Published By You and Distribution Announcements

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At Lulu, we know that getting your book into distribution channels outside of the Lulu Marketplace is important to many of you. We also know that the current process can be confusing. As a result, we have taken steps to simplify getting your book set up with an ISBN, extending the reach of your book and enabling you to sell more. To facilitate this, we have removed Published By You (PBY) as a distribution package. Don’t worry if you already have a PBY package, nothing will change for you as we will continue to support you and your book(s).

If you do not have a PBY package but were thinking about getting one you can still purchase your own ISBN and apply it to your Lulu book. To purchase your own ISBN visit and create an account. You can then fill out the form and purchase an ISBN. We are aware that Published by You was a popular service, therefore we’ll be closely monitoring the response to this change. We are considering launching a service similar to Published by You that will still facilitate the purchase of an ISBN on your behalf, so if you would prefer something like that, then let us know.

Simplified Process

In a few weeks, all books will have the option to assign either a Lulu owned ISBN or your own ISBN to your Lulu books in the publishing wizard. This means you won’t have to create your book, wait for approval, and then create a new revision to add the ISBN information. Like the Published By Lulu (PBL) package we used to offer, if you assign a free Lulu owned ISBN, Lulu will act as the publisher on your behalf to retailers and wholesalers. If you assign your own ISBN, then the publisher listed with your ISBN will be used.

Once you’ve assigned an ISBN to your project, you will still need to choose a distribution package for your ISBN to be listed in major bibliographic databases. If you choose Lulu’s new, free ExtendedReach service your title will be made available on, or you can purchase our GlobalReach service which lists your book on even more major online retailers worldwide and allows brick & mortar stores to order your book.

More to Come

This is only the beginning. In the coming months, we will be helping you expand your reach more and more. We want to help you get your work in the hands of your readers, and the easiest way to do that is to make sure they can find your book on the sites they are already browsing. If there are particular online retailers you are interested in being listed on, then please let us know!

135 thoughts on “Published By You and Distribution Announcements”

  1. I use Published by Lulu because Published By You was not available for Canada. I always had to update my manuscript to include the ISBN inside once I chose Published By You. I would love Brick & Mortar stores, especially Canadian Chapters/Indigo to carry my material, but funds at present dont allow me to purchase high cost packages. I am focusing my work on book writers award (Stephen Leacock at get publicity. I have approached another publisher for my 6th work, a slight departure from my other writing. I am awaiting their response, if favourable I will use them to get that book into B&M stores and Amazon listings, if not I have 2 other publishers to try the same. Since the ISBN is on the cover, is there really a necessity to have it inside?

  2. R Thomas Berner

    I like the ability to get an ISBN before I upload so I can do that work and avoid the second upload. The current system is inefficient.

  3. I specifically chose because of the Published by You package. The cost, ease of purchase and other factors were crucial in that decision. Now, with book two, Shadow Demon of Oz coming up for publication and book three, Family of Oz in the wings, I will have to consider other options elsewhere. What a shame, but removing the Published by You option forces me to look elsewhere.

  4. Knowing almost nothing about the publishing biz, it’s still a challenge to write and design everything yourself, and slightly intimidating to add an ISBN to your book. However, I am relieved with the immense opportunies Lulu has to offer me. Particularly the enjoyable online experience, and my first self-published book. Thanks!

  5. For those of us trying to create a professional image as publishers, this is a welcome change. My company has a set of ISBNs already purchased, but couldn’t use them with the Lulu distribution packages. Now that has changed, and that’s a plus from my viewpoint.
    But Lulu still has a way to go before they will suffice as a provider of quality services for independent publishers. Consider packaging, for instance. I’ve had three hardcover books shipped to me from Lulu on three separate occasions. One copy arrived in great condition, no complaints. Each of the other two, however, arrived with the spine having been twisted because of the way the book was laid diagonally on the cardboard when shrink-wrapped. It is a sad situation where the book is printed beautifully and the packaging process ruins it.
    If I send a copy of a book with a twisted spine to a customer or a reviewer, they aren’t going to blame Lulu for the poor condition of the book if my company is listed as the publisher rather than Lulu.
    Maybe my experience with the packaging is the exception rather than the rule. Maybe if multiple copies of a book are ordered, the packaging is better. But if Lulu can’t get the little orders right, I don’t want to make a significant investment to see if they do better with larger orders. So at this point I’m not willing to jump on the Lulu bandwagon and ignore other alternatives. If I had found their packaging to be of sufficient quality, I would be sincerely excited about this latest news, and the direction that Lulu is now going with distribution. But for now I am still looking for that POD company that will consistently and reliably provide the quality of service across the board that is needed to give independent publishers the professional image they must have to make it in today’s economy.
    Keep trying, Lulu!

  6. I find the fact that you have removed PBY rather disappointing. Getting the ISBN elsewhere and then using it at Lulu sounds like a complication to me. Will it simplify the process in any way and what are the advantages of this? I’ve just purchased PBY for my books and I hope to get the support I was supposed to get. I’m really upset about this. Please, could you provide us with more information about the new distribution system for those who still want to get their own ISBN? The information in the blog is not sufficient.

