Articles tagged "future"

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

The Telepathy Standard

Once upon a time, there was a clear distinction between author and publisher.  Despite everyone’s knowledge and expertise, not everyone had access to the tools and resources necessary to make content public. Publishing was a closed system. Now, thanks to the Internet and digital text, publishing is open and more and more opportunities are becoming available to creators, businesses, developers and publishers alike – everyday.

Today we live in a world where it’s possible for someone to share their ideas instantaneously across multiple devices and platforms – electronically or in print.

But what comes next?

Lulu Founder and CEO Bob Young shares his thoughts on that question in the The Telepathy Standard below as he highlights why telepathy is the gold standard by which authors transfer content to their readers and how we are getting closer to that standard everyday with advances in technology.

eBooks and the Future of Publishing

Last Tuesday, Lulu attended the “Future of Book Publishing” roundtable at the New York Public Library, hosted by Kodak. Lulu’s own Paul M., along with Lulu author Melinda Roberts, were there to discuss the top technological and economic challenges facing the publishing industry today.

The panel provided a unique opportunity to gain first hand insights and perspectives from publishing insiders including authors, printers, and traditional publishers.

“One of the main topics was of course eBooks,” said Paul. “The convergence of e-sales and POD technology are exerting pressure on both ends of the supply chain. Everyone wants to know how this effects each industry stakeholder’s overall strategy.”

As customers continue to discover a myriad of new devices to purchase and read books with, eBooks are definitely worth keeping an eye on. What is perhaps more interesting is the fact that out of last December’s total eBook sales, many of the top sellers were self-published authors, according to research done by authors Derek Canyon and Robin Sullivan.

“Many of these authors don’t have a traditionally published book under their belt,” said Paul. “It’s not just people that are already famous, going out on their own and selling a bunch anymore. Some of them are Lulu authors and they are selling hundreds of thousands of copies.”

In the past, it could take upwards of 18 months before an author’s work would be available for sale. Now authors can easily create a book and have it out for sale in a matter of minutes, either electronically or in print. Either way, books are evolving to a point to where they aren’t made until they’re bought and paid for. The days where a publishing house had to guess how many books they thought an author would sell and then “print and pray” based off that estimate are numbered.

“Lulu is empowering people to create self-sustaining businesses with their print and electronic books,” Paul says. “Authors can sell their work in the format their customers prefer, and with our global print network, authors literally have the world at their fingertips.”

Visit the Kodak roundtable site to learn more about the event and the future of publishing. And be sure to keep checking lulu.com to see what exciting new ways we’re helping authors and publishers profit by enabling them to bring their knowledge and expertise to their customers more easily than ever before.

Lulu at Internet Summit 2010

The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.

Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that).  Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.

Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.

We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.