ISBN, Distribution Changes Intended to Add Flexibility, Efficiency

3 min read

Here at Lulu, we are united by a common purpose: Your success.

We want to hear from you as much and as often as possible to improve our services to ensure you create the best products, have the most sales or achieve whatever goal drives you. That effort prompted us recently to announce changes to our ISBN and distribution offerings. Unfortunately, we unintentionally caused some confusion. To clear things up, I talked with Ben, our Distribution Product Manager, and wanted to share what I learned.

Yes, we are suspending “Published By You.” But in doing so, our intent is to provide you with more flexibility and efficiency in the publishing process while ensuring your work receives the exact distribution you want.

Let me explain. Before doing anything, we talked with the folks in customer service. Turns out, three of our most common complaints were related to our ISBN and distribution services. Our authors were frustrated that they could not bring their own ISBNs to Lulu and have them integrated with their projects, or added to Bowker and other distribution services; they wanted to add an ISBN earlier in the process to eliminate the hassle of uploading books twice; and they wanted more clarity on exactly what our distribution services included and who was eligible for what.

After a thorough evaluation, it was clear that to improve the Lulu experience we needed to make the acquisition of ISBNs and choice of distribution distinct parts of the publishing process. And on September 1, that will happen.

I’ll walk you through the changes.

Previously, we offered ISBNs as part of “Published By You” and “Published by Lulu.” With “Published By You,” authors received an ISBN in their own name. “Published By Lulu” included a free ISBN that listed Lulu as the publisher.

On September 1, we’ll still offer a free ISBN option similar to “Published by Lulu” that will continue to list Lulu as the publisher.

But we know that is not appropriate for all of our authors. So, for the first time on Lulu, we’ll let you bring your own ISBN to your project. Bowker has set up a portal,, where you can buy as many ISBNs as you need.

Once you have an ISBN, just bring it back to Lulu and plug it into the publishing wizard.  We’ll create a unique barcode that you can add to your cover. And rest assured: If you use this approach, Lulu will not be listed as the publisher. The name you attached to the ISBN when you bought it will be listed.

While I’m on the subject of the publishing wizard, I’ll explain one more change.  The new “Add ISBN” step will occur before the upload step so you can add the ISBN to your copyright page before uploading and publishing a book. You told us the old way was inefficient, and we hope this change is an improvement.

Previously, we offered different levels of distribution services under the names of “Published by You,” “Published by Lulu,” and “Published by Lulu Expanded.” The tiers and details of each caused confusion.

So on September 1, we’re boiling it all down to two options: ExtendedReach and GlobalReach. To get either, you have to have an ISBN for your book.

Extended Reach gets you a listing on It’s free, but it is available only to those authors who assign a Lulu ISBN. GlobalReach includes a listing in Ingrams, on, at and other online retailers. With this service, brick-and-mortar retailers can also order your book if a customer asks for it. GlobalReach will cost $75 and authors who use a Lulu ISBN or who bring their own will be eligible, provided their books meet certain size criteria. Check that out here.

You don’t have to get a distribution service at all if you don’t want one. But you have to have a distribution service for your title to be listed with Bowker and Nielsen, the U.K. ISBN agency. We are working hard to enable listings with Bowker and Nielsen without a distribution service and hope to have a solution to share soon.

As I said from the beginning, we want to do all that we can to ensure you achieve the most success.  We know “Published By You” had loyal fans, and your comments here show that. We hope that you find the new changes make your experience even better, but we are also exploring options for Lulu to again facilitate purchase of ISBNs that list you as publisher.

Regardless, know that we are not finished with our work on this issue. We’re committed to constant improvement, so please keep sharing your thoughts.

We’re listening.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. What does that mean for us who have a ‘Published by You’ already in place? I have three books that are distributed Globally ~ is my status changing now?

    I’m asking because I also paid for a service with Lulupress for AmazonMarketPlace and Ebay listing for one year. Well, my book has not be listed with Lulupress (since purchase back in April) and no one will respond to giving me 1/2 my money back, after inquiring about it twice now. The response is: start a new ticket.

    Just want to make sure I’m getting a service that I paid for, or do I have to do something different now?

    Thank you, Holly

  2. Nick Popio

    Your books will stay as they are. Can you tell me what your order number is for the Marketplace/Ebay listing, and any ticket numbers you have received from customer service? I will try to get you some answers.

  3. Ned


    Are there any restrictions if I choose to use publisher grade paper? Will Lulu still put my own ISBN barcode–purchased from the Bowkers site you listed– on my 8.5 x 11 book? I want an ISBN for my customers to refer to but I’m not interested in using a distribution service, and only want my books available in the Lulu marketplace.


  4. Melissa Mead

    Will I be able to add my own ISBN to formats not currently “allowed”? Hardcover and paperback color 8.5 x 11 in particular. If I want to add the barcode myself to the one-piece cover and upload that, will there be any problem?

  5. “So on September 1, we’re boiling it all down to two options: ExtendedReach and GlobalReach. To get either, you have to have an ISBN for your book.

    Extended Reach gets you a listing on It’s free, but it is available only to those authors who assign a Lulu ISBN. GlobalReach includes a listing in Ingrams, on, at and other online retailers. With this service, brick-and-mortar retailers can also order your book if a customer asks for it. GlobalReach will cost $75 and authors who use a Lulu ISBN or who bring their own will be eligible, provided their books meet certain size criteria.”

