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ResearchGuy
05-19-2008, 06:38 PM
. . . point where a traditional [offset?] printer is more economical. I should think a lot of people wil eventually print 133 copies. . . .
Sure, but you don't necessarily want them at once, or up front, or even know at the start that you'll need more than a few copies.

There is also the matter of distribution. I do not have to deal with a distributor or even with a wholesaler to have my Lulu books available at Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com, Ingram, etc. And if I want to take my files to a different printer and have hundreds or thousands printed, I can do so. Or if Lulu's pricing works for my purposes, then fine.

Anyway, I discuss my experiences for what they are, and do not offer them as guidance for anyone else or as a model -- merely as one example. I am occasionally offered unsolicited (and not particularly welcome) advice (by folks in my local publishers group, for example) about what I "should" do, advice offered in ignorance of my constraints and risk-management choices. One person, for example, "helpfully" opined that the print run she advocated (in ignorance of my needs) would "only" amount to one pallet of books. Well, that is just fine and dandy if I am willing to store that pallet of books on my driveway, in the rain, sun, and whatever -- or in my garage, displacing my wife's car (THAT is not going to happen) and exposing the books to mildew and insects.

--Ken

hastingspress
05-20-2008, 06:57 PM
"Sure, but you don't necessarily want them at once, or up front, or even know at the start that you'll need more than a few copies."

Yes Ken, I did not say this would suit EVERYBODY!

"Anyway, I discuss my experiences for what they are, and do not offer them as guidance for anyone else or as a model -- merely as one example."

So do I, so why do you object to me doing the same as you?

Helena

bazillion
06-05-2008, 09:11 PM
Here's what I heard at a writer's group I was part of in Oklahoma City:

A member of the group wrote a cookbook - local recipes - and titled it "The Bedlam Cookbook" (that title doesn't come up when I search lulu now, so I may have misremembered it or it may have been withdrawn - it was a couple of years ago).

Anyway, she printed a dozen or so copies and then went to the Bedlam game - where Oklahoma plays their arch-rival, Texas - where she set up a display and took orders right there in the parking lot among all the tailgate parties.

According to her, she sold a thousand copies and made ten bucks a pop on them, which may be a record. Makes a good story anyhow :)

Manny
06-21-2008, 01:49 AM
I am just playing around with Lulu's back cover text options. They are remarkably limited. (I uploaded a front cover as a jpeg so no problem there.)

I only wanted to make a line bold, and one italic, and center it, but it doesnt seem possible. I tried to insert some html code hoping that would work, but it doesnt.

Am I stuck with left justified, no bold, no italic, all same size text with a bog standard Lulu back cover? Or am I missing a wonderful MSWord like set of tools somewhere accessed via a seemingly invisible button?

veinglory
06-21-2008, 02:10 AM
I looked at the back of some books I got from Lulu and they have some centered and italicised lines, so it must be possible.

ResearchGuy
06-21-2008, 02:59 AM
I am just playing around with Lulu's back cover text options. They are remarkably limited. (I uploaded a front cover as a jpeg so no problem there.)
Trust me on this. Create your back cover as a .jpeg (or other format Lulu accepts) and upload it just as you did the front cover. You can get it just the way you want. Been there. MUCH better that way.

--Ken

Keyan
06-25-2008, 02:43 PM
Lulu question...

Usually, when I use the Lulu library to make covers, I find a large number of great designs to choose from. Today, I found only a fraction of the number they had earlier. Is it just me or is something wrong?

ResearchGuy
06-26-2008, 06:42 AM
Lulu question...

Usually, when I use the Lulu library to make covers, I find a large number of great designs to choose from. Today, I found only a fraction of the number they had earlier. Is it just me or is something wrong?
Try Live Help at Lulu.com for an answer.

--Ken

mamie77
06-29-2008, 05:01 PM
Hello,
It's been awhile since the last time I visited Absolute Write. I made the bitter mistake of publishing with PA. Well, I won't beat a dead horse by going into the nightmares associated with this publishing company (if that's what you'd like to refer to them as). My question is regarding the book I published with them. I'd like to rewrite the book and add a new title to it so I can publish the new one on LULU.COM, but I'm not sure if there are any legal implications. Do any of you know of anyone who attemped this from a legal standpoint? Is there a way to rewrite what you've already written and change the title so there ins't a legal conundrum? Those people at PA should be run out of town!

Thank you for reading my post; I would certainly appreciate any information regarding this you can muster up.

God Bless,
Mary E Tilley

escritora
06-29-2008, 05:27 PM
Mamie77,

Sorry to hear about PA. Though I"m not an attorney, I don't believe you can rewrite the book and just give it a different title. There was a recent discussion on the Publish America forum that gave two alternatives to trying to get out of your contract. You may want to check out that thread.

ETA: Here's the link: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106597

ResearchGuy
06-29-2008, 09:00 PM
. . . regarding the book I published with them. I'd like to rewrite the book and add a new title to it so I can publish the new one on LULU.COM, but I'm not sure if there are any legal implications. . . .
That is a legal question that should be directed to a lawyer who understands intellectual property issues and contract law.

In my layman's opinion, you probably have a good case that a completely rewritten book is a new book unless contract terms extend to that situation (and they very well might). But my opinion is no protection for you. A slightly rewritten or copyedited book, no dice in any event.

The sure thing is to get the contract canceled. You can try asking (be businesslike and considerate -- leave out all of the recriminations and accusations that so many resort to). Maybe they will respond if it is clear that you will neither buy nor promote the PA book. Or you can offer a cash buyout of the contract. It is reported that PA itself asks $300 now for early termination. I know of a case of a PA author who offered payment for cancelation, whose offer was accepted, and whose book was promptly terminated by PA and has since gone on to publication elsewhere in an edited and newly typeset edition. That author was happy to terminate the contract in that fashion and move forward with the book elsewhere.

Or you can wait out the seven years and write new books in the meantime. Working writers write a lot of books and get better with practice and with feedback from queries/proposals/submissions to legitimate agents and commercial publishers.

--Ken

mamie77
06-29-2008, 10:59 PM
Hello Escritora and ResearchGuy,
Thanks so much for responding. You are probably correct. I think I may just leave this as a lesson and try and get them to terminate early. If they do not, I will continue to write and also let others know about PA and how they should stay away.
Thanks again, and I will definitely be keeping in touch!

Great Advice...

GodBless,
Mary

ResearchGuy
07-03-2008, 03:26 AM
Oh, my. I ordered a copy of the latest prepublication version of Wyla the Witch, to be delivered to the author for examination before it is finalized. Wyla is a charming fantasy novel. But here is what the author emailed me today:


Oh dear! Oh dear! this must be one of Em's spells gone awry! I have only now had a chance to look inside the latest 'Wyla' and instead is a book called 'We The People' by one Michael D. Raymond.
(Cover photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Site Office for UK-53-094)
Of course, both front and back cover are of Wyla.
ISBN 978-0-9782834-0-7.


My copies (I ordered two sent to me) are fine.

I'm inquiring . . . bummer if they make a habit of that. But it will make a funny story for promotional use.

Update: when I brought the error to the attention of the orders desk, they promptly advised me that a replacement was on its way. I'm still stuck for Priority Mail postage to send one of my correct copies to the author for examination, but so be it.

--Ken

hastingspress
07-07-2008, 06:58 PM
I didn't go with Lulu in the end... I had 250 copies printed litho by a company in Gateshead. Cost £800.

hastingspress
07-07-2008, 07:00 PM
"had a chance to look inside the latest 'Wyla' and instead is a book called 'We The People' by one Michael D. Raymond."

Absolutely disgraceful.

Lulu MUST refund postage and every out of pocket expense.

Appalling!

Helena

robertmblevins
08-03-2008, 08:59 AM
Straight Talk About Lulu.com

I formed Adventure Books of Seattle in April of 2004, and published my first title at Lulu in August 2004. Since then, AB has done more than a dozen books there in paperback and hardcover, along with an A-4 size magazine.

After four years of trying to use their model to sell books, we finally decided to give it up. I've come to the conclusion that Lulu is useless if you really want to market a book, and there are several reasons.

Pricing

Bookstores require a 50-55% discount off what is called 'normal retail' for your particular size/type book. Lulu does not even come close to providing this. After we went with Lulu, I took some of our titles around to bookstore managers and was politely shown the door, even after I tried to move these books at perhaps fifty cents a copy above our cost.

I saw on another thread that some authors going with Lulu say their books are listed at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, because they bought one of those 'Published by Lulu' packages. But the only sales you will get are online retail, no wholesale. Your typical six-by-nine trade at say 160 pages sells for about $7.50 a copy to YOU at Lulu. Problem is, a six/nine paperback is only worth about $5 max to a bookstore or a book jobber.

At AB of Seattle, we tried to beat the system by lowering our prices. I see most people who are selling through Lulu want 11-14 dollars a copy, plus the shipping. But you can get a similar book out of any bookstore for 9-10 dollars and NO shipping. So...we stuck with six/nine and tried to keep page counts to below 160. Then we set the prices at 8.99-9.99, which was ALMOST what they retail for in stores. (Still the shipping, though)

Didn't work.

We tried a couple of 'Published by Lulu' packages. That doesn't work either because Lulu has to jack up the price of the book to high levels in order for Amazon or Barnes or anyone to list the thing. You will get few sales. And since you MIGHT sell two or three copies through Lulu in a GOOD month, it will take you years just to get back the $150 they charged you to 'publish by Lulu'.

In addition, if you decide to ditch Lulu and go on your own at a cheaper price, then Google gets mixed up, as well as the databases that list books, because you already allowed Lulu to become the 'publisher of record', using the Lulu ISBN prefix.

It's a no-win situation.

Our main website gets between 5,000-10,000 hits a month, and yet going through Lulu for our stuff, we're lucky if a half-dozen books sell a month. Actually, in the four years we went with Lulu, we sold less than a thousand books, and that's not much. Our interiors were professionally edited and formatted, and I don't know if you've seen our covers but they are extremely good.

Still didn't work for us. No one was biting.

I tried other marketing efforts, including giving away the e-versions on some titles for free. But I kept running into a stone wall, so this last April we decided it was time to either go pro and get away from the amateur Lulu thing, or close down Adventure Books.

Lightning Source

So, we investigated Lightning Source and found a whole different ball game. LSI requires you to purchase the minimum package of ten isbn's under your own prefix from Bowkers. They make you link a bank account in the name of a publisher to your account at LSI. The publisher can be Joe Smith Books if you wish. They have strict digital formatting requirements.

But...they will provide you a 160 page six/nine at single copies for about 3.25 a copy. Then you set the wholesale and retail price. They give suggestions on pricing so that bookstores will bite. Usually, this would be maybe 4.25-4.50 per copy to bookstores. (Remember - Lulu charges you 7.50 for this size book) You DO have to pay an upload fee for each book, and $12 a year per book to keep it in the database, but when you only have to sell a couple of hundred copies wholesale to break even, this is not bad. You can also afford to order some promotional copies, unlike Lulu.

LSI's New Release Newsletter reaches more than 10,000 retail outlets, and as some of you know, LSI is linked with Ingram - the biggest database in the world for books and the publisher of Books in Print.

Lightning Source assigns you a personal representative.

Once you are with LSI, you can market your books for real. You can print catalogs and mail them to bookstores. You can offer your books up at your website a lot cheaper, even at retail.

What Lulu IS Good For:

Ordering and checking proof copies. Lulu charges nothing to make changes to a book, while Lightning Source will charge you a whopping $475 to make changes to your digital print file. So...many small and medium size presses now use Lulu to create a proof copy. Then they examine it, make changes until they get it perfect. (They publish it at Lulu under the 'Available Only To Me' option) After they get it right, they delete the book from Lulu and upload the finished PDF files to Lightning Source.

Recently, I dropped three books from our website and returned the cover files and text interior files to the authors. I told them: YOU try it. No charge. We deleted out any references to ourselves from the book, making it possible for the author to do the Lulu thing on their own if they wished, or just submit it elsewhere. We gave up all the rights, even on the cover designs. It was the least we could do.

I acquired the rights a couple of months back to Marjorie Phleger's old book 'Pilot Down, Presumed Dead'. We already have a modern version ready in paperback and hardcover. And you can bet we're NOT releasing it through Lulu.

Six weeks from now, we release our first title through LSI, and we're never going back to Lulu...

robertmblevins
08-03-2008, 09:16 AM
Hastingspress: So...you paid $6.32 in dollars per copy for 250 books. Here's the problem.

A six-by-nine trade paperback WHOLESALES for around 4.25-4.50 dollars per copy.

Try Lightning Source (http://www.lightningsource.com)...they have a British-based printer now. You can get copies there for about half what you paid...

ResearchGuy
08-04-2008, 03:50 AM
Straight Talk About Lulu.com

. . .
After four years of trying to use their model to sell books, we finally decided to give it up. I've come to the conclusion that Lulu is useless if you really want to market a book, and there are several reasons.
. . .
Interesting report.

-Ken

robertmblevins
08-04-2008, 11:10 AM
I only came out with this report because of my extensive experience with Lulu. People are deluding themselves if they believe they can market their book realistically through the Lulu model.

I would guess that 90% or better of purchases from Lulu are done by authors. Lulu DOES put out a good product. I like to say about them:

'Nice place to create books...lousy place to actually SELL books.'

Without wholesale rates on copies, no chance. Lulu makes money. Authors do not. Or very little.

ShadowFox
08-06-2008, 10:20 PM
I use lulu as a place to print out proof copies of my books, since it is cheaper and more convenient than ink jet for me to do so. Apart from that... not a serious option, i don't see how you could make money at it.

ResearchGuy
08-07-2008, 07:42 PM
This just showed up in the Publishers Weekly email:


Lulu Teams with weRead (http://email.publishersweekly.com/cgi-bin2/DM/y/h7kj0LwxWM0OYa0Df550Ex&rid=985098691)
By Lynn Andriani
Self-publishing site Lulu (http://email.publishersweekly.com/cgi-bin2/DM/y/h7kj0LwxWM0OYa0Df560Ey) has teamed with weRead (http://email.publishersweekly.com/cgi-bin2/DM/y/h7kj0LwxWM0OYa0Df570Ez), a social networking site for books, to give its books greater visibility online. weRead has more than two million members who list their favorite books, swap book recommendations, and have book discussions online. With the new alliance, those members will also be able to find and discuss books published by Lulu. As of the launch earlier this week, 40,000 Lulu books are in weRead’s collection.

weRead’s members access its site directly, or via Facebook, MySpace or other social networking sites. Collectively, its members have more than 40 million books on their “virtual bookshelves” and have written more than 1.5 million book reviews. The site was founded in 2006 as iRead. It does not sell books; however it does provide links to online booksellers.
Not sure what will come of that, but it can't hurt.

--Ken

shannonmac
08-08-2008, 12:52 AM
now if you did the available only to me, and printed out something that you were going to then try and get published would this be a problem?
Basically I want to try and get an agent and have mine published, however, I think having a lulu copy as a bat around copy to get input from family and friends might be a good idea.
thoughts on that? (or if anyone else does this as well)

ShadowFox
08-08-2008, 01:03 AM
I'm not aware of any problems, but you MUST read the terms and conditions.

