Penned 16 years ago. It will take about 7:23 to read.
And we are back again for Part 2 of my series on Self Publishing with LuLu.com. Back in Part 1 we looked at some examples of 'books' that had been printed through LuLu. Today we will talk about the different printing options, binding options, how to calculate final cost and the different distribution methods available.
Currently there are 3 different binding styles available at LuLu, and 5 different sizes. Currently there are no custom sizes available, as well as no hardback option:"(There was once a page that gave the impression that LuLu was offering both of these services, but it is no longer on the site, in fact they are now stating - Lulu does not offer hard cover or 'hardback' books.)": so if you are looking for either of these you are out of luck.
The binding types are as follows:
Okay now its time to talk about the different sizes that are available. This is where the fun really begins. You can dramatically change the 'feel' of your book by selecting an interesting shape.
All of the full color books that LuLu prints use 80# Digital color uncoated white, 96 bright. The covers for coil and perfect bound books are laminated 100# Ultra Gloss Cover Stock, Digital Color Silk - C2S, 90 bright; while saddle stitch covers are unlaminated 100# Ultra Gloss Text Stock.
So now that we have gone over the different bindings and sizes, lets talk about color, do we use it or not?
Well that entirely depends on you as the author/artist. Your decision comes down to two considerations, selling price and distribution. Lets take a quick look at each one and what I mean by it.
First we will talk about selling price. LuLu has a very easy to understand, straightforward system for calculating the final price of your book. In a nutshell the pricing starts off with a standard binding fee that is constant across the board: $4.53; this is the base price of your book.
We then need to calculate the per page printing charge, which again is standard across the board: $0.02 per page for black and white and $0.15 per page for color.
I am sure this sounds more complicated, and expensive, than it really is. Here's an example:
Say we have a 100 page book we want to print. The variables are 6 x 9, perfect bound, black and white. Here is how it would break down:
Now you could stop here, and offer the book to the world for 6.53; but that would mean you wouldn't make any money at all on it. If you actually wanted to make a 'royalty', or a percentage of the sale price of the work, you need to add it to the base price.
So lets say we want to make 2.00 off of every copy that is sold, we would increase the price by 2.50:"(Adding LuLu's commission is actually handled by the system. You would just add your 2.00 royalty and LuLu calculates its commision and adds it to the price automatically.)": to 9.03 a book. That includes 0.50 commission to LuLu. That is how LuLu makes money in this whole enterprise, only if you do.
If you are more interested in just getting your work out there and don't want to make any money, then LuLu doesn't charge over the cost of production.
As a way of comparing lets look at the same book printing in full CMYK color inside:
Unfortunately at this time printing in full color inside the book is extremely expensive, at least in comparison to the black and white version. Adding our royalty as before would increase the price of the book to 22.03.
Something to keep in mind, and this is the oddest part of this whole LuLu business to me, is that all of these prices are standard across the board, no matter the size. So it costs no more to produce an 8.5 x 11 perfect bound, full color book than it would to produce a 6 x 9 one.
SO now lets talk about distribution. With LuLu there are three types of distribution:
Now I am sure you are wondering why anyone would ever choose Basic when you get all that jazz with Global. There is only one real reason: Color interiors.
You see the catch with Global is that LuLu doesn't actually print the books if they are purchased through a retail channel (someone like Amazon.com or Borders), they have a 3rd party that is handling that and they don't do color. You could buy a color version through LuLu, but that really isn't helpful.
There are other restrictions as well on Global:
You can find more on the LuLu Global Distribution FAQ.
I had originally planned on covering how to format your content for LuLu in this article, and talk about distribution and ISBN's in part 3. I have swapped things a little here because it made more sense to talk about distribution now. So I will begin the final article talking about ISBN's and then finish up with how to format your content for printing.
Let me know if there is anything I need to go over in more depth, or if something I have said doesn't make sense.