Claude Bouchard Books

Crime Thrillers and other Stuff...

Ramble On

I'm Pissed Off at Lightning Source

Posted by bigceebee on September 28, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Lightning Source is one of the suppliers I deal with for print versions of some of my novels. To date, I've been satisfied with the quality of the prints they produce, their vast distribution network and the higher than average royalty payout offered per sale and I expect that satisfaction will continue. The reason I'm pissed off at them is what I'll call geographical discrimination.

Let me start with a bit of comparative information about other similar suppliers in regards to payment policies. Various suppliers offer different payment possibilities as follows:

  • Lulu issues payments on a quarterly basis by either cheque or PayPal, regardless of a member's country of residence. For cheque payments, a client's revenue balance must be $20 or more while the amount for PayPal is set at $5. There are no handling fees involved if cheques are preferred..
  • Smashwords pays quarterly and U.S. residents can be paid by cheque with a $75 minimum or PayPal for $10 or more. Non-U.S. members are paid strictly via PayPal with the same $10 minimum requirement.
  • Createspace pays U.S. members monthly with a minimum balance requirement of $20 if paid via electronic fund transfer and $28 if paid by cheque. An $8 handling fee is charged for cheque payments. Non-U.S. members are not eligible to EFT so payment is by cheque once the $20 minimum has been attained or surpassed. Handling fees do not apply for non-U.S. members.
  • Kindle pays monthly by electronic fund transfer where available when revenues due attain $10/£10/€10. Otherwise, cheque payments are issued when $100/£100/€100 minimums are reached.
  • And now, Lightning Source. Currently, Lightning Source issues payment by cheque on a monthly basis with a $25 minimum requirement. So far so good. However...

Lightning Source has recently informed its members that electronic funde transfers are now available for those having chequing accounts with banks based in the U.S., U.K., Europe and Australia. Based on the information supplied, there doesn't seem to be a minimum required for monthly EFT payments to be issued, which is an added benefit. As a means of encouraging these members to sign up for EFT, Lightning Source has advised that the monthly minimum required for those who wish to continue receiving cheque payments will be raised to $100, in other words, quadrupled.

As a resident of Canada, I have no chequing account with any bank based in the U.S., U.K., Europe or Australia. When I contacted Lightning Source to enquire if this quadruple increase would be waived for those not eligible to EFT due to country of residence, i was bluntly informed the increase applied to EVERYBODY. I was also told PayPal was not an option being considered. As a pacifying pat on the head, however, the following mention was included in the response I received:

"We hope to have CAD as a currency option in the future ETA unknown."

One could argue the new $100 minimum is the same as that for Kindle. However, like more and more authors, the bulk of my sales are in eBooks generally, most of which are on Kindle so, a higher minimum earning is not an issue. Print, however, is a dwindling format...

So, Lightning Source, thank you for:

  • showing no regard to a number of the clients who collectively generate earnings for you;
  • openly discriminating on the basis of country of residence;
  • finding a way to keep our money in your coffers longer and;
  • telling me to go screw myself is such a lovely, business-like manner.

It makes me feel good to know a supplier doesn't give a rat's ass about at least a portion of their customers.

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Reply Sean Poindexter
11:34 AM on September 28, 2011 
That's pretty odd of them, considering that they have to have a significant portion of clients in Canada. I'd recommend creating an online-only bank account. I have one at HSBC and they have no deposit minimums (so you can open it with a $10 deposit), no monthly fees and you can transfer money into and out of them an unlimited amount of times without a fee.
Reply Justin Bogdanovitch
11:46 AM on September 28, 2011 
Thank you for the take on the differing publisher/pricing - I'm in the search process ;-)
Reply Brooklyn Ann
03:20 PM on September 28, 2011 
WTF?! That's total B.S.! Love the new cover for Vigilante, BTW.
Reply Derek Haines
03:32 PM on September 28, 2011 
Know the feeling Claude. Living in Switzerland may be full of banks, but obviously, like Canada, I have the same problems. Most US companies I deal with have NO, NIL, NONE, ZIPPO international understanding at all. US centric is becoming a real pain on the Net. Electronic bank transfers are now as easy as hell. There's no excuse. I can transfer funds from my Paypal account with one click. But Amazon can't?

Createspace aka Lightening Source, Amazon, Adsense and more on a long list of sites I work with really piss me about. Kindle once kindly sent me a check for $US22.00. Nice, but it cost me $25.00 the cash it!

However, I think you'll find that these suppliers/providers probably have restrictions placed on them by US government regulations. Even if I do manage to get paid by these companies, I have 30% withholding tax deducted. When I tried to apply for a IRS exemption, it was refused. So now, I have to go through hoops to get this 30% back from here.

Smashwords though pay by Paypal, which is great. But of course, minus 30% tax.

If there's a way to win, tell me when you find it.