ResearchGuy
08-08-2008, 01:56 AM
. . . I think having a lulu copy as a bat around copy to get input from family and friends might be a good idea.
thoughts on that? (or if anyone else does this as well)
Keep it private, and it is just an alternative to printing at Kinko's or the like, but with better binding.

I've used Lulu (and also office stores like Staples) to print preview copies, with good results. Lulu is much less expensive, in my experience (even with shipping), but it takes a couple of weeks to get the books in hand. A small press I know used Lulu to print ARCs and preview copies of a book that the small press published in hardback, using an offset printer selected through bids and recommendations for the "real" book.

FWIW.

Just be very sure to keep the project "private."

--Ken

JoNightshade
08-08-2008, 02:14 AM
In my opinion, I think you were trying to use Lulu to do something it just isn't made for. If you want print runs in large volumes you're better off just going to a local printer. That's easy to see with a quick price check. But if you're just a single person who wants some copies to hand around, not really at a profit, it's fine.

I put a book up on Lulu for the company I work for. We don't want to make a profit off of it - we just want it available for our customers. So far it's worked well. It's a good marketing tool for us.

Carmy
08-08-2008, 08:08 PM
I use lulu as a place to print out proof copies of my books, since it is cheaper and more convenient than ink jet for me to do so. Apart from that... not a serious option, i don't see how you could make money at it.

If you get a proof print done through Lulu, does is show up on Copyscape?

veinglory
08-08-2008, 08:15 PM
It can be set to be totally private.

ResearchGuy
08-08-2008, 08:17 PM
If you get a proof print done through Lulu, does is show up on Copyscape?
I cannot see how it would show up anywhere if the project is private.

--Ken

robertmblevins
08-09-2008, 10:03 AM
You'd be surprised at the number of publishers who use Lulu to view proofs. Guess where Lulu has their books printed these days (at least in the USA) - Lightning Source.

And like I pointed out in the article, LSI charges almost $500 to pull a digital file once it has been made available, and make changes. This means even if you want to add a missing period or something.

You order proof copies one or two at a time from Lulu and give them a thorough check. Make corrections, and re-load to Lulu. When you get the version you are 100% happy with...then upload the final files to LSI, assuming you use them.

Sheryl Nantus
08-09-2008, 08:10 PM
I used Lulu to print out ARC/review copies since my publisher doesn't provide those for reviews.

Worked well for me.

:)

ResearchGuy
08-10-2008, 02:42 AM
. . .If you want print runs in large volumes you're better off just going to a local printer. . . .
Not necessarily. For 1,000 copies, an acquaintance of mine is getting only a barely better price -- and after getting competing bids at that in the metro area -- than she would get from Lulu for the same quantity, and that is BEFORE accounting for the substantial further bulk discount Lulu would have offered for a purchase of that size. Even after paying shipping I think she would have done better via Lulu, maybe significantly better, as their prices start dropping pretty sharply at 500 copies, and at 1,000 and up they get competing bids for offset printing from their array of reliable printers. Even the 500-copy bulk price per copy might well have ended up not far from what she was quoted locally for a run of 1,000.

--Ken

Car Match Pro
08-25-2008, 10:39 PM
This was a great review/perspective Robert.

It actually gave me a reason to sign up.

I am almost done with my first draft. However, I wouldn't really consider myself a writer. That being said I needed to get the info out, as I'm not money motivated, but I'm sure it couldn't hurt.

What's good about this straight talk is someone who has done this with LULU, as I have no experience in this field, but I am a business man and understand numbers, easily.
This perspective makes it easier for me in what direction that I will pursue.

A couple of years ago, I shot a TV pilot and a big name was interested, but that was how far it actually went. The long and short of the TV/Film business is that, it seems, that this a tamer version of that, but has some pitfalls.

Anyways, Robert...Cheers.

Lawrence

FinbarReilly
10-09-2008, 08:07 AM
OK. I', posting this here in hopes someone can help.

I'm trying to upload the Sex Percussions comic to Lulu. The PDF was created without any problems. However, when I upload the file, it says that it can't, because Helvetica wasn't embedded (ignoring that there is no Helvetica in the file that I can find). Even more interesting is that before I attempted to upload it, Pagemaker didn't generate an error log; after the attempt, it generates an error log saying that it couldn't embed Helvetica and that it tried to substitute a font but couldn't succeed.

Any ideas?

[Yes; I have a parallel post on Lulu..]

FR

MickRooney
10-09-2008, 12:25 PM
Finbar,

Not sure whether you embedded all your fonts in the original document or not. If you did then the load up should have worked. If you did not embed fonts then the Lulu converter/loader will try and substitute a similar font to one it does not recognise and this looks like what is happening here. Its trying to convert one of your fonts it doesnt recognise to Helvetica.

The Lulu help pages list the approved fonts for non-embedded files loaded to Lulu. You might try substituting the offending font. If you have embedded fonts in the original, then it may be worth getting the online Lulu help team to take a look at your original file.

Bo Sullivan
10-09-2008, 02:28 PM
Hi Finbar,

Try uploading the word document (not a pdf), and let Lulu make the pdf in the process. I used to have problems with pdf files on Lulu as well so now I upload word.

Hope that helps.

James Pittaro
10-10-2008, 11:52 AM
Hello my Name is James Pittaro and I have just completed my first fantasy novel which is a vailable on lulu.com The problem I have is that lulu puts sales though without informing me. They are selling my books with no visible transactions on the system. I have had to get in touch with the people who have been buying the books and ask them to send me the invoices. Lulu denys the transactions exist or that there is anything wrong with their system. I have put it to them that this is either a serious bug in their system or worse electronic fraud. I was so excited when I started now I am losing faith in their system. Has anyone else had any experience like this with lulu.com?

Bo Sullivan
10-10-2008, 12:59 PM
I only know there is a delay between selling the books and the sales appearing in the accounting system. This happens with sales of all books.

dpaterso
10-10-2008, 01:10 PM
...And if that's the case, maybe you ought to think about removing your message on Lulu.com before someone sees it? Are you expecting instant royalties rather than quarterly statements?

-Derek

Deccydiva
10-10-2008, 04:38 PM
Isn't it explained in the contract? I self-published (though not with Lulu) and it was clear in my that Royalties are paid twice a year (months given) and when nothing appeared the first time I thought it was due, one telephone call was all it needed to explain the finer detail to me and I was happy with that. It's gone like clockwork since.
If I want instant cash, I do a signing or other publicity event with a few boxfulls - or wait to see what the website brings in, which is where most direct sales happen for me.

regdog
10-10-2008, 05:07 PM
Greetings and :welcome:

Nickie
10-10-2008, 06:21 PM
Like others, I've self-published and had no problems receiving what is due to me. Mostly twice a year I receive payment. Oh, and welcome to AW!


Nickie

Lady Cat
10-10-2008, 08:15 PM
Hi James and :welcome: to AW!

veinglory
10-10-2008, 10:14 PM
I would strong suspect you are not leaving enough time for the sales to appear--especially if they are via distibutors. Lulu has its issues but I have never seem any indication whatsoever of fraudulant accounting.

copnovelist1
10-11-2008, 12:06 PM
I have been considering Lulu for the past few months. I recently learned my nephew (Michael W. Ford of Houston, TX) has published EIGHT books with Lulu. He speaks very highly of them, and says his books do "really well". I hired ANGEL EDITING through Lulu for my project, and am very pleased with their work. I have narrowed my choice for self-publishing to Lulu or Infinity Publishing. I will be going to Infinity Publishing (in Conshohocken, PA on Monday, 13 October, to personally see their facility and meet their people. I will also attempt to meet with Lulu at their facility. Infinity has their own printing and binding facility, I believe Lulu contracts with Lightening Source. Good Luck with your sales.

Michael Phelps
copnovelist1@msn.com

Manny
10-17-2008, 02:47 AM
Hi Finbar,

Try uploading the word document (not a pdf), and let Lulu make the pdf in the process. I used to have problems with pdf files on Lulu as well so now I upload word.


Thats what I did also. Upload a Word document and let Lulu process it.

cooeedownunder
10-22-2008, 04:05 AM
You may have actually put a font under a graphic or something. If you pull your pdf up in adobe reader you can go "document properties" and "fonts" - you can then see all the fonts embedded. If it is not embedded you will see a red mark on the left. Embedded will have the words embedded and the blue mark on the left.

dittoprinter
10-23-2008, 11:36 PM
If you are using the "export" from Pagemaker you may see this with any licensed font. Even with some that are not truely licensed.

Either print via the acrobat distiller and make sure the "embed all fonts" is clicked on (this may or may not work depending on the version of distiller, older versions work better for this) or use another pdf generator. For instance CutePDF is reasonably priced and will embed just about anything. PDF995 is another that we have had good luck with.

RandomNotes
12-25-2008, 12:50 AM
Don't forget that when working with WORD, if Helvetica was selected as a font and you pushed the carriage return, that CR press would count as a Helvetica entry on the page. I know, crazy, no letters, but still the font is registering.

To see all CR's, press the Paragraph Icon. Different CR fonts can show up as different sized paragraph markings.

David McAfee
01-15-2009, 11:25 PM
If an author uploads his or her book to Lulu in order to have a handful of copies printed for family/friends, is this considered (by publishers) to be previously published? I'm talking the private option, not the one where the book is available on Lulu.com and Amazon, etc.

I am thinking of doing this with one of my novels, but I don't want to hurt its chances of finding a real publisher.

CaoPaux
01-15-2009, 11:51 PM
In a word, nope: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124529

veinglory
01-16-2009, 12:00 AM
... solong as it was not made avilable for sale to the public but remained on the 'private' option with no storefront.

David McAfee
01-16-2009, 12:06 AM
That's what I thought. :) Thanks, guys.

Brindle Chase
01-16-2009, 02:39 AM
Excellent question and glad it was asked (and answered!). I was thinking of doing the same thing, just so I could have a copy of one of my manuscripts in book form!

snook
01-16-2009, 02:46 AM
I've done it for the new MS, really brings things into perspective. I've made changes and it's looking pretty good now in 6X9 format. Five months (maybe sooner) and counting down for POD release if I can't land an agent or publisher.

brainstorm77
01-31-2009, 10:29 PM
If someone orders a book thats been published with LuLu when you place a order can LuLu ship directly to them? For instance If you had started a website to sell the book?

cpickett
02-01-2009, 12:52 AM
Hi,
It depends. I just did a little series on Lulu at my blog and as I did my research, I discovered two main ways to sell a Lulu book. You can sell through their marketplace or they have packages where you'd be listed with one of the major US wholesalers which then allows for people to purchase your book through some online retailers.

If you want to sell from your own site, you could easily link to their marketplace for ordering or you could also buy your own books and then fill orders on your own. The info you need is there, you just have to poke around though, not everything is as easy to find as I'd like.

I'd also suggest you consider where you think most of your sales will come from, at least at the beginning, and then calculate the most cost effective option. If things really take off, you can always make adjustments.

brainstorm77
02-01-2009, 11:44 PM
thanks:)

Fresie
02-06-2009, 02:29 AM
I still can't quite believe it.:snoopy:

About a year ago, a friend asked/sorta hired me to translate and market his non-fiction book in English. The project was sound and marketable, so I took it on. After his fair share of rejections my friend gave up and decided to self-publish it on Lulu. The book turned out fine, so we wrote a press release and started sending it out.

We only had time to send out eight.

Within twenty-four hours the biggest entrepreneur in his area wrote back willing to sell his book. And the editor of the biggest trade magazine in his area wants to place an article about the book and his business.

My next book will be with Lulu :D

Allie
02-06-2009, 07:52 AM
Congrats!

sadron
02-06-2009, 12:22 PM
Congrazt!

sadron
02-06-2009, 04:04 PM
Question! I wonder what is the book price when you put a book there, I mean.. argh... Does it cost when you do the thing there? Putting the book on their sale?

This doesn't make any sense anymore. :(

buttterflywilma
02-06-2009, 04:59 PM
congrats what's the title ?

Fresie
02-06-2009, 08:33 PM
Thank you very much, guys! I've looked through Lulu and discovered quite a few very decent books there. I'll definitely consider it as an option now, for non-fiction surely.

cwfgal
02-06-2009, 08:38 PM
Congratulations to you and your friend!

Beth

cpickett
02-06-2009, 10:50 PM
Sadron,
It doesn't cost anything to upload your book to Lulu. However, you'll still have costs involved with design & layout if you can't do it yourself and you need to use a graphics/book designer.

As far as what the cover price of your book will be, there is a fair amount of info in their FAQ, just enter "price book" and you get to it. It also appears there's a pricing module within the publishing wizard too.

sadron
02-07-2009, 12:34 AM
Oh okey. Thanks.

Fresie
02-07-2009, 12:59 AM
Thank you very much, Beth!

brainstorm77
02-07-2009, 06:03 AM
Congrats ...

StephenJSweeney
02-07-2009, 01:10 PM
Some things you'll want to know about Lulu,

It cost nothing to upload a book to their site. However, when you price a book there will be manufacturing costs and Lulu's own commission to factor in. This will change depending on the type of book and number of pages. There is an excellent calculator here,

http://www.lugaru.com/lulucalc.html

A book on Lulu will be cheaper to sell without a distribution plan, but it will also only be unavailable outside of Lulu (unless you buy a shed load of them yourself and sell them out of the boot of your car).

By way of example, THE HONOUR OF THE KNIGHTS is 348 pages. To sell purely on Lulu for £9.95 would mean I would get £2.20 in commission. Not bad. I could lower that to £8.95 and still make £1.40. However, I can only buy from Lulu, and as far as I have been able to tell, people don't go onto Lulu to buy books. So you'd need to market it another way.

However, HOTK has an ISBN distribution so it can be bought on Amazon, etc. After all the retail mark ups and commission, how much do I make if I want to still price it at £9.95? £0.10. That's right, you didn't read that wrong. 10 pence.

Why sell it so cheap and make bugger all back? Simple - You have to be competitive. If I want my £1.50 or £2 commission, the book will end up costing close to £15. That's not going to look very attractive next to everything else, is it..?

sadron
02-07-2009, 01:34 PM
I only want it to be published, not for money.

Fresie
02-07-2009, 07:02 PM
thanks a lot, brainstorm!

DED
02-17-2009, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the link SJS. Very informative. A bit of an eye opener.

aruna
03-14-2009, 01:50 AM
I haven't read the whole thread, just the last few pages, but it seems nobody has yet posted that the Lulu distribution package and ISBN is now free. I know it wasn't free when we published Crack of Death in 2007, and I don't know when the change happened. I just published a pet project of mine, a non-commercial thing that people will find if they are looking for it. I thought of publishing through CreateSpace because it was free and I am hard up right now, but I found it so difficult I went back to Lulu and made the discovery that it is now free -- AND has international distribution, which CreateSpace does not have.

