Lulu.com Is it Right for Your Book? Part 3

So far in this series we've touched on Lulu's apparent user friendliness, as well as deciphering the publishing services they offer. Today, I'm going to cover a few key points with regard to Cost & Book Production.

One of the big selling points for Lulu people often mention is that it is free/no cost to use. This is true, they do not charge a set up fee to produce your book through them. It's basically like walking into Kinkos or Office Max. They don't charge you to set up your files in their system, they just charge you to print your copies.

However, the game changes here if you cannot create and upload your own files properly. In that case, you'll need some help. Your choices are to buy a package that includes cover design for example, or hire someone to do it for you from their list of vendors or on your own. My guess is that more people than not fall into the group needing help. If that's the case, the free aspect is no longer as relevant and I'd strongly recommend you compare costs with other fee-based publishers or other print options.

The other point where cost becomes a serious consideration is cost per book. In fact, this is a BIG consideration. One of the first things you should do if you are thinking about utilizing Lulu is go to the cost calculator. Now, there are a couple more things you need to know.

First, Lulu does not offer 5.5 x 8.5 size paperback books. I don't know why as this is a very common paperback size most printers offer. If that's what you want, your options are either go up to 6x9 or don't use Lulu.

Next, there are two choices for paper-standard and publisher grade (which is apparently a relatively recent choice). If you calculate your production costs both ways, you'll see the cost varies significantly.

Unfortunately, to figure out the physical difference it will make it not as easy. If you hunt around on the web site you can find details, but things still aren't as clear as they could be. In fact, some of the papers shown to be publisher grade for one size, are standard for another. I would definitely like clarification there. Also, if you wanted a sample of a book printed on one stock or the other, I didn't see an easy way to get one. This is another concern as knowing the physical properties of your book is not something to overlook. You also cannot assume the default choice will be up to your expectations.

As I mentioned in my first post, there does not seem to be a way to contact Lulu for help if you don't have an account. However, I think I've got a work-around so I will update you if I can get some of these questions answered.

There are also a couple more points to be aware of with regard to Cost and Book Production. I'll cover those next time.

Good Writing & God Bless,

Cheryl Pickett

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