  7. I am very upset that you have shut down “published by you” I don’t want Lulu in control of my book’s isbn or my books associated with being with a vanity publisher as you are. I tried one book on your ‘published by lulu’ service and I thought it sucked compared to “published by you”. The book never showed up on amazon as ‘available’ it just showed up as ‘out of print’. What kind of help is that? None!
    Also, what is with you guys competing with us publishers using your service by adding yourselves as a seller of our books on amazon? How do we know we are getting paid on any of those books you sell? What stops you from taking the order and printing sold books without us even knowing it? Who is running this operation? has lulu changed owners? I see a different, more hostile attitude going on. I hope you don’t really discontinue our ability to publish our own books using lulu. That would force us all to give you the finger and look elsewhere for service. Perhaps I am just over reacting and have not understood the change correctly but I was ready to publish a book starting today and here is this announcement.

  8. Lulu looks great — I’m trying to create a photobook from your site, and love the fact that you can download images from Facebook directly.
    HOWEVER. The facebook downloader keeps saying ‘searching’ … and has been doing so for a long time…is there an error here? Or should I just keep waiting?

  9. Please reconsider and DO NOT discontinue the Published by You option. If it is so popular then what is the rationale for changing it? I prefer this option and do not find it that complicated. There is always room for improvement, but changing it entirely will not make things easier … for people to have to learn a whole new system that’s possibly even less integrated? What is being achieved??

  10. …And one more thing. Yes, you can get your own ISBN and use it at Lulu. But you cannot purchase any distribution package, which makes it pretty useless. Why do you remove a good service if you do not replace it with anything new / better? @Cecil Touchon I absolutely agree with you!

  11. First, let me say thank you. Your feedback is vital to us, and you clearly want the features associated with Publish By You. I have talked to our Distribution Product Manager and he is looking into options that would allow us to bring some of the most vital features to you. With that in mind, please comment here with the aspects of Published By You that are the most important to you, and we will try to incorporate them into our investigations. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out and see what they have to offer.

  12. What if I wanna publish a monthly e-journal on culture, social issues, art, articles on politics and art, photo essays, and advice column for anarchists, involved a community of people who contributed …. after six months of people getting to know it, could I charge $24./year as a subscription fee to get myself by so this could supplement my disability income? Is that at cross purposes with communitarian publishing?
    And then, if you were selling the issues, you could no longer freely select photos or bits of text and reference from here and there. It of course would have to be all original material.
    Any ideas? Where would I start? Is this being done at Lulu now?

  13. Lulu PBY for $99.95 (or whatever it was):
    I can buy ISBNs one at a time and get a good distribution service
    If I have to buy ISBNs from they’re $125 each or 10/$345 and then I have to find/create a distribution plan.
    PBY was a good service. Please bring it back.
    Thank you.
    Ginger Mayerson
    Editor, The Wapshott Press

  14. Nick, I think many people would appreciate if you came up with a new service, similar to PBY. Personally, I believe that being able to use your own ISBN (obtained from Bowker) at Lulu would be a big plus. But there should be a distribution package available for purchase. Getting your book to Ingram (and through Ingram to crucial. Of course, authors can use Amazon Advantage, but honestly, buying books from Lulu and then mailing them to Amazon is time consuming and it cuts down on authors’ profit which is already pretty small with Amazon Advantage. If you offered an efficient distribution package for those who get their own ISBN, I think everybody would be happy. At least it would give authors a choice and they wouldn’t be forced to leave Lulu and look somewhere else.

  15. What if I wanted to publish a monthly, serially distributed blog created by a community of creative and politically active people on culture, social issues, articles on politics and art, photo essays, an advice column for post anarchists …. after six months of people getting to know the community and the rough vision, could I charge as much as $24./ year as a subscription fee to supplement my fixed income and get by financially while I do this? Is communitarian publishing at cross-purposes with a bit of profit to stay afloat in order to do it?
    And then, of course, if you are selling the publication, you could no longer borrow photos and other visual or textual or musical or video items for the production, because it would infringe upon copyright. So would it then ALL have to be completely original material? See, it could no longer have the ease of access a blog would to supporting media.
    Any ideas? Where would I start? Is anyone at Lulu doing anything like this now? Someone I might talk to?
    Thanks ….