    Wait, in the past, I got a “Published by Lulu” ISBN and got listed and sold in Amazon, B&N and local stores for free. Are you now saying that to get the same coverage I have now, I’ll have to purchase a $75 package?

  6. Nick,

    Thank you for making things clear for us! I have two questions, though:

    1. How long will it take to have the book listed on with GlobalReach? (I’ve asked you this before and I think it’s important to know. With PBY it was 6-8 weeks. Is GlobalReach going to be any different?)

    2. I understand that you want to charge authors for distribution and I’m ok with it. (I even think it’s fair.) However, I believe it’s unfair to offer limited distribution to authors who own their own ISBNs (as if you wanted to punish us for not choosing a Lulu ISBN instead). Why don’t you offer more distribution packages at different prices depending on the scope of distribution channels offered? Personally, I would be happy if I could purchase your ExtendedReach distribution package and I guess that providing authors with more options would make more sense (offering only GlobalReach sounds discriminatory).

    And one more thing, I understand that some authors are upset about having to pay more for distribution, but honestly, the price of PBY was really low compared to similar services offered by other companies, and I think $75 is still reasonable. I welcome the possibility of using my own ISBN and I think it’s a positive change. However, as I said before, I think you should reconsider the distribution packages and let authors who own their ISBN purchase your ExtendedReach distribution.

  7. Hi Nick, Thank you for wanting to look into it. But, to tell you the truth… I’m tired of inquiring about it and never getting a response.

    Someone closed out the ticket (on Lulu side) after offering half my money back. I was told to start a new ticket again.

    How can a ticket close in less than two days when I didn’t respond yet to getting my money back? I did respond in less than 48 hours.

    So I started another inquiry using the ‘did not receive my order’ because Technically, I didn’t receive what I paid for. The service stated one year on AmazonMarketPlace and Ebay, not one or the other.

    I asked to have a supervisor write me back and its been over 10 with no response.

    So…. I’m tired of it. If Lulu cares, someone will respond to what I wrote (all three times) by looking up the information.

    If no one responds… well, no one cared on Lulu side and now I know where I stand as a customer/publisher.

    I just didn’t want to lose what I paid for with the ‘Distribution by You’ program after reading your blog about ISBN services.

    Thank you for letting me know my services are still going forward.


  8. Curtis

    Thank you for this post. It made everything much clearer. The new ISBN & Distribution changes will save me a LOT of money in the long run. Under the former PBY service I would have spent $1,000.00 on ten ISBN numbers. With the new service it will only cost me $325.00. That is only $32.50 for each ISBN (verses $99.00 under the former PBY). If I choose to use the new Global Reach service at $75.00 for each book, I will be paying $107.50 per book for ISBN number and distribution. Only a few dollars more than the former PBY service. If I do not choose Global Reach I am back to 32.50 a book (for ISBN). Not bad (providing that cost of Global Reach doesn’t rise much in the future).

    On another note I have a question about my book which I purchased through the former PBY service. I would like my book to continue to be available at Barnes&Noble, and available for order in bookstores . . . however, I would like to take it off of the Lulu marketplace. You instructed me to log into my Lulu account and set my book to Direct Access which, you said, means people can access it if I directly link them to it, but it won’t show up in search results. I WANT my book to show up in Google search results in places like, Barnes & Noble, etc. but I do NOT want it to show up in the Lulu Marketplace. Will setting my book for Direct Access do this for me?

    Thank you.

  9. Nick,

    I have a specific question, on July 21 I purchased a PBY package, but I haven’t put the title into distribution yet. What will happen when I do put it into distribution?

    I asked this on the older thread, so I’ll ask it here, too.

    For the record, I never complained about PBY because it worked fine for me. If it were still an option, I’d use it instead of the new distribution packages. But we’ll see how things go from here.


  10. Ian Ruxton

    I acquired a free ISBN from you (Published by Lulu) earlier this year and I now find you want to charge me $49.95 for Extended Global Reach or somesuch, just because I have approved a proof copy after revising the book.
    Hey, it’s not even September 1st yet. Not quite anyway. Please give me a break!


  11. I have my own ISBNs (free in Canada when you register as a publisher). If I understand correctly, I will not be eligible to the ExtendedReach program described above since my ISBNs are not Lulu ISBNs. Please confirm that I have understood correctly. If I have, I guess I should move over to CreateSpace and forget about Lulu because it is likely I’ll never get my books on Amazon through here.

    Thanks and looking forward to your reply.

  12. Nick Popio

    We do not currently support Publisher Grade paper for distribution, but we are working on that.

    As I mentioned, we are working on the functionality to send title information to Bowker and Nielsen independantly of authors buying a distribution service. Once that is complete then any title or POD plan will be able to have an ISBN.

    I’m not sure. Prior to this change, we did not offer listings on Bowkers (which would get you into B&N and allow users to purchase from a local store) for free.

    It will still take 6-8 weeks for the full listing to show up. As for offering more distribution packages at different prices depending on the scope of distribution channels offered, we think that’s a great idea. We’re working through it so we can offer more options.

    Fair enough. If you decide you want my help, feel free to contact me with your reference id. I’m happy to try to help.

    If you set your Lulu book to Direct Access then only that version wouldn’t show up in Google. Your Amazon (and other sites) listings would still show up. Does that solve the issue or did you want the Lulu listing to show up in Google?

