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Goodbye Lulu...

I think Lulu have now priced themselves out of the market for me and my buying habits.

I'd seen some discussions on a number of forums (publisher and consumer) about the Lulu price rises and shipping costs but didn't really pay too much attention to it. I was on their site this evening to pick up a printed copy of a new book a friend is releasing and wanted me to have a look over for him (I got a free PDF of it to look over but prefer physical copies). Needless to say I found a number of other games I fancied buying at the same time and got over to check out with a modest £36.45 worth of books - to find out that postage would now cost me £71.53 for a total of £107.98!!!!!

Lulu can F**k right off if they think I'll be happy paying that (and it was the only shipping option they gave me).

I sent them the below question...

Dear Lulu,
How come your postage has increased so much?
It was over double the cost of my prespective order (order = £36.45 postage = £71.53)!
Have you shut down your UK and European printers and only operating one out of Outer Mongolia or some far flung Asteroid field? That's the only reason I can think of for such prohibitive postage costs.
Please let me know when/if these charges are changing or if this is going to be standard costings from now on with Lulu?
Many thanks,
Angus Abranson
Publisher, Writer, Retailer and Customer

I don't think I'll be using, or recommending Lulu again unless something significant changes :(


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
If you friend used Lightning Source, you could buy the book from many online sources, including from shops in the UK.
Nov. 23rd, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
That's not a fair comparison at all; the business model of selling via LuLu vs. printing at Lightning Source [or any other short run printer] and selling via other vendors isn't the same.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
Well, with LSI you need to have your own ISBNs, and there are (very low) setup costs. But you can still order and ship as little as one book from LSI, or have them list with book distributors and have it available from Amazon and very other dotcom bookseller.

It really isn't much of a barrier to entry, and you get a much larger distribution network. Frankly, I've never understood why people use Lulu at all.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Does LSI do direct customer sales? There's a big benefit right up front, for those that don't want to do little work on the publishing/printing end of things.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
No, but you can be automatically listed with companies that use the big book distributors (Ingram and Baker & Taylor in the US, Bertram's and Blackwell's in the UK), so you're automatically listed with Amazon, B&N, Powell's, etc, so your customers can buy the books from them.... wIth a much higher profit margin than Lulu offers.

If you wanted to do web sales, you could drop the book direct from LSI to the customer using a web form, but I only sell books direct at trade shows. My site just links to Amazon.
Nov. 24th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
If you wanted to do web sales, you could drop the book direct from LSI to the customer using a web form, but I only sell books direct at trade shows. My site just links to Amazon.

All of that is possible with Lulu, too. For experimental books or others that aren't destined for distribution, Lulu is low investment with reasonably good quality. Their current issues with shipping are troublesome, though.
Nov. 23rd, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
That's ridiculous and doesn't seem to correlate with the published shipping charges.
5.25 for three items is OK. How many did you want to buy?
Nov. 23rd, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Four or five I think.

Might go back and place two seperate orders *if* they only charge me £5.25 per three items...
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Let me know if you find a better publisher. I have a friend who writes books on Victorian martial arts.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)
You could always print out the PDF. Given the incredibly low cost of printer ink, you could probably get the price down just fractionaly below £71.00.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
Let me know if you find a better publisher. I have a friend who writes books on Victorian martial arts and I think he uses Lulu.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)
Either Lighting Source (www.lightningsource.com) or Book Surge (www.booksurge.com) would be better than Lulu. Personally, I think Lightning Source is the most effective use of your money.

Note that they're printers, not publishers.
Nov. 24th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
I went back and looked, and before the Lulu prices weren't competitive: now they're positively obscene. They charge you $100 for a single ISBN when you could buy ten for $275? Their print prices are nuts unless you're sure you'll sell less than 25 copies of something... and if you would, why would you even bother?

Nov. 24th, 2008 08:21 am (UTC)
I know someone else who's been having issues with them.
Nov. 24th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
I think I see what they're doing.

For up to 3 items you get the discounted rate, then after that they send you one of the expensive flat rate boxes where you pay a stupid amount but can be filled with as much stuff as you can cram in. Which works if you buy a lot, but totally uneconomical of you buy 4 things. But it's easier for them to administer.

I found this when ordering 1 item from a US website, they wanted my to pay for a $60 flat rate box to the UK, (presumably because it's far easier than weighing and calculating per item) so simply got free P&P to a friend in the US who shipped it over for $7.

I guess if you order from Lulu you have to order in 3s.
Nov. 24th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)

I know someone who did exactly the same thing ordering from a well-known *cough White Wolf* publisher's online store recently. The cost for S&H to the UK was US$39.50 for a mere two books, so he had them sent to a US address of a friend and then re-posted by them. :)

So many companies seem determined to rip off customers by overcharging for shipping and handling after getting their attention by undercutting on the initial price - it's a self-defeating practice IMO. O_o

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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