  16. I am PRO PBY but it does have issues – some of which are geographical.
    I purchased PBY UK about 14 months ago. This service required UK publishers to buy a batch of 10 ISBN’s, only 2 of which I have used to date. This new announcement for Distribution looks like the other 8 ISBN’s I purchased are now redundant!! (Could I have a refund please!) The PBY UK package cost considerably more than the USA PBY package at the time. There is a cost disparity between different countries here.
    I personally chose PBY UK for my ISBN identification for my books rather that PB Lulu, as being a UK publisher one of the biggest problems is that the PB Lulu service of sales would incur tax payment requirements. BUT having the ownership of my own ISBN’s meant that I can bypass this financial hurdle.
    Yes, there are mechanisms to avoid this tax, which is payable to the USA tax authorities, despite not being resident in the USA, but this can be very complicated.
    Secondly, I also wanted ownership of my own ISBN’s and did not want to be seen as vanity press, which is what could happen with Lulu being the publisher.
    The broad Distribution package available at Lulu, is probably a vital element for choosing Lulu for many writers. This was another reason I personally chose Lulu. It allows near global distribution.
    Therefore, I feel the powers that be at Lulu, who are oporating a global service for publishers, need to look at all the ramifications that can affect writers across borders, both practical and financial.
    I seriously hope that those of us who currently have PBY packages remain to be supported by the service we purchased.

  17. Belinda D'Alessandro

    I believe the concept of PBY (which included the ISBN and the distribution) is great, and having the option for creators to use their own ISBNs and obtain a Lulu distribution package without a Lulu obtained ISBN would be a great addition to the PBY service (rather than the discontinuation of the PBY service as there are some creators are not eligible for a US ISBN).
    But I hope this doesn’t mean users who previously obtained their own ISBNs from their local ISBN agency will be forced to use a Lulu distribution package with their own ISBNs. As I wasn’t eligible for the PBY package (and am still not because I’m not eligible for a US ISBN registered in my name as publisher), I obtained my own ISBNs and set up my own distribution arrangements, which includes Lulu. If I’m forced to use Lulu’s distribution service with my own ISBN, that will add an extra cost layer for me and defeat the purpose of obtaining my own ISBNs and establishing my own distribution network because I wasn’t originally eligible for the PBY package.

  18. Halting the PBY service without updating the Lulu website or providing a real alternative is causing a lot of confusion. Please clarify the new LULU workflow for those of us who own our ISBN numbers (or will buy them from Bowker/ Why should we still use LULU to print if our distribution packages are limited? “Nick’s blog” says we have new Globalreach options….but the existing rules indicate we cannot…in fact there is no information posted about Globalreach.
    Clearly, a lot of authors need to have another option than being limited to using Lulu as the publisher. For now, Lulu is keeping us in the dark.
    Lulu is a great resource, but the lag in recent replies/communications lately is worrying (i.e. The phantom Facebook application is driving a lot of us nuts…but there has not been a fix or explanation on Lulu for a long time).

  19. It’s a shame to see PBY discontinued. Published by Lulu does not print 8-1/2″ x 11″, my preferred format.
    Lulu might consider removing the PBY options from the “Which books are eligible for Distribution?” page.

  20. “Don’t worry if you already have a PBY package, nothing will change for you as we will continue to support you and your book(s).”
    Does this mean that the unused ISBN’s that we purchased under the PBY (UK) package – we had to buy ten ISBN’s are still available under the old system? i.e. that we can still, for a small additional fee, assign those ISBN’s to future books and have the full distribution package, under our own publisher name?

  21. @Seth, I agree with you. We are kept in the dark and the lack of communication is worrying me too. I don’t know what’s been going on with Lulu lately! They say that they are improving their services but I’m seriously starting to doubt it. They claim they might come up with something similar to PBY in the future, but why did they cancel a good service without replacing it with something new in the first place and when (if ever) will they come up with something new? If you’re ready to publish a book, should you wait or look somewhere else? It doesn’t make much sense to publish with Lulu if you have to look for distribution elsewhere. There have been 25 posts on this subject until today and only one answer from Nick saying they’re investigating. What’s there to investigate if the old system worked?? This is frustrating. Ive been happy with Lulu so far they forced me to start “investigating” other options. This is the best way for Lulu to lose business. And some authors have been here for years! This new Lulu attitude seems pretty self-destructive to me. And also it seems to me that Lulu doesn’t care about customers anymore. And no one is doing anything to prove us wrong!

  22. Yeah, what’s the point of removing “Published by You”? Even if I purchase my own ISBN at, I can’t do anything with it at Lulu until they provide a way to add it to my book. Lulu says, “In a few weeks, all books will have the option to assign either a Lulu owned ISBN or your own ISBN to your Lulu books in the publishing wizard.” What if I can’t wait? I agree with Barbara: It’s stupid to cancel a good service before you have something to replace it with. D’uh!

  23. I am somewhat unclear as to why the Published by You option was deleted. It was a superb option!
    Now that I must purchase my own ISBN number elsewhere, how do I apply it (plus the bar
    code) to my book when it is finished? With PBY my book automatically was available through, Barnes & Noble, morter and brick stores, etc. Will I now have to pay extra for this?

  24. Like those in posts above I too chose Lulu for the Published by You option. This was one of the things that made Lulu different from the rest.