StephenJSweeney
03-15-2009, 10:22 PM
Wahoo! THE HONOUR OF THE KNIGHTS completed its ISBN processing and is now appearing in online stores! It's pretty cool to see it there finally.

Only thing I'm annoyed about is that I set the UK price at £9.95 (reasonable, I think for a 348pp 6x9 novel), but the US price is $20.95?! It should only be about $14 or $15 at most. Hmmmm.

James Pittaro
03-23-2009, 05:33 PM
Hello thankyou to everyone that replied to my first post. It has now been many months and those book sales never appeared on lulu; inspite of being presented with the invoices; they just denied the book sales ever existed. So my question is how can I trust them? Its a great system, I've got three books now I'd love to put on it, but I'm not going through all that again! So until an alternative as good as lulu (whom I can trust to tell me they are selling my books) I will have to wait or even approach a proper publisher. Cheers everybody.

jvc
03-23-2009, 09:01 PM
I'm going to port this thread to the 'POD Self Publishing' forum, you may get more responses there about this. It may also help to read some of the other threads in that forum that deal with Lulu and self publishing, it may help you with any decisions you have to make about your book.

Oh, and welcome to the watercooler :welcome:

copnovelist1
03-24-2009, 02:13 PM
Hi James,

I would give Lulu a chance - keep in mind, your book not only appears on Lulu.com, but I would venture to say it is also on amazon and a zillion others, which is good for you. That said; why don't you go to amazon, or have a friend do it, buy your book, and soon it will arrive in the mail, usually with a print out of the order form. There you will see that amazon took teh order, transmitted it to Lightning Source (the printer for Lulu), and then had the book mailed directly to you (or friend). It will take some time for the amazon order to be transmitted to Lulu. I seriously doubt Lulu is doing anything fraudulent. All of my dealings with them have been very positive.

Good luck.

Mike Phelps

caseyquinn
03-24-2009, 04:10 PM
createspace is just as good as lulu - check them out if you do not like lulu

James D. Macdonald
03-24-2009, 06:43 PM
Hey there, James Pittaro.

Let's walk this one through.

Go to http://www.Lulu.com

Once you're there, click on the "My Lulu" tab.

You should come to a log-in screen. Log in.

That should take you to a place labeled "Dashboard" at http://www.lulu.com/account/

Okay, once you're there: Look at the block labeled "My Sales & Revenue Summary." Beside "Units sold to date," do you see a number? What is it?

Now, in that same area, click on the link labeled "More details." That should bring you to a month-by-month breakdown of your sales.

The ones marked "Distribution" will be the ones via Amazon or other bookstores. They can appear up to 90 days after the date of sale. The ones marked "Print" or "Download" are via Lulu, and should appear daily.

Now, which sales do you have invoices for that aren't accounted for?

sommemi
03-27-2009, 11:18 PM
So if you pay for the ISBN, can it still be submitted to a publisher? Or do you have to let the publisher create an ISBN?

ResearchGuy
03-28-2009, 12:01 AM
So if you pay for the ISBN, can it still be submitted to a publisher? Or do you have to let the publisher create an ISBN?
No, the ISBN is not transferable.

A new publisher will assign its own ISBN for its new edition. Yes, that can happen, but it is rare. The key consideration is whether the publisher believes that the book has a reasonable chance of being profitable, and that it fits in with what that publisher publishes.

It is entirely possible (and I am pretty sure the most common option) to publish books without an ISBN via Lulu, selling them through a Lulu storefront and by buying copies for local resale. (I do that with a booklet, but I also have published some books with ISBNs via Lulu.) That might well still raise issues for a commercial publisher, though. If your goal is commercial publication, pursue that first.

BTW, Publishers do not exactly "create" ISBNs. They buy them from the agency that manages the ISBN system. Find more information here (http://www.bowker.com/index.php/supportfaq-isbn).

--Ken

James D. Macdonald
03-28-2009, 02:25 AM
ISBNs uniquely identify the title, the publisher, the edition, and the format. Change any of those and you'll need a new ISBN.

(Any publisher you approach with the book will have to be one that's open to reprints, too....)

harmandersingh
04-17-2009, 09:25 AM
Hi Everybody! You see I have searched for one important issue (no results found so far) and that is if one, who has published a book with and also without ISBN, can one submit the same book to other publishers. I am sure that ISBN is not transferable, so I am thinking about the books that are without ISBN. Can we publish it at youpublish.com or elsewhere? This question can be put to an easy way:

1. I have ISBN with lulu, but I want to give it the download/e-book option to youpublish or any other ones, is it right with Lulu?
2. I do not have ISBN, and I want to publish both in print and for e-books/download at the youpublish, is it right with Lulu and others?
3. Out of the way, the Google Book Search offers uploading books, how when can deal in both contexts as stated in the 1 and 2 options.

The stepwise answer will not only help one, but all. Thanks in advance.
With sincere regards,
Dr. H. Singh

BenPanced
04-17-2009, 09:51 AM
You see I have searched for one important issue (no results found so far) and that is if one, who has published a book with and also without ISBN, can one submit the same book to other publishers.
Most commercial publishers are looking to purchase the first publication rights, which you've used by self-publishing. A commercial publisher probably won't consider your self-pubbed title unless you've sold about 10,000 copies or more, thus proving there's a viable market. As far as submitting it to other self-publishers without an ISBN, I really don't understand the point in doing so. One may not offer a sales advantage over the other without proper marketing and publicity. Besides, correct if I'm wrong, but I believe Lulu offers the download option, anyway.

cpickett
04-17-2009, 05:24 PM
Dr.Singh
BenPanced is on the right track, I'll just add a few notes.

First, if you've published using publish by Lulu, you cannot move those ISBNs to any other outlet. If you do not have an ISBN, or own the ISBN, you can print or set up for download just about anywhere that's open to you i.e. your own site, YouPublish. As Ben mentioned though, even if you can, I don't see a point really either.

None of these options, Lulu, YouPublish or others like them are going to do anything substantial to help you market your book. You could list your book on 10 different variations of these, but just because it's there, doesn't mean much. You, the author, need to drive traffic/buyers to those sites. While it can be advantageous to give buyers options on where to buy, the above aren't key outlets at the moment.

If I were you, I would have my own site with a link to a couple of places where people can buy. Print could be from Lulu or you could set up with a short-run printer and fulfill copies yourself by mail depending on where you live and the costs etc. It is also not hard to sell ebooks directly from your site. Payloadz.com can help with this and they charge a processing fee almost like a merchant account instead of splitting profit like YouPublish does for example.

With regard to submitting the same books to traditional publishers, there are some who recommend doing things that way, Dan Poynter being one of the most well known. I would agree though that most of what I've read lately is that you'll get the most potential interest if you've got a solid sales record of several thousand copies. At that point the publisher may or may not want your current books but rather your next one.

My advice to you is to be very clear as to what benefits you are looking for from each option you mention (including Google search). Haphazardly using every resource available because you can, will probably give you more confusion or headaches in the long run than sales and profits.

ResearchGuy
04-18-2009, 03:12 AM
As I wrote them, I collected my first several months of columns for Senior Spectrum, plus a few other items, into a book file, formatted for 6" x 9". You can see the result at http://www.lulu.com/content/6779019 .

It's mostly for local consumption, but folks elsewhere who like this sort of light fare might enjoy it.

No ISBN/distribution. Maybe later.

--Ken

James D. Macdonald
04-18-2009, 05:08 AM
1. I have ISBN with lulu, but I want to give it the download/e-book option to youpublish or any other ones, is it right with Lulu?

As I understand it, YouPublish.com deals only with digital works. Say Lulu has your print book and ISBN. (You can also have downloadable version via Lulu.) Lulu doesn't care what you do with the digital version. (The digital version at YouPublish.com won't have an ISBN.)

I'd be careful not to go into competition with myself; I'd make the downloadable version at Lulu.com and the downloadable version at YouPublish.com the same price.

The question to ask yourself is why would you want to do this?





2. I do not have ISBN, and I want to publish both in print and for e-books/download at the youpublish, is it right with Lulu and others?

No ISBN? Lulu is just a printer. They won't care where you're printing other versions any more than a printshop would care.

Publishers wouldn't want a book that's currently in print via Lulu. Other printers won't care.

Again, though, the question is why would you want to?


3. Out of the way, the Google Book Search offers uploading books, how when can deal in both contexts as stated in the 1 and 2 options.

As far as I know, Google Book Search only deals with books that have ISBNs. Talk with Google about their requirements. Lulu won't care, whether you have an ISBN or not.

harmandersingh
04-20-2009, 10:15 AM
Well, you see everybody it is very informative that you have given as options, opinions and other way outs. You see there are about 15 books on the lulu that I have published. I also created the free download. Now, I cannot know if there is any download because lulu does not show any download information if the download is for FREE. So, the question has changed because we all understand that ISBN does matter and has certain rules that I also follow, and has published some of my books this way as well. I wanted to ensure if the download can have any information or at least the count of the downloads to see if the book can have any worth among the readers. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful opinions!

hastingspress
04-20-2009, 12:25 PM
"Payloadz.com can help with this and they charge a processing fee"

Not so.

Payloadz do not charge you for their services if the value of those downloads does not exceed a certain amount, about £180, in a 30-day period.

Only if you are making over £180 each month from the downloads does Payloadz begin to charge a small but fair amount.

I know, I am currently selling several books on Payloadz, I've never sold as much as £180 in a 30-day period and I have never been charged a penny by them!

cant
04-21-2009, 06:58 PM
Has anyone tried any of the marketing/promotional offerings by Lulu: the "Library Visibility" for $30 or the "Excerpt Promotion" for $50, etcetera?

I'm inclined to think that this will only change the color of your needle in the haystack, but was curious how others fared with these options.

hastingspress
04-21-2009, 07:32 PM
Here is one man's experience with Lulu.

"I had been happy with Lulu until recently. I tried to order four books in December, and Lulu only offered one postage option of c. £50! I was shocked and contacted Lulu, which suggested splitting the order. I did so and the postage became more reasonable. However one part of the order (worth £40) made in December (Order Number: 2801179) still has not arrived.

When I queried it with Lulu for the fourth time, I was basically told that it was tough - they would do nothing because I hadn't paid for the more expensive postage options.

This really surprised me. I am in a situation where I paid a company £40, and have no evidence that they printed or posted the items (Lulu can't even provide proof of postage). They refuse to trace the itmes; or prove they posted them; or resend them; or refund me.

Has anyone else run into such poor service? It shows that it is only when things go wrong that you find out how good or bad a company really is. I once had a similar situation with a small environmental publisher, and they immediately sorted things out, rather than just saying they would do nothing.

As far as I can see my best redress (short of Lulu resolving this) is the small claims court, and publicising what Lulu are like when things go wrong - i.e. on various websites and blogs I am involved with. Any other ideas?

I can't even track the item myself because I don't know what the shipping company was - Lulu gave me no proof that it was posted, no reference numbers, no company details. I have nothing to trace and no details. I got the feeling they were just saying 'That's it, tough' which is extremely frustrating. Amazon isn't perfect, but whenever they have made mistakes or I've wanted to return something it has been really straightforward. I feel that Lulu is being extremely unhelpful here.

To be honest, I had also assumed that Lulu UK items would be printed and posted from the UK, but emails from Lulu mentioned customs which implies they are being brought in from elsewhere (some of the emails from customer support were - inexplicably - completely in French, which added to my confusion!)"


"Within 12 hours of my site going up, Lulu offered to refund me, and did so on 11 March 09. Shortly afterwards I took the site down (it is a shame that it ever came to that), but a few things in their response still irritated me.

1: Lulu threatened to take legal action against me - talk about persecuting the victim! In the email Lulu's Customer Support Manager said:

"The site you created, http://www.cin.greenisp.org/poopoo/ , MUST be taken down immediately. Please understand that your screenshots are a copyright violation and our legal team can pursue legal action against you."

I am not sure about whether Lulu's threat had substance or not, but as a result I removed the banner image which was an amusing edited screenshot of their website. They obviously can't take justified criticism. However saying the site must be taken down was a lie, since everything there was true and I have the evidence. It is an example of big companies trying to threaten people into keeping quiet.

2: Unless Lulu has a high staff turnover, I suspect they were dishonest in order to shut me up. In an email of 3rd March 09, (Ticket ID: LTK152018338632X), 'Angela H' said "I have been passed your query as the CS support manager." I thought it was a bit 'convenient' that when I asked to be put in communication with the manager, the person who had been replying to me all along said they were the manager.

Only three days later, after putting up this website, I received an email from 'Sandra P' saying "This matter has been escalated to me as the manager of the customer support team". Have they changed managers in three days? Or did the first customer services person just say she was the manager to save really passing on my complaint?

3: Dishonesty did come to light. I had asked Lulu for the address of their UK office so that I could take them to the small claims court. Obviously refusing to pass on that information would be an interference with the legal process. On 5th March 09, Angela H. told me:

"We currently do not have a UK office, so you would need the main office, the address is below.
860 Aviation Parkway, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560, United States"

Annoying, but there was not much I could do. However I underestimated the power of the Internet!

A really helpful person saw my site and got in touch. They wrote:

"I've just read your web page about the problems you've been having with Lulu. As someone who's been considering publishing through Lulu, I must say that it's a tale that makes my hair curl. I saw today, via the Lulu forum, that Lulu had emailed you again. I hope that it was to apologise and sort everything out.

My reason for emailing you, apart from to wish you all the best in getting either the books you ordered or your money back, is to pass on the address of Lulu's UK office, which they seem to want to keep out of your hands so that you can't take legal action. I found it hard to believe that there wasn't a physical location for Lulu UK, so I searched the Lulu forums for "UK office", which gave me threads such as this:

http://tinyurl.com/b6cavc - in which a Lulu staffer says: "One of the reasons why we decide to host meetups frequently in London is due to the location of our UK office..."

http://tinyurl.com/dc8t3h - in which another Lulu staffer says: "Yes, Lulu has a London office where I work..."

And then, in Google, I hit upon a London address for Lulu on 192.com. Back-searching this on the Lulu site turned up this page: http://www.lulu.com/uk/help/privacy_pledge - which has the address near the bottom, so it looks like we have a winner.

Lulu Enterprises UK Ltd
26-28 Hammersmith Grove
London
W6 7BA

There's a fax number there too: 0208 834 1148

And on http://lulupresscenter.com/ there's even an elusive phone number, tucked away at the very bottom in tiny print: 00-44-208-834-1633, which within the UK translates as 0208 834 1633.
This must be the direct number for the London office, as the dialing code is in the Hammersmith & Fulham area.

I really hope that you don't need any of this, and that your complaint is being dealt with by Lulu in a professional manner, but in case you do... well, good luck. Your story has certainly given me food for thought."

This really cheered me - both that there are really nice people out there who are willing to help, but also that it was definite evidence that Lulu Customer Services had outright lied to me (on top of everything else).

Another support email I received said:

"they still seem to be blind to their legal obligations. A letter to Watchdog might be an idea.

I did wonder, when I read Lulu's response on the forum, whether you were about to be hit with a 'cease and desist' notice. It was the 'Dear Sir' that did it. The sign-off, "thank you for choosing Lulu", is comical.

