Back in 2002, Lulu founder Bob Young had a vision. To make publishing accessible for anyone and everyone. Since then, Lulu has gone through many iterations in an effort to help realize that vision. And in 2020, we’re moving to help make publishing even more accessible with the most ambitious Lulu site update ever.
That’s right, Lulu launched a complete, top to bottom, cover to cover redesign of our self-publishing platform and independent bookstore.
What’s New With This Lulu Site Update?
I’m going to highlight a few of the new features I’m most excited about. I’ll also drop a link to our full rundown of new features and a few old ones we removed at the end. Without further ado, let’s get into what’s new at Lulu!
Publishing Your Book
So this is kind of the most important part, right? The essentials are the same as ever; you add the metadata (title, author, ISBN, copyright, description, etc.), upload the file, and either create or upload a cover. That’s not changing.
A couple of things are though. First and most importantly, we’ve made the entire process easier to navigate. You can move forward and backward through the steps. If your cover is still being designed, you can set up every other part of the book. Then come back when the cover is ready, upload, and publish!
We’ve also introduced a TON more combinations of paper, ink, size, and binding so you can diversify your book even more. That includes many additional options that are eligible for our distribution services.
The one new feature I really love is our book previewer. Check it out:
Once we have your interior and cover uploaded, you can flip through the book right on the screen! See how bleeds and margins will look and check those odd/even page alignments without buying a proof! It might seem like a minor thing, but we’re pretty sure this little feature is going to save a lot of ‘bad’ proof copies from being ordered!
Planning Your Book
Speaking of saving your time and money, we’ve had a lot of requests over the years for a tool to help plan your book. Well, it’s here.
So basically, you can plug in all the specs for your book and see what it will cost to print. Then you can price out a bulk order and see what your revenue can be for the Lulu Bookstore and our distribution service. No more guessing. No more confusion or unexpected changes. Just the information you need to plan your book from day one.
The pricing calculator is one of my favorite parts of the Lulu site update. We’ve heard from you that this is important when you’re making decisions about how to print your book and we worked hard to make it easy to use but loaded with the information and options you need.
Selling Your Book
We still have the same indie bookstore. But if you’ve ever gone to Lulu and typed something into the search bar, we imagine you were…not impressed. Neither were we. So we fixed that. Our bookstore search actually works now. And we’ve aligned all categories to the standard BISAC categories used across the publishing industry to make it easier for you to help readers find your book.
Three Ways to Sell
Sell on Lulu
List your book for sale in the Lulu Bookstore and enjoy not only the best revenue share in the industry, but bookstore quality printing
Sell on Your Site
Sell directly to your audience from your website using our Print API or our Lulu xPress Shopify App automated fulfillment solutions
Sell Around the World
List your books with over 40,000 online retailers and libraries, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and more
Global Distribution to list your book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram’s catalog is unchanged. Just follow our distribution requirements (for PRINT and for EBOOKS) and we’ll have your book available on global marketplaces in no time!
So what’s changed? Well, if you haven’t heard about our Shopify App, we’re making it easier than ever to sell your book, your way. Now you can tap into Lulu’s print-on-demand directly from your own website. Keep 100% of the revenue and connect with your buyers.
Or you could build your own print-on-demand bookstore with our Open API! Access our print network and build it right into your website. A much more technically demanding option, but for web developers, APIs are vital to making powerful websites without creating every line of code from scratch.
Creating Your Book
If you’ve taken a minute to look through our new site, you might notice that we no longer convert DOCX files to PDF for print books. I’m sure there are some of your reading this who are not particularly pleased by this change.
I can clear this up: Lulu made our DOCX converter over 10 years ago when there weren’t as many amazing options for PDF creation and page layout. Everyone was using Word and Word sucked at making PDFs. That’s not the case anymore. Word can export PDFs just fine now and there are ample page layout tools you can use to make your PDF. So we decided to leave behind what other tools can already do better.
In fact, I’ve already covered some of the best ways to make print-ready PDFs for you!
We also removed our full-service offerings for book and cover design, file conversion, and marketing. While a lot of authors used these services and had great results, too often we found our services simply didn’t meet the author’s expectations for the cost. Again, we started these services at a time when there were a lot fewer independent editors and designers out there.
Times have changed. So instead of offering in-house services, we’ve created a curated list of service providers we think you’ll love. From full-service book creation to editing, designing, and marketing a la carte, you’ll find exactly what you need to get your book designed exactly the way you want.
Keeping It Fresh
The Lulu site update is a huge undertaking that we’ve been working on for a long time. Being able to finally share it with you is unbelievably exciting! Do you want to know what’s even better though?
This is just the beginning. The old Lulu site was built on some very outdated code, making it a challenge to change anything on our site. Those days are gone. We can develop new tools and bring new technologies to you on a rolling basis now.
For example, we’re already working on the first major update to come soon. In that update, we’ll bring a better cover tool and calendar creator. After that, we’ve got even more planned!
We’ve also got our Feedback page ready to hear from you! Tell us what you want, what you need, and what you’d love to see! Our developers watch this page closely and use your feedback to direct our own creative process.
Lulu Site Update Resources
This is a big change. Like, really big. But we’ve been busy creating resources to help ease you into the new site and make sure you still have all the tools you need to publish your book, your way.
Here are a few important resources you’ll want to keep near at hand while getting to know the new Lulu:
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.