Lulu’s been around for a long time now. We’ve helped authors, artists, entrepreneurs, and educators all over the world create a staggering variety of books.
From the beginning, the goal at Lulu has been to provide everyone the same opportunities to create content and share that content with their audience.
Today, I’d like to take a moment to answer a few questions about what Lulu is, how our self-publishing works, and how we’re different from some of those other self-publishing options.
What Is Lulu?
I get this question a lot. I’m not just talking in social settings (pre-pandemic) when someone would ask what I do for a living. I mean even authors and book creators ask me, “what is Lulu?”
The simple answer is: Lulu is a print-on-demand service provider and self-publishing platform with a massive, online independent bookstore.
Pretty simple, right?
Over time, we’ve evolved and changed a lot (does anyone remember our ill-fated foray into streaming video?). But the core of our business has always been to provide creators a means to publish, share, and sell their work.
The biggest change over the last five years has been a shift to focusing on enabling creators. We do this primarily by offering an ENORMOUS library of blog content, help articles, guides, webinars, and videos to make DIY publishing easier for everyone. Alongside our drive to provide creators the information and knowledge they need, we’ve also worked to improve the process so there’s less friction when taking your manuscript and turning it into a file that can be printed or used as an ebook.
Finally, Lulu’s core is built around technology. So we’ve begun to expand our technological reach by partnering and integrating with other companies that offer important opportunities for authors. The most notable is our Shopify App, which allows anyone to use Shopify’s storefront to create their own bookstore, fully operating as a print-on-demand seller and eliminating all the overhead normally associated with stocking a store.
So once I’ve laboriously explained what Lulu is (and what we’re not), the follow-up from anyone who has ever written anything is usually “why would I use Lulu to publish? I’ve heard Amazon is how you self-publish.”
Once my blood pressure settles down, I do my best to calmly explain the reason Lulu is the right choice for a wide variety of authors.
For anyone publishing in print, our printers are going to bring you higher quality paper and ink. That’s down to the printers—Amazon prints a lot of books and as such, they have to look to maximize their output and profit by using the least expensive product options. For novelists, quality isn’t a big deal. Plain paper and black ink won’t be much different from one POD publisher to another.
But for calendar creators, artists, and photographers (or anything that relies on beautiful images) the difference will be stark.
For creators looking to maintain their independence and connect directly with their audience, Lulu offers some of the best tools on the market. Our print-on-demand network is built on an Open API, meaning anyone can access and use our print network from their own website!
One way we help authors and creators retain their independence is through our Shopify App. This App uses our API to connect our print network to a Shopify store. Meaning anyone with a book to sell can do so directly to their audience. No royalties to share with a publisher or distributor. Just you, your book, and your audience.
Print-On-Demand, Lulu, And You
At the end of the day, Lulu has a simple goal; to make it easier for you to turn your work into a book. Whether you want to sell a thousand copies or print just one as a gift, we believe everyone should have access to books and everyone should have the opportunity to create books.
There are lots of platforms you could choose to publish and print your book. Or maybe you just want to digitally publish. Lots of platforms exist for that too.
Lulu is focused on enabling and empowering independent creators; people and businesses who seek to build direct relationships with their audience and strive to maximize their efforts and profits. No other print-on-demand service offers free access to their print API in the way we do, nor are there any other true self-publishing platforms offering the kind of ecommerce integrations we do.
Because we believe the future of publishing lives with socially responsible, independent creators and sellers. The giants of publishing, be it the Big
Five Four traditional publishers or Amazon’s KDP, are driven by profit. They may offer a huge (potential) audience, but that’s where their desire to lift up creators ends.
A look around the web will reveal ample proof that creators and readers want more. From online retailers who support actual bookstores to writing tools that foster creativity, the future of publishing is in the hands of the creator.
You. That’s you.
Making A Choice
Finally, Lulu stands behind our desire to enable and empower creators. Period. If you spend a couple of hours reading content on this blog to learn about designing your manuscript and opt to publish with a different platform; that’s still a win for all of us. Because you published. And because there is a wide range of services offering a wide range of options.
You need to find the right option for your goals and your work.
If you need a platform that helps you take control of your work, manage and sell it as you see fit, and enables truly independent publishing, Lulu is probably a great fit for you. Likewise, if you need to print one book (or just a few) and print quality is really important to you, Lulu offers easy to use processes and the best options for high-quality printing.
You have a lot of choices when it comes to publishing your work. It’s important that you choose wisely, based on your values, your needs, and your goals.
And That’s Lulu
We’re a print-on-demand publishing platform with loads of free tools, options to print one or a thousand copies, and the best means for integrating print-on-demand into your own platform.
If you’d like to get to know us a little better, check out our About Us page. Or create an account and print a book! There’s never any obligation to purchase anything and we strive to offer the best, easiest to use platform for creators at all levels.