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View Full Version : Wow, my first bad Lulu experience



StephenJSweeney
12-15-2009, 04:36 PM
Just received my much delayed order from Lulu of my second book (intended as a Christmas present), and the damn thing has arrived without the cover. The entire front of the book is pure white.

The text printed fine, but the cover is completely blank.

Raised a support ticket, but I doubt a replacement will arrived by Christmas, now.

valeriec80
12-16-2009, 01:08 AM
:(

ResearchGuy
12-16-2009, 01:32 AM
Just received my much delayed order from Lulu of my second book (intended as a Christmas present), and the damn thing has arrived without the cover. The entire front of the book is pure white.

The text printed fine, but the cover is completely blank.

Raised a support ticket, but I doubt a replacement will arrived by Christmas, now.
Hmmm. I know that they can print books in a day (I've had some that were printed and shipped the day after I placed the order), so maybe you'll get your replacement in time.

--Ken

StephenJSweeney
12-16-2009, 03:29 AM
Not sure I'll get it before December 25th.

Apparently I need first to contact support (done that), send them photos of the issue (when they get back to me) and then they need to contact the printer, talk to them about what's happened, blah blah blah... ugh.

Going to be a real kicker for unwrap a flat, white slab on Christmas Day instead of a colourful, attractive cover... :(

Medievalist
12-16-2009, 03:39 AM
Not sure I'll get it before December 25th.

Apparently I need first to contact support (done that), send them photos of the issue (when they get back to me) and then they need to contact the printer, talk to them about what's happened, blah blah blah... ugh.

Going to be a real kicker for unwrap a flat, white slab on Christmas Day instead of a colourful, attractive cover... :(

Do your own wrap-around cover, like hardcovers have. It's easy, you can get it printed at a local shop for about .80 cents in color.

veinglory
12-16-2009, 03:52 AM
The speed of printing is less of a problem than their lag between ordering and shipping--I have ordered from their many times and the lag is normally days, sometimes over a week. Very annoying when you pay for a fast shipping method.

StephenJSweeney
12-16-2009, 12:12 PM
Do your own wrap-around cover, like hardcovers have. It's easy, you can get it printed at a local shop for about .80 cents in color.

Nowhere close by me that does that. Not to worry, I'll wait for the replacement.

And then send them a letter to express my dismay at such a monumental cock-up.

ATP
12-16-2009, 05:53 PM
Just a letter? express dismay? Granted I don't know your history with Lulu, but this seems to be the first I have read of a stuff up. Normally, read of positive experiences.

They stuff you up during the most important time of the year, for what was clearly intended as a Xmas present? Correct?

I think that I would be jumping up and down, and demanding all my money back, or at least some form of restitution.

ResearchGuy
12-16-2009, 06:50 PM
Just a letter? express dismay? Granted I don't know your history with Lulu, but this seems to be the first I have read of a stuff up. Normally, read of positive experiences. . . . .
Read the AW forum thread(s) devoted to Lulu. Most of my experiences have been fine, but one error was . . . well, a Lulu, one result of which is that I have a cancelled (never actually published) book listed in Books in Print at $10,000, and with blank cover and meaningless filler inside. They pushed it into distribution without my approval (I had to cancel the project after ISBN was issued and before I approved the book for distribution), and absolutely nothing could get a response or correction, not even spending a day in their offices meeting with staff (at their invitation!) in Raleigh. I had to take steps to be sure that no one would/could buy a copy.

One of my authors received an exam copy of one of her books -- with her book's cover but someone else's (poorly designed) book inside. Lulu promptly sent a replacement at no charge when she reported that error.

They are so busy and growing so fast that errors are bound to happen. It is still a unique company with valuable services.

--Ken

StephenJSweeney
12-16-2009, 09:31 PM
Lulu tweeted me earlier to find out if I'd heard back from the support department. I let them know that I'd sent them the photographs and am waiting for support to get back to me.

You can see the photos and that on my blog.

http://stephenjsweeney.blogspot.com/

I'll post more in the next few days, when I know more.

StephenJSweeney
12-16-2009, 11:20 PM
Alright, for those interested - Lulu have refunded me and I've re-ordered the book. Will let you know what happens this time around.

StephenJSweeney
01-17-2010, 09:35 PM
Not good news, I'm afraid - The second print was exactly the same as the first: i.e. - all white binding, without the cover art.

I've asked Lulu to investigate, since their preview shows that the artwork is fine.

veinglory
01-17-2010, 10:39 PM
Sounds like they had a glitch and didn't bother to diagnose and fix it : / --I think that can start being a problem with any big company, and increasingly with Lulu.

StephenJSweeney
01-18-2010, 01:04 PM
Well, I've let them know and asked them for another refund.

What I've done now is to also revise the project and remove and re-add both the text and the cover, to see if that helps. Maybe something didn't go through correctly, despite the preview suggesting so.

Will keep people posted.

StephenJSweeney
01-19-2010, 02:11 PM
I've done some more investigation and it seems like the files actually became corrupt on Lulu's servers, somehow. Well, that's what I'm running with at the moment.

Whilst Acrobat and a load of other PDF viewing tools can show the cover, one Linux tool, called GhostView, refused to do so, since it contained errors.

After playing around a bit, I decided to simply regenerate the cover and re-upload it. No issues there, so I've just re-ordered the book. Will see what happens this time.

For anyone interested, I've blogged about it here,

http://stephenjsweeney.blogspot.com/2010/01/second-bad-lulu-experience-pt-ii.html

Manny
01-27-2010, 04:23 AM
Stephen, have them printed at http://www.biddles.co.uk/ using the Lulu PDF's - half the price and real people on the phone to speak to!

Lulu are useless now - I put an order in with Biddles today and they have been superb up to now. The order process is amazingly simple, you wont believe it until you try after having dealt with Lulu.

Medievalist
01-27-2010, 04:30 AM
PDF is a lot more tricky than people realize.

When you think your PDF proof is perfect, print it out. Also at least consider printing the cover page at at 1200 dpi color printer. You can usually print one page in color for about a dollar.

You can save a lot of headache later. If you're worried about cost, print the body of the book at two-up so you can make sure that everything prints right.

A .pdf contains both the postscript data for printing to paper, and data about screen display. The only way to be sure you check both sets of data is to print and look at the screen.

StephenJSweeney
01-27-2010, 01:50 PM
I've actually solved the issue, now. It turns out that the cover file had someone become corrupt on Lulu's servers. No idea how this happened, but it might have occurred during the revision process.

For those interested, I did the following:

Downloaded the PDF from Lulu's servers.
Opened it in Adobe Acrobat - It Passed
Opened it in Okular, a PDF viewer for KDE - It Passed
Opened it in Ghostscript, on Linux - It Failed

All I got in Ghostscript was a big white rectangle, the same as how it prints. At that point I decided to just regenerate and re-upload the file. After that, I ordered another copy and it printed perfectly.

So, to cut a long story short, the file was corrupt on Lulu's servers. Annoying, but at least I discovered the cause and don't need to change the software I'm using for creating the books.