    You can still approve your title for distribution when they are ready and your title will be still be distributed to the channels listed under PBY (which are the same channels under GlobalReach)

    Nothing is changing about your current listing. If you want to be listed in more channels, then you can choose to increase that by buying GlobalReach. Does that help clarify things?

    Unfortunately, that is accurate, but it would have been the same way under our old system. We would like to do that, but are restricted by our distribution partners. We’re working through it so we can offer Extended Reach for BYOISBN.

  13. Rachel Anderson

    Let me get this straight – under the PBY system, you got an ISBN and an Amazon listing for $99. Now, if you want to retain copyright of your own work, the exact same product is now $200? ($125 for the ISBN at Bowker, and $75 for the GlobalReach package)? Why not call this a 100% price increase for those of us publishing individual works? I don’t debate whether the old system was underpriced (it may have been) but I’m frustrated by the fact that only these options are IN PLACE now, but not available on the site, and only discussed in this blog which I found only through a forum post. I have been waiting for support replies for a week, and am very disappointed by the lack of professionalism Lulu has shown.

  14. Nick Popio

    You retain your copyright with the free Lulu ISBN. It simply lists Lulu as the publisher of record, but it does not confer any rights over your work.

    We are also actively looking into other solutions as I have mentioned, but I realize that doesn’t help you right now.

    I asked this in the other post, but I am very sorry that you haven’t received a response from support. Had you already applied for PBY? What is your reference id from customer service? I will try to get you some answers.

  15. Ned

    Nick — I appreciate your response, but my question was a bit different. I don’t want a distribution service. Rather I just want an ISBN for my customers to refer to and I would like a bar code on the back of the book tied to that ISBN:
    “Will Lulu still put my own ISBN barcode–purchased from the Bowkers site you listed– on my 8.5 x 11 book if I am using publisher grade paper? I want an ISBN for my customers to refer to but I’m not interested in using a distribution service, and only want my books available in the Lulu marketplace.


  16. Nick Popio

    Sorry I misunderstood. If I understand correctly, then yes, you can bring your own ISBN, we will create an ISBN bar code image for you, and you don’t have to purchase any distribution package. Does that answer your question?

  17. Ned

    Perfect, Nick. Thanks a lot!

  18. Nick

    It is clear enough, thank you. I just think it would be better if lulu charged upfront for the ISBN and didn’t send emails later that your book binding (hardcover) requires extra money for global distribution.
    I am trying to make my publishing self-financing and what with having to buy double copies because the author can’t or won’t buy directly from lulu, and Henry wanting money for a kindle listing etc. things are pretty tight for me right now. I guess it will get better when I get my next sales check but…


  19. Using PBY, I always created my own one-piece covers with my own barcodes.

    Everything I’ve seen about the replacement service says that Lulu will now put my barcode (purchased separately by me) on the cover. Will I still be able to generate my own one-piece covers and put the ISBN barcode on myself, as I have done in the past?

  20. Curtis

    The new ISBN & Distribution changes will save me a LOT of money in the long run. Under the former PBY service I would have spent $1,000.00 on ten ISBN numbers. With the new service it will only cost me $325.00. That is only $32.50 for each ISBN (verses $99.00 under the former PBY).

  21. Curtis

    Thanks for answering my question, Nick. You are doing a great job keeping on top of things. Keep up the good work!

  22. Um, Curtis, if you buy the $75 GlobalReach distribution plan + your $32.50 ISBN, should you buy them in blocks of 10 (which has always been possible), it will cost you $1,075.00 for 10 books, whereas under the old PBY system it was only $999. I don’t see this as an improvement on the old PBY system, but I accept that this is way things are going to be should I decide to continue distributing books through Lulu.

    Rachel really nailed it: this is a 100% increase in the PBY option ($125 for the ISBN + $75 for distribution for those of us not planning to publish 10 books), but now with added hassle. Thanks a lot, Lulu.


  23. Nick,

    Thank you for your answer. I really appreciate your effort.

    I’m glad you’re open to the idea of offering more distribution packages at different prices to authors who own their ISBNs. I believe it would be great to have more options to choose from and it would be convenient for authors and for Lulu too. Please, do work on it and keep us posted! Thank you!


  24. Curtis


    The new ISBN & Distribution changes will save money in the long run. Under the former PBY service I would have spent $1,000.00 on ten ISBN numbers. With the new service it will only cost me $325.00. That is only $32.50 for each ISBN (verses $99.00 under the former PBY). I now have the option to use my future ISBN numbers with Lulu or to go directly through Lightning Source myself. If I choose to use the new Global Reach service at $75.00 for each book, I will be paying $107.50 per book for ISBN number and distribution. Only a few dollars more than the former PBY service.
    If I do not choose Global Reach I am back to 32.50 a book (for ISBN). Not bad (providing that cost of Global Reach doesn’t rise much in the future).

  25. Here’s a question.

    I PBLed a hardcover copy of my book and approved it for distribution, then got a note telling me that hardcover is no longer eligible for the free distribution and I have to pay for the Expanded option. The link I got takes me to a generic (it appears) page where I can purchase Expanded.

    Now, I’ve no objection at all to this – I want the hardback edition of my book available in the UK and in Japan as an alternative to the paperback which is already out there. I think the Expanded and Global Reach options are pretty cheap, actually (for someone like me, not in the publishing biz fulltime, it would take much more in terms of time to get the book listed worldwide).