  25. All,
    I wanted to answer some of your questions about these changes:
    1) What about PBY UK?
    Answer: If you have purchased PBY UK and have outstanding ISBNs from your block of 10 you will receive your remaining ISBNs which you can then assign to your titles in Lulu’s book publishing wizard at your leisure.
    2) Will ISBNs purchased from MyIdentifiers be able to get Extended and Global reach?
    Answer: You can purchase GlobalReach with an ISBN from MyIdentifiers, or any other ISBN you bring to Lulu.
    Unfortunately, we cannot offer the ExtendedReach service to non-Lulu ISBNs at this time, but we are working on facilitating this in the future.
    3) If I already have an ISBN, how will I get it onto the cover of my Lulu book?
    Answer: For the first time on Lulu, if you already have your own ISBN, you can add it to your project in Lulu’s publishing wizard. We will assign the ISBN to your project and generate a bar code for your cover.
    I hope this helps clarify things, and if you have more questions (or I missed yours) then please let me know.

  26. Oh,’ey! If it’s not broken why fix it?
    UK PBY was set up not long ago and the package wasn’t cheap, either! I’ve used one ISBN from it and I’m not ready to use the next one yet. By the time I get round to it I’ll have forgotten all of this!

  27. Tracey,
    We will be contacting you with more information about PBY UK, and you will given all of your remaining ISBNs to use when you choose.

  28. If we can use our remaining UK ISBNs for future books then that is great. However, can you confirm that we will still be able to still list the book as published by (our own publisher name) as this is what the ISBNs are registered as and this cannot be changed.
    Also, at present we can get these future books on a full distribution package for an additional 15 pounds – is the cost of the new full distribution for these likely to be a similar price?

  29. Svivian,
    Yes they will be listed as published by (your publisher name).
    I’m not sure about your second question, but I’m talking to the Distribution Product Manager and he will be providing more details soon.

  30. Thanks – by the way, I like this blog business when you reply so quickly to our questions. Are you on here often or is it just luck today?

  31. Nick,
    I am having a problem finding the answers to two questions :
    (1) I would like my book to continue to be available at Barnes&Noble, and available for order in bookstores . . . however, I would like to take it off of the Lulu market. I advertise my book and when some people Google the title and it comes up on the Lulu marketplace (and they see it is self published through Lulu), they come to the false conclusion that it is a shoddy book and do not order it. I wish to stay with Lulu but not to have this particular book advertised on Lulu. How do I do this?
    (2)If I purchase my ISBN from MyIdentifiers how much will it cost me to get Extended or Global Reach from Lulu?
    I have search in vain for the answers. Thank you very much.

  32. Curtis,
    You should be able to log into your account on Lulu and set your book to Direct Access that means people can access it if you directly link them to it, but it won’t show up in search results (though Google’s cache may stick around for a bit).
    As for 2, it will cost you the same amount for GlobalReach whether you buy your ISBN from us or from MyIdentifiers. I do not currently know how much GlobalReach will cost, but I will post more information once I have it.

  33. Belinda D'Alessandro

    Re your question “If I already have an ISBN, how will I get it onto the cover of my Lulu book?” (and answer thereto), this functionality for an author to use their own ISBN and have Lulu generate the barcode has been available for some time. The the thing that hasn’t been available is the ability to use Lulu’s distribution network as that required one of the packages, which included the ISBN.
    As I indicated in my earlier post, I already have my own block of ISBNs from my local ISBN (which I have on 3 books available through Lulu and my own distribution network because I wasn’t eligible for either the US or UK PBYs).
    Will I be forced to choose to add one of Lulu’s new distribution packages if I add my own ISBN? As I said earlier, it will add an extra cost layer for me if I’m forced to use Lulu’s distribution service with my own ISBN IN ADDITION to my own distribution network. It will defeat the purpose of obtaining my own ISBNs and establishing my own distribution network (which includes Lulu AND Lightning Source already) because I wasn’t originally eligible for the PBY package.

  34. Am concerned on a couple of points,
    as already discussed here, what happens about our existing ISBN’s if we want to alocate to new books,
    also, i am assuming if we previously bought PBY and therefore are set up as a publisher with our own ISBN suffix, we can then buy more in the new way, still with our own sufix? and don’t have to re-register our publisher name etc
    hope that makes sense..
    PBY wasn’t confusing, accessing the ecorrect info that relates to UK was, maybe clarity on website is actually wht is needed rather than new packages

  35. Nick, please identify the URL that explains the “Global reach” option we can use if we own our own ISBN numbers. I have searched and can not find information on this. The Distribution FAQ identifies the following options :
    Published By You (no longer available)
    Published By Lulu (Before 06/24/08)
    Published By Lulu (After 06/23/08)
    Expanded Distribution
    Of these options, it appears LULU assigns the ISBN numbers to the Published By Lulu and the Expanded Distribution (which seem to be redundant for those of us forced to using…seriously, how many ISBN numbers do want us to have?). There is no “Extended” or “GlobalReach” option detailed. I would really really appreciate having more information on this “Globalreach” option …especially with current wording that explains the new workflow (post PBY). Kind regards, Seth

