppycock. CS charges no such fees and delivers books at a lower cost to you. In other words, your profit margins are higher at CS than at LS and your service is rapid. Always. Their support team is excellent although basically e-mail driven. There is no contest here concerning price, quality and marketing. I have sold four times more books via CS than LS.

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        • Al
          Alarm 209 Jun 18, 2016

          I had numerous customers service issues because their lack of knowledge and laziness about looking into the problems to resolve the issues. I had iin uploading the files which was an A4 format
          I was trying to explain that I was able to upload my A4 file successfully on create space.they claimed that LS had a different A4 standard and while some other customer service rep said that he had never heard about A4 size hence could double check the spec. As a result of series of coolant my account has been suspended. The want me to hand my entire business to author companies that will be linked to them dictating this way the model of my business. They should be all about supporting independent authors as that's what their business is based on fbu if you are not a large publishers they can damage your business affecting also the large retailers that buy books from indi companies. Watch out..you might build your business model and they can kill your bussines over out of nastiness of a few customer service. The desicion was taken by a supervisor. If a company is started closing account they can generating major financial damage especially if your company is already trading with the large bookstore. Has anybody else experiences that? On another note..is there any other company out there that partners with Gardners or Waterstones and Barnes and Nobles?

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        • Lo
          Lori Crecelius Roberts Apr 04, 2016
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          Lightning Source has gone downhill. I have published three books with two different publishers. In the last two weeks, I have received orders from Lightning Source. The problems are numerous. Errors include books with the last chapter in the front, books with the print so light in parts it is difficult to read, pages where they have actually pasted part of a page onto another to name a few! Just this week, both publishers have received photos and descriptions from me. They both have commented on issues they are receiving from Lightning Source. They uploaded a file that wasn't even proofed yet, lied about it, then tried to blame it on Amazon. Finally, the truth came out, but not before an approved version of my book was received. Is there anyone else who prints out there?? I have to check every single page of every book I order from them. I hate to see what goes out to book stores and readers. :(

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @Lori Crecelius Roberts Lightning Source is a company of lies and liars. I stopped paying them for distribution services because I figured if Amazon buys copies of the book from Ingram Books and Ingram books then orders the same from Lightning Source, it means that given that Ingram Books has a fixed fee of 55% discount, LSI have to sell five book-copies of a publishers who offers 20% discount, before one sold copy is admitted. Such a publisher would be selling four copies for whcih compensation is not paid but whent into the pockets of Ingram Books. Such of course, if that be the case would make LSI a blatant thieving organization

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        • Mo
          More People, Less Robots. Sep 18, 2015

          Here's a little update / thread for ya!

          My email to LSI:
          1). There was a ten day delay on my uploaded files. I submitted materials on the 8th, did not receive notification until the 18th. What was the delay?
          2). The first price listed for 200 copies of this book were 1.86 each. Today they are 2.87 each. What happened in two weeks to double the price? I invoiced out at 1.86 now I have to eat $200 dollars?

          Response: Please, contact the Client Service at [protected].

          My next email: And one last thing. I specifically noted in my Instructions that I did not want a proof as well as selecting the 'No' option in the window. Why did I just get an invoice for a proof??? Please see our card on file has been charge and act accordingly.

          As a business owner myself, I need to know when my representatives or work is subpar. My livelihood depends on finding errors or misconceptions and fixing them. Working with LSI has become more and more difficult each year. Problems, complaints and instructions seem to be ignored. In a nutshell, you can and have, made my work subpar. Unexplained delays, unanswered emails from the production end... all of this affects my client's perception of my work.

          What is the company prepared to do to address these issues? I really would like for this email to be addressed by someone (if not you) that can answer that question. Competition is too thick to be complacent, for my industry and yours.

          Reponse: I forwarded your email to the management team of Client Service and they will respond to you. (Still waiting...)

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        • Ls
          LSI sucks May 26, 2015

          the worst company to work for, they treat their employees like slaves. Changing their work schedule like the way they want to like people have no family OR LIFE, never can make no plans, because every week is always something .
          On 2008 they laid off all good American employees after that they hired all this ### kisser Egyptian people that they have no life and work 24/7 if they let them .

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        • To
          Tom Mach May 12, 2015
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          I also think that their customer service has sunk to an all low point. I had been a client of theirs for years but lately they have no sense of customer service. In the past they given me an account rep with whom I could talk. Now there is not account rep. In my last (and probably final) book with them) they first insisted that I go through their complicated instructions for creating a front, back, and sine for my cover as one total file and refused to have me send them these three parts seperately.. Then I ordered 16 copies of my book last Wednesday because I needed them for Thursday of the following week. Now it is Tuesday (almost 7 days since I placed the order) and they HAVEN'T EVEN PRINTED THEM YET! This is the worst customer service ever. The man I spoke to at LSI had no sympathy for me, simply saying if I wanted the order sooner I should have clicked on priority shipment. Don't use LSI ever.

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @Tom Mach I agree wholeheartedly. Dont ever use LSI.