    But how will the new option at $75 be different from the existing option at $50? And how can I be sure that this will be applied to the hardback edition of the book? The eligibility lists don’t help (or am I looking at the right place)?

  26. Nick Popio

    That makes sense. I will talk to Ben and see if we can make it so that your options are as clear as possible to you up front.

    D. R.,
    I’m sorry this wasn’t clearer. Lulu will be able to put a barcode on your cover for you, but you can also put your own barcode on the cover and upload the image.

    I appreciate your understanding. Unfortunately, I’m not sure about the answer to your question yet. I am following up with Ben and I will post a response as soon as I know more.

  27. Darren

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to update all the help and tutorial stuff to reflect the new reality?

    All the ‘Tweets’ and nice graphics in the world are for nothing if we have ambiguity. That creates dissatisfaction, and the encourages people to walk.

    There are still all the old references to PBY etc, so it’s no wonder everyone is still so confused.

    Other than that, my divorce, the war(s) and global warming, I’m having a great day.


  28. Nick Popio

    Great point! I will talk to our Help expert and get those updated ASAP.

  29. I was not pleased with the lack of communication as I went through the process of publication, but when I took the Expanded Distribution plan, suddenly a real person (Colin)helped me get ready for distribution. It has been six weeks since the book launched and I am amazed that it is now listed on all the promised websites AND so many affiliates. My book is now available in U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Japan, India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, South Korea and one website that sells to just about every country in the world. I could not have done this without the expanded distribution. Thanks Lulu. Thanks Colin.

  30. @ PJ Kates
    I never had anyone to help me get ready for distribution, but yes, the Expanded pack certainly got me into many places I didn’t really expect to end up quicker than I thought. Of course whether that ends up as sales is another matter, but Lulu make no promises there.

    However, I am now waiting for the new service to become operational – let’s see how this works.

  31. I have very limited funds to get my book into distribution.

  32. Joan Regan

    Last Spring a friend introduced me to his Lulu-printed book. I immediately began investigating Lulu website, read reams of ‘help’ topics and so on. I understood that I had a wide set of books sizes, and that international shipping was possible, and that it was a simple step-by-step process. As suggested on the site for the kind of thing I was doing I got an ISBN number and barcode. I got the book was laid out to suit the size and last week I uploaded it to Lulu. I have been totally confused ever since. First, I discovered that the particular size I had chosen (and had paid someone to layout the book in that size) came with all kinds of restrictions that I had not appreciated, such as only one paper type available, international shipping is dicy, and when I came to the part where I uploaded the cover, and expected a prompt to now upload the barcode (the number was already on the copyright page) I didn’t get one, but rather Lulu put their own on with the comment, that this was required because of a previous choice I had made. Lulu congratulated me on having finished publishing my book! As I again waded through help sections it became clear that Lulu had unexpected (to me) eliminated the path I had been planning, but still had all the information about it on their help pages. It is impossible for a newcomer like me to know what to believe on the site. Then I wanted to find out about shipping. I have written a family history, do not want any creator’s revenue, but do want to send many copies overseas at my own expense. When I went today to see about sending 1 copy within the US, the Media Mail was not offered, although it had shown up in one of the Help sections. The international mail is astronomical because it turns out for that size book one can’t use the manufacturing facilities anywhere else. What Lulu needs on their is a graphic decision tree that guides writers through the choices one by one, making it clear that if they chose A they wont be able to chose N later on down the tree. When I read about the distribution packages, I can just feel relieved that I don’t want any of them. Lulu has great potential for authors like me and for others that would like to sell their books, but they need to get much better organized.

  33. Nick,


    I purchased the PBY distribution package for my book Tales for Delicious Girls (both paperback and hardcover). I’ve purchased the proof copy and I have just found out that my status doesn’t say: “Approve or deny your proof copy to continue distribution” but “Purchase a distribution package”. You said that you would continue offering the service to those who actually purchased the PBY before you cancelled this distribution service. Obviously something went wrong and this is really UNFORGIVABLE! Please, can you let me know what’s going on? This is incredibly frustrating. I paid for the service and Lulu removed it from my account. How can this happen??? PLEASE, DO CHECK ON IT FOR ME! THANK YOU!

  34. Nick Popio

    Can you email me at with your reference id from customer service, the cid for your book, and the order # for your PBY package? I will help you get this straightened out.

  35. Seth Jani

    I am preparing a book for distribution soon and was wondering if the Global reach system is operational yet?

  36. Nick,

    Thank you so much! I’ve just sent you an e-mail with all the numbers.

  37. Nick Popio

    Yes, that should be live now.

    You’re welcome, I’ll try to get you some answers as soon as possible.

  38. Seth Jani


    Thanks for the quick response. At first I was quite frustrated by the decision to do away with PBY, but I thought about it and think I will be happy with the new system.
    I give a big Thanks to you and everyone at Lulu.


  39. Nick Popio

    I’m glad to hear it. Please give us any feedback you have!

  40. Nick,

    I just looked at my account and I’m in the same boat as Barbara K. I’m emailing you my info.


  41. Nick Popio

    Please do. I will make sure it gets dealt with as soon as possible. I believe Barbora’s issue has already been resolved, and hopefully we can get yours resolved just as quickly.

