Lulu is another site on which self-published authors can publish both their eBook and print copies. Lulu is similar to Smashwords in that not only does it sell your book on its own site, it also distributes your eBook to Amazon, Apple iBookstore and Nook, giving you 90% of the profit from the sales. Also like Smashwords, it keeps a cut of the money from the distribution and offers free ISBNs.
I’ve done some calculations on the royalties for you to make it a bit simpler. If your book sells on the Lulu site you will lose 10% of the list price, giving you 90% of the sales. That’s higher than the 85% from Smashwords, but the retail distribution from Lulu is not as vast as Smashwords so your book is not as available for sale. Plus Smashwords has your book available for download in a huge number of formats. You have to weigh up the options.
If your book sells on Apple, Amazon or Barnes and Noble through Lulu, you will lose the initial commission – 30% (higher for Amazon – see below), and then a further 10% on top of that, giving you 62.8% of the list price. This is slightly higher than what you get from Smashwords. But as I said before, it’s free to list your book on Smashwords and the distribution is better. But honestly, I’m being a huge nit-picker, both are excellent compared to what you would get if you were traditionally-published!
Unlike Smashwords, there is a fee to format your book into the necessary ePub file; $109 for just the conversion, or $149 for the conversion and also “valuable insight into better marketing for your book”. Now I have to be honest here, I have no bleeding idea what it means by the valuable insight into marketing bit, but considering that you can get good information on this subject for free from both Smashwords and Bookbaby I’d be a little careful before I paid any extra money.
If, however, you have formatted your own ePub file, there is a DIY option at the bottom RHS of the eBooks page allowing you to upload your ePub for free.
Lulu pays by cheque or PayPal, 45 days after the end of the quarter on a minimum of $20. Like Amazon and Smashwords it does keep the 30% tax. So if you decide to use Lulu, and are in a country with a tax treaty, make sure you get the W-8BEN sent off as per the instructions in the ITIN section.
Lulu has a http://connect.lulu.com/t5/eBook-Formatting-Publishing/eBook-Creator-Guide/ta-p/109443 on how to format your file ready for upload. It sounds a lot like the instructions for Smashwords which can be complex, but while Smashwords are turning your file into multiple different formats, Lulu is just producing an ePub file. Better instead to load up your own ePub file.
I won’t be covering any more information on the Lulu eBook service, but there are http://connect.lulu.com/t5/Lulu-Connect-Self-publishing-and/tkbc-p/en_US telling you all you need to know.
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