Angela Hoy, editor and proprietor at BookLocker
, late yesterday made an open offer to any unhappy authors with Lulu
to switch their books to the Maine-based POD publisher. In a bold announcement on this week’s edition of Writersweekly, Hoy drew attention to negative comments
in Lulu’s forum from its own self-published authors. In a piece entitled ‘Are You an Unhappy Lulu Author?
’ Hoy wrote:
“We’ve been getting lots of inquiries from Lulu.com authors who are upset about Lulu’s prices, high shipping costs, and customer service problems (see quotes below from Lulu’s own forum).
THIS WEEK ONLY, BookLocker is offering free setup fees to unhappy Lulu.com authors (you save $149!).
WHAT’S THE CATCH
1. Currently applies to black and white-interior, paperback books only. If your book has a hardcover counterpart, it would qualify for our “$149 returning author setup fee special.”
2. You must first submit your manuscript (MSWord, text-only, or pdf file) for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org. No formal book proposal required. Your manuscript will speak for itself. (If you don’t hear from us within 72 hours, check your spam filter. We respond to ALL submissions.)
3. If your book is accepted (BookLocker does not publish every manuscript submitted and, in fact, rejects most manuscripts for quality problems), you must sign up for Booklocker’s service THIS WEEK (the special ends on Sunday). We assist with formatting at no additional charge.
4. There is an $18 annual POD file hosting fee that must be paid by all authors. This enables us to keep the book on our site and in Ingram’s system. Cover design is not included in this special but we may be able to use your existing cover or you can submit your own cover at no charge. Cover Design at BookLocker.com – $200 original cover; $150 template cover; or, again, submit your own cover at no charge.”
While Lulu executives may not be quaking in their shoes as they thread the corridors of their Raeleigh offices, this audacious offer by BookLocker only serves to underline a growing discontentment from some authors who have self-published one or more books with the DIY self-publishing behemoth. Lulu has attempted to alleviate high shipping costs over the past year, but this has often been linked to BOGO promotions, discount code promotions or larger order discounts – rather more a case of tinkering around the edges than dealing with the issue head on.
The issue of poorly printed books has been ticking away under the surface for the past three years. Three years ago the issue seemed to be predominantly with the printers used in Spain and Australia. Lulu are extremely guarded about the printers they use, particularly following the dispute which erupted between POD publishers and Amazon, when the online retailer tried to arm-wrestle publishers into using their own digital printer. It would be interesting to know how much of Lulu’s business with Lightning Source has tapered off in the past two years. I am convinced this has had a great deal to do with this whole print quality issue.
If you are a Lulu author, disgruntled or not, and with the ability to provide print ready interior and cover files to Booklocker, then their bold overtures may be too much to resist.