  42. Roger Poole

    I am in the UK and new author in Lulu. I bought Extended Distribution on 31st August as it specified UK listing such as on but had to revise my file to comply with a request from Lulu.Iam waiting for my new proof copy to come so that I can approve publication.
    Can I be sure that I am going to get the Extended service I paid for (including when my book is (hopefully) finally accepted?

  43. Roger Poole

    ref my earlier email, Sept 7th, I mean Expanded Distribution not Extended. Sorry, I am an idiot, don’t know my width from my length!

  44. Ned

    Nick — Last week I wrote:

    “Will Lulu still put my own ISBN barcode–purchased from the Bowkers site you listed– on my 8.5 x 11 book if I am using publisher grade paper? I want an ISBN for my customers to refer to but I’m not interested in using a distribution service, and only want my books available in the Lulu marketplace.”
    Again, I don’t want a distribution service. Rather I just want an ISBN (which I’ve purchased from Bowkers)for my customers to refer to and I would like a bar code on the back of the book tied to that ISBN:

    You replied that this will indeed be possible. However, in checking the process a number of times between then and now, I can’t find anywhere to insert my ISBN and have a corresponding bar code printed by Lulu on the back cover of my book. Can you clarify?


  45. Hi Nick,

    I have the same problem as Barbara and Ginger, but the diference is that I went and bought the Global Reach distribution. Did I did something wrong? Can I send you my info, so you can check it out and let me know?


  46. Nick Popio

    We are currently fixing a bug that has prevented us from submitting titles to but that will be fixed with our next release. So ExtendedReach will include both and

    Once you add an ISBN to your book in the wizard, we generate a bar code for you automatically which you can then download and put on your back cover, or if you use the Lulu cover wizard we put the barcode on your cover automatically.

    Please send your info to me at I will try to get you some answers.

  47. TEW


    I do not see the option for buying a distribution package for ID 3977145 “An Apology To My Son” it was available a few weeks ago; I meet the criteria, the project is set for general.

    How can I resolve this issue?

  48. Darren

    Hi Nick

    Why all the “ISBNs are not available in your country” messages when we try and create a project?


  49. Hi Nick,
    Please can you help? I am trying to create a book size A4, I am in the UK, and I need to get an ISBN for it. When I try to get a free lulu ISBN I get the message ‘we don;t have nay ISBNs available for your country’. Does this mean that for all our future titles we will have to pay for an ISBN? The last A$ title was published using PBL expanded distro. What options do we have now please? I am very confused , having looked at the forums, blog, help etc. – nothing seems to answer my question. Thank you for your attention.

  50. Alexa Pope

    Hi Nick,

    What has happened to the offer of “FREE ISBN”, numbers. I managed to get three of my books set up,,, but your system now says ,”No Isbn numbers in your country. How can that be?

    Always headaches with lulu. rapidly losing patience,,

    Sorry Alexa Pope.

  51. Yes, I am having the same problem (UK – no free ISBN). It seems this problem might be a temporary state of affairs while the new system is sorted out. Is that correct? I would very much appreciate any info from lulu on this, as we have new books waiting to be published, and want to continue to use the FREE ISBN if possible. Grateful for any feedback and updates.

  52. Nick Popio

    Are you receiving the same error message as some of the others here?

    Darren, Alexa and Grace,
    I’m truly sorry for the inconvenience. I’m not sure why you’re receiving that error message, but I will find out. In the meantime can you tell me what country you’re in?

  53. I’m in London, England aka United Kingdom. Thank you for looking into this – it is important to us.

  54. Richard Williams

    In checkout there are 4 steps:
    1. View Cart
    2. Shipping Info
    3. Billing Info
    4. Review&Place Order

    I fill out the Payment Method under 3, Billing Info along with my Billing Address. I then click on “Back to Cart”.
    The Shipping Cart area is displayed. It shows my book under Items, Qty of 1 and price of $19.50. Sub total of $19.50. I then click on “Checkout”. LULU Checkout is displayed. All of my Payment Method info is gone! I can never get to Step4 [Review and Place Order. The first three steps are clickable but Step4 is not. What is happening here?

  55. Darren


    Regarding the “ISBNs are not available in your country” I’m in the UK.


  56. Nick Popio

    For everyone seeing the “ISBNs are not available in your country” message, I just spoke with our distribution product manager and was informed that this is a temporary issue. We are currently restocking our supply of international ISBNs, and we should have the new stock within the next week or two. I apologize for the delay, and if you send me an email at with the subject line “ISBN Restock Information”, then I will let you know as soon as we have more.

    I will have the engineers look into the issue for you. In the meantime, can you email me at the above address with what operating system and internet browser you use?

  57. TEW


    I have been unable to purchase a distribution package.

    I do not see the option for buying a distribution package for ID 3977145 “An Apology To My Son” it was available a few weeks ago; I meet the criteria, the project is set for general. Can you assist?


  58. Nick Popio

    Have you submitted a customer support claim?

    If so, what is the reference id? I will try to get you some answers.

  59. I’ve been trying for the past few days to figure out what happened to PBY, and I just happened to see someone in the forums mention it was discussed in the Lulu Blog. Finally, it all makes sense. Thank you for explaining it so clearly. The information on the Help and FAQ pages is incomplete and confusing with regard to this change.

    I run three different authors cooperatives that rely on PBY. We need a service where our name is listed as the publisher, not Lulu, and the full global distribution options that were available with PBY. Lulu’s PBY fit our business model perfectly.

