What to Expect From Lulu in 2020

Looking ahead to 2020 with Lulu Blog Graphic Header

I love doing end of the year recaps and previews. It’s a fun way to consider what we achieved in 2019, and to look toward what we hope to achieve in 2020. Having a benchmark to shoot for helps all of us work on realistic goals. So what does that mean for 2020 and Lulu?

I promise you this, I will NOT make any 20/20 hindsight or vision related puns. 

New Decade, New Everything

More than celebrating a new year, we’re ushering in a whole new decade. Here at Lulu, we’ll mark 2020 as a year of tremendous change and growth for our entire company. Why? Because we’ve got something huge coming soon.

Fact is, Lulu—the website and publishing tools—are old. One executive years ago used a bus metaphor when considering the company. All of us, from employee to author to reader, are on this bus. And at a certain point, the bus starts to get old. It’s lacking features like GPS, adjustable seats, luggage compartments, that other buses have. 

The older the bus gets, the harder it is for that bus to compete with flashy new buses. 

I hate this metaphor. But I bring it up because it works in this context. In 2020, Lulu is trading in our old and busted bus for a new one. Which, unpacked from the confines of this mediocre metaphor, means that we’re updating and upgrading our site.

Small Changes Coming to Fruition

We’ve been on a steady course of improvement for over two years. Reopening our Lulu Print API for open access to our print network came first. Then we used that newly refashioned API to create Lulu xPress, a stripped-down version of our new publishing tool. Next we ported Lulu xPress to a Shopify App, bringing self-publishing and ecommerce together into a seamless experience.  

The most significant of these changes was moving our print interface to an API based design. Doing so (through some technical wizardry that goes beyond my understanding) gives us far more control over the design and function of Lulu.com. Little problems that we couldn’t touch for fear of breaking our site can now be dealt with in a matter of days or weeks. Moreover, we can respond to requests for new features. 

All of which adds up to major improvements for users and our developers.

What it All Means

Simply that, in the new year, Lulu will undergo huge changes. The basic function of our site will remain. You’ll still create an account, upload your file, add your metadata, and publish your book. We’ll still offer global distribution and our bookstore isn’t going anywhere. 

What will change is the technology we use to power the site. And the aesthetic will update to match our more modern website.

We’ve already opened up our new design as a beta site to several users. Feedback has poured in, helping us make informed choices about the development path we’ll pursue. 

Which leads to (in my humble opinion) the most significant thing 2020 will bring for Lulu and our users: the technical opportunity to grow. For years we’ve hesitated to make substantive changes for fear it would damage the functionality of our website. But now we’re resetting all of that, meaning we can iterate new tools and new designs based on your feedback.

It’s Already Begun

It’s true. Day three of 2020 and we’ve already started planning and releasing features you asked for. 

In fact, we made our first change in October, when we added Comic Book and Magazine specific options. Users had long asked for the size to be corrected (as the classic Lulu comic book size was just a little off) and the ability to print on the inside cover. Our old system made these changes difficult. But our API based platform makes this update a matter of coordinating with our printers, testing the interface, and releasing it to the wild!

Where 2020 Will Take Us

You’ll start to see the biggest changes in the next few months. We will focus the rest of 2020 on gathering information about how our updates are received and how you’re using our site. We’ll also continue to accept your direct input through our Idea Board

By all measures, 2019 was a great success for Lulu. We’re bringing the energy and commitment that made 2019 so strong into the new year. And we’re directing all of that energy toward ensuring Lulu remains the best way for you to publish, print, and prosper. 

And look at that; we got through this entire post without a single glasses related pun or vision joke. What an awesome start to the new year!

Subscribe For Weekly Updates

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

8 thoughts on “What to Expect From Lulu in 2020”

  1. Rev. E.M. Camarena

    My years of using Lulu have been revolutionary. It has quite literally (an over-used word, but in my case true!) changed my life. Looking forward to trying Beta.
    As I keep telling people: Lulu.com is the best thing to happen to publishing since Gutenberg!

  2. I love the quality of the books I have published through Lulu! My books are just for my family, but I can present them looking as professional as possible. And as I finish each book, I get ideas for more of them. Thank you, Lulu!

  3. I was one of the Beta testers, and I’m hoping you will once again include the ability to have Lulu convert my Word doc to a pdf file. It complicates things if you remove that function. I could never get past that to the cover process, so can’t comment on those changes. However, I have published many personal and professional books, and Lulu’s quality and customer service has always been great.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for trying out the Beta site! If you haven’t already, I encourage you to share your feedback about PDF conversion here: https://feedback.lulu.com/
      I don’t know the exact plan for file conversion, but one of our primary improvements will be an ability to respond to user desires, so we have to know what you want!

  4. Will this improve access by mobile devices? That’s what everyone’s using these days and not having mobile access for product search and ordering has lost me lots of sales caused me to consider leaving Lulu (which product-wise has done a great job for me) for someone else. And BTW mobile access was promised in 2018 for 2019!

    1. Hi Greg,
      Yes it will. Mobile optimization has been a thorn in our side for far (far) too long. At this time last year, we did hope to push to a mobile friend site by fall 2019. As that date approached, we took a step back and decided we needed a little more time to work on the site.

  5. I loved the Free Shipping promo. We need more of those, please. In smaller orders, often the shipping costs me more than the books. I’ve got a big order (50 books or more) coming up and I’m just waiting….

  6. Looking forward to the improvements. I certainly hope that improving and shortening your fulfillment times is planned as well. I ordered a copy of my book both from Lulu and KDP on January 9th. I received the KDP book on the 11th. Lulu’s copy hasn’t even been shipped yet. Not complaining as I was aware of the times. I do hope this on Lulu’s radar. Until then I’ll probably just order some to have on hand to ship myself.

Join the Conversation

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: