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New Lulu ebooks are Here!

NOTE: Originally published on 11/3/2009, we have updated this article (12/26/2018) to reflect modern EPUB requirements and standards.

Last summer, while sitting in a team meeting reviewing numbers (bear with me, it gets better), an intriguing stat caught my eye: 70% of our authors make their print books available as downloads, and those authors sell 30% more books than those who offer print editions only! Even without a “real” ebook publishing option, Lulu authors were flocking to make digital files available, and increasing their sales. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to provide a better eBook option. Today, I’m pleased to announce, new Lulu ebooks have arrived!

Why publish an ebook? The simple answer is it makes sense for both authors (universal distribution, more sales, and higher royalties) and readers (cheaper than print, instant delivery, and mobile access).

To facilitate offering an ebook version of your latest novel, textbook, or whatever you’re publishing, Lulu is happy to provide EPUB conversion for your DOCX files.

Beginning today, Lulu supports the popular EPUB format, which is quickly becoming the industry standard. EPUB formatted ebooks can be read on any device, with the only exception being Amazon’s Kindle (which uses their own MOBI format). But even that is no real problem, since converting from EPUB to MOBI is incredibly simple.

You can create your ebook on Lulu in two different ways.

Lulu Ebook: EPUB

The EPUB format is what you’ll end up with once your ebook is published. So you can upload your EPUB file directly to create an ebook. We strongly recommend Calibre as your EPUB creation tool. Free to use software, Calibre provides the tools to edit and design your EPUB with relative ease.

There’s one very important thing to note if you opt to create your own EPUB: it’s difficult.

Shortcode embed does not support optin.

In fact, creating an EPUB on your own requires a fair knowledge of coding and will probably demand trial and error. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but be prepared to work the file a fair amount.

Lulu Ebook: DOCX

The more common way to create an ebook will be to upload a DOCX (or RTF/ODT) file. These simple text files are the most commonly used to create text books on Lulu, which makes it even easier for you to take a completed Print file and make it into an ebook.

If you’re familiar with MS Word, creating a file ready for ebook conversion is simple. In fact, we’ve created this entire guide to help make the process even smoother:

This guide has everything you need to format your DOCX file for quick and easy conversion to an EPUB.

All of us at Lulu are excited about our new ebooks, and welcome your feedback. Stay tuned–we’re actively exploring many more features, including providing easy access to retail distribution channels with the goal of enabling Lulu authors to sell ebooks in every online marketplace.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to get started and publish an ebook today.

Team Lulu

Since 2002, Lulu has powered the knowledge-sharing economy by enabling creators in more than 225 countries and territories to publish over 2 million books. Lulu’s industry-leading tools and global network of print facilities provide creators with the resources to succeed on their terms.

16 thoughts on “New Lulu ebooks are Here!”

  1. First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my
    thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally
    wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?

  2. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  3. I have a question about the ebooks – if we have, say 10 ebooks available for purchase with Lulu is there a way for us to also offer a free one to our customers through Lulu?

  4. Bring back the 99 cent non DRM PDF option!!! I have some older stuff I don’t feel is worth $1.49, as well as some really short stuff.
    Make Paypal an option if you’re worried about credit card fees!!

  5. does this take effect on the 3rd of november or are you guys retroactively imposing the 1.49 fee…which now gives you guys almost 50 percent of revenues for ebooks…
    the reason so many of us independent authors went with lulu is b/c twenty percent is so doable…it is cheaper to post our books on ARE which takes forty percent…

  6. Daniel
    Here’s a suggestion for Lulu: Work with Lexcycle (Stanza developers) to get Lulu into the Online Catalog list of suppliers for the iPhone app. BooksOnBoard, Fictionwise, O’Reilly, etc. are there and there are payment mechanisms in place for those retailers that you can adopt, adapt, improve in order to facilitate payment (PayPal would be most acceptable to me, personally, but YMMV).
    This would be a great way to get Lulu content into the iPhone etc. market.
    A question – how compatible will Lulu ePubs be with the B&N nook? Can/will Lulu-sourced eBooks be distributed through B&N?

  7. Yay for more formats but, DRM, really? From advocates of the CC license to friends of the digital lock?
    I must admit, I’m not really enthusiastic of having to pay a higher (very high!) base fee for downloads so you can support a “feature” that goes against pretty much everything I believe to be honest and right in the world.

  8. May I add my voice to the applause for support for ePub? It took me some time to work out how to make it work properly from InDesign, and there are still a few rough edges to my implementation, but I can now distribute my work on iPhone, etc. If anyone needs technical assistance with ePub, I may have time to help.
    Giving us the choice to DRM or not is great – I chose not to, but it’s good that there is the choice. Thank you, Lulu.

  9. Stamping each PDF page with the purchaser information (name/email) generally creates more value for publishers than does Lulu’s current approach.
    Such a scheme is a strong incentive to not share content widely, as marking done properly is non-trivial to remove from a PDF. At the same time, it doesn’t reduce sales the way direct and indirect ways that “encrypted content” viewers do.
    (Note: I previously worked on DRM strategy projects for a large tech company.)

