Disruption is Good
Lulu has always had a belief in disruption. From the earliest days, we injected the idea of self-motivated, low-cost publishing into a market dominated by established publishing houses. Our goal is to disrupt the status quo for the good of those authors who didn’t want to give up control of their work or royalties.
Time has shown how successful we’ve been in that pursuit. And not just Lulu. Dozens of other self-publishing options exist now, some specializing in very specific forms and others capturing the full range of author needs. Self-publishing is no longer considered just a niche idea for publishing house rejects or hobbyists. Digital printing (print-on-demand) has leveled the playing field. Now anyone can print and publish their work quickly and inexpensively.
Meet Lulu xPress
Lulu xPress is a streamlined way to make and buy printed books. Jump into the book creation tool, upload your files, and bam, you’re checking out in under ten minutes. Literally, it’s that fast and easy.
We built Lulu xPress to make book printing and ordering as easy as possible. How do you disrupt an industry you helped create? By making the process easier, more intuitive, and more suited to the needs of our users.
Years of gathering and reviewing data have taught us that a lot of our users don’t need the tools like ISBN assignment, retail distribution, and metadata we’ve historically attached to every book created on Lulu. We can make the book creation and printing process easier for these users by streamlining and focusing on what we’ve always done best—printing awesome books.
Who am I talking about? Another great question. Let’s look at how Lulu’s newest tool can help a variety of people and businesses who need books printed.
Ever since the earliest days of Lulu, we’ve had a number of small and medium-sized publishers who used our print-on-demand model to broaden their stable of authors and offer more potential authors publishing opportunities. Lulu has a really good payment feature that allows the account holder to easily apportion revenue as a percentage, so a small publisher can split the income with their authors easily and manage their inventory through our dashboard.
It is a great way to manage a small press that wanted to take advantage of print-on-demand.
What Lulu xPress offers is the easiest way to order a quantity of books for an event (like an author signing) or to have on hand for direct sales. With built-in bulk discounts, small publishers can hold a stock of books without holding a huge stock of books. And because we built Lulu xPress, print-ready files from Lulu easily transfer over to Lulu xPress, allowing small publishers to have the best of both worlds.
Finally, Lulu xPress uses our API. Which means the book creation tool is simple to integrate into other platforms, like our Shopify integration. It has never been easier or more efficient for a publisher to sell their author’s books online, using print-on-demand and a secure eCommerce tool.
You would not believe the print-on-demand use cases for businesses. They use so many different kinds of books—Human Resources manuals, training material, marketing books, lookbooks, brand books, and product resources—we’ve seen it all.
Businesses use books in a lot of different ways, but many of the reasons a business would need a book do not always lead directly to revenue. Unlike a publisher, who is only printing a book to see a return on it, businesses often use books more as resources and marketing tools. A book, much like site copy or an advertisement, allows a business to share their story. What’s more, a book can dig into that story in ways other text and graphic material cannot.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
Lulu xPress is more than just easy to use. Our newest offering also utilizes an updated pricing structure that makes many of our most popular formats less expensive. In particular, interior color printing will prove more affordable through xPress.
And because Lulu xPress still operates using a simple file upload system, it’s easy to update files as needed. Books built to specification, competitive pricing, ordering in exactly the quantity needed, and updates can be made on the fly: what more could a business need from a book printer?
Why do entrepreneurs write books? To market themselves and make money! Not to get rich necessarily, but to add a new revenue stream that will pull in a little bit of money, while also serving as an amazing advertising tool. And let’s face it, books are the new business cards.
“Anything that genuinely and authentically establishes your expertise and gets you attention can be a business card.”
Books are a crucial tool for entrepreneurs and influencers. Either as an item they sell to earn income, or a marketing tool they hand out to build their brand. That brings us back to Lulu xPress—low-cost, easy to use, professional quality books. Keeping that cost down is extremely relevant for an entrepreneur interested in giving away their book as a marketing tool.
Finally, we come to educators. I’m going to lump in a range of different kinds of educators here because books are so central to all forms of learning. From preschoolers making books with Lulu Jr. to professors creating their own textbooks to Ph.D. students printing a dissertation and literally every step in between; Lulu continuously sees educators and students in need of printed books.
Lulu xPress is effective in so many ways with this demographic. Since we launched this tool earlier in the year, we’ve already helped a number of schools come in way under budget on their yearbooks, textbooks and other printed needs, entirely thanks to our pricing model on Lulu xPress.
Because xPress foregoes all the tools for selling books, the process is so simple that teachers can show young students how to publish. No getting hung up on the complexities of adding metadata, just creating a file and uploading.
“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lulu xPress is more than just a quick, efficient way to print and ship books.
No, wait. That is all Lulu xPress is. That’s the point.
The modern web is built on simple, adaptable tools that let users (consumers and retailers alike) plug and play the functions they need, as they need them. Here at Lulu, we saw the need for print-on-demand nearly 20 years ago and worked out a means to bring that service to anyone with an Internet connection and book files.
Today, we see the need for businesses, educators, and entrepreneurs to take advantage of print-on-demand without acting like authors. And we’re developing our services to fit those needs without sacrificing the tools we’ve offered for years now—like author publishing, global distribution, and industry high revenue through our bookstore.
Don’t wait, check out the newest Lulu offering today and stay tuned as we bring more and better ways to create, print, and sell your books!
Paul is the Technical Writer at Lulu, responsible for all the words you see on our site (misspellings included). He also manages the community site – http://connect.lulu.com/en/ – and in his free time, he’s an avid reader and short story writer.