Lulu are looking to continue in 2010 where they left off last year with a sustained attempt to address and improve all facets of their website and publishing services, and perhaps gain back some ground they lost to their rival competitor CreateSpace. Though Lulu did strengthen their marketplace in-house and with outside affiliations, as well as their much improved online book design software, CreateSpace’s improved Pro-Plan has left little to choose between the two. If anything, CreateSpace edge this one on the strength of authors being able to set more competitive retail prices for their books.
Today, Nick Popio, the Lulu staffer formerly known as Social Networking Team Leader, greeted us on Lulu’s blog under his new title, Community Architect! That’s an ace title, Nick. I just hope it’s a promotion. You just never know with these new-fangled technical art-nouveau job titles they keep coming up with. Nick, you fancy coming over to my neighbourhood and throwing up a few granite statues and fountains?! We could have a few beers afterwards.
Without further ado, here’s Nick with his announcement...
“Currently on Lulu we have a Community section that highlights our Blog, our social networking presence, the Newsletter, Community Services Marketplace, and of course our Forums. As part of our belief in continuous improvement and providing the best customer experience to our users, we are moving our forums and help to a new, unified platform in early February.
As a result of these changes, you will be able to easily find articles, discussions, and more for anything you are searching for. We will be migrating all of the data from Help, as well as the last three months of data from the forums to ensure that as much relevant information as possible is preserved. That said, if there are particular forum threads you want to make sure you have a record of, please copy them into a text document before February to make sure that it does not get lost in the shuffle. In addition, there will be limited access to the forums in the days before we make the transition. We will announce this time period in advance, and we will keep you informed of our progress. We hope this will cause a minimum of disruption and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience it does cause.”
There are some other features also due from Lulu in the near future, however, it is notable how many focus in and around Lulu’s social networking, something Lulu have always been strong with. One improvement also in the pipeline is the ability for users to track and see the status of open and ongoing support issues they have logged. I believe this is really a critical year for Lulu in self-publishing services. They already recognise from a standpoint of five years, when you could use the slogan self-publishing, and that in itself was enough to set them apart as a strong flagship in the world of DIY publishing services. A lot has changed in the last year. Yes, the competitors of Lulu like CreateSpace have really caught up, and others like Blurb will also make significant gains this year if my research and understanding is correct. But more significantly, the flagpole itself of self-publishing is steadily moving closer to the monolith that has always been the publishing industry. The adventurous offspring is soon to return home under the protection of the family umbrella we all know to be called publishing.
Time to awake Lulu and rise from your sleep...
By the way, does anyone think Lulu's Nick Popio looks like a young Gordon Ramsay from Hell's Kitchen!