  10. I am a FreeBSD user, and Adobe has not released Flash player or provided any other means to access ADE for FreeBSD. How can I access these DRM restricted eBooks?

  11. David Bruce Hughes

    This is not good news. DRM is harmful to the free exchange, reposting and use of eBooks. The power of DRM-free ebooks is that the writer’s fans can spread their enthusiasm for his work without restriction. This power is completely destroyed by any form of DRM. And if Lulu goes out of business or even if their server goes down, all those eBooks with DRM are useless. Is Lulu planning to sue or prosecute readers who break the DRM on its books? Look what DRM and its attempted enforcement did to the music business. Why not skip the drama and just declare Chapter 11 now?
    How does this announcement affect Lulu’s commitment to offering Creative Commons licensing? We issue all our books under Creative Commons license anyway; our aim is to get people to use our ideas, not lock them up in some arcane copy-prevention scheme. DRM harms the commons and reduces the ability of fans to express their passion. If this is the beginning of a move to drop Creative Commons support, we will be looking for a new on-demand publisher.

  12. I have an idea for a book, but what if I wanted to publish an only e-book with online multimedia/social media extras. Or publish the book in the midst of a journey, so social media could really be involved… what do I use, who do I go to with a pitch?
    Thanks, Ann

  13. Hi Michael,
    Great question! The help is admittedly a little thin, and we’ll beef it up. Meantime, here’s the scoop on DRM for Lulu eBooks, and how it affects authors and buyers:
    1) eBooks published by Lulu authors can be downloaded by the buyer an unlimited number of times, but only to his/her registered Adobe Digital Editions machines (see below). The license for the eBook is irrevocably tied to the buyer’s ADE account and machine(s). This means that if a buyer downloads your eBook and emails it to friends, the book will not open on their machines. The eBooks we’re now listing from other authors & publishers have a limit of 4 successful downloads per purchase.
    2) All eBooks with DRM protection sold on Lulu can be read in Adobe Digital Editions. There’s a link to install ADE on every DRM-protected book’s product page, as well as in the My Lulu > My Downloads area. FYI, unprotected PDFs and EPUBs can be read in Adobe Digital Editions as well.
    3) Once you install Adobe Digital Editions, you create an account under which you can initially authorize 6 machines and 6 mobile/tethered devices to which DRM-protected eBooks can be transferred. You can then authorize one additional machine and one additional mobile device every 12 months.
    4) Once any eBook with DRM is purchased and downloaded, you can TRANSFER it back and forth on any of your authorized machines/devices an unlimited number of times.
    5) Buyers can READ DRM-protected eBooks they’ve purchased on Lulu forever–they never expire, once downloaded successfully. The only limitation is they must be read on authorized machines/devices.
    6) Publishers can specify whether you can copy or print DRM-protected eBooks. We’ve currently set these options to “no” for all DRM-protected eBooks published on Lulu. Other publishers listing eBooks on Lulu may or may not allow a set number of pages to be printed/copied, this is up to the individual publisher.
    I hope this helps, and I’ll make sure we update our online help to be a bit more explicit!
    While we’re on the topic, would you be interested in a service to provide more flexibility in setting DRM options on a per-book basis? For example, being able to:
    –specify a set # or % of pages that can be printed
    –specify a set # or % of pages that can be copied
    –restrict the # of downloads per purchase, and/or the number of authorized machines a buyer can transfer to
    –set an expiration date, so you can publish a “try and buy” or “preview” ebook that DOES stop working after, say, 30 days
    –sharing: set the ability for buyers to share your book, with certain restrictions
    –other ideas?
    I’d love to hear more about how we can continue to build a more compelling and useful set of eBook publishing and distribution tools. Keep the feedback and questions coming!

  14. This is excellent. Could you please publish in the FAQs how a Lulu author can publish an existing book as an eBook? Many thanks!

  15. This is great news: clearly, Lulu is listening! … Not only listening to its authors, but following the latest publishing trends.
    Daniel, could you explain in detail, how this DRM works. I was reading a Lulu page, and it said:
    “Encrypted or copy-protected eBooks can only be read on authorized computers or hand-held devices a limited number of times. ”
    I might have some very unhappy buyers, if their ebook stopped working suddenly, after just a few readings. Some of my books are non-fiction, meant to be referred to again and again and again.
    Can you, or someone, explain what actually happens with a DRM-added ebook from Lulu ? What the publisher’s options ? and What the ebook-using experience from the customer’s point of view ?
    Thanks very much,
    Michael Pastore
    50 Benefits of Ebooks

  16. I’m delighted to see Lulu now supporting ePub ebooks. Obviously, this is the first day and there are teething troubles. I find it’s impossible to upload a cover image – the web page insists that all images I upload are unsuitable, as they should be no more than 0x0 pixels big!
    But thank you to Lulu for listening.

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