Articles by Tom

Lulu Says Goodbye to DRM

Lulu was founded on the philosophy of breaking down barriers that prevent talented authors from sharing their knowledge and telling their stories. Our goal is to help authors reach the broadest possible audience by providing tools to create, publish, market and sell their remarkable work. In an ongoing commitment to our founding philosophy, we continue to remove barriers when we see them, which brings us to the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM)…

Effective January 15, 2013, Lulu will no longer offer Adobe’s Digital Editions DRM as an option when publishing or revising eBook content in EPUB and PDF formats. DRM works best when administered by those who control how content is purchased and viewed. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble integrate a reader’s experience from purchasing to downloading and finally to reading. These companies do a fantastic job in this area, and eBooks published through Lulu and distributed through these retail sites will continue to have the same rights management applied as they do today.

For readers who download eBooks directly from Lulu.com to the device of their choice, removing DRM on EPUBs and PDFs will remove their need to create an Adobe account, authorize the purchase in Digital Editions or install a third-party application. This creates possibilities for the growing number of readers who want to shop, purchase and download books to their eReaders from sites other than large corporate providers. And we see that as a step towards helping authors reach the broadest audience possible.

Lulu authors with DRM-protected content available today will soon receive an email with additional information about how this change affects their DRM-protected eBooks and the steps required to ensure continued availability of these titles in the Lulu Marketplace. You can also find additional – and more detailed – information about the change here: Announcement: DRM and eBooks Published on the Lulu Marketplace.

We realize that any mention of support for or opposition to DRM in a public blog post, forum, or article will spark a heated debate between publishers and consumers. In the spirit of open communication, we welcome your comments and will respond to your concerns as needed.

Thank you for choosing Lulu to tell your story. We wish you great success in the coming year.

Print is Dead; Long Live Print – Print Sales Stronger than Ever Thanks to eBooks

Everyone is talking about eBooks these days.  I was just on a flight where it seemed like everyone had either an iPad, Nook, Kindle, or some other device they were using to read their books.  So where does that leave print?

Well at Lulu, print is going as strong as ever.  Creators on Lulu published over 50,000 new print book titles in 2011, up nearly 9% over 2010.  What’s perhaps more interesting however is that print titles accounted for an incredible 68% of Lulu’s total sales last year, which really says something about the buying and sharing patterns of readers.

Undoubtedly eBooks are on the rise, but we’ve noticed a trend where readers with an eBook might tell a friend without an e-reader about a title and that friend then goes and buys a print copy.  Time and again, we’ve seen examples of authors publishing both a print and eBook version of their works and going on to sell more than double the amount of total copies over authors who only sell one or the other.

One clever tactic we’ve seen authors use to drive print sales too is to offer free eBook previews of their titles. Several authors used this method over the holidays last year. We saw eBook sales double the day after Christmas and just a few days later, on the 28th, print sales tripled!

Today’s author can’t predict where their next fan might come from and readers don’t want to have to choose between formats.  They just want it to be easy.  Lulu’s mission in all of this is to ensure that we’re providing creators and buyers with the most options for selling their works – be they print or electronic – through more and more partnerships with premier retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple.  And while eBooks are certainly gaining momentum, our print catalogue sits at 618,687 titles – almost exactly even with our eBook catalogue.  Clearly, print is still alive.

Cheers,

Tom

 

Website Enhancements to Better Serve You

Hi Lulu fans,

You may have noticed over the past few hours the Lulu.com site was down while we put some big updates in place to bring you an even better self-publishing experience. 2012 will be a great year for lulu.com, and it’s just starting!

So, What’s New?

  1. Easier to Use – We’ve added registration-less checkout, enhanced checkout pages, updated the homepage, and refined other content across the site to make it easier than ever for creators to understand services, and for readers to find their titles.
  2. Speed – Browsing, searching and checkout are faster than ever, making it easier for readers to purchase your works.
  3. Enhanced Store Section – ¿Hablas Español? No problemo. You can now browse the US lulu.com store in Spanish. Additionally, you can now select a store that offers an online shopping experience based on your preferred language and currency.
  4. Improved Address Validation – You sent us a lot of feedback on address validation failures, so we have implemented changes to reduce the number of errors generated.

Lulu.com – Number 1 in eBooks

2011 was an exciting year for independent publishing – new technology, devices and formats are changing the way people create and consume content. By far the stand out this year happened in the eBooks space. Creators published a stunning 115,517 new eBooks on Lulu.com in 2011, up 22% over 2010.

The surge in eBooks published has helped make Lulu the #1 source of independent content on the iBookstore(SM) and Nook Bookstore with 60,000+ titles available in these channels right now. This number is growing rapidly every day thanks to Lulu’s continued commitment to developing the best eBook publishing tools available.

With 10 years of experience helping over 1.1 million creators in 200+ countries and territories bring their content to the world, we have grown our eBook catalogue to a whopping 620,000 titles.  Your content is making a difference in the world of publishing and Lulu is proud to be your partner.

While eBooks are clearly gaining strength in numbers, the future of eBooks is still being defined, with Lulu investing heavily in that future. For instance right now we are hard at work paving the way for the next generation of eBooks. Please stay tuned for exciting updates as we embark on this next chapter in independent publishing. And next week, we’ll take a look at where print books fit into the mix.

Update from Lulu Chief Operation Officer – Tom Bright

Hello Lulu fanatics and creators,

My name is Tom Bright, and I am the President and Chief Operating Officer at Lulu.  Today, I’m writing my first blog post and what better time than now, when so many new and exciting opportunities are becoming available for authors every day.  In my posts, I’ll speak to these opportunities, like Apple’s newly announced iBooks® Author app, what they mean for you, and how Lulu’s tools give you the ultimate control over your publishing experience.  This will empower you to go even further with your works in more markets including not only the iBookstore℠, but also Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and the NOOK Book Store, as an eBook or in print.

Our mission here at Lulu is to make sure you, our remarkable content creators, are able to take full advantage of these opportunities.  We want to help you reach more readers and sell more books – no matter your background or goals – all while maximizing your visibility and your profits.  We do this through our retail partnerships with companies like Apple, which already has over 60,000 Lulu eBooks for sale on iBookstore shelves.

Speaking of Apple, we think what they’re offering aspiring authors is great.  It is just one more way to share knowledge and ideas with each other – an endeavor that is becoming more and more important. I’ve read the concerns of bloggers and journalists around iBooks Author.  I believe that especially in a self-publishing world, the author has a responsibility to market their book and distribute it as widely as possible.  After all, isn’t this the goal – the transfer of ideas to as many people as possible?  When the publishers and bookstores controlled which books were available for sale, marketing could be left to the publisher.  Today, the barrier to publishing is lower than it has ever been.  No author can afford to restrict their work to a single channel.  Lulu’s tools make it easier than ever to distribute to the widest array of physical and digital bookstores.

Indeed, it is through the power of options that we give authors what matters most:  control.  We’ve found that authors don’t want to choose between formats, channels, or mediums, and we don’t believe you, or your readers, should have to.  Through Lulu’s distribution partnerships, print-on-demand, and eBook technologies, authors are able to best meet the needs of all their customers in the ways that make the most sense for them.  Because an author today can never really be sure how someone might discover and read their titles, Lulu is here to ensure your titles are accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Feel free to click the following links to learn more about Lulu’s publishing and distribution options and how they can work for you.

Cheers,

Tom

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