Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lulu opens ebook sales

Only a few weeks ago, Lulu got their search system working again. It took them only... well, about four months to repair a system that would not find a book even when you typed in the correct title or author's name. But, well, credit where credit is due--you can now do this successfully (key word or genre searching remains somewhat hit and miss).

But now I wonder for whom this repair was made? Recently Lulu searches started bringing up all kinds of mainstream books. This was not, of course, explained on the website or in the Lulu forums--but an online Press Release dated yesterday explains:

"Lulu ... today announced a vastly expanded selection of eBooks, adding 200,000 titles from authors such as Dan Brown, Malcolm Gladwell and Emeril Lagasse to a catalog of content already among the Internet's most diverse ... "It's time for a new era in publishing, one that treats all content equally and gives all authors an equal shot at success," said Harish Abbott, Senior Vice President of Products at Lulu. "We've built an open content marketplace that lets everyone get their ideas to all readers in all forms, print and electronic. And we mean everyone."

I guess it is a bright day for Dan Brown. I wonder how else he would ever manage to sell his books?

On one level I think more books, means more customers, which means more sales. One the other hand Lulu is never going to compete with Amazon, B&N and Powells. So it seems more likely to me that they are maximising their own profits and their authors can either accept a smaller slice of the pie or go to hell.

p.s. if you go there to buy my books, that of course is fine. [/hypocrisy]


Cheryl Anne Gardner said...
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Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Oh that is rich. So, how do you feel about being a Lulu author Em????

Do you think this will have any affect on the stigma of self-publishing as Lulu tries to transform itself into an Amazon lookalike?

Emily Veinglory: said...

I heard about this because some other others with my publisher were surprised to see their books on Lulu (what, don't we all have out pen names on Google Alert?). So far the main reaction seems to be one of confusion.

I suppose you still can narrow the search to Lulu-only, but it looks like brand-muddying to me.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Gotta love Lulu. I would be confused too and pissed. So, how does the cut get split between your publisher and Lulu? Or any of the major houses. I wonder what kind of legal deal got ironed out for Lulu to function as an ebook distributor for all these publishers.

Ya know when Simon and Schuster ironed out the deal with Scribd, it was all over the news. I haven't heard anything about this, not in any of my publishing news alerts until now. Must have been some clandestine shit, and that makes me wonder more.

Kristine said...

I personally prefer Lulu when it comes to POD hard copies - they're easy to use, I don't have to swear allegiance to Basement Cat or give Amazon my bank account information (which requires me to be a US citizen), and so far I've never had an issue with production quality - BUT - when it comes to eBooks, I've fallen in love with Smashwords, and their free-of-DRM methods.

Of course, the only pom poms I'm waving are my own, not LuLu's or Smashwords'. (and I'm one of those renegades who actually gives away a free version of my novels alongside hard copies and ebooks, so...)

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Thanks Kristine, I haven't tried Smashwords yet. I have my stuff over on Scribd and on Kindle for now. I wanted to how google's ebook store was going to shake out.

I thought I liked Lulu's quality when it came to hardcopies until I moved over to createspace. I like their sizes better, since I write novellas, and the quality of their covers is much much better than Lulu's.

I understand about the bank account thing, but I haven't had an issue yet with them as I am a US Cit. Plus, it's just me and Amazon, no one else's fingers are in the pot, and that's a plus for me. With Lulu: Amazon took a cut, Ingram took a cut, Lulu took a cut, so it made it difficult to keep the prices on my books as low as I wanted them.

I give away free work too from time to time. My Scribd stuff is DRM free as well.

Kristine said...

My only dispute with Createspace (Amazon) is based on my deep-seeded paranoia and desire to be (at least somewhat) of a Blank.

That is to say, giving Amazon - via the Interwebbies - my deepest banking secrets terrifies me no end. I have nightmares of hacking, ID theft, you name it.

Foolish, probably, but there ya' go! :)

I'm also saved the massive gouging that Lulu does enjoy when it comes to taking all those cuts since I work without ISBN's. (My creed is to do what I do at literally zero expense to me) I experimented with my last release to see what having an ISBN on the title would do to the price at Lulu, and I spit my tea. A 600+ novel would have been priced to the buyer at $37.95 (!!)

No friggin' way. I wouldn't even buy my own novel at that price.

So I'm with you there, it's criminal.