The only way to predict the future is to invent it.
Only seven short years ago Lulu launched what was one of the very first, if not the first, self-publishing sites on the Internet. Since then, we’ve served millions of authors by helping sell tens of millions of their books.
But what was a great idea then is only a good idea today. Our success has spawned a myriad of imitators some of whom, I am forced to admit, are almost as good at what we do as we are. Competition is the least of our concerns. The bigger trend we are embracing to better serve our customers is, of course, the explosion of eBook readers and digital marketplaces, which are changing the very nature of what a book is.
As you no doubt expect, we’ve been working hard to re-invent Lulu to offer features our competitors have yet to even dream about. We are moving from a concept of self-publishing to one of open-publishing. In very broad terms self-publishing is what it sounds like: we give you the tools and you get to publish your book yourself. The concept of open-publishing is one where we give you the platform and you are empowered to innovate the tools and solutions that best fit your needs and help you sell more books. The Lulu platform will be of particular benefit to a new generation of publishers who can create new tools to help authors reach more readers, monetize out-of-print or back-catalogued titles, and grow their customer-base. We will have several more major announcements coming throughout this year, the first being our exciting new Open Publishing APIs (Application Programming Interface), recently made available to the public.
With our APIs, which you can download and play with over at developers.lulu.com, Lulu is helping a new generation of creators profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before. For those of you who don’t know, an API is like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work. And with Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike, are able to create a new breed of web applications, powered by Lulu, and marketed under their own brand names – absolutely free.
So far, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and innovation we’ve seen in the sites and applications people have come up with. Since its launch in late 2010, developers.lulu.com has grown to 150 registered developers, 45 applications and is live on 10 sites.
By releasing all of the great features found on Lulu.com such as document conversion, order fulfillment, and ecommerce through a series of APIs, Lulu is redefining the future for all publishers and providing our creators with even more freedom. Now a new generation of publisher can now offer unique and innovative publishing services to their authors and the audiences those authors serve by using Lulu’s global print and retail networks, our commerce engine that can calculate royalties in a range of currencies all in real time, and our publishing tools that can help those authors turn their ideas into valuable books.
To learn more, or to tell your techie friends about it without having to learn more, visit: developers.lulu.com
Founder and CEO of Lulu, as well as one of the founders of Red Hat, Bob is a consummate entrepreneur.