But, yes, at worst I think that Lulu has a copyright claim over their graphics (funny how they're suddenly interested in the letter of the law, isn't it?). As long as everything in the article is true, I think you're on safe ground with the text. It's a review of your experience using a public company, and therefore fair comment.

I think the saddest thing about all this is that you first posted about the problem on 27 February, and the thread stayed empty. Yet 24 minutes after you posted a link to the web page, you had Lulu's attention. Consumers shouldn't have to drag companies through the streets to get problems sorted out. It's a shame when you're left with little choice."

So I was extremely grateful for the support I received from the writing community, and pleased that I got my refund. If Lulu had been nice at the end and honest all along you wouldn't be reading this now. But because they lied to me and messed me round, then at the end threatened me with legal action, it left a sour taste."

MickRooney
04-21-2009, 10:36 PM
Here is one man's experience with Lulu.

To be honest, I had also assumed that Lulu UK items would be printed and posted from the UK, but emails from Lulu mentioned customs which implies they are being brought in from elsewhere (some of the emails from customer support were - inexplicably - completely in French, which added to my confusion!)"


Not necessarily. To my knowledge Lulu use LSI in the UK and USA, as well as another in Spain. Much depends on the format, binding and delivery location.

Artphotos
04-23-2009, 10:41 PM
lulu experience regarding full color.

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here, but have been using lulu for a while and thought I'd share my experience with lulu regarding full color. I haven't seen that presented in recent posts.

When I began with lulu less than two years ago, the cost to produce my full color paperback books was about $17.50 per copy. Now, less than two years later, the same book costs about $25.00 to have printed. The difference for me is that at $17.50 I could make a small profit and my book could sell for not much more than comparable traditionally published books. Being a niche book, people would gladly pay that small difference. At $25.00, that same books costs more to produce than similar books would sell for. Even in a niche market, that price point will only go so far. Instead of purchasing directly from lulu, my retailer now purchases from me so I can order 100 copies and get a volume discount. That practice however, is somewhat inconsistent with the principles of print on demand.

My experience with the print (image) quality over about 200 units is that it is fairly consistent but of only average quality. Other people have told me they have had printing runs of very poor quality.

Katrina S. Forest
04-24-2009, 04:39 PM
It is entirely possible (and I am pretty sure the most common option) to publish books without an ISBN via Lulu, selling them through a Lulu storefront and by buying copies for local resale. (I do that with a booklet, but I also have published some books with ISBNs via Lulu.) That might well still raise issues for a commercial publisher, though. If your goal is commercial publication, pursue that first.


How can I be sure that Lulu does not assign an ISBN to my book? Whenever I try to use their system for making a cover, it adds one automatically. It seems the only way to avoid it is to use the one page cover. Am I correct in assuming that if Lulu does not print an ISBN, then it has not assigned one to the book?

I'm trying to keep it a private printing with no ISBN, just to give a professional-looking copy to family & friends. I have not actually ordered the book yet, but I do have the print-ready files set to go. I have full intentions of submitting this manuscript for traditional publishing, and I don't ordering from Lulu to jeopardize that. If it keeps being a problem, I might just go ahead and order from Staples or Office Max.

ResearchGuy
04-24-2009, 07:34 PM
How can I be sure that Lulu does not assign an ISBN to my book? Whenever I try to use their system for making a cover, it adds one automatically. It seems the only way to avoid it is to use the one page cover. Am I correct in assuming that if Lulu does not print an ISBN, then it has not assigned one to the book?. . . .
I am befuddled by your statements.

I have a bunch of books on Lulu (some visible to the public, some not). Lulu does not add an ISBN unless I specifically request/pay for it. I have never used a one-page cover there (but I do upload front and back).

ISBNs cost money (not much in big quantity, but still they are not free) and have to be assigned to a specific publisher and require some overhead work. I am incredulous that Lulu has ever added one without explicit request (and in my experience, payment).

Is it possible that you are misreading the Lulu identification number (the sequential project number that identifies that specfic project) as an ISBN? It is not an ISBN. And it can be omitted from the cover.

--Ken

Katrina S. Forest
04-24-2009, 09:46 PM
*checks again*

Ah, yes, that is entirely possible, and I think that may be exactly what I was looking at. My apologies, thanks for clearing that up.

mercs
05-10-2009, 12:35 AM
I clicked on this thread as it's an option I've been thinking of. However, it's left me with more confusion than answers if I'm honest...

1. What's the problems for a UK author submitting to these guys? i saw someone bigging up Diggory Press earlier on, but i've also seen numerous bad things and warnings over this firm since. is there another UK alternative?

2. do you have to source and layout the entire script including diagrams, drawings, font and general layout etc? how easy is this to do?

3. the cover. what's the deal basically?

4. what is the global distribution service offering in layman terms?

if someone can help clear these up it would be great. sorry if it's repetition but i've just spent 2 hours reading every post from 2006 onwards and reading 10-20 links along the way

iwannabepublished
05-10-2009, 01:12 AM
I clicked on this thread as it's an option I've been thinking of. However, it's left me with more confusion than answers if I'm honest...

1. What's the problems for a UK author submitting to these guys? i saw someone bigging up Diggory Press earlier on, but i've also seen numerous bad things and warnings over this firm since. is there another UK alternative?

2. do you have to source and layout the entire script including diagrams, drawings, font and general layout etc? how easy is this to do?

3. the cover. what's the deal basically?

4. what is the global distribution service offering in layman terms?

if someone can help clear these up it would be great. sorry if it's repetition but i've just spent 2 hours reading every post from 2006 onwards and reading 10-20 links along the way

I am just an armature but I've been using Lulu for a few years and have been very satisfied.

1) I don't see why anyone in the world cannot use this service if you just want to print copies of your data. Using some of their other services might not be as applicable.

2) I've uploaded both MS Word and PDF files that contained JPG files and small Excel spreadsheets with no problem.

3) You can use their standard stuff for your cover or create one and upload it. I've done paper wraped hard cover books where I designed the complete cover using Corel. Once their system knows the size and page count, they provide you with correct calculated size.

4) Check there web site. You can by an ISBN from them, if that's appropriate for you.

I'm sure there are people a lot more expert in using Lulu than I am. Hope some offer their suggestions and answers to your questions.

One nice thing about Lulu is that they allow you to set up your own store front to sell you creations. I have done my family tree, with both my entire family and also smaller pooks with only single branches. You can set up your own selling prices based on cost plus. You can also provide access for free or fee downloads of PDF files of your work.

Hope I've been at least a little help.

cpickett
05-10-2009, 02:07 AM
Hi Mercs,

Couple of things I can answer. As far as layout and such, there are some instructions/templates to follow, but you will be doing it all yourself. How hard it will be depends on how good you are with graphic design. Personally, I want nothing to do with that aspect of things. Another option is to hire a graphic designer to design and then upload it all for you.

With regard to distribution, Lulu books are available mainly through major online retailers like Amazon and B & N. Here's one chart on their site that explains it to some extent http://www.lulu.com/en/help/distribution_faq#distro_eligible

Though your book's information may be sent to Ingram (wholesaler in America), there are no sales reps that are calling on bookstores to get your book noticed or purchased. Lulu, like most "pay to publish" services (even though you upload for free, it's the same biz model) does not offer any distribution help beyond online outlets.

I am not in the UK so I cannot address any issues specific to that.

Whether it's a good choice for you depends on many factors including the type of marketing you plan to do. If you intend to send all of your customers to Amazon to purchase, it might be a good plan. If you want more presence in physical stores, bookstores or otherwise, there may be other options. Price per book should definitely be a consideration. Depending on the option you choose, it can be quite high and tough to price where the average customer will buy.

Hope that helps at least partially.

Whether it's a good choice for you depends on how you plan to market, where your buyers mainly shop.

Team 2012
05-10-2009, 06:26 AM
Thanks for some good info, Kentiecher.
We've used lulu only to produce hand copies and review copies.

But looking at their array of services, we quickly decided it's not worth paying anything to be listed for sale on their site. The idea that people are roaming the aisles of lulu with shopping carts, browsing for buys seems highly unlikely.

Their value is obviously as a source of printed books. A paypoint to which one drives customers.

ResearchGuy
05-10-2009, 07:33 AM
. . . But looking at their array of services, we quickly decided it's not worth paying anything to be listed for sale on their site. . . .
You don't pay to be listed on their site. And for that matter, you can get a "Published by Lulu" ISBN and trade availability (Amazon.com etc., Ingram . . .) for $0.00.

--Ken

Team 2012
05-10-2009, 10:15 AM
That was in reference to some figures cited earlier to be listed in their library, etc.
They do have "shop fees".


No ISBN? Lulu is just a printer.

Sorry, that's not true at all. They do not own printing equipment. Lightning Source is the printer. It suits lulu for some reason to they they are not a publisher. But you see them listed as the publisher on many books on amazon.com, so how real is that?
But they definitely aren't printers.

mercs
05-10-2009, 11:31 AM
Ok that table is a bit confusing. So if I buy the distribution package, lulu becomes the publisher, but what do i actually get other than an ISBN number. looking at that table in the link (and it's made more confusing as they've used crosses instead of ticks!) i'm not sure what they then do...

they don't list it on international amazons, they don't list it on barnes and noble, there's no wholesale availability, and the package just seems to be a bit of paperwork done for you (the same paperwork i believe is explained in the writers and artist yearbook!)...

the expanded distribution is mentioned as a solid product, but not mentioned how much this costs or if there's any criteria needed to be made. anyone got any experience of this product...

ResearchGuy
05-10-2009, 09:56 PM
. . .It suits lulu for some reason to they they are not a publisher. . . .
Au contraire. They are very clear that among their offerings are publishing services, including their own ISBNs. They will sell one-off ISBN's that are recorded in the Books in Print database as belonging to the purchaser (I have some of those) and will also (if the option is selected and the book meets the requirements) provide one of their own, the "Published by Lulu" option.

Honest, folks. Spend some serious time exploring Lulu.com. I am seeing a lot of stuff just being made up here.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
05-10-2009, 10:02 PM
. . .
they don't list it on international amazons, they don't list it on barnes and noble, there's no wholesale availability . . .
Not so. My books that have ISBNs/distribution purchased from Lulu.com are on Amazon.com (even in Japan (http://www.amazon.co.jp/Wyla-Witch-Evelyn-Swift/dp/0615236634)), BarnesAndNoble.com, and other online bookstores, available via Ingram, etc. I see occasional sales through the trade, and even one or two in the U.K.

I don't sell a lot of books, but do see a steady trickle of sales via the Lulu trade distribution system.

--Ken

James D. Macdonald
05-11-2009, 09:23 AM
No ISBN? Lulu is just a printer.
Sorry, that's not true at all. They do not own printing equipment. Lightning Source is the printer. ...
But they definitely aren't printers.


Sorry, but that's both true and accurate.

The question that was asked, and that I was answering, was whether a book that was printed though Lulu could also be printed by another source if there was no ISBN. Where Lulu's printing takes place, and whether they own their own equipment, is irrelevant to the question.

You seem to be confused by exactly what a "printer" is.

mercs
05-11-2009, 11:41 AM
ResearchGuy, I'm trying to understand the table with the crosses on their site. I suppose this is part of the research as every company has a spiel, but not every company has customers that you can tap for experiences and info. As you've had a few dealings, I think your opinion is worth taking on board...

So...

I understand now the format, the process of placing your product on lulu.com (for now at least, i might still need some help later about that, but one step at a time!). If I wanted a solid package that would allow me to sell via amazon (particularly UK), barnes and noble, my own site, even the lulu.com special home page they set up for you, what would be the cost. also, i see the phrase "if you meet their criteria" repeatedly -including on their site!- and what is this criteria exactly?

i know this must be annoying to people that have had dealings with the firm, it's just a lot of people (myself included) are reading this thread looking confused and wondering if it's a move forward for them...

ResearchGuy
05-11-2009, 05:48 PM
. . . If I wanted a solid package that would allow me to sell via amazon (particularly UK), barnes and noble, my own site, even the lulu.com special home page they set up for you, what would be the cost. also, i see the phrase "if you meet their criteria" repeatedly -including on their site!- and what is this criteria exactly?
. . .
Dunno how it works in the U.K. Here is is $100.

BTW, as for the Lulu storefront . . . to some extent, that is automatic, but the user probably will do well to customize it. That might take a little experimentation, and maybe design of a graphic for the top of the page.

As for criteria: type of binding and size, blank last page. Maybe there are others, but those are basic. (Spiral bound books are not eligible, for example, nor are saddle-stitched.) They have exhaustive FAQs on the site and they answer email inquiries (there is a link on the site for sending questions). The Live Help feature appears to have disappeared, though.

Anyway, all I know is what I have learned by doing and by asking questions at Lulu.com (more by doing, by trial and error). I see a lot of misinformation posted here about what they do, how they do it, what they charge, etc., and goodness knows I have a limited perspective, so do your own homework. It is one option among many, with its own pros and cons.

--Ken

mercs
05-12-2009, 11:25 AM
As I said, reading through this thread, their site and many other accounts, it does seem to be a minefield of contadictions and debates! I am indeed doing my homework, including tapping people who have had dealings. Before I started discussing with the firm blind, I thought I'd see if it was an option or whether I was wasting my time....

hastingspress
05-18-2009, 05:18 PM
Through a posting on here I took a look at Lulu. I found a forum on there and joined it. What I found were a huge number of complaints from people about Lulu losing books, sending books with the wrong covers, not replying to emails or complaint, changing their address and not informing anyone (not even companies house, which is a legal requirement).

What an eye-opener that forum has turned out to be!

StephenJSweeney
05-18-2009, 05:37 PM
Aye; I've seen a lot of those posts. So far, I can't say I've had the same issues, though. Not had any complaints from Waterstone's so far, either.

I guess I'll see what happens if and when my sales and distribution picks up.

veinglory
05-18-2009, 06:02 PM
I think you have to take volume of complaints in the context of volume of trade. No business is going to run 100% perfect, Lulu differs mainly in providing an open forums for compalints. I would suggets you check out their better business bureau listing and compare it to the competitors. They come out ahead of most similarly sized self-publishing providers. As a reviewer, Lulu is the only self-publisher whose books I actively buy, direct from their website.

Eric San Juan
05-18-2009, 07:43 PM
The one complaint that concerns me is seeing several people claim Lulu has set private books to public. I have some material I wouldn't mind having in a nicely bound form, old stories and such I'd want to have just for myself. Lulu seemed like a nice option for that -- certainly cheaper and easier than sending the stuff to a binder -- but if there is the chance they'd accidentally make the material public I'd be disinclined to take the risk.

brainstorm77
05-18-2009, 07:51 PM
about 4 years ago I had a manuscript bound my LuLu for my own personal use and I have to say I was very pleased with the way it was bound (paperback) The quality was great.

veinglory
05-18-2009, 07:53 PM
You also have to read the complaints knowing what it is Lulu actually can and does promise to deliver and what the user has to do for themselves (or hire someone else to do). In many cases the user's expectations were not realistic.