    I have projects that I need to move forward on, but I’m reluctant to buy a block of ISBNs when another service like PBY may be resurfacing at Lulu in the unspecified future, with who-knows-what changes to distribution.

    — Joshua

  60. Nick


    I sent a email a week ago and I still have had no reply. (A bit slower than Live chat!) The situation is that I have a book called The Unknown Warriors (A book with memories from WW2 veterans) that I set up earlier in the year and was really pleased at the quality. So far so good. I then got an ISBN which I think was Published by Lulu. I then spent the summer getting some amendments and extras for the final version. I had read that for £35 I could extend the distribution which sounded great. Then I approved the amended version and could not find the link that had been there on the project page. Then I started reading about all the changes and I am totally confused as to where I am at. I would like the new ‘Global Reach’ but can’t see how to upgrade to it. Ideally I would like to get the book on and for UK bookshops to able to order from a wholesaler by Remebrance day in November.

    I hope you can explain what the situation is and what if anything I need to do.

  61. Nick Popio

    I’m glad this post helped. Let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime I would suggest taking a look around

    What is the reference id you received from customer service? I will try to get you some answers.

  62. Cinthia

    Pocket Size book, 4.25 x 6.87″…only the ExtendedReach distribution package? And if I want Baker and Taylor listing the only way to get it is through GlobalReach?

    Why oh why and is possibly going to change in the near future? Thanks, Nick!

  63. Hello Nick,
    I was able to obtain a free ISBN for the new book today (in the UK) – this is very good news. BUT I am worried about a book we created a few weeks back and are still revising. The ISBN was assigned under the old system – if we ‘approve for distribution’ will it be OK? Or do we need to delete and assign a new ISBN using the new system? Thanks for your help – much appreciated.

  64. Nick Popio

    If it was already assigned then it should be okay. If you run into any difficulties though just email me at and I will try to help.

  65. Nick,

    I published two novels in 2007; one by P.A. & one by Cooke Communications but was dissatisfied by both publishers and had them printed by lulu under a published by you package. Here’s the thing I want to know. I want to publish another novel, I have several in private projects that I could publish anytime but I want to sell them as cheap as I can and I can already see that publishers grade is the best way to do that. I’ve gotten copies in publisher grade and can see no reason why lulu would be against using that grade for an author. Look, guys like me are not going to publish it unless we’re satisfied with the end result; you must know that? How much would it cost me to publish this by lulu and get the same coverage that I have on my previous novels. I am under the (mis)impression that if you purchase an ISBN then you automatically get posted on all the Internets bookstores; am I wrong? Because but my books are posted in all of them? Thanks in advance.


    Keith G.

  66. Andy


    I ‘published’ a book by an author on your site, with the intention of getting PBY UK, although, unfortunately, I never bought it before you closed it.

    The reasons I wanted PBY UK were to sell on and to have it not seen as published by lulu. (I also may want the book to be purchasable in Japan.)

    I am now confused what to do over a number of issues.

    (1) I want to sell it through You say that soon Extended Reach will provide this. When will this be?

    (2) As I want to publish it not under Lulu, if I buy 10 ISBN from Neilson, I presume, how can I enter them to the project already ‘published.’ ( Although I may make some tweaks to it) Do I need to delete the old project and start a new one, entering the ISBN no at the start now?

    (3) I have read that postage has gone up for certain book sizes, which are not printed in the UK. I have designed the book to be 8.5 x 8.5″ as that was a PBY qualifying size. Will this be printed in the UK and thus cheaper, or will I have to pay a lot for it to be posted from the US ?

    (4)For people in Japan to order it online I presume they can just buy it from Is there any advantage to GlobalReach given than selling in a shop is highly unlikely?

    PBY and cheaper UK based postage were the two reasons I went with Lulu and not a rival. I would be very grateful for your answers to these questions.


  67. Nick Popio

    Unfortunately books published with publisher grade paper are not currently eligible for distribution, but we are working on that. You can also choose to make two versions of your book, one using Publisher Grade and one using standard for distribution.

    As for your book being distributed online, an ISBN does not guarantee that, but the distribution options we have enabled will. Currently they are:
    * ExtendedReach – Lulu’s ExtendedReach service lists your title and ISBN in major bibliographic databases and makes your work available on Your book will appear as a regular listing on Amazon and will be eligible for Amazon’s discounts and shipping rates.

    * GlobalReach – Lulu’s GlobalReach service lists your title in major bibliographic databases and makes your title available to online retailers worldwide such as, Baker & Taylor, and Barnes & Noble. Brick and mortar book-stores, NACSCORP, and the Espresso Book Machine will also be able to order and stock your title if they desire.

    I hope this helps clarify things.

    1) That will be added with our next release which should be coming within the next week.

    2) You can revise the project and add the ISBN to it.

    3) Your book should print fine in the UK.

    4) Please see my above comment to Keith about the differences between Extended and Global.

  68. Nick,

    This is what I want to know about Lulu, are you a printer, a publisher or solely a Capitalist business enterprise?

    I had two books published in 2007 and was so dissatisfied with both publishers that I became determined to publish them myself, which I did, using Lulu as the printer for both.