  36. I have just discovered that the several months of work on behalf of my client wanting a PBY publication will come to naught because you have deleted this distirubtion service, is that correct? I can get an ISBN for her easily enough, but what she also wanted was to be listed with Ingraham. Is that also eliminated? If she has a numbered book with you, just what will she get in the way of distribution??? VERY disappointed with this decision of yours. Maureen Moore

  37. Belinda,
    You are not forced into any distribution package. You can choose to add your own ISBN and use your own channels.
    What aspects of the PBY package did you like and will be missing from the new offerings? As I mentioned, we will be looking at adding a service that is similar to PBY if the demand is high enough, but we would also like to know what aspects you are particularly interested in.
    Based on the information in your comment I am guessing you are referring to the PBY UK program, which was a little different from the standard program. Assuming that is correct, then your existing ISBNs will be given to you to use at your leisure on any new books you produce. All of these ISBNs will have the same publisher prefix.
    The GlobalReach package is going to be launched with our next release which should be in a week or two. However, I will try to get you information in advance of that.

  38. Maureen,
    If your customer purchases an ISBN from MyIdentifiers, then they can still purchase our GlobalReach service and be listed in Ingram. If she gets one of our ISBNs, then she can choose between ExtendedReach and GlobalReach. I hope this helps clarify things.

  39. OK, I’m still trying to understand.
    Let’s say I have my own ISBN. Will I be able to use it on a Lulu project and then buy a distribution package with it?
    If the answer above is yes, then:
    If I buy a distro package using MY ISBN to get listed on B&N and other sites, am I going to still be able to use that ISBN on Amazon without Lulu interfering with me? You know I’m still ticked off about the stunt Lulu pulled with the old Published by You where you prevented ISBN owners from using their ISBNs with Createspace.

  40. Belinda D'Alessandro

    Thanks for the clarification, Nick. Julie Dawson has beaten me to the punch with my next question and I’d like an answer to that question as well.

  41. Thanos Vassilakis

    It’s sad as this was one of the main reasons I used Lulu and recommend you to many people. I’ll now have to go else where.
    In this business we can not wait for you to fix your mistakes.

  42. I was really looking forward to publishing and distributing my book with PBY on Lulu. My book is done, and I was trying to purchase a distribution pkg last week when all of this went down. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I reallt want to stay here if they can help me get the distribution thing figured out. I don’t really want to go to someone else because I like the idea of being my own publisher.
    Now I’m trying to figure out the whole ISBN thing, advertising, distribution, and everything else al on my own. I was thinking I would have the help of lulu’s PBY support to help me with this.
    I am sad that there is nothing for me to do but wait and “hope” they do something at some point. I just want to understand why they took it away when they didn’t already have something in place to direct us to for a replacement to PBY.
    PLEASE, try to get something in place soon!

  43. Nick, please, could you specify the Global Reach service so that we know where we stand? What does it include? Listing at Ingram and what else? (, and international Amazons? How long is it going to take? 6-8 weeks (similar to PBY)?)Please confirm that it will be available in a week or two (hopefully at the latest) for those who get their own ISBN from Bowker. I think that Ingram and Amazon are crucial at this point. Unfortunately, as an author you don’t exist unless you’re on (not that I agree with it or like but, but it’s a fact). Please advise. Thank you!!!

  44. Nick, couldn’t Lulu just please bring back PBY and we can all act like nothing ever happened and this thread was just a horrible horrible dream?
    I really don’t want to buy 10 isbns and distribution plans when I’m only planning on publishing 2 or 3 more books. (And no, I didn’t do the math, so yes, it might be cheaper to buy 10 isbns and distribution plans, but the beauty of PBY was one-stop-shopping and not having to think about it much [I have other things to think about]).

  45. Nick– I plan to buy an ISBN from the site you’ve recommended. I want to use it for a book that I’ve published on Lulu, but I don’t want any distribution package other than Lulu Marketplace since I mostly sell the book myself. I am using publisher grade paper to save printing costs. How do I insert the ISBN info for the book. I didn’t see a step in the revision procedure that would allow me to do this. Thanks.

  46. Sorry, Nick. Re-reading your Post I see that we’ll have to wait a few weeks to be able to do what I had asked about above. Can I assume that this will be set up to work for books printed with publisher grade paper?

  47. Julie,
    The answer to your first question is yes. I am trying to find out the answer to your second question and I will let you know once I have an answer.
    Please see my response to Julie.
    I am very sorry to hear that. Can you help me understand what it was about the PBY service that appealed to you so much? I am trying to help Ben, our Distribution Project Manager, to understand what people want out of a similar package, and your input would be very valuable.
    I’m sorry you feel lost. What questions do you have? I will try to get you answers. We are working on a post to help explain these changes a little more fully, which I hope will help.
    It will currently include listings with:
    * Ingram
    * Baker & Taylor
    * Barnes & Noble
    * Espresso Book Machine
    We’re working on including more UK and European distribution channels as well. I don’t know how long it will take to get into these channels but I will try to get that information to you.
    I definitely appreciate your feedback. I am trying to collect as much information as I can about what features you really want/need in a similar service so I can work with Ben on bringing something similar back.
    No problem. I don’t know about publisher grade paper. I will ask and find out for you.