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        • Ar
          Arizona39 Apr 03, 2015

          LSI rarely does their remittance on time and when you need to contact your account reps they are always out of the office for 1-2 weeks!

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @Arizona39 You are lucky, now they use a faceless persona for the purposes of exculpability. So you wont even have a rep with any kind of name, so nobody in the company actually wrote to you.

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @Arizona39 That company once tried to sell itself to Barnes and Nobles apparently, and then backed off. So now they don't pay commissions(?) and may be they are financially strapped and using publishers and authors funds to finance themselves. Publishers would do well to avoid Lightning Source. Just dont do business with them.

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        • Ch
          Cheebu Mar 28, 2014

          It's run like a Soviet government administrative department, and their online dashboard is not much better, but they do deliver. Unlike Amazon and many others that try to whack as much money out of your pockets as possible yet make you work for it yourself, these people don't seem to care too much about money. Just that you will only get instructions and vague information about the procedures and requirements after you started the process, and get overviews that are confusing at best.

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        • Ch
          Cheebu Mar 28, 2014

          It's run like a Soviet government administration, and the online dashboard is not much better, but they do deliver.

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        • As
          Ashonna Mar 13, 2014

          Their customer service rates somewhere around the bottom of a mud puddle. I ordered hard cover and paperback books nearly three months ago. They arrived 2 weeks after they were supposed to, and all of the hard cover books had glue issues causing the title page to bunch or pull from the rest of the book. I contacted my service rep and had to pay to send some of the books back for "quality control review". Then, I had to hound the rep for a) a reply on if she received the submitted claim form, b) whether or not the books were getting reprinted, and c) a tracking number. Each of these information requests took 3-5 days for a reply.
          The next batch of books they sent me were all printed off center with big white lines around an otherwise full-color book page. It's a bit noticeable when there's a giant line against purple or blue, people! I submitted that paperwork a few days ago and still haven't received a reply. When calling today to ask if they even received it, I was told, "The only person who can help you is your rep, and if it's not broke, then don't fix it." I'm not sure what qualifies as 'not broke' about a couple hundred books I can't sell with an author signing coming up and no product for it.
          Thanks for nothing.

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        • Ch
          cheated publisher Nov 06, 2013

          I have not received half a dozen monthly publisher checks from Lightningsource. After exchanging about 40 emails they claimed that they had been sent and cashed. I believe that this is not possible as they would have been made out to my company and were never received or cashed by my company. They seem to be trying to drive publishers into a new company that they have set up with a commission structure about 3 times higher for them than Lightningsource. Is anyone aware of a class action against Lightningsource for violation of intellectual property rights by non payment of publishers?

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @cheated publisher If you ever find out of a class action law suit, I am in. i will be monitoring this page from now onwards

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        • So
          Soul Esprit Jan 06, 2022
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          @Opubo G. Benebo Include me also.
          For years, I've suspected they embezzle publisher's compensation in order to keep their faltering company from going under. Many clues, but they will never admit to their felonies until forced to in a court of law. Let's take them down. This is a criminal organization. And see if you can put the word out seeking a former employee who witnessed the theft from the inside. They'll drop like a rock at that point. Poetic justice for all the shameless theft over the many years of hard-working authors and publishers who trusted these crooks. Contact me at: [email protected]

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        • An
          AnnoyedCustomer13 Sep 10, 2013
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          The customer service offered by Lightening Source is SO BAD they could also be a government department. They keep sending me proofs which have unacceptably low print quality with blurred text through the book and seem unable to tell me why the book looks like its been checked in a puddle. I keep telling that the proof is unacceptable and there response is that they don't know what's going and that I should fix. How can I fix it if they don't tell me what the problem is. They have completely screwed a deadline, lost me a lot of sales and refuse to take responsibility for their inability to print text correctly. And this is now my third horrific experience with them.

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        • Em
          emilylake Aug 26, 2013

          The day I've been waiting for has finally arrive, I can now tell LS to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Not only did I receive terrible customer service over the years, I've had to deal to poor print quality from them, with customers calling to say they received books where the print was so light in some pages they couldn't make it out. This QC issue was never their fault and always some thing we did based on how the files we submitted to them was created, therefore if we wanted replacements to be sent to the customer we needed to pay for the second round to books.
          After their last round of c*** customer service I was finally able to locate another POD printer, that not only has better print quality, but came in at the same price per unit as LS. their slightly higher set-up cost (~$20) was offset their lower almost every else cost (unit cost, file change fees (~$20).
          My company has been doing business with them for years and place orders for books on a regular weekly basis, and they still treat us to the worst customer service I've had to deal with out of all our vendors. They had yet to provide any helpful service without first having us to compile actual proof they are at fault or it is something their contract requires them to do.

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          Verified customer

          @emilylake When you were getting out I was getting in, and did I learn my lesson. Recently I ordered for two copies of my book to give to the Copyright office, and what I got had ink-brushes on many pages that, were the books not going to the copyright office, I would have returned them to LSI and I told LSI so. That company is the worst printing service.

