Got this in my email box last week, although it would be nice if their automatic sorting process were a bit better, since all my work is retired and out of print with them. Yes, I don't have a single "available" title with Lulu at the moment. But anyway, here is the email:
We are contacting you to inform you of an important change regarding our Ratings & Reviews system for published content within the Lulu Marketplace.
Our system indicates that one or more of your published works on Lulu has Ratings & Reviews preferences set to "Restricted". This means that only those who have purchased this item can leave ratings and reviews for your content. Next week, we will be launching a great new feature that will share your book on social networking sites such as weRead, Facebook, Myspace and more, allowing over 3 million users to see and review your work via weRead's new review service!
Central to this feature, is the value of community reviews, word of mouth recognition and the idea that, the more people exposed to your work, the more likely someone will purchase or want to review it. With this new feature, people who have not purchased your book on Lulu will be able to review your book on Lulu, weRead or any other site that utilizes weRead's application.
Even though we feel strongly these new features will benefit you, we value your privacy, and, if you are not interested in your book being shared with the weRead service, you can set your reviews to "Unavailable".
Again, this is par for the course with Lulu, the vagaries of the email announcement are mind-blowing. Exactly how are they going to share your work with social networking sites???? Are they going to set up a Lulu page and highlight specific works??? Will they be sharing previews of author's works???? I am sorry Lulu, but yet again, you really need some professional help when it comes to marketing rollouts, or any of your product launches of late for that matter. weRead is already on Facebook, and it works the same as say an Amazon link or recommendation page. How are the Lulu books going to stand out??? They won't, so you can save the vague email hype. Listing books with weRead offers just another distribution channel. I wouldn't consider a distribution channel a form of marketing or a "Great New Feature." The end user still has to fossick through all the books available, and a Lulu link on the main page of weRead really doesn't amount to much either, since it takes the buyer back to Lulu so they can fossick through the books there. It's nice to know that Lulu is expanding its distribution offerings to sites such as weRead.com, but at most, it only saves the author from loading up their own work on the site themselves. So let's just call it what it is. A distribution channel does nothing to actually sell a book, 3 millions members or not. I'd like a little more explanation as to how this Great Feature is gonna work and what exactly makes it so damn great.