Lulu And The iBookstore: Say NO!

Get Your eBook in the Apple iBookstore

Don’t do it.

Here’s why.

Lulu says:

ISBNs. Apple requires ISBNs on eBooks. Lulu can assign one for free.

And who will own that ISBN? If you’re getting it for free, I doubt that’s going to be you. See why ISBN ownership matters.

Lulu says:

Validation. Apple has a strict file validation process. All files submitted must pass ePubCheck 1.0.5. If you create your own ePub file, you must verify that it will pass. Lulu can only guarantee validation for ePub files created through our conversion