As the Covid-19 epidemic has disrupted the book supply chain, from printing operations to shipping, Ingram Content Group said it is making "a significant investment" in global print-on-demand operations.
The company's Lightning Source POD and distribution arm plans "capacity growth through equipment investments" in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, which comes three years after replacing and upgrading its print capabilities.
In the U.S., the company said it is investing "millions of dollars" to increase capacity in its manufacturing plants in Allentown, Pa., and Jackson and La Vergne, Tenn. New printing, binding, trimming and shipping/sortation equipment is being installed now through October that will increase U.S. capacity by "double-digit percentages." As a result, Ingram plans to hire hundreds of new employees in the three facilities.
In the U.K., Ingram recently completed the move of the NBNi warehouse operation (it bought NBNi in 2017) from Plymouth to a new 98,000-square-feet facility in Milton Keynes, near its established POD operation. The Milton Keynes POD facility is completing further equipment upgrades and other manufacturing investments that are projected to increase print capacity by double-digit percentages.
In Australia, Ingram is investing in a new plant in Melbourne, along with additional printing and finishing equipment. The 50,000-square-foot plant will open later this year, doubling Ingram's print and shipping capability in Australia, at a time when local printing options have become more attractive to overseas publishers.
Ingram said it has been playing "a vital role in making virtual inventory a reality. For publishers the model helps in fulfilling the unpredictable challenges of managing consumer and retail demand. For retailers and libraries, Ingram's print on demand services capture every sale and circulation by showing inventory availability. Connecting Ingram's global network of manufacturing and distribution helps make millions of titles available for purchase all over the world."