Angkor
05-20-2009, 04:29 PM
I published two books via Lulu in 2006 after my agent died (I had no time to spend on the query-go-round again). My experience has been completely positive. I could do it on a shoestring budget, unlike with Lulu's competitors -- because Lulu is basically a do-it-yourself operation. I paid $100 for ISBN and distribution and $150 to a cover-designer, who did excellent work. That's it as far as out-of-pocket expenses were concerned. Lulu was there to troubleshoot whenever I hit a snag.
My books have worldwide distribution via Amazon, B&N, etc. Finally, I've been amazed at the continuous monthly sales of my books, albeit in very modest numbers.

The two big drawbacks with POD are: 1) no brick-and-mortar stores will carry your books; and 2) the list price is high and therefore non-competitive -- though there are people who do shell out for my books every month.

If you decide to go the POD route, and you've got a very limited budget and don't mind navigating through the myriad technical steps of producing your product, then I highly recommend Lulu.

StephenJSweeney
05-20-2009, 05:31 PM
1) no brick-and-mortar stores will carry your books;

That's not entirely true,

http://www.battleforthesolarsystem.com/news/12-honour-of-the-knights-to-also-be-stocked-at-waterstones-greenwich.html

I now have 5 branches of Waterstone's in London stocking my novel (including the one in Piccadilly, which is Europe's biggest bookstore). They buy in small numbers: 3 or 4 at most, and wait for them to sell. But they're still happy to do it.

So, they will do, but they are quite picky, I think.

cpickett
05-20-2009, 05:37 PM
Stephen, your example is a good one for how authors have to personally work hard to promote their books. I'm guessing the stores did not order until you contacted them and that you also keep the relationship going with reminders and visits of support.

There's a ton to learn in the publishing industry no matter what route you take. I say never say never until you research something thoroughly or try for yourself because part of hitting success with books often involves a little luck too.

StephenJSweeney
05-20-2009, 05:51 PM
Pickett - Yes, that's true; I have to go into each one of the stores and chat to them to get my book on the shelf. I guess the comment I was responding to, about stores not stocking POD books, was meant more without-author-interaction.

ResearchGuy
05-20-2009, 05:54 PM
The one complaint that concerns me is seeing several people claim Lulu has set private books to public. . . . .
I suspect that was the result of user error -- inadvertantly clicking the wrong button.

--Ken

Angkor
05-21-2009, 07:30 AM
Re: Brick and Mortar Stores and POD Books --

Stephen - you're right. I should've clarified. My POD books are on shelves in independent and university book stores, but only after I contacted them directly. The big chains, however, won't stock them, a major reason being unsold POD books can't be returned to the publisher. Occasionally, my monthly sales surge, leading me to wonder if some bookstore out there, e.g., Waterstone's, might be ordering them.

mercs
05-21-2009, 11:39 AM
Angkor, what kind of sales are you hitting each month and what's your lulu rank? I'm just trying to work out what is an impressive amount of sales and what is realistic...

I saw somewhere that someone on here has a book ranked in the top 500 on their site despite selling not that many at all.

ResearchGuy
05-21-2009, 06:24 PM
Angkor, what kind of sales are you hitting each month and what's your lulu rank? I'm just trying to work out what is an impressive amount of sales and what is realistic...

I saw somewhere that someone on here has a book ranked in the top 500 on their site despite selling not that many at all.
FWIW, as near as I can tell (if I might jump in here), ranking includes sales to the "creator" (publisher/author) as well as to readers, and it appears that there is an algorithm that calculates the ranking over a long period. I don't know if more recent sales receive higher weight. One of my titles has total sales over more than a year of around 1,100 copies (all but a couple dozen bought a year or more ago by me for local resale) and has current sales ranking of 903. Another, with initial sale about a year ago to me for local resale of 300 copies, and a trickle of retail sales since then, ranks at about 2,600.

--Ken

Angkor
05-21-2009, 08:15 PM
My sales run into the hundreds/year only. That's all. I also sell directly whenever I do public presentations/speaking. Gosh, I have no idea what my Lulu ranking is. Please see my posting of today on "Life After Self-Publishing" for details of my POD experience.

ResearchGuy
05-30-2009, 12:02 AM
To my surprise, Lulu.com has made two of my non-ISBN Lulu books available via Amazon, with a steep markup on the price (maintaining my margin on any sales through that channel). My guess is that that is a ploy to discourage use of CreateSpace (which I had actually considered and might still use for one of the books (http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Named-Boo-Life-Corner/dp/B002ACW54K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1243627211&sr=1-1), because CreateSpace is so much less expensive per book).

While I am posting anyway . . . I have noticed that Lulu.com is offering one special deal after another to goose sales. I hope they have a deal when I'll need one in a couple of months for a sizeable bulk order.

--Ken

CaoPaux
05-30-2009, 12:18 AM
Yeah, it's the latest of Lulu's poorly planned and implemented "improvements". Of the score or so threads on their forum about it, these are the main ones:

http://www.lulu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=111595

http://www.lulu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=111974

brainstorm77
06-02-2009, 11:39 PM
I just noticed LuLu is offering publishing packages.

ResearchGuy
06-06-2009, 01:08 AM
Ah, they are reading these sorts of posts as well as comments posted at Amazon. They cut the price of my essay collection down to match the prince I set at Lulu.com. And they offered me an opt-out. Ok, better.

With the price set where I had put it, now I'm ok with leaving it in the Amazon Marketplace.

Their email said that this is an experiment, so we'll se how it works out.

iwannabepublished
06-06-2009, 01:47 AM
How did Lulu choose what to offer on Amazon? They took two items I did that have nothing to do with writing - my family tree (hard cover and soft cover) I've been working on my family tree for years (up to about 620 people now and back to the 1830's). I created this book and and made it available on my Lulu Storefront at no cost for either print or download. The only place I know of that has my Lulu store front URL available is my family tree web page. Very few hard copies have been sold but almost 200 people (I assume all members of my family) have downloaded it. Why Lulu would pick these to put on Amazon is beyond me. I hope they do what they say and allow me to opt out.

Artphotos
06-06-2009, 02:03 AM
I was very frustrated to see my book listed on Amazon at the price it was without asking my permission. I replied to their message asking them to remove it but they have not.

When I created the book just over a year ago, their printing cost was under $17. I set my mark up for it to be $24 in the lulu marketplace and its now listed for $40 on Amazon. I want it off there so I can reprint it with Createspace or someone more affordable. Even if lulu follows through with their most recent cost cutting on Amazon offerings, it will be priced out of the market place.

ResearchGuy
06-06-2009, 03:31 AM
. . . I set my mark up for it to be $24 in the lulu marketplace . . .
How many pages? What binding? B/w or color? Just curious.

--Ken

James D. Macdonald
06-06-2009, 04:15 AM
I don't see the Amazon Marketplace thing as being any different from anyone in the world offering used copies of any of my other books (at whatever price they like) through Amazon.

veinglory
06-06-2009, 04:18 AM
For the avergae author it makes little difference, but for some of the micro-presses is messed things up for them. From my point of view it just adds to the impression that you never know what Lulu will do, it won't necessarily be what it says in their terms of service (equivalent to the "contract"), and the help desk won't respond to any questions (at east not within a month). IMHO, not a good look.

ResearchGuy
06-06-2009, 04:23 AM
I don't see the Amazon Marketplace thing as being any different from anyone in the world offering used copies of any of my other books (at whatever price they like) through Amazon.
But in this case, they are not used, they are new copies, sold by Lulu.com. Initially, mine was at a sharply inflated price, because they had added 30 percent. But in the meantime, I had knocked three bucks off my price for the book at Lulu, so the difference was huge.

Anyway, now that the price is where it should be ($9.99 plus shipping -- and at that, cheaper shipping than Lulu offers), I'm ok with the deal (http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Named-Boo-Life-Corner/dp/B002ACW54K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244247640&sr=1-1) (other than that they misdated the publication back to last January 1st).

I see that they have removed another of my books that they had arbitrarily listed on Amazon. (That one I'd just as soon not have there.) [Update: No, it is still there, but at least with the price corrected. Harmless to have it there, I suppose.]

--Ken

ResearchGuy
06-06-2009, 04:31 AM
. . . the help desk won't respond to any questions (at east not within a month). . . .
My experience on that score has been better.

--Ken

p.s. 6/19/2009: that has changed. See my more recent posts. Lulu appears to be in a disastrous meltdown in responsiveness.

veinglory
06-06-2009, 04:37 AM
By the look of the help escalation forum help response is deteriorating--perhaps due to the sheer number of tickets right now.

ChristineR
06-06-2009, 06:21 AM
They're selling proof copies marked as private. They're selling hard copies of micro-press e-books that only contracted with the author for e-rights. They're selling books intended only for private distribution to one family.

In other words, it's a mess.

mercs
06-10-2009, 08:31 AM
In a nutshell, are they serious?

I sent a private project to them for my book as I want to see what it looks like in print before I make it public and get the ISBN etc. So I picked the US trade paper (well priced) and a standard Digest size. I spotted that it said the trade is only available in the US and so it would be a good idea to have a US and ROW edition (the ROW on the more expensive paper). I thought, ok let's see just what the difference is...

For a £2.40 paperback, the postage cost to the UK ranges from £16 to £98! I'm sorry, but I've sold stuff on eBay to the US and although a little bit more expensive, by no means that sort of price. Is the director flying into Heathrow personally to hand it to me?

Shame really as the Digest and US trade layout is my favorite, but I certainly can't pay close to £20 for a paperback and my friends and family that would definitely buy can't really either...

mercs
06-11-2009, 10:35 AM
Ok, I do see why it was moved to this thread, but I didn't really want it hidden away on page 26 hence the new topic...

Just thought it would have been a good point of reference for anyone considering Lulu as that really did knock me for six when that popped up on the screen!

StephenJSweeney
06-11-2009, 04:45 PM
One issue I've had is that Lulu never sent book data down to Nielsen. I was asked by Waterstone's especially to get this sorted out.

I contacted Lulu and they told me they had done so, however after more chatting with Nielsen, it still hadn't happened. Eventually Nielsen were good enough to permit me to submit the information myself, which I did. All the stores should have the updated data in the next 10 days.

If you want something done properly...

Seriously, Lulu offer a competitive service, but they really really need to pull their finger out.

ResearchGuy
06-19-2009, 05:16 PM
Lulu pretended that I had approved a book that was still pending final edits, and sent it to Books in Print and into distribution. Worse, in the meantime, I had cancelled the project, terminated the agreement with the author, and no longer have publishing rights. They sent the book to BiP and distribution AFTER I had "retired" the project, which could not be deleted entirely, and they are not answering repeated urgent emails or even help ticket entered at the website.

I am now persuaded that they have overexpanded to the point of ruination, and am cautious about ever doing any new project with the company.

The book in question will be presented to agents and publishers (it is an excellent book, to which I could not do justice and for which neither POD nor my capacities and resources would suffice, which I learned very late in the process), so having this phantom edition in BiP could be a nuisance for the author.

Be advised. Be cautious.

Do not request an ISBN until the book is already 100 percent final (other than the ISBN itself) and a 100 percent sure thing. Apparently they go on autopilot once the ISBN is appended, and do not wait for approval to proceed.

--Ken

MickRooney
06-19-2009, 06:31 PM
Ken,

This does seem to reflect a serious downturn in Lulu's quality of service over the past few months.

ResearchGuy
06-19-2009, 06:56 PM
Ken,

This does seem to reflect a serious downturn in Lulu's quality of service over the past few months.
Some things are fine -- printing is pretty quick, and delivery ditto -- so far. But I did not encounter this sort of impenetrability or jumping the gun last year. Something has changed as their volume of business has skyrocketed and emphasis has changed to selling services. Alas, the real person I knew by first name and could call (arranged bulk orders via her last year) is apparently gone.

Sigh.

--Ken

StephenJSweeney
06-19-2009, 07:31 PM
Do not request an ISBN until the book is already 100 percent final (other than the ISBN itself) and a 100 percent sure thing. Apparently they go on autopilot once the ISBN is appended, and do not wait for approval to proceed.

That's good advice, Ken.

Something else odd I've noticed with Lulu's service is that the saturation of the colours on my cover fluctuates quite a bit - I revised my book to remove some lingering typos and the cover I got back was darker than the one prior to it. Hmmmmmmmm.

ResearchGuy
06-19-2009, 07:51 PM
That's good advice, Ken.

Something else odd I've noticed with Lulu's service is that the saturation of the colours on my cover fluctuates quite a bit - I revised my book to remove some lingering typos and the cover I got back was darker than the one prior to it. Hmmmmmmmm.
Last year, I had 500 copies printed of Capital Crimes: 15 tales by Sacramento Area Authors. The front cover was sort of washed out. Good enough, but not what it should have been. A few weeks later, I had 500 more printed, and the cover was much sharper and brighter. I have no idea why the difference. (I had 50 printed between the two 500-copy orders -- and I don't recall now how they compared.)

I figure one takes one's chances within some boundaries.

One copy of one book, ordered for the author as a proofreading copy, had the right cover but a completely different book inside. Lulu replaced it, at least. Now I am not sure whether staff could even be contacted about such an error. And I am mystified as to how it happened. I have also seen some printing errors -- overprinting, bungled page breaks -- but fortunately (as far as I know) only in one- or two-copy printings that I was using for proofreading. I've not seen those sorts of errors since last year.

FWIW.

Ken

P.S. I have now sent a help request, with all of the information on the book erroneously sent to Books in Print, to W. W. Bowker, via their website. Maybe that will work. A post at a Lulu help form elicited a recommendation to post to the "Escallation" forum -- but that looks futile, given the lack of responsiveness so far.

Keyan
06-20-2009, 04:04 PM
I am now quite worried.

I've been using Lulu to print beta-reader copies of my books. I've discovered that once you order a copy, you can no longer delete the files. They can only be 'retired' and remain on the Lulu servers - even if you cancel your account. I wouldn't have been concerned until I found that they've actually been offering "private" books on Amazon.

That's it. I used to be a fan. No longer.

Does anyone have an alternative? I want to be able to upload my document, get a few copies printed out as books, AND THEN DELETE THE FILES.

Are there Lulu-substitutes I could use?

ResearchGuy
06-20-2009, 06:28 PM
. . . Are there Lulu-substitutes I could use?
Nothing really comparable that I know of.

By the way, as a stopgap fix, I replaced content of a couple of books with a dummy file (100+ pages, blank except for some stray punctuation) and filler covers. If someone does somehow order the book, it will have none of the original content. I used Word's search and replace function to replace all characters with blanks, and saved the file as BlankBook.doc. That does not get rid of the old files (which never do seem to go away, even after years, as long as they were at any point associated with a project), but it should prevent unauthorized copies of the real content.

FWIW, I am now wondering whether it was the notices (one plus a duplicate, which happens often now with Lulu) that the book I mentioned had been sent to Books in Print and distribution that was in error -- that they misinformed me, and had no actually sent the non-final and now retired book forward. That would be benign. Annoying but harmless.