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        • Ne
          Newt Barrett Nov 25, 2017
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          @emilylake Emily, who are you now using? I am now getting killed by LSI price increases. You can email me: [email protected] Thanks, Newt Barrett

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        • Tr
          truecrimebook.com May 07, 2013
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          I sent my application and paperwork in over a month ago. I was told it was lost. I have re-sent this paperwork 2 times now along with a detailed letter of complaint. I was going with LS because I was told they were the best and most professional. I have clients waiting on my book!! Their lack of customer service is costing me money.
          Can anyone else recommend a god POD? I'm at truecrimebook.com. Thanks!

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        • Br
          Brute27 Nov 11, 2012

          I have been with LS for four years. I had been selling 3 or 4 books every quarter. Not much but I was satisfied. Out of the blue I got a shipment of 57 of my books freshly printed and an invoice for $1012.77! After my jaw hit the floor, I called them up and said WTF? According to them these are returns. AND according to them, for 4 years, I had apparently been pricing my books BELOW printing cost!!! W.T.F???? I checked my pub comps and correspondence and none of what they claimed adds up in terms of the numbers. I disputed their outrageous claim and with every reply to their request for payment, a week or two went by. Hmm. You would think if a printer is owed this amount they would be aggressive in calling and following up with me. This is an unbelievable situation and it is still going on. I will keep this board updated when I can.

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        • Am
          American for Common Ground Nov 06, 2012

          A recent post went up on a blog that outlined what LSI did to a publishing company. You can read it here: http://www.aforcg.blogspot.com/ It is clear that LSI does not have a clue with customer serivce, nor do they feel they need to. Their Big Biz Bully mentality is ever so clear in this post. If anyone else has lost money due to them, please post on the blog so a class action lawsuite can exist.

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        • Op
          Opubo G. Benebo Jan 27, 2017
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          @American for Common Ground I did not see the blog to post to about LSI. Reading public domain information about that company, it would seem that the Ingram Collective has taken measures to protect itself by changing from corporations into "Delaware Series LLC" a kind of structure that protects the assets while allowing any one unit to be bankrupt and discarded, and easily replaced with a new entity without affecting the others or operations. The company can now if it wishes performs any criminal fraudulent actions and simply walk away from it. Everyone should be careful.

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        • Ji
          Jim789 May 09, 2012

          LS at times is very stressfull. It's a shame my books are selling before I have started to market or advertise them.

          If your requirements are not common yet still under their contract / manual but "computer says no" then that's bad luck no matter how polite or patient, eventually you might have to complain to get things done. I can only speak for myself, if you are a big publisher or a publisher with 1000 poorly written books with awfull covers that takes any authors money then you might be OK.

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        • Wv
          WV Maverick Nov 29, 2011

          Yes, there should be a Disagree button. The service I have received has been excellent, as has the products.
          I understand the need to have the files formatted correctly for their software.

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        • Da
          danwl21 Nov 19, 2011

          I used to work for LSI between 2006 and 2008. In 2008, I resigned from my job, two weeks before they laid off all American citizens on the company floor, and replaced them with uneducated illegal immigrants. That may be a major source of the problem.

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        • To
          Tom Harrington Jul 29, 2017

          @danwl21 Well I worked at their Australian plant in Melbourne in 2012 and I was promised the world. It never eventuated. The QC process there was crap, I witnessed an unreasonably large percentage of books being despatched which should never have left the premises. Also they started hiring inexperienced employees with no background in Print whatsoever. That was the last straw. At last count there have been 5 of their most important employees who are no longer working there. There is certainly something very wrong with this organization and I would recommend anyone wanting to publish books, stay away from LS Australia!!!

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        • La
          LayoutMan Mar 03, 2011

          I often handle all self published book designs & layout for my client - who happens to be a prolific writer! Sadly I just happened by a most underhanded marketing arm twist by LSI. They claimed the files should be printed to postscript and then distilled in Adobe. Apart from the fact that this is so 1980s, apparently they ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN DO THIS! So they sent back all the files and some lady affiliated to them reprimands my client for not patronising her anymore for formatting! I think they're a scam...and their work flow (Laser printing) is so dated and inefficient, not the least the totally flopped sub-minus customer service you get for all your trouble.

          Do yourself a favour...avoid them like a plague!

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        • To
          TonySz Dec 25, 2010

          There should be a 'strongly agree' button here too

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        • An
          Another customer with LS experience Dec 03, 2010
          This comment was posted by
          a verified customer
          Verified customer

          Maybe you had a good experience, but I also can say Lightning Source isn't really good at customer service since a while back I dealt with Leslie and she was not helpful or customer service oriented.

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        • Rv
          rvbizz08 Dec 02, 2010

          No way! I work with Leslie all the time and she has taken care of us with excellence. I even needed a rush on submitting a title and as well ordering copies of it once approved to meet a deadline of sales for a local conference all the way on the west coast. Did a great job and still met my deadline!

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