  48. Come ON, people! This is not the be-all, end-all!
    A few things to realize:
    1. I think this is a step forward. This will be a less restrictive service by default because Lulu is not the salesperson of the ISBNs they register no control over it.
    2. Publishing is a BUSINESS. If you’re buying an ISBN, it has officially transferred from “hobby” to “business”. If you’re not ready to transition there, then don’t buy an ISBN. And since it’s a business, it usually isn’t a 1 2 3 process. I know that this isn’t common for most people outside of work, but this is not something you do and then it’s done.
    I hate complaining like this, especially when you can deal with it. I don’t mean it as an insult, but really deal with it. Bend with the changes, or you might end up like Borders. In case you didn’t notice, they, like many other bookstores, haven’t been bending with new technology. Their stock is hovering around a dollar.

  49. Nick,
    I liked PBY because it was easy and affordable just the way it was. If Lulu can devise a similar service, that would be great for me.
    The ease and price of PBY fit nicely into my micropress and this is why I’d like to see it return or something very similar to it take it’s place. Since 2007, I’ve published five books with it and it’s been great. I also felt a certain brand loyalty to PBY at Lulu that I might not feel in the future. I realize that five PBY plans isn’t a huge sum to Lulu, but it’s five more than if there hadn’t been a PBY plan.
    I’ll look forward to what Lulu comes up with to replace PBY or if you decide to revive it.

  50. Nick,
    thank you! If it works this way and if you make this distribution option available in a week or two, as you mentioned before, I’m perfectly ok with it. However, if you could include it would make much more sense. Please, do consider this option, I think most people would welcome it. I really appreciate your help and your prompt answers to our questions, I can imagine it’s not easy for you either!
    I think we all understand that publishing is a business. Nobody here is against positive changes but most people, including me, have been worried about distribution options that Lulu will (or won’t) offer from now on. If Lulu doesn’t offer distribution to people who own their ISBNs, or if their distribution is not efficient enough, we will have to take our books elsewhere (and Lulu has been offering the easiest and most user friendly system so far). I guess it’s a legitimate concern. Plus, don’t forget that many people here are first-time authors and are only learning about the world of publishing, or may not be as experienced as you are. I don’t think that we are complaining, we are only expressing our concern and asking questions so that we know where we stand and what we should do.

  51. Nick,
    As a potential new author with LuLu, I have been planning to purchase one of the PBY packages only to see it removed as an option, just as I am finishing up months (years) of research on a large publication. I am concerned by your comments: “We are considering launching a service similar to Published by You…” This sounds vague to me. I do like the idea of purchasing ISBN’s in advance to reduce the numbers of uploads. But currently LuLu has no distribution options for people with their own ISBN’s?

  52. Let me see if I understand the changes correctly . . .
    Lulu’s former PBY option:
    (1) With the PBY option I purchased an ISBN through Lulu for $99.00.
    (2) The ISBN was automatically placed on my book as I created the cover.
    (3) My book was automatically made available on, Barnes & Noble, etc.
    Lulu’s new option:
    (1) With the new option I purchase an ISBN through MyIdentifiers for $150.00 (or ten for $325.00 without barcodes).
    (2) The ISBN is not automatically placed on my book as I create the cover but must be added by me.
    (3) My book will not automatically be made available on, Barnes & Noble, etc.
    unless I purchase the Global Reach option for a fee (price yet unidentified). If I choose the Extended Reach option it will be available only on (and Lulu Marketplace) for free.
    Is this a correct comparison?

  53. If the above comparison is correct the following would be legitimate concerns:
    (1) While I would be saving money by purchasing 10 ISBN’s at one time, would I have to purchase the bar codes separately and how much would they be?
    (2) How complicated will the procedure be in adding the ISBN number and bar code for those those not too savvy in PC tech?
    (3) How much WILL Global Reach cost?
    Another company similar to Lulu (which I will not name) continues offering a personal ISBN number and global distribution (, Barnes & Noble, etc.) similar to the PBY option that Lulu formerly offered. My concerns is if Lulu’s new option offers less for more money that the Lulu community might lose many of it’s present members. Competition is still a reality to consider no matter how large a company may grow.

  54. With PBY I was able to personally publish my book for $179.00 by purchasing a ISBN for $99.00 and a Custom Cover for $80.00. All of the editing, formatting, etc. was done by myself which allowed me the luxery of using the money I WOULD have used for other services for purchasing large numbers of my book which I sold in our Church’s bookstore.

  55. I found this article to be very helpful. (below) They point you to a website that will generate your bar code for free so you can save yourself 25 bucks.
    I am sad to see the PBY package gone. I think Lulu should consider bringing it back. Before reading this post it looked like lulu was trying to force people to use their Published By Lulu package which does not appeal to all of us.

