I LOVE lulu.com (for self-publishing needs)!

http://www.lulu.com is a self-publishing company that allows anyone to print up and sell their own book.  They even offer assistance (for extra $$$) in marketing your book on amazon.com.

Its easy – just upload the pdf of your book that you wrote.  When it comes to cover design, you can simply upload your own cover jpeg file.  Or, they have a cover-designer with some really nice free stuff.  Then you choose elements like hard- or soft-cover and the size of the pages and binding.  Within 10 minutes, you can be ready to order it (though actually printing and shipping does take a while).

Why did I use it?  When I was at the stage in my thesis of printing out the whole thing (almost 250 pages), I found out that lulu does it cheaper (with binding and cover design) than printing it out through a local print shop or in the university.  Now, when it comes to the official thesis, you need to follow university regulation, but I wanted to print up a copy that I could proof-read.  I am a better reader (with an eye for mistakes) when I have a printed copy in front of me.  So I ordered it on lulu and it was great.  It looked fantastic.  Also, after I submitted my thesis, I printed up another copy through lulu that I will use in my viva (defense) and also I can print up copies from lulu for my supervisors once I pass (fingers crossed).

Also, I can see lulu being helpful if you have something that you, as a lecturer, want your students to read (let’s say over 75 pages long) that you wrote.  It is quite cheap and you can make it look very nice and professional.  Also, I wonder if you send a book manuscript to a publisher in a nice form from lulu, would it be more attractive?  I don’t know….

Anyway, the best part is that it is cheap and has lots of professional add-ons and an easy-to-use cover designer. If I can do it, anyone can!

NB: I know that Ken Schenck has used it; see HERE.

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12 thoughts on “I LOVE lulu.com (for self-publishing needs)!

  1. I wasn’t very impressed with my experience on the site. I was trying to make a copy of my thesis but it ran into problem after problem. I don’t think it liked my Greek Unicode, but I’m not sure because it just said that there was an error, but wouldn’t describe what the error was. Plus, I’m very particular about the page formatting and it doesn’t seem to give you many options unless you purchase one of their packages.

  2. Thanks for the free publicity :-) Book Surge through Amazon might be better for distribution. Also lightning source seems to be a middle man for a lot of bigger name publishers that the rest of us can use too.

  3. Brandon – you’re right. It can be difficult, especially with font issues. The first pdf I uploaded didn’t work, but then I went back and embedded the fonts (using Cutepdf writer) and it worked fine. Also, they have done a lot of improvements in the last six months.

    Ken – thanks. That is very helpful information!

    jeremy – I’ll see what I can do!

  4. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine if you publish something with lulu.com, it is available on Amazon, gets an ISBN, etc., then its publishing rights are held by a publishing company (I notice Schenck’s book has CafeTutor Publishing listed as the publisher). Contracts are all different, and I am not sure what an author signs off on with the use of lulu.com, but typically publishers hold publishing rights (which are different from copyrights) until they decide to put the book out of print and revert rights to someone else (often the author, but sometimes another publishing company). I say all of this because it may not be as easy as you think to publish your dissertation or other work with lulu, and then one day later hope to publish the same work with a more traditional publishing company. You will want to find out who owns publishing rights. That is, be careful of using lulu as just a slick printer for whatever work you want to see printed and bound. It seems to be more than a printer. It seems to be acting as a publisher and with that there are a whole set of legalities one needs to keep in mind. I would find it odd if you sent me a book manuscript “in a nice form from lulu” and it had its own ISBN and other trappings of a previously published work. Legally speaking that would be no different than sending to HarperCollines a book you published with Random House to be evaluated as a manuscript. Although it may be true that lulu has different levels of service from slick printing to full-blown publishiing.

  5. Thanks Chris. Ask Ken what CafeTutor publishing is… Or look it up yourself like I did. I don’t think Lulu does any publishing. :) But you offer sage advice. I would only put something out with lulu that I would not choose to publish with a press later on. It would be more for ‘fun’ or as a reference resource for my own students or something like that. I have no aspirations of ‘sticking it to’ the publishing world. It was just really helpful for printing my thesis for my own editing and proofreading.

    Again – thanks. Its nice to have the opinion of a publisher.

  6. Hello I have a 91 page fiction full color picture book, that I want to publish with my own ISBN # and under my own company name. I onder which is a better self publisher, Amazon.com or LULU.com ? I also want to know how you can get your book on ibook, do you go directly to apple? Or Kindle , or nook, how does your book get to Barnes and Nobles, or other book sellers do they have to order thenselves through Amazon or Lulu, also what about distribution how does it get to Ingram, and Arbor Springsalso I heard about Lightning that is a print on demand company also. I do not know which way to turn, I have a limited resource also, and how do you get your book ebook format too. I want to get my book out there and I want it to be seen and marketed. Which is the best way to go?

  7. after free publication of thesis into book….will lulu provide any free hard copy by post to Author and co-author.???????????

  8. after free publication of thesis into book….will lulu provide any free hard copy by post to Author and co-author.???????????

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