Articles tagged "API"

Lulu Presents at the Mongo DB Conference in Atlanta

I do not speak engineer speak. Luckily, Lulu has a team of brilliant team of engineers who do speak that foreign language and speak it well. So well, in fact, that our Senior Engineering Manager Kevin Calcagno is presenting today at the Mongo DB Conference hosted by 10gen in Atlanta on his experience and expertise using the Mongo database system.

Mongo DB is a free, open source solution (to be more specific, an open source NoSQL database), which is part of the attraction for Lulu, since Lulu has always supported the concept of free, open source software. Lulu itself is open-source software that we make available for anyone to use for free. For more info on how to build your own publishing business using our APIs, read this: Expand Your Business With Custom Publishing Solutions. Our history with open source extends even farther back in time to when Lulu CEO Bob Young founded Red Hat.

Kevin has spoken at a Mongo event before, hosted at our Lulu headquarters here in Raleigh. For slides of his past presentation, look to farther: Why we decided NoSQL was right for us, How we came to choose MongoDB.

“When we hosted here, we had so many people attending that we had to start stealing chairs from people’s desks around the office to provide enough seating!

Kevin’s talk today will focus on the insights he can provide based on Lulu’s experience using Mongo DB. He plans to give his audience a sense of what prompted us to switch to Mongo, what the implementation process was like and what we tripped on along the way so that they don’t have to.

“Mongo is really freaking fast,” Kevin says. “Whereas our old system, since it had to pull together so many pieces of data, was comparatively slow. Fractions of seconds add up pretty quickly when you have the volume of traffic that we do.”

The Mongo DB Conference is a very technical conference, but highly recommended for those with the appropriate knowledge base. And, just a little nudge in the right direction, if you fit that description, Lulu encourages authors with technical expertise to publish their information, books, manuals and more through Lulu.com.

And if this tech speak is over your head, what is important for you to know as an author is that Lulu’s engineers are working hard every day to provide the best way to keep your valuable information and content safe, organized and easily accessible.

Expand Your Business with Custom Publishing Solutions

I had an interesting conversation with an up and coming author recently who has a very specific vision.  She wants to cut out any potential for a “middle-man” to distract her readers from finding and buying her works.  She eventually even wants to run her own publishing business directly from her website starting with her own titles.  This would enable her to maximize her profits and directly tap into her fan-base while helping other aspiring authors share their works too.  The problem is she didn’t have an easy means of distribution, eBook creation, or order fulfillment.  She needed someone to help her do all the heavy lifting on the backend, so she could focus on creating a successful business.  That’s where Lulu and our Open Publishing APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) come in.

An API is kind of like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work.  All the “blocks” that make Lulu’s great self-publishing site function are available to the public so that anyone can use them no matter their needs or their market.  With Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike can take whatever pieces they need from Lulu and use them on their own websites to instantly produce, manage, and sell content.  The best part? They are absolutely free.

Suddenly this up and coming author has a completely customized publishing solution to start that business she dreams about.  She can sign up other authors but can relax while she uses Lulu’s global print-on-demand network to cut on shipping costs.  She gets to offer her authors distribution through Lulu’s retail partners like Amazon, iBookstore(SM), and NOOK Bookstore – where many readers already shop. It’s all under her own imprint and designed for her to be more profitable than ever before possible.

Lulu is constantly rolling out new APIs too.  Coming soon Lulu’s eCommerce APIs will be released for general availability, enabling customers to buy directly through an author or business’s own website. Also be on the look out for general availability of our Creator Revenue APIs which allow a business or imprint to easily keep track of an author’s earnings.

Indeed, the Lulu APIs are empowering people and organizationslike our friends at campus bookstores across the nation – to grow and monetize content in exciting new ways while diversifying revenue and expanding their businesses – all under one roof.  Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for some more exciting news about how our APIs are helping to break down even more barriers for authors, for businesses, and for everyone in between.

 

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: Publishing for the Future

 

The only way to predict the future is to invent it.

Only seven short years ago Lulu launched what was one of the very first, if not the first, self-publishing sites on the Internet.   Since then, we’ve served millions of authors by helping sell tens of millions of their books.