    I will use Miami Rock as an example here; which was published by Publish America and which right from the start I knew something was funny with the publisher, because a 200-page book should not be priced at $24.95, especially from an unknown author.
    I soon realized that they were primarily targeting the authors to sell to when they constantly sent me discount offers on my own book, half-price and 60% discounts are normal for them, and I quickly got sucked in, buying 100 copies for $10.00 a book. Luckily, I sold most of them at the three bookstore reading/signings I did but it thoroughly disgusted me that I had to become a salesman to the totally uninterested publisher who targeted me instead of the reading public, to sell to.

    Okay, as a business you have to make a profit and I have nothing against that but do you hold out the general public, and in this case, aspiring and published as well as unpublished authors, and small publishers, to not be able to see what’s going on?

    I went to Lulu on the advice of my son and several writers whose opinions I respect but I you are not living up to my former opinion of what it is you do. If you are primarily selling your POD publishing packages, along with the scads of other POD publishers, who are currently littering the Internet and marketplace, please let me know because then I will use lightning source, or some other printer who is not primarily and solely out for as much profit as they can get from every single customer! Surely you must realize that myself and, believe me, there are many others, are not going to use your printing service if you won’t give us the best price that you are capable of giving. I am an unknown writer and cannot demand (purchase) the front of the bookstore racks, or even the back racks, and so I am primarily relying on selling my books over the Internet stores and they must be priced right. No one is going to buy a 200-page book for $24.95.

    Lulu printed this book ‘Miami Rock’ for me through the ‘published by you’ deal, where I got my own ISBN and I make a buck on retail print when I sell it for $12.95. I then got it printed publishers grade, by Lulu, for a cost to me of $5.53 and where I could make a dollar if I sold it for $6.78, which is a big difference from $12.95 and it blows $24.95 out of the water, obviously. But, then I find out that although Lulu will sell them to me for $5.53 they refuse to put them on the marketplace.

    I would like to publish this, again, along with my other books, through your company, Lulu, and sell it to the public but I cannot see many copies selling unless I can get it printed cheap enough and publishers grade is the only way I can do that, through Lulu. Look, intimidation, no matter how subtle, is still intimidation and it doesn’t work on me, and many others I know of also. So, stop trying to intimidate me to buy your POD services when I am already buying printing services and will buy other services, if I feel I need them. Give me some credit for knowing what I am doing and what it will take to get my business because, if Lulu’s business plan is now to sell copies to the author, then what difference are you from PA, or, literally, hundreds of others?

    Are you going to have many more writers, and small publishers, like me, print their books with you, or are you going to go for forgetting us, and we go elsewhere, so you can concentrate on selling a higher “package-deal” to everyone who peruses your website. Believe me, if you leave me, and many others, out, you will lose in the end, many writers and small publishers.

    The health care system in America is broken, not because of any one thing but because of a brand of Capitalism that puts everything, including human life, on the marketplace, and it is called “Bad Medicine,” the title of a book I will publish, through Lulu, if they allow me to do it on publisher’s grade paper. I’d like to publish this book a.s.a.p., so I would appreciate your answer also a.s.a.p.

    Kind Regards,

    Keith G.

  69. Nick Popio

    Thank you for your post, and I can assure you that while Lulu does offer services to our authors we also encourage authors to do what is best for them and will help them succeed first. Whether that’s through services or doing it yourself is completely up to you. I’m a little confused, because you mention that we’re unwilling to publish your Publisher’s Grade book to the marketplace. When you say “marketplace”, what do you mean? Are you referring to the Lulu marketplace? You should be able to use Publisher’s Grade paper and sell it to others via our marketplace. If you mean distribution channels, then that’s a limitation of the printers, and one we’re actively working on. I hope this helps, but if you have more questions please let me know.

  70. Nick,

    C’mon brother, you know what I’m talking about; I’m making it as plain as I can. I want to sell my books at the lowest possible price — which is publisher’s grade — period! I want to sell them on every site at the same low price; for example a buck profit for me — on the example I previously gave of ‘Miami Rock’ — which I would sell for $6.78 on all the sites, not just Lulu, which it currently is for sale at $12.95 the same as it is on Amazon, B&N, and all the rest. I wish to sell ‘Miami Rock’ and any others I publish at the lowest possible price, which on this example “Miami Rock,” again, at the behest of repeating myself innumerable times, would be $6.78, not $12.95, on all the sites, Amazon, B&N, UK sites, etc. Is that clear enough? And, what do you mean by a “limitation of the printers?” I thought Lulu was “the printer?”


    Keith G.

  71. Andy

    Dear Nick

    I am in the process of buying ISBN’s from Nielson. But there are two parts I am not sure about Lulu’s role in.

    What do I put as
    (1) name and address of distributor and
    (2) Orders Address (only if different from distributor)

    Are Lulu the distributor and what address do I give for orders?

    I would be grateful for your advice on this as soon as is convenient as I can’t fill it in otherwise.

    Also you previously tole me that your Extended Reach package would sell on ( which I want do to do) in a week. Has this now been implemented?

    Many thanks


  72. Audrey

    Hi Nick,

    Can you please help or escalate this to Ben the Distribution Product Manager for an acceptable solution? I have been emailing with the help folks but they don’t seem to have the ability to resolve, as it’s rooted in a larger systemic issue:

    I created a hardcover 6×9 book intended for Published by Lulu with Expanded Distribution. Before beginning the project, back in May, I confirmed with Distribution Services (ticket LTK152021168002X) that this book would be eligible. I created the project, got the ISBN number, purchased and received my proof copy, approved the proof copy on Sept 30th, SENT PRESS RELEASES and blog posts and other publicity including the ISBN and the fact that it would be available on Amazon, through Ingram, etc in about 6-8 weeks using that ISBN…. and THEN was told that Expanded Distribution is no longer available AND that I can’t simply purchase GlobalReach instead, I would need to start a new project with a DIFFERENT ISBN.

    Obviously, this is a bit of a problem, which doesn’t look good either for me or for Lulu, and I can’t be the only one caught by it. I understand that the recent changes to Lulu’s distribution options didn’t take this sort of situation into account, but perhaps there is a way to fix it on a case-by-case basis? A simple one-off change in the database, for instance, for any customers affected, that would re-identify their projects as one of the new categories and allow for purchasing GlobalReach?

    Thanks in advance for your help. The ProjectID is 7361291; the existing tickets are 00318085 and 00316966.


  73. Nick Popio

    That’s certainly clear. I apologize, I’m just trying to understand your situation as fully as possible. Unfortunately, Publisher Grade books are not available for distribution at this time. Our distribution partners use various printers with different print requirements. As the quality of the publisher grade paper is not “standard” all of the distribution partners are not able to use it. Therefore, we cannot submit books of this type to our distribution channel. We must provide the standard. We are looking into alternatives and options, but for the time being that’s where things stand.

    As for the pricing of books in distribution, please be aware that there is also a level of retailing pricing that will apply to your book. You have the ability to set whatever price you choose; however, there is a retail markup applied once the book is made available in retail channels. You can read more about this at

    If you are buying your own ISBN from Nielsen then you should not include any information about Lulu. You own the ISBN. As for ExtendedReach, yes that should be ready. Books that are submitted through the extendedREACH distribution package are sent to It is up to Amazon to place the titles on their international sites.

    My understanding is that customer service has contacted you with some options, but please email me at if your situation has not been resolved.

  74. Audrey

    Thanks for the response, Nick — the customer service options don’t work in my case because I need to get the project into distribution with the CURRENT (already-publicized) ISBN. I’ve sent you a follow-up email so you can help further.


  75. Hello Nick,
    It is great that Lulu is listening to the distribution problems its users are having and trying to resolve these.
    However, I am still struggling with distribution issues and am confused about the new distribution packages and how the changes affect people with the older packages.
    I had my book on the free PBL package but bookstores could not order it apart from on-line sellers.
    I switched to a new edition on the Expanded Distribution package (the original version was not eligible). However, UK Waterstone’s still say they cannot see it on their catalogue and other sellers say they cannot order from Ingrams distribution.
    Lulu Help Desk says the book is all set up & book stores should be able to get it.

    I don’t want to become a bookseller or distributor, I just want book shops to be able to get my book direct through their normal systems.
    Then I can get on with what I do best, writing!
    Please can you advise?

  76. Nick Popio

    I’m not sure what is causing that so I have asked our distribution specialists to take a look. I will let you know as soon as I know more.

  77. Nick,

    I’m trying to publish “Bad Medicine” as published by you but it seems I clicked the wrong button and it is now saying it will be published bu lulu. Can you help on this?

    Keith G.

  78. Nick Popio

    I believe you can go back to the ISBN step in the publishing process and change it, but if that does not work, please let me know.

  79. I can go back to the beginning where you put in your Name and the Title of the project. But from there I click next and it doesn’t go to the distriution page like it’s supposed to. It seems to have locked in the ISBN configuration in there. I always though you could go back and edit the dist. package.

  80. Nick Popio

    It looks like you’re right. I will advise the engineers that they should look into allowing people to easily deselect that option. In the meantime, the easiest solution might be to delete the revision. Would that work for you? I apologize for the inconvenience.

  81. Yes if we can revert back to the revision before that would work fine for me. I don’t want to delete the whole project though.

  82. Nick Popio

    If you go to your project list you should see two versions, the one you had previously published and the one you are revising. You can delete the revision version without losing the project.

  83. Nick,

    Got it; thanks.

  84. Nick. I removed the revision and the current project still has a Lulu ISBN locked in. Any suggestions?

  85. Nick Popio

    I apologize, I didn’t realize that the previous version had that on it. You may have to publish a new version since you will need to add a different ISBN to the project. I apologize for the inconvenience.

  86. Okay man thanks.

  87. I have my own ISBN but only general access as my book size is not eligible for extended or global. My question is can I list Lulu as the distributor with Bowkers? I have my ISBN from Thorpe Bowker in Australia.

  88. My second question is why didn’t I have to approve a proof copy to make it available? Is it because it is only on Lulu?

  89. Nick Popio

    I would recommend submitting your question about Lulu as the distributor to our support staff using the form here:

    You are correct, you don’t have to approve a proof copy because it is only available on Lulu.

  90. Tom Z.


    I am still not clear re: your answer to Andy about Nielsen. Applying for ISBN from Nielsen I would list myself (NOT Lulu) as the publisher. That’s clear. But they also want details of the distributor (in default of which orders will be sent to me – not LULU – by email). Do I then list LULU as the distributor so orders go to you and not me?

  91. Nick Popio

    I’m not 100% sure. I believe so, but it would be best if you filled out a case using our support system and asked the distribution experts.

  92. Good response in return of this matter with firm arguments and describing the whole thing
    about that.

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