Because that’s really the important question right? Why choose Lulu, or any other self-publisher, over another. What makes one platform better (or worse) than another? It’s not an easy question to answer. For most authors, who just need to get printing and retail covered, the differences are minute.
The thing is, if you just need a site to connect your work to online sales and print-on-demand, you have a lot of options. And that’s a good thing! Not so long ago, you only had a handful of print-on-demand publishers to choose from. Now you can find the platform that offers exactly what you need.
With a wealth of options comes a lot more research and consideration. Since Lulu and all the common self-publishers offer very similar choices, it’s difficult to know who to work with. I can’t help you much with all those other sites, but I can clarify some reasons to choose Lulu.
Why Choose Lulu?
There are two primary factors that should drive you to Lulu initially:
- Need for high-quality print-on-demand
- Desire to sell directly to readers
Those aren’t the only features Lulu offers book-makers. They’re just the two areas where we excel.
Lulu specializes in printing books. That naturally leads to a focus on quality.
For some books, the difference between a book printed by Lulu versus Amazon might be subtle. The paper is just a bit thicker, and the ink is just slightly richer. It’s that photo book quality that gives Lulu the edge in quality comparisons.
We built Lulu to be a print-on-demand company that offers higher-quality printing than the big commercial self-publishers. And along with an emphasis on quality, we offer a range of options. From traditional hardcover and dust jackets to coil and saddle-bound books.
So if you’re creating something that demands high quality, like a photo book or instruction manual, Lulu offers options other printers don’t. Likewise, we bring a few binding formats not universally available from other printers, giving creators a broader range of book-making options.
It’s true! If you’ve built your own website or work with a developer who built your site for you, Lulu’s API can connect print-on-demand services directly to your website. We also offer a Shopify app to build Lulu’s print network into your Shopify store.
Both options make it possible to sell your book to your readers with no retailer taking a cut. Authors with a website earn more when selling direct and capitalize on the data you gather from readers to aid in future sales. This is a huge edge for authors with a dedicated following or for small publishers looking to control costs.
And if the recent move by Powell’s in Portland is any indication, booksellers are waking up to bookselling options that don’t involve Amazon. In the coming years, direct sales for authors will be increasingly important.
The Complete Package
Okay, so quality and direct sales are two huge reasons to pick Lulu. But they aren’t the only reasons. In fact, Lulu offers a complete self-publishing suite of tools for authors. This is one of the more compelling reasons to use Lulu; we offer a range of options to fit a variety of authors’ needs.
When you use Lulu’s standard self-publishing process, you’re getting all the benefits of publishing and access to Lulu’s bookstore for selling. Our online store gives you a quick and free way to sell to your readers. And we only take 20% for our margin, meaning you earn more for each sale than you would through other self-publishers.
For authors who just want to get published, Lulu gets that done. Nothing fancy, just free publishing.
Even if you’re selling directly to your readers, you should still use retailers to list your book. Basically, if you want to sell your book, you have to offer it on all the platforms your readers use. That usually means Amazon, but it’s not limited to just one retailer.
Lulu’s distribution service lets you list your book (and ebook) on all the major retail sites. You get the best of all options; retail listings and access to Lulu’s direct selling options.
Content And Guides
At Lulu, we believe the most important factor in an author’s success is their knowledge. Publishing is a huge and complex industry. For DIY creators, it usually means creating, designing, and marketing.
And while some self-publishers will just extract a fee from authors and do the work for them, we’ve created a vast library of content for authors to use. Our resources represent thousands of hours of industry knowledge. All are freely available to you!
I think this gets overlooked often, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer volume of user guides, how-to videos, and other content Lulu offers our users for free.
Yeah, It’s All Free
I’m not kidding here. Everything Lulu offers is accessible for free. If you know how to make a print-ready PDF, you can publish it with Lulu. And if you don’t, we’ve got a variety of resources to teach you!
Which is the last reason I’m giving you today. Lulu believes in making publishing accessible and affordable. That’s why our resources are all free and our self-publishing platform is free to use. We even offer a marketplace for you to find paid services like cover design and editing. And yup, that marketplace is free to use too.
Before you publish, you’ve got a lot of research to do. You’ve got options. If you need a free-to-use service that includes retailer distribution and has the best direct sales tools, Lulu might be right for you!
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not 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.