--Ken

Keyan
06-21-2009, 12:45 AM
Nothing really comparable that I know of.

By the way, as a stopgap fix, I replaced content of a couple of books with a dummy file (100+ pages, blank except for some stray punctuation) and filler covers. If someone does somehow order the book, it will have none of the original content. I used Word's search and replace function to replace all characters with blanks, and saved the file as BlankBook.doc. That does not get rid of the old files (which never do seem to go away, even after years, as long as they were at any point associated with a project), but it should prevent unauthorized copies of the real content.

FWIW, I am now wondering whether it was the notices (one plus a duplicate, which happens often now with Lulu) that the book I mentioned had been sent to Books in Print and distribution that was in error -- that they misinformed me, and had no actually sent the non-final and now retired book forward. That would be benign. Annoying but harmless.

--Ken

I managed to do that with one book, but now I can't revise another for which I wanted to do this. It's particularly worrisome because I no longer own the copyright to that book - it's been sold. So if by accident it gets out, I may have legal problems.

Damn stupid Lulu. This thing is a fiasco, even though to the best of my knowledge none of my books got out.

StephenJSweeney
06-21-2009, 12:55 PM
I managed to do that with one book, but now I can't revise another for which I wanted to do this.

How come? Because it's been retired..? What's the exact circumstances? If you let us know, we might be able to help.

I'm sure you'll be able to do this with near any book.

Keyan
06-21-2009, 03:04 PM
How come? Because it's been retired..? What's the exact circumstances? If you let us know, we might be able to help.

I'm sure you'll be able to do this with near any book.

For the first book - which I had retired - I unretired it. Then I revised it, uploading a short text saying "This book is not for sale" and blanking out the cover. Fine. I'd have prefered to delete it, but this would do.

Then I tried to do the same with the second retired book - unretire, revise. The "Create new revision" button didn't work. I had no way to change the text or the cover.

Fortunately they're both in the private area, because my intent never was to sell copies.

I have a complaint in to Lulu.

brainstorm77
06-21-2009, 03:10 PM
What's their reasoning for not being able to delete files? I'm curious to know why that would be a problem.

Keyan
06-21-2009, 03:19 PM
What's their reasoning for not being able to delete files? I'm curious to know why that would be a problem.

According to something I read on the forum, they need them "for audit."

Even if you cancel your account - which I plan to do - they reserve the right to fulfil orders that were placed before, and they say nothing about the files being deleted.

brainstorm77
06-21-2009, 11:11 PM
I can understand them filling orders if they have already been placed. But there shouldn't be no issue deleting the files afterwards once requested. That does suck.

ResearchGuy
06-22-2009, 12:54 AM
I can understand them filling orders if they have already been placed. But there shouldn't be no issue deleting the files afterwards once requested. That does suck.
I have tried several times over the years to delete files. No dice. I now have something like ten screens of files, or more, most from defunct projects, or old, older, oldest versions of text and covers for live projects. Their system does not allow deletion. Maybe a court order would do it. That has always been a troubling aspect of Lulu, and maybe a reason never to use it for files that one does not own outright (absolutely all rights).

--Ken

Keyan
06-22-2009, 03:59 AM
What happens if you sell your rights afterward?

Keyan
06-22-2009, 04:30 AM
Cancelling the account doesn't work, either. Here's a quote from their website. (Emphasis added.):


"Cancelling your account is a permanent, irreversible action.

* Downloadable purchases you made will no longer be available to download.
* If you have published content, it will no longer be available for sale.
* If you have published downloadable content that has been purchased, that content will be unavailable for new sales, but will remain on our servers so that previous purchasers of said content can continue to download it from our servers.

"Click the button below to terminate your account on Lulu."

ResearchGuy
06-22-2009, 06:30 AM
What happens if you sell your rights afterward?
My dilemma is similar. I no longer have rights to some content that Lulu.com will not let me delete. With their increasingly odd behavior and poor response capacities, this is a growing concern.

--Ken

Keyan
06-22-2009, 09:32 AM
Where are the lawyers? Surely this can't be legal? Or was there something in the tiny fine print that no one reads?

jfreedan
06-25-2009, 08:02 PM
I can understand why they would do that.

That isn't much different than how places like RPG-Now work. If someone purchased an e-file, they normally have the right to download it multiple times for free in case they have a hard-drive crash or something. So if you suddenly remove your files and someone isn't able to get those additional downloads, there is a breach of contract on the e-seller's end.

I suppose this is one of the problems with the current e-file sales model. I'm honestly unsure why sellers offer free additional downloads. It doesn't cost a lot to back your files up on a memory stick and I do it with my e-files. They are so incredibly cheap now.

Tallent
06-25-2009, 08:17 PM
I suppose this is one of the problems with the current e-file sales model. I'm honestly unsure why sellers offer free additional downloads. It doesn't cost a lot to back your files up on a memory stick and I do it with my e-files. They are so incredibly cheap now.


DO NOT RELY ON A MEMORY STICK FOR BACK UP! These are very susceptible to static discharge. (Meaning they stop functioning.) It’s best to use a separate hard drive for backup.

ResearchGuy
06-25-2009, 09:54 PM
Fortunately, even though Lulu never responded to my cancelled-book problem, Bowker did (they noticed that I had jacked up the price to $10,000, and queried). Whew. The files are probably going to stay on Lulu's servers forever, but the actual author's content is relegated to a backlist, no longer part of the book, replaced by a bogus filler file.

Be that as it may, I trust that Lulu is acting in accordance with the user agreement. I think they are having technical problems (growing pains, so to speak), but I don't think they are deliberately deceptive or unethical in any way.

--Ken

mercs
06-25-2009, 10:43 PM
I hope you mentioned this in the product description so some poor soul isn't buying copies of your book believing for £10k it must be the best read of all time ;)

ResearchGuy
06-25-2009, 11:40 PM
I hope you mentioned this in the product description so some poor soul isn't buying copies of your book believing for £10k it must be the best read of all time ;)
It is "retired" and should not be available for purchase at all. But I did specify CANCELLED. NOT FOR SALE" in the description, just in case.)

At the original list price of $15.99, it was well worth the money. Dunno how a commercial publisher will price it. Certainly not ten grand. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif

--Ken

ResearchGuy
06-27-2009, 02:10 AM
Lulu.com continues to eff up and to not reply to my attempts to get a resolution. More auto-generated emails (two identical) demonstrate that the system is on dimwitted autopilot.

It is fortunate that Bowker was paying attention, at least, querying about the $10,000 price I'd set on the cancelled, "retired" project, as Lulu appears to have gone off the tracks. All I can hope is that Lulu has not somehow crossed up the fix that Bowker's person had for the dilemma.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
06-27-2009, 07:13 PM
Oh, whee. Lulu has now started emailing a "daily creator revenue report."

Thanks a bunch. All I needed was yet more email. Fer Pete's sake, I can check sales (which today consisted only of the handful of copies I ordered yesterday!) in the My Account section of Lulu.com.

They have really gone off the tracks. And by the way I am still waiting for a reply to my urgent inquiries about their eff-up in sending a cancelled/retired book, never approved as final anyway, to Books in Print.

They have time to devise new needless email and frequent sales gimmicks, but not to answer legitimate, pressing questions or to correct errors.

--Ken

CaoPaux
06-27-2009, 07:18 PM
Although I forget what SNAFU prompted it, I stopped recommending them a few months ago. This last round of eff-ups seals the deal, though. IMNSHO.

mercs
06-27-2009, 10:34 PM
This really is a shame and need someone to come in, overhaul the whole mess and sort it out. I sent a private book to them to see how it looks in print. I got it just now. IT LOOKS AMAZING! honestly, it's a work of art and better than I ever thought. So why are they messing people around over basic stuff like this with serious ramifications? It beggars belief...

Keyan
06-27-2009, 11:52 PM
I can understand why they would do that.

That isn't much different than how places like RPG-Now work. If someone purchased an e-file, they normally have the right to download it multiple times for free in case they have a hard-drive crash or something. So if you suddenly remove your files and someone isn't able to get those additional downloads, there is a breach of contract on the e-seller's end.

I suppose this is one of the problems with the current e-file sales model. I'm honestly unsure why sellers offer free additional downloads. It doesn't cost a lot to back your files up on a memory stick and I do it with my e-files. They are so incredibly cheap now.

Then they should permit deletion of a project that has never been sold as an e-file.

Since I used it only to get hard-copy beta-reader editions, they are never going to need my files as back-up.

Peachnuts
06-30-2009, 11:20 PM
Hi guys, what do we think of the publishing packs?
What does "published for you" mean?
And the covers, were you guys happy with your covers? How much say did you get in them?
Advanced formatting?

I'm worried with all the negative feedback about their service lately.
But what alternative do I have?

Talia
07-01-2009, 02:12 AM
Hi guys, what do we think of the publishing packs?
What does "published for you" mean?
And the covers, were you guys happy with your covers? How much say did you get in them?
Advanced formatting?

I'm worried with all the negative feedback about their service lately.
But what alternative do I have?

Lulu sounds hopeless, but what about publishing your book as an ebook?

Or checking out the ads at the top of this forum - plenty of self-publishers!

ResearchGuy
07-01-2009, 02:42 AM
Hi guys, what do we think of the publishing packs?
What does "published for you" mean?
And the covers, were you guys happy with your covers? How much say did you get in them?
Advanced formatting?

I'm worried with all the negative feedback about their service lately.
But what alternative do I have?
They don't have a "published for you." Maybe you mean, "published by you." That means that they sell you an ISBN and distribution package. "Published by Lulu" comes with a Lulu-owned ISBN, making Lulu the publisher.

Covers? Mine are not bad. But I designed my own front and back. Lulu does not design covers unless you pay them to, although they have a gallery of prefabricated themes you can use at no charge. I could have done better on most of mine . . . it is a learning experience.

I am STILL waiting for a response to my urgent messages about a serious problem. I think they are hopelessly backlogged now, and shortstaffed. Did they go public? If so, a whole different set of dynamics comes into play in their operations.

--Ken

Peachnuts
07-01-2009, 02:51 AM
Thanks Research Guy, but they DO have these publishing packs here:http://www.lulu.com/en/services/bundle_basic.php?cid=wiz_eng_0209_serv_upld
where they do a lot of the work for you. And this includes something they are calling 'published for you' . And this includes an upgrade in the covers too. I have been emailing with a person there that has actually replied 2x today! But the replies were short and did not really answer my questions.
I just wanted to know if anyone used these packs. I like the idea of less work and not having to figure it out for myself.
Seems the other self-publishers/PODs cost so much more than Lulu.

ResearchGuy
07-01-2009, 02:54 AM
. . . And this includes something they are calling 'published for you' . . . .
Ah, that is one of their relatively new developments, I gather, part of their morphing into a subsidy publisher. Thanks for the info.

--Ken

mercs
07-01-2009, 11:42 AM
Peachnuts, I'd have a play with things first as the add ons are very expensive and steep -for example I was struggling with the cover as it kept saying the image wasn't of high enough resolution and so decided to simply not put it on the cover at all!

I considered their customized cover, but they wanted £79 for a special cover, and if I wanted a complete format, it was something like £380! That's quite steep, as if you check online you can get someone to design a professional cover to their spec for a fraction of that amount...

Research guy is right, it is best to experiment and see what you can achieve on your own back. it's not that hard to get the basics, but as i'm finding, quite hard to master every aspect of the process...

Peachnuts
07-02-2009, 06:22 AM
Thanks Mercs,
they seem to be responding to my emails and questions at Lulu now. I think they have become aware of their bad press lately.

Kivandrohex
07-02-2009, 10:24 AM
Oh my, and I was thinking of jioning lulu.com. Instead I'm making my own publishing busyness, probably called Lady Luck or something, :)

ResearchGuy
07-02-2009, 05:28 PM
. . . Instead I'm making my own publishing business . . .
You still need a printer and distribution. You either have to use an offset printer, with large print runs and up front costs of thousands of dollars, and some method of making book available to the trade (extracting a large percentage of the list price), or use a POD printer with a means of making the book available.

--Ken

Ralyks
07-05-2009, 02:06 AM
I don't understand your problem with deleting the files. When I go, there's a button marked "delete" under My Lulu next to each book, beside the Revise button. Does that not work for you to delete your files? As far as I can recall, that's been there for quite awhile.

ResearchGuy
07-05-2009, 09:34 PM
I don't understand your problem with deleting the files. When I go, there's a button marked "delete" under My Lulu next to each book, beside the Revise button. Does that not work for you to delete your files? As far as I can recall, that's been there for quite awhile.
You can delete from a book's contents. That does not delete from the server. Try to delete an entire project. (Chances are you will only have the option to "retire" it.) And then go to the list of all your files there (mine now runs 10 screens or more) and try to delete some of them.

Let us know how that works for you.

--Ken

Keyan
07-06-2009, 03:13 PM
I don't understand your problem with deleting the files. When I go, there's a button marked "delete" under My Lulu next to each book, beside the Revise button. Does that not work for you to delete your files? As far as I can recall, that's been there for quite awhile.

You can't delete a book once a single copy of it has been sold. If you use it, as I did, to make beta-reader copies, then of course it will have sold a few copies. After that, it's stuck on their servers for ever. You do have, as Ken points out, the option of "retiring" it.

ResearchGuy
07-06-2009, 05:55 PM
You can't delete a book once a single copy of it has been sold. If you use it, as I did, to make beta-reader copies, then of course it will have sold a few copies. After that, it's stuck on their servers for ever. You do have, as Ken points out, the option of "retiring" it.
I am apparently unable to delete files even for books of which no copies were ever sold (even to myself). Evidence includes an experimental project of mine named "Junk," used just to see how the process worked, no copy ever printed. Obsolete versions of real projects likewise cannot be deleted. Bad news all around. That might have been tolerable until projects started showing up on Amazon without authorization.

--Ken

jfreedan
07-07-2009, 09:54 PM
DO NOT RELY ON A MEMORY STICK FOR BACK UP! These are very susceptible to static discharge. (Meaning they stop functioning.) It’s best to use a separate hard drive for backup.

I dunno, I've had the same couple memory sticks for the past 5 years, and they've been with me all over the world. I've never had a problem like that.

Then again, portable hard-drives are cheap enough you can always use one of those, too.

It's too bad about Lulu's service falling apart. I wonder what went wrong?

Keyan
07-08-2009, 01:41 PM
I dunno, I've had the same couple memory sticks for the past 5 years, and they've been with me all over the world. I've never had a problem like that.

Then again, portable hard-drives are cheap enough you can always use one of those, too.

It's too bad about Lulu's service falling apart. I wonder what went wrong?

Yeah, I've had good luck with mem-sticks, too. No trouble so far. (5+ years)

Except in one case, I backed a friend's files onto a memory stick, and the next day, it wouldn't read. I think it may have been defective.

Artphotos
07-13-2009, 07:12 AM
How many pages? What binding? B/w or color? Just curious.

--Ken

Sorry for my slow response Ken. I've been out of the country and away from the internet.