But what was a great idea then is only a good idea today.  Our success has spawned a myriad of imitators some of whom, I am forced to admit, are almost as good at what we do as we are.   Competition is the least of our concerns.  The bigger trend we are embracing to better serve our customers is, of course, the explosion of eBook readers and digital marketplaces, which are changing the very nature of what a book is.

As you no doubt expect, we’ve been working hard to re-invent Lulu to offer features our competitors have yet to even dream about.   We are moving from a concept of self-publishing to one of open-publishing.   In very broad terms self-publishing is what it sounds like:  we give you the tools and you get to publish your book yourself.    The concept of open-publishing is one where we give you the platform and you are empowered to innovate the tools and solutions that best fit your needs and help you sell more books.  The Lulu platform will be of particular benefit to a new generation of publishers who can create new tools to help authors reach more readers, monetize out-of-print or back-catalogued titles, and grow their customer-base.  We will have several more major announcements coming throughout this year, the first being our exciting new Open Publishing APIs (Application Programming Interface), recently made available to the public.

With our APIs, which you can download and play with over at developer.lulu.com, Lulu is helping a new generation of creators profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before. For those of you who don’t know, an API is like a Lego® block that makes a website or application work. And with Lulu APIs, authors, publishers, businesses, and developers alike, are able to create a new breed of web applications, powered by Lulu, and marketed under their own brand names – absolutely free.

So far, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and innovation we’ve seen in the sites and applications people have come up with. Some of our favorite examples are twournal.com, that lets turn your tweets into a book, and beforeigrewup.com, where you can capture your children’s life into a book and seamlessly share it with friends and family. Since its launch in late 2010, developer.lulu.com has grown to 150 registered developers, 45 applications and is live on 10 sites.

By releasing all of the great features found on Lulu.com such as document conversion, order fulfillment, and ecommerce through a series of APIs, Lulu is redefining the future for all publishers and providing our creators with even more freedom.  Now a new generation of publisher can now offer unique and innovative publishing services to their authors and the audiences those authors serve by using Lulu’s global print and retail networks, our commerce engine that can calculate royalties in a range of currencies all in real time, and our publishing tools that can help those authors turn their ideas into valuable books.

To learn more, or to tell your techie friends about it without having to learn more, visit:  developer.lulu.com

Cheers,

Bob

Lulu API voted a favorite at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin

Mashery’s Circus Mashimus lounge

Partnering with Mashery, the leading provider of API management services, Lulu demoed its Publication API at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin, Texas this past weekend.  Mashery’s Circus Mashimus lounge was billed as a magnet for Web application developers and designers looking to attract buzz and networking around API platforms.  Lulu used the opportunity to showcase our Publication API, which allows individuals and publishers to create web applications, powered by Lulu’s backend tools, and marketed under their own brand names. They are then free to upload and publish books in any format (paperback, hardcover, eBook) to sell on Lulu.com and other leading retail channels.

Before I Grew Up’s Ben Barnett came from the London, England to show how his site is using the Lulu API to easily publish community generated Baby photo books.  Hundreds of show attendees came through the lounge each day, enjoying free food and beverages of course, and were very impressed with the tools available and how the Lulu Publication API is further enhancing the open-publishing model.  Through Twitter, users were also able to vote for their favorite API at Circus Mashimus. We’d like to thank everyone for helping make Lulu the second highest voted API out of the 14 companies represented in the contest.

Lulu also ran its own contest for developers at SXSWi.  Developers were encouraged to publish a short eBook through our Publication API.  Despite packed conference schedules and late-night networking events, numerous developers still found the time to successfully publish through our API.  Congratulations to Samuel Yu from Austin for winning our contest, which earned him an Apple TV®.

Lulu at SXSWi in Austin, Texas

Keeping true to the light-hearted and festive atmosphere of the Circus Mashimus lounge, Lulu provided pocket mustaches for show attendees. “Pocket staches” as they were commonly referred to, quickly became a must-have item for Circus Mashimus attendees, with people trying to collect as many different varieties as possible.

Finally, Lulu would like to give a big thank you to Mashery and to all the folks who stopped by our booth. We really enjoyed meeting the Lulu authors at SXSWi who took the time to come find us and all of the developers who have taken an interest in our Publication API. It was great to meet so many interesting and remarkable people … all of which are now sporting Lulu mustaches.

Lulu at SXSW Interactive - Austin, Texas

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