  56. Nick,
    I would like my book to continue to be available at Barnes&Noble, and available for order in bookstores . . . however, I would like to take it off of the Lulu marketplace. You instructed me to log into my Lulu account and set my book to Direct Access which, you said, means people can access it if I directly link them to it, but it won’t show up in search results. I WANT my book to show up in Google search results in places like, Barnes & Noble, etc. but I do NOT want it to show up in the Lulu Marketplace. Will setting my book for Direct Access do this for me?

  57. Nick:
    Just wanted to log my vote too: I think Lulu has made a big mistake taking away PBY… it was simple and cost effective. Please bring it back.
    William K.

  58. Nick,
    I have a specific question, on July 21 I purchased a PBY package, but I haven’t put the title into distribution yet. What will happen when I do put it into distribution?

  59. Ken Westmoreland

    I can see the benefits for people who are more established in publishing, and have their own ISBNs, but for beginnners, this has created confusion, particularly as the website still has references to PBY and PBL. References to ‘in a few weeks’ rather than specific timeframes do not inspire confidence. However I am still in early stages, so will still give Lulu a chance.

  60. Another quick comment re Distribution reach – being a UK author and used PBY UK, I really want to see Amazon UK being included in the Distribution package.
    I am currently selling as many books in the USA, despite the huge population difference. This is due to the pricing disparity between UK and USA (not sure how the sterling/dollar exchange rate changes things!)

  61. Curtis. PLEASE share the name of the competitor with a similar PBY option. I’m stuck! Lulu was perfect for me, but now is useless. Your “comparison” said it perfectly.

  62. I just purchased 25 copies of my book, Vinegar Tales, and find that Lulu still wants me to buy another “proof” copy! What is going on? Why can’t I just approve the book?

  63. Nick said:
    Answer: For the first time on Lulu, if you already have your own ISBN, you can add it to your project in Lulu’s publishing wizard. We will assign the ISBN to your project and generate a bar code for your cover.
    So, unlike PBY, where I was in complete control of the generating the cover, including the barcode, I think you are saying that Lulu will now be generating the barcode and putting it on the cover.
    If that is indeed what you’re saying, I think this is a big step backwards. I want to be in control of everything about the way my books look, not have Lulu making changes to my uploaded cover PDF.

  64. Earl,
    I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Have you contacted Customer Service? If so, what is your reference id?
    D. R.,
    I’m sorry if I was unclear. Lulu can generate a barcode for your cover. You are also free to get your own barcode, put it on your cover, and upload the cover to Lulu.

  65. As the editor-in-chief of a blossoming small press Lulu’s PBY package was what set them apart. Without that I am tempted to look elsewhere.

  66. I got an ISBN via PBY a few months ago. When it came time to “approve/deny” for global distribution (today) I couldn’t find this option anywhere. I’m wondering if I (an others) have fallen thru the cracks in some way? Does anyone know if there is a workaround, or what the procedure is to get my book to Global Distribution?

  67. I have published four books through Lulu. I used the Published by Lulu option for all four. Had no problems. However, I am concerned about one thing: I have Extended Reach on all four books, and am trying to upgrade to the GlobalReach, but cannot for the life of me figure out how to do so. It says that I meet all of the criteria, and it says I should go to “my projects” and there will be a button for me to upgrade, but I’ve done that, and to no avail…
    How can I upgrade to global reach on my books? Is that service even available yet? Thank you.
    Dan Guyton

  68. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to express our views on ISBN and published by you. For example, I have published a book that is set to give hope to the hopeless and set others free from modern day slavery and torture, I need to be able to make the book available worldwide. Some people are interested in purchasing the book in Nigeria but they cannot order because they have to pay in US dollars or use a United States credit card which is obviously impossible for majority of them. How soon do you hope to give us the opportunity to purchase our own ISBN through lulu and also a distribution package that would enable buyers from other parts of the world have access to the content that is set to help them.
    Thank you.

  69. August,
    Can you email me at with your reference id from customer service, and your content id? I will try to get you taken care of.
    Please send me your content id, and I will take a look.
    I appreciate your feedback. As for your questions, I will let you know as soon as I can when you can purchase your own ISBN through Lulu, and any additional distribution options. In the meantime you can purchase your own ISBN from if you so choose.

  70. Hi Nick, many apologies for bothering you. I have only just found this blog through the forums. I purchased the PBY UK package on July 23 but never received it. I’m guessing this explains why. Order number is
    I am more than happy to buy my own ISBN and add it to the book here on Lulu (I am delighted with the quality of the printing!) but I can’t afford to do so until I get a refund for this package. Have I now lost this money forever?
    Very best

  71. “We are considering launching a service similar to Published by You that will still facilitate the purchase of an ISBN on your behalf, so if you would prefer something like that, then let us know.” – Letting you know! Please!

