Friday, May 07, 2010

Questions for Lulu

Recent changes at Lulu have caused a wave of discontent. Until recently it was confined to a thread on the forums--however Lulu in their wisdom decided to summarily delete that thread. Therefore I will re-post the most pithy summary of author and customer consternation that had been offered therein, by Julie Anne Dawson:

"1. Why is there a $1.49 surcharge added to ebooks?

2. Why has it taken five years for lulu to "consider" offering the ability to generate coupons or offer gift certificates?

3. Why are mainstream publishers being given tools such as the ability to show a sales price, when WE have been told that we are not allowed to sell our books for less than retail on the Lulu storefront?

4. Why is Lulu's print price structure so much higher than other similar services, particularly in light of the fact that most of these services are all using the same printers! (LSI, etc).

5. Why were we told by Sherri that Lulu would have a booth at the London Book Fair, only to discover that there was in fact no booth. In fact, why is lulu "selling" book fair services at a higher price than authors can do it themselves, but still requiring the author to do all of the actual work to make sure the books arrive at the book fairs on time? Many people ordered books through Lulu to have them shipped to the London Book Fair. They followed Lulu's guidelines on timetables, and Lulu failed to deliver.

6. Why was the ability to search for only Lulu books eliminated, after we were told it would be part of the site's search functionality?"

See also:
April 26, 2007 I've Been Suspended from


DED said...

With regards to Item #1, I was told it was a "file storage fee," which is, of course, ludicrous. If memory wasn't so cheap, 25 cents would be an arguable file storage fee, not $1.49!

Anonymous said...

One European pod service takes 2 euros per month(!) just to keep your book file in their storage. So it's not like Lulu is the worst one out there.

Emily Veinglory: said...

True, but they used to be the best one. IMHO that is no longer the case.

Owner Bob Young has made it clear the people like myself and Julie Dawson are no longer welcome at Lulu. So if you want to find the expelled dissidents on a forum I suggest going to

Julie Dawson said...

The problem with the file storage fee theory is that it does not take into account several points. First, many books that are for sale digitally on Lulu use the same PDF as the print product. There is no additional storage. It is the same file. Lulu would be storing this file regardless of whether or not it was sold in print. Second, while they are adding this fee to products for sale, free products have no "fee" attached. A free file would, presumably, be just as expensive to "store" as one for sale. Third, because the surcharge is added to sales, the people who are most successful at selling their product are the ones absorbing the bulk of the costs. Yes, you can say that since the fee is charged to the customer, not the author, then there is no problem, but if you are trying to market effectively and keep your ebook in line with other similar products, you may have to lower your actual sale price to compensate for the $1.49 surcharge. If you sell only 10 digital products a month, Lulu is effectively profiting at an additional $14.90 in addition to the 20% they already take from the sale. Meanwhile, someone giving away 100 copies a month for free is actually more of a drain on the system.

Chris Gerrib said...

Sure looks to me like Lulu is running out of money. When companies start to run out of money, they can do dumb / desperate things to increase cash flow.

DED said...

This just showed up in my inbox this afternoon:

"FREE Shipping is here for the Summer in the US on Orders of $19.95 and over (some restrictions apply). How do you take advantage of the Lulu FREE Summer Shipping, you ask? Well, it's easy. To qualify for Lulu FREE Summer Shipping, your cart has to total at least $19.95 in printed book merchandise before taxes. So basically, make sure your books, photo books and calendars add up to $19.95 or more."