Without looking up the specifics, the book is about 100 pages full color soft cover.

The current price for me to print it through lulu is $25.50 I see the price on Amazon has dropped from the initial $40 to about $33 but that's still too expensive. I'd like to publish it on Createspace which would make the book available on Amazon but I am worried, having it already listed on Amazon may be a problem. I find it extremely frustrating they listed it there without my permission and without first notifying me of the price. I'm even more frustrated that they said they would remove any books on request, but have not removed it even though I've requested them to do so.

This same book could be listed on Amazon through Createspace for $20 with a larger profit margin than with lulu listing it at $33. The printing, my cut and Amazon royalty combined on Createspace are still notably less than lulu charges just for printing!

Unfortunately my book is formatted as an 8.5X11 for lulu and I will have to format it to 8X10 for Createspace.

LisaBurke
08-10-2009, 07:09 PM
Just bumping this to see how things are going with Lulu lately. I heard so many good things about them from this thread and finally started reconsidering self-publishing (for the 100th time) - but now I'm a little wary!

ResearchGuy
08-10-2009, 09:01 PM
Just bumping this to see how things are going with Lulu lately. I heard so many good things about them from this thread and finally started reconsidering self-publishing (for the 100th time) - but now I'm a little wary!
I recently set up via Lulu a small (but very good!) book for a client who wanted copies for friends and family. In due time, the client might offer it for sale through her own Lulu storefront, or might authorize me to do so. I ordered 70 copies of the book after the edits had been completed, and received them in less than a week from date of order -- shipping was (even at the lowest FedEx rate) literally overnight. Apparently the books were printed at a facility in Nevada, so the delivery to the Sacramento area was prompt.

I have had a recent telephone conversation with some Lulu consultants, and explained the issues that had triggered concern (the sending of a book into distribution without the final approval, nonresponses to urgent attempts for assistance, arbitrary placement of books for sale via Amazon.com), and also described the sorts of use I have made of Lulu, some of which I gather are not what they had foreseen. I am hoping to have a follow-up conversation.

Meanwhile, the folks at Lulu.com are now (if they were not before) aware of threads about Lulu here at Absolute Write's forums, and are probably following these threads.

My sense of it, from the conversations I have had, is that Lulu.com's management is attempting to address concerns and to improve services continuously. Sure, they want to make money, and they are pushing a lot of special deals to goose sales, but I think they want to do things right. They have made many improvements over the years I have been using Lulu, and that process is likely to continue, in my opinion.

Until some issues are resolved, I would advise caution regarding using Lulu to print any confidential or highly sensitive materials. I want to see reliable assurances that nothing will be made public without approval of the content creator. I also want to see a way to permanently and completely delete files from Lulu's servers, something that now appears to be impossible for files associated with any "project" at Lulu. (I gather that files uploaded without being attached to a project can be deleted, but I've not tested that.)

Whatever its imperfections might be, Lulu offers a unique set of services. I'd be hard pressed to find a replacement.

FWIW.

--Ken

veinglory
08-10-2009, 10:41 PM
I think the problem is not so much their sincerity and hard work, as their willingness to do things with books that their own terms of service do not authorise. That broke any sense of trust I had in them.

ResearchGuy
08-10-2009, 11:04 PM
I think the problem is not so much their sincerity and hard work, as their willingness to do things with books that their own terms of service do not authorise. That broke any sense of trust I had in them.
I read them the Riot Act on exactly that point. I think the folks I talked with were paying attention. As I bought some ten grand worth of books from them last year, they might consider my views (which mirror yours on that point) worthwhile.

--Ken

veinglory
08-11-2009, 01:19 AM
I hope they do get back on track. Because barring my current crisis of faith they are the best option out there.

MickRooney
08-11-2009, 03:35 AM
In light of the Lulu Lens posting on the Lulublog (http://lulublog.com) and the comments here, I have just posted an article on the issue this evening on POD, Self Publishing & Independent Publishing.

http://mickrooney.blogspot.com/2009/08/lulu-through-looking-glass.html

LisaBurke
08-14-2009, 12:35 AM
Forgive me if this has already been asked -

What are the shipping costs like? I'm interested in a ballpark figure for one book, 50 books or 100 books for an approximately 200-page 6X9 book. Whatever info you've got, I'll take. ;) Just trying to get an idea.

ResearchGuy
08-14-2009, 02:20 AM
Forgive me if this has already been asked -

What are the shipping costs like? I'm interested in a ballpark figure for one book, 50 books or 100 books for an approximately 200-page 6X9 book. Whatever info you've got, I'll take. ;) Just trying to get an idea.
Try seventy-five cents per book as a ballpark figure. But of course it depends shipping method. Lulu uses what seems to me to be excessive packaging, but the books arrive in good condition.

Once you have your book set up, you can experiment with the shopping cart, picking quantity and then going to checkout to look at shipping costs. Then back up and zero out the quantity.

--Ken

LisaBurke
08-16-2009, 11:15 PM
Try seventy-five cents per book as a ballpark figure. But of course it depends shipping method. Lulu uses what seems to me to be excessive packaging, but the books arrive in good condition.

Once you have your book set up, you can experiment with the shopping cart, picking quantity and then going to checkout to look at shipping costs. Then back up and zero out the quantity.

--Ken

Thanks Ken, for that information.

coloneldax
08-28-2009, 09:55 PM
Hi, everyone. I was wondering what kind of experiences writers have had with lulu..

Daniel

Nandi
08-28-2009, 11:14 PM
Hi,Daniel. Welcome to AW.

There is already a huge, lengthy discussion of Lulu here. Do the search, and I'll bet you'll find all you want to know there. If you have other questions after reading all the posts there, that would be the place to ask them.

coloneldax
08-28-2009, 11:28 PM
Hi,Daniel. Welcome to AW.

There is already a huge, lengthy discussion of Lulu here. Do the search, and I'll bet you'll find all you want to know there. If you have other questions after reading all the posts there, that would be the place to ask them.

This may be a newbie question, but is there a way to read a thread in reverse so I can see the more recent information about a topic?..

Daniel

ResearchGuy
08-28-2009, 11:32 PM
This may be a newbie question, but is there a way to read a thread in reverse so I can see the more recent information about a topic?..

Daniel
It is an option in your User CP. Edit options, and scroll down. Then save the changes.

See http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111541 for hundreds of Lulu posts.

--Ken

coloneldax
08-28-2009, 11:37 PM
How do I get the most relevant info without reading the older posts?

ResearchGuy
08-29-2009, 02:55 AM
How do I get the most relevant info without reading the older posts?
You probably don't. Start with most recent and work back until you know what you want to know. And if you have a question that does not appear to have been answered, post it on that thread.

--Ken

clintl
09-02-2009, 05:44 AM
Until some issues are resolved, I would advise caution regarding using Lulu to print any confidential or highly sensitive materials. I want to see reliable assurances that nothing will be made public without approval of the content creator. I also want to see a way to permanently and completely delete files from Lulu's servers, something that now appears to be impossible for files associated with any "project" at Lulu. (I gather that files uploaded without being attached to a project can be deleted, but I've not tested that.)



--Ken

I wish I had read the thread a couple of weeks ago. I just published a private project that I definitely do not want sold publicly for a variety of reasons. It's meant just for small number of family members. I made it available only to me. What's the risk now that Lulu will screw this up?

ResearchGuy
09-02-2009, 06:20 AM
I wish I had read the thread a couple of weeks ago. I just published a private project that I definitely do not want sold publicly for a variety of reasons. It's meant just for small number of family members. I made it available only to me. What's the risk now that Lulu will screw this up?
Very small as long as you keep it as a private project. Maybe zero.

Set a price of, say, $10,000, just in case. That will keep the riff-raff away.

--Ken

Tim19B
09-18-2009, 07:59 AM
I am interested in publishing at Lulu but I couldn't understand some things at their site. I found the book price calculator, and I found the minimum requirements for distribution. But where are the prices for the distribution plans? I understand that the plans include an ISBN number. Do they give you templates to put in the information such as the ISBN, copyright, and price? Do they put the barcode on the back? Am I correct in understanding without the distribution plan, its pretty hard to get the book into a format that will be acceptable to retailers? Thanks in advance. - Tim19B

ResearchGuy
09-18-2009, 08:50 PM
I am interested in publishing at Lulu but I couldn't understand some things at their site. I found the book price calculator, and I found the minimum requirements for distribution. But where are the prices for the distribution plans? I understand that the plans include an ISBN number. Do they give you templates to put in the information such as the ISBN, copyright, and price? Do they put the barcode on the back? Am I correct in understanding without the distribution plan, its pretty hard to get the book into a format that will be acceptable to retailers? Thanks in advance. - Tim19B
They add the barcode to the back cover. You have to leave space for it. You have to insert the ISBN on the copyright page. You have to do the book design and typesetting unless you pay them to do that. They do not give you a template for the interior design of the book (although I believe they have some that include some basics, such as margins). "Distribution Plan" has nothing to do with the format of the book (design, typesetting, that sort of thing). Distribution gets the ISBN and gets the book into Books in Print, etc. But BE CAUTIOUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. I am still trying to have a Lulu error corrected. They pushed into distribution a book before I approved it for distribution and after I had terminated ("retired") it on account of logistical problems that were going to make it too expensive for me to proceed.

--Ken

Tim19B
09-18-2009, 09:27 PM
Thanks very much for responding. Are there any other companies that you are considering or have used before? Thanks. -- Tim19B

ResearchGuy
09-18-2009, 10:19 PM
Thanks very much for responding. Are there any other companies that you are considering or have used before? Thanks. -- Tim19B
I've looked at CreateSpace (an Amazon operation), but have not used it.

I'm hoping that the issues I've found with Lulu will be completely resolved, as on the whole, I've found the company to provide value. It is my sense of it that they are working diligently to address problems and improve their offerings. Stay tuned.

--Ken

Keyan
09-29-2009, 01:25 AM
I'm eagerly looking forward to updates. I've massively revised my books, am preparing for a another round of beta-reading - and can't give my beta-readers the "looks and feels and is portable like a book" option which they really like.

I am really hoping for better news from Lulu. Meanwhile I've been ferociously deleting their promo e-mails. I'm waiting for the one that says: You Told Us, We Listened.

ResearchGuy
09-29-2009, 01:46 AM
. . . ferociously deleting their promo e-mails. . . . .
Irritating, aren't they? When I have a chance (hopefully soon) I will tell them how cheesy and annoying those promotions are.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
09-29-2009, 11:32 PM
If you have pressing questions or comments for Lulu's management, please let me know. I expect to have an opportunity soon to share concerns and questions with folks who wil be receptive to the input. I don't know that there is much not already seen here, but if you want to highlight something, let me know.

My key issues at the moment are:

Assurance that no book will be pushed to Books in Print without explicit approval by the book's creator (no jumping the gun).
An opportunity to say yes or no before a non-ISBN book is placed for sale on Amazon.
Assurance that private projects will remain private.
A way to fully delete files from Lulu's servers and to genuinely remove unwanted projects entirely (not just "retire" them).
Easing off on the multitude of gimmicky pitches to buy more books right away (short-term discounts).
--Ken

StephenJSweeney
09-30-2009, 12:36 AM
A way to fully delete files from Lulu's servers and to genuinely remove unwanted projects entirely (not just "retire" them).



I second this. I can't see a reason why Lulu would want to hold onto these files (unless it's some kind of US government agreement to do with counter terrorism or something).

Sargentodiaz
09-30-2009, 09:11 PM
I second this. I can't see a reason why Lulu would want to hold onto these files (unless it's some kind of US government agreement to do with counter terrorism or something).

I'm not a lawyer but would guess tha they're required to keep them if they sell a IBSN (?) to the author.

StephenJSweeney
10-01-2009, 12:46 AM
I'm not a lawyer but would guess tha they're required to keep them if they sell a IBSN (?) to the author.

Sure, that would make sense. However, they have several files of mine that don't have a relationship to an ISBN - stuff I uploaded to test things out and whatnot.

ResearchGuy
10-01-2009, 12:50 AM
. . .
I'm not a lawyer but would guess tha they're required to keep them if they sell a IBSN (?) to the author.
That does not explain the non-ISBN files I am unable to delete from their servers. Anyway, even old files, ones replaced and replaced again by revisions, never go away if they have been associated with a Lulu project, public or not. At least I have never succeeded in getting any removed.

But I'll make an issue of that when I have the chance face-to-face next week.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
10-07-2009, 12:08 AM
The day-long meeting/workshop is over, issues raised, and hopefully to be addressed. Great bunch of folks. Lulu has just launched new initiatives and is in the process of finalizing several more from now to next spring. The managers are very alert to ways to improve and extend Lulu's services, especially with a view to the needs and opportunities of small publishers.

That's it for now . . .

--Ken

ResearchGuy
10-07-2009, 03:28 AM
One of the major new initiatives is at http://www.lulu.com/partners/ .

Even after hearing it explained, I find it baffling.

--Ken

veinglory
10-07-2009, 03:54 AM
It is an affiliate scheme aimed not at authors but procurers--get an author to sign up with Lulu--get a cut. To me it just confirms that Lulu has lost any interest it ever had in actually selling books, rather than author services.

ResearchGuy
10-07-2009, 02:51 PM
It is an affiliate scheme aimed not at authors but procurers--get an author to sign up with Lulu--get a cut. To me it just confirms that Lulu has lost any interest it ever had in actually selling books, rather than author services.
Well, I'd not go that far. Not at all, esp. after spending a day with Lulu's managers (including the CEO). I can assure you, they want to sell books, CDs, calendars, etc., and have some interesting things in the pipeline.

That particular initative does strike me as odd, but it is not illogical.

Be that as it may, one of Lulu's growing interests is in selling services to publishers (not just self-publishers, but small publishers and micro-publishers like myself). But yes, they want to sell services to self-publishing authors, and have developed into a full-service subsidy publisher as one aspect of the business.

--Ken

veinglory
10-07-2009, 08:54 PM
I look at what they have done and not done and I see them as factory farming authors. They clearly want Lulu to sell more books, but seem not to care if that is by each author selling more books, or just getting more authors or charging authors more up front--in fact they seem focussed on the latter. Battery cages make more eggs than barns of the same size, but that does not make them a good deal for the chicken.

My perspective is as a person who has published no books through lulu and bought about 50 books magazines and CDs there over a period of many years (and received a similar number of review copies). Finding and buying books there was never easy and is getting harder. The search engine had always been bad and has recently got worse. The shipping costs were always high and have recently got higher. The customer support system has never been good and recently became effectively non-existent with the elmination of the one thing that actually worked (live chat help). The customer review system was always bad and now is getting outsourced.

I don't see improvement, I see rapid and ongoing deterioration. I just can't buy books there any more, so how can I recommend that anyone publish book there? The things that set them apart from Tate, iUniverse etc are rapidly disappearing or not already nonexistent and I am currently leaning towards swapping entirely to buying from Createspace--and I hate Amazon (but service and price count for something and I no longer like lulu all that much either). If they want input from a long-term *customer* by which I mean a reader not an author, I would be happy to provide it. As would many others.