  72. To add to my useless post above – the facilities in particular that will be missed was the purchasing of ISBN numbers on behalf of the “Published by You” publisher (at what seemed like a good price). I am in the UK, and not sure if I can use US ISBN numbers eg from Bowker? It seems like the new service just adds more difficulty and extra steps than the original PBY.

  73. Hello Nick,
    It is great that Lulu is listening to the distribution problems its users are having and trying to resolve these.
    However, I am still struggling with distribution issues and am confused about the new distribution packages and how the changes affect people with the older packages.
    I had my book on the free PBL package but bookstores could not order it apart from on-line sellers.
    I switched to a new edition on the Expanded Distribution package (the original version was not eligible). However, UK Waterstone’s still say they cannot see it on their catalogue and other sellers say they cannot order from Ingrams distribution.
    Lulu Help Desk says the book is all set up & book stores should be able to get it.
    I don’t want to become a bookseller or distributor, I just want book shops to be able to get my book direct through their normal systems.
    Then I can get on with what I do best, writing!
    Please can you advise?

  74. I wish I had gotten a notice from Lulu informing me about this change. I spent a couple of hours trying to get a distribution package the way I always have. I had to figure out for myself that something had changed. This was a subtle way of raising prices. Whereas I used to get the ISBN and distribution for 99 bucks and change – now I have to pay the same amount WITHOUT the ISBN. If I buy the ISBN from Lulu – it costs me another $99. That in itself was confusing. It costs 32.50 for a block of 10. That means that Lulu is buying at 32.50 and selling at 99.95. And that is what caused my confusion. If you would have listed the ISBN at 50 dollars or something, I would have realized immediately that two separate purchases were necessary but the identical cost made me continue researching to understand. I have written glowing reviews of Lulu – but it looks like I’ll have to retract some of the good things I’ve said. Customer service has become deplorable since the Chat sessions ceased. This distribution process is now less than satisfactory as well. And now one communication I have received from Lulu has done anything to allay my fears of Lulu slowing down my publication process instead of facilitating it. Maybe I missed it – but this announcement should have been included in the FAQ’s. I plan on publishing at least five books a year so it is a big deal to get settled in on a routine that I can count on.

  75. Catherine,
    I asked customer service to respond to you. Have you heard from them?
    I’m sorry you are having a negative experience, and I appreciate the feedback. Can you tell me where you are located so I can try to help you get things sorted out?

  76. Hi Richard,
    I have escalated your case to the people in charge of the PBY UK program, and hopefully they will be able to respond to you quickly. If you don’t hear anything, please let me know.

  77. Hello Nick,
    I just wanted to let you know I received the ISBNs from Lulu Support today.
    Thank you again for your help,
    Best regards,

  78. I’ve almost given up. This is my last try before moving to Lightning Source. How do I get my book listed with Ingram, Amazon, B&N, etc. I know this sounds fundamental, but I can not discover anything on any of Lulu’s sites information instructing one how to do this.

  79. Thanks for your attention. I believe I have discovered my mistake. My project was listed as general access, rather than direct access, which prevented me from getting a distribution package. I am moving forward again with hope. Your comments in this forum have been very helpful and I appreciate your support.

  80. HI Nick,
    Sorry, No movement. I revised my project and still find no access to distribution. The only option available on my project is the promote button, which leads nowhere, other than more information. The information at the link that you provided suggests that I can use ‘available to the public’ or ‘direct access’ to get distribution. When I revise, only direct access is an option, but this didn’t change anything in my project. I still have no access to distribution. My project icon line does not look like the image in the instructions. The instructions include an icon for ‘distribution package’. It also shows that general access should work, but the instructions say that option will not work. I still can’t buy a package.

  81. I am having the same problem Hap is having. There is not button for distribution next to the book. (There was at one time before I was ready to make that decision.) The content number is 7357977. The book is Stories From An Old Man. The author has been interviewed for a December 10 airing of The Doctors on CBS. I would like for the book to be available if viewers try to purchase it. Thanks.

  82. Ken Westmoreland

    Can I say that axing PBY was a backward step? The new arrangements are great for people who have their own ISBNs, but they ain’t cheap.
    Also, why are A5 books not eligible for GlobalReach? I want my book to be listed on Amazon UK, but that’s not available to me with ExtendedReach, even though I’m able and willing to pay for GlobalReach.
    I’m now having to reformat my book as 6″ x 9″, but it’s now going to be large and thin.
    I raised this with customer service, who said it would escalate my ‘issue’ to the ‘concern team’. (Who comes up with these names?)
    Apart from that, I’m quite happy so far.
    I only chose A5 because it was the only suitable size – Digest would have been better, but it’s US only, and doesn’t come with an ISBN.

  83. Hi ,
    I have a question. Why is that some formats (example: 7.5×7.5 b&w small square) are not eligible for global reach?

  84. We do not control which books are eligible for Global Distribution. Our distribution print partner can only support certain print sizes and we are constrained to those options.

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