Places to Publish: Lulu

December 5th, 2016

Filed under: Self-publishing

Lulu is a place to publish print and electronic books. Lulu is a print on demand publisher, similar to CreateSpace, which I covered in an earlier article. Supply a PDF of your book, and Lulu prints a copy when someone orders your book.

Pricing

Lulu takes a percentage of each sale. For a print book start by taking the price of the book and subtracting the cost to print the book. If you sell the book at Lulu’s bookstore, Lulu takes 20% of what’s left after subtracting the print cost.

The print cost depends on many things, including the trim size, the binding, and the interior. A 6 by 9 inch paperback book that is perfect bound and has a black and white interior costs $2.45 for 100 pages plus 1.4 cents for each additional page. Each extra 100 pages costs $1.40

I’ll use the same example I used in the CreateSpace article. You are publishing a 300 page paperback book with a 6 by 9 inch trim size and perfect binding. You are selling the book for $20. The cost to print the book is $5.25. Here’s how much you would get for selling the book on Lulu’s bookstore.

Net price: 20 - 5.25 = $14.75

Lulu's take: 14.75 * .20 = $2.95

What you get: 14.75 - 2.95 = $11.80

You can also sell outside Lulu at sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But you have to discount your book by 50%. Lulu takes 20% of what’s left after the discount and the printing costs. Here’s how much you would get for selling your 300 page book for $20 on Amazon or another bookstore.

Net price: 20 - 10 (50% discount) - 5.25 = $4.75

Lulu's take: 4.75 * .20 = $0.95

What you get: 4.75 - .95 = $3.80

Strengths

You get more money selling print books on Lulu’s bookstore and non-Amazon bookstores than you would get with CreateSpace. CreateSpace takes their cut (20% or 60%) from the book price. Lulu takes their cut (20%) after subtracting the cost of printing the book and bookseller discounts.

Weaknesses

You get less money selling books on Amazon than you would get if you use CreateSpace.

Readers who are unaware of your book’s existence are unlikely to stumble upon it at Lulu.

Summary

Lulu is a good complement to CreateSpace for selling print books. Use Lulu to sell your print book on your website and at bookstores. Use CreateSpace to sell on Amazon.

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