ResearchGuy
10-08-2009, 03:33 AM
I look at what they have done and not done and I see them as factory farming authors. . . . If they want input from a long-term *customer* by which I mean a reader not an author, I would be happy to provide it. As would many others.
Several times I pointed the Lulu folks to this very thread. I am hopeful that they will religiously read it. I'll make that recommendation again. So, with any luck, concerns discussed here on AW will get recognition and responses.

--Ken

P.S. I have just now sent a reminder that Lulu should be reading this thread and other AW Lulu-related threads.

veinglory
10-08-2009, 07:13 PM
I hung on for Lulu as long as I could. I hope you get through to them but I am moving on.

ResearchGuy
10-09-2009, 01:12 AM
. . . The things that set them apart from Tate, iUniverse etc are rapidly disappearing . . . .
Sad, but hard to argue with. They still offer some self-service options the others do not, for those who are comfortable with their own editing, formatting, and design, but if one buys an ISBN, it appears that risks skyrocket. Once burned, many times shy, here, on that score. I have never gotten any explanation of their sending a title to Books in Print before I had approved it and after I had "retired" the project. Nor have I seen any effort to rectify the error.

--Ken

Peachnuts
10-09-2009, 04:52 AM
Where did you move on to? Please share I am in the same boat.

veinglory
10-09-2009, 05:08 AM
This is the issue, the lack of good alternatives. But so far I am thinking createspace is a good source of books if I looks for them on amazon using the advanced search function.

Cyia
10-13-2009, 04:25 AM
If you want to self-pub a for family only book, as opposed to putting something on the site to sell, do you have to get an ISBN or can Lulu make you bound books without it?

ResearchGuy
10-13-2009, 07:05 AM
If you want to self-pub a for family only book, as opposed to putting something on the site to sell, do you have to get an ISBN or can Lulu make you bound books without it?
ISBN is entirely optional. I have some books without and some with. The ones I published for other people have them. My own, plus a private project for someone else, not.

--Ken

Keyan
10-19-2009, 11:11 AM
Ken, do you have anything further on Lulu?

Particularly the ability to delete the files? That shouldn't be rocket science to implement.

I'm waiting for Fedex Kinko to come up with a competing service!

zpeteman
10-19-2009, 05:52 PM
Lulu is great for printing up things like the odd copy for proofreading. Anyone looking to actually publish something with them needs to take a serious look at their business plan, though, because Lulu's prices are sky high.

ResearchGuy
10-19-2009, 08:02 PM
Ken, do you have anything further on Lulu?

Particularly the ability to delete the files? That shouldn't be rocket science to implement.

I'm waiting for Fedex Kinko to come up with a competing service!
No, nothing new. I just tried again to delete an old project, and again got this message: "[title redacted] was retired because it could not be deleted."

Because I had bought one copy of that book, the files cannot be deleted. And for that matter, as near as I can tell, no file associated with a project can be deleted. (Loose files uploaded but not in connection with a Lulu-numbered project presumably can be deleted, but I'd not bet on it.)

I am disappointed by Lulu's lack of responsiveness to my concerns.

--Ken

James D. Macdonald
02-20-2010, 08:50 PM
I'm going to do a one-year retrospective on a Lulu book that I created. The Confessions of Peter Crossman (http://www.lulu.com/content/219003) is a chapbook containing three of our published stories. I created it for a class I was teaching, because it was cheaper and faster and more attractive than loose photocopying (for the class it was a free download--I adjusted the price upward later when I made it public).

The cost to me was zero. My wife (and co-author) did the cover. The text inside was a dump to .PDF out of WordPerfect (my word processor of choice), from the original manuscripts. I didn't buy copyright (all the words were already copyrighted when they first appeared). I didn't buy an ISBN because I had no intention of taking this to bookstores.

The class was a couple of years back, so those sales/downloads won't skew the results.

The only advertising and marketing I've done is a link on my web page (the main page (http://www.sff.net/people/Doylemacdonald/), and the Crossman sub-page (http://www.sff.net/people/Doylemacdonald/ad_excerpt.htm)). And the occasional link in posts like this one.

Okay, let's see what I have (Lulu gives exact dates of sales).

Starting with 01JAN09 and running to date. Dollar amounts are my income:

29/03/09 Download $1.00
20/06/09 Download $1.00
26/08/08 Rack size $1.00
24/09/09 Trade size $1.00
25/09/09 Rack size $1.00
28/10/09 Rack size $1.00
19/11/09 Trade size $1.00
07/12/09 Rack size $1.00
08/12/09 Rack size $1.00
08/12/09 Rack size $1.00
08/12/09 Rack size $1.00
09/12/09 Trade size $1.00
10/12/09 Download $1.00
11/12/09 Download $1.00
12/12/09 Rack size $1.00
12/12/09 Download $1.00
13/12/09 Rack size $1.00
15/12/09 Trade size $1.00
15/12/09 Trade size $1.00

So much for 2009.

In 2010, so far:

15/01/10 Rack size $1.00
22/01/10 Trade size $1.00
02/02/10 Trade size $1.00
02/02/10 Download $1.00
08/02/10 Trade size $1.00
11/02/10 Trade size $1.00
15/02/10 Trade size $1.00

Which takes us up to today.

So, what happened on or about 07DEC09? Why did sales suddenly surge?

The reprint of an earlier Crossman novel, The Apocalypse Door (http://www.powells.com/partner/34766/biblio/0765306085?p_isbn), hit the bookstore shelves on 08DEC10.

What else can we glean from this?

Total income, 2009: $19.00 (not gonna get rich on that, but it's found money).

Of those 19 sales:

Rack size: 9 (@$7.95)
Trade size: 5 (@ $7.47)
Download: 5 (@$1.25)

The 2010 numbers so far:

Total: $7.00

Rack size: 1 (@$7.95)
Trade size: 5 (@ $7.47)
Download: 1 (@$1.25)

sarahcypher
02-21-2010, 06:59 AM
Thanks for sharing this information. I just uploaded my first e-book to Smashwords, and I haven't put together a marketing strategy, as I've been figuring out exactly what such a strategy could be (besides an Internet wormhole into next week, when I'm still wearing the same pajamas, and somehow stuck to my laptop keyboard).

I'm curious about book pricing, too. Do you think sales would have been higher or lower with a higher-priced e-book? Did you notice a big gap in the number of page views vs. downloads?

Thanks in advance.

ResearchGuy
02-26-2010, 09:41 PM
Good grief.


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2010 London Book Fair
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The London Book Fair represents one of the best opportunities (literally) in the world to market your books in a business to business atmosphere. LBF generates an average attendance of 25,000 decision makers in the international distribution, publishing, bookselling, library, and other publishing related industries.
Registration & Display Copy Deadline: Tuesday, March 9, 2010



I'm sorry, but they are now well into vanity-publishing territory. Paying $399 to have your book lost in a sea of thousands of equally obscure books? They should be ashamed of themselves.

--Ken

coloneldax
02-26-2010, 09:45 PM
Good grief.


I'm sorry, but they are now well into vanity-publising territory. Paying $399 to have your book lost in a sea of thousands of equally obscure books? They should be ashamed of themselves.

--Ken

Well, at least they're still doing POD, so it's not all bad.

James D. Macdonald
02-28-2010, 06:31 AM
I think they're learning that there just isn't enough money in taking a percentage of sales of POD books, when they take anything that's uploaded and charge nothing up front, to keep the lights on.

Xlibris went down this same path a decade ago. (And look where Xlibris is now.)

veinglory
02-28-2010, 06:56 AM
I always assumed the inflated production and shipping costs were what really kept the lights on.

Angkor
03-06-2010, 11:34 AM
I've had two titles listed through Lulu for over three years now. They continue to sell, virtually every month, mainly via Amazon. But, and I've said this before in this thread, Lulu's pricing is way too high. I'm still astonished that total strangers cough up $17.99 & $21.99, respectively, for my trade paperbacks, when the competition (traditional publishers) set prices several dollars less. I'm convinced that I'd be selling more books if only Lulu could allow us to set prices competitively. BTW, I set my royalty rate at a mere nominal level in order to keep the retail price as low as I can. My cut of sales is a pittance. My agent and I are pursuing traditional publishers for my latest book.

brainstorm77
03-06-2010, 02:56 PM
The only issue I have with LuLu is the shipping costs to Canada. They're outrageous.

ResearchGuy
03-06-2010, 08:16 PM
. . . are pursuing traditional publishers for my latest book.
Just beware of vanity presses that call themselves "traditional publishers." The notorious vanity press PublishAmerica practically trademarked the term (not used by legitimate commercial publishers) "traditional publisher" as a cover for its sleazy practices.

--Ken

Barbarique
03-07-2010, 01:58 AM
I'm not familiar with Lulu as are many here, but it sounds like they may have scored a bit of a coup: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Literary-Lion-Chooses-prnews-3383622619.html?x=0&.v=1

Here's Wideman's Lulu page: http://www.lulu.com/john_edgar_wideman

This is a nice little torpedo in the hull of the mighty dreadnaught Commercial Publishing. :)

veinglory
03-07-2010, 02:10 AM
Using Lulu for reprints and unmarketable works is pretty common amongst authors who have already broken through. I have found a few of my old favorites there. I don't think it suggests Lulu is an alternative to mainstream commerical publishing, more like an adjunct.

StephenJSweeney
03-07-2010, 01:06 PM
But, and I've said this before in this thread, Lulu's pricing is way too high. I'm still astonished that total strangers cough up $17.99 & $21.99, respectively, for my trade paperbacks, when the competition (traditional publishers) set prices several dollars less.

Yep, same thing here. Lulu were great when they first started (well, I certainly thought so), but they have been tumbling downhill ever since. The list price for my own novel is $20.95 on Amazon. OW! It's cheaper elsewhere - $14 - but I've had people moan to me about the price.


My cut of sales is a pittance.

Same again. I wanted to keep it as competitive and attractive as possible, but £9.95 vs £6.99 (and no 3-for-2 eligibility) moves you out of the spontaneous purchase arena.

Not that it sort of matters right now - After finishing the second book in my series, I've decided to rewrite the first (33% done), whilst, at the same time, serialise the first one online (as a Creative Commons licensed download). I'll see what opportunities this year brings me. Fingers crossed.

Angkor
03-11-2010, 11:04 PM
Re: Lulu's High Pricing
An addendum: plenty of my books, often listed "Like New," are sloshing around the used book market, selling at deep, deep discounts. I've even encountered them at library sales. While I get nothing monetarily from these sales, at least I know that interested enterprising shoppers can turn to these sites to get my books at affordable prices. Sometimes they even take the time to do a review on Amazon.

StephenJSweeney
03-16-2010, 09:29 PM
You know, in recently months I think Lulu has started to cross the line into becoming a vanity press.

I follow their blog and I've noticed that they are starting to offer more and more high priced services.

London Book Fair New Title Showcase
https://support.lulu.com/Question.jsp?title=London-Book-Fair&id=bed301f470cbd0016eade34ef147f99a

Wow, what on Earth is that all about? £250 to have my book shown on a stand, where it'll likely be lost in a sea of other works from publishing giants such as Random House and Harper Collins?

eBook ePUB Creation
http://lulublog.com/2010/03/12/ready-to-join-the-epub-boom/

$350??? Are they kidding me?! Sure, ePub conversion is not easy, but that's A LOT of money.

Lulu VIP
http://lulublog.com/2010/03/14/lulu-vip-services/

Is this a commercial publishing venture, where Lulu has chosen to take on the responsibility of editing, proofing and distributing the book themselves? Or is the so-called VIP expected to stump up all the money themselves?

Lulu, you're disappointing me.

Disclaimer: I published my book through Lulu just over a year ago. I paid only for the ISBN and did everything else myself (with the exception of editing). I don't think they were a vanity press when they started out, or up until recently, but I see them going that way.

ResearchGuy
03-16-2010, 09:47 PM
You know, in recently months I think Lulu has started to cross the line into becoming a vanity press.

. . . .
I agree.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
03-18-2010, 07:38 PM
From the latest Lulu email:


Do you have an event coming up?
Quote with Lulu and Save
Pricing Example:
(6x9, Perfect Bound, 200 B/W pages)
1 - 4 Books: $8.50/book
500 Books on Lulu:
$5.95/book
Save even MORE with
a bulk quote.
Receive $150 off the
book fair registration
of your choice

Note the part I bolded . . . good grief. What a racket. It is still an extra charge, for something with no benefit, if you take them up on it.

--Ken

marcel
04-13-2010, 11:36 PM
LuLu sells your books on Amazon. But you probably know that already.

ResearchGuy
04-13-2010, 11:38 PM
LuLu sells your books on Amazon. But you probably know that already.
They even sell two of mine that have no ISBN (as Amazon Marketplace sellers for those).

--Ken

Fiona
06-30-2010, 11:42 PM
I recently came across the web site for Lulu, which claims that you can self-publish for free. This seems too good to be true.

Has anyone used them? What were the standards of print?

Where is the snag- surely nothing good comes for free nowadays?

Just curious as I have a book I completed last year that, although I wouldn't want to forward to an agent, I would like to have it in print for my husband and friends who are eager to read my work. Plus for sentimental reasons for myself, I'd love to have a copy of my first ever novel.

veinglory
07-01-2010, 01:50 AM
I would suggest looking further down the forum for threads about Lulu. In short, it is free if you don't want distribution beyond the Lulu website, and don't count their mark up on your cover price. The books are standard POD quality on the whole.

Solivagant
07-01-2010, 02:03 AM
There a thousand and one things to research before self-publishing, which I'm sure some others on this site who have more experience would be happy to point out.

As far as your actual question though Lulu is free to use as long as you do all of the work and don't choose any additional options or services. When the book actually goes up for sale they take the majority of the sale price and you get a percentage of the sale price as a royalty.

For it to be totally free you will have to do the interior formating, cover design, and marketing. I also believe this will only allow you to sell through their store and not through other merchants unless you sign up for their distribution services and purchase an ISBN.

Another similar company is createspace. Much like lulu you would have to do your own setup for it to be free, and they will still take their cut of the sales price, but they also include one of their isbn's for free and list your book for sale on amazon as well.

A last alternative for a free method of publishing would be to publish it as an e-book. There are services out there like smashwords and amazon's kindle e-books. Both services allow for you to sell your book online as an e-book and they both are free for you to use as long as you will let them take their cut of each sale.

I would definitely recommend that you do plenty of research on POD self-publishing before making any decisions so that you can determine how much work it will take to put out a book you can be proud of. Then you can decide on whether or not it would be worth it for you to go through the whole process.

Remember once you publish, self-done or traditional, that book will be out there with your name on it forever. Make sure it's something you will be proud of.

Kivandrohex
07-04-2010, 10:36 AM
Can anyone tell me how the .doc should look like before we upload it, should it have the front cover and back cover in the .doc ?

kappapi99
07-04-2010, 04:15 PM
The .doc file should look exactly how you want it to look in a printed book. It should have all the internal text (including copyright info, library of congress number if applicable). The book cover is separate.