Last summer, while sitting in a team meeting reviewing numbers (bear with me, it gets better), an intriguing stat caught my eye: 70% of our authors make their print books available as downloads, and those authors sell 30% more books than those who offer print editions only! Even without a “real” eBook publishing option, Lulu authors were flocking to make digital files available, and succeeding in increasing their sales. Since then, we’ve been on a mission to provide a better eBook option. Today, I’m pleased to announce, new Lulu eBooks have arrived!
Why publish an eBook? The simple answer is it makes sense for both authors (universal distribution, more sales, and higher royalties) and readers (cheaper than print, instant delivery, and mobile access). How can Lulu help? By providing features to support a wide range of scenarios: give eBooks away for free as a marketing tool, automatically link eBook and print editions to enhance discovery and provide more options to readers, and offer optional copy-protection (DRM) to prevent piracy and unlicensed distribution.
Beginning today, Lulu supports all of these options, and more. With multi-device support, readers can access your eBook on a Mac, PC, iPhone (Stanza), Sony Reader, and many others. You can now upload files in the popular EPUB format, which is quickly becoming the industry standard (see recent announcements by Barnes & Noble and Sony). Concerned about losing sales when you make unprotected digital content available in the marketplace? You can now apply DRM to your eBook, and sell a licensed version which can’t be freely copied and distributed.
To support enabling these features for more than a million Lulu authors, Lulu has adopted a new pricing structure for eBooks and print downloads. As always, it’s still free to publish, and if you choose, you can continue to give away your digital content for free. For authors who want to sell eBooks and downloads, we’ve added a fixed $1.49 base price to cover our credit card processing and hosting expenses. Applying DRM (optional, eBooks only) adds $.99 to the base price to offset the fee charged by our DRM provider. To reiterate, authors never pay to publish, these fees are reflected in the list price and are only charged to the purchaser at purchase time.
All of us at Lulu are excited about our new eBooks, and welcome your feedback. Stay tuned–we’re actively exploring many more features, including providing easy access to retail distribution channels with the goal of enabling Lulu authors to sell eBooks in every online marketplace. Meanwhile, we encourage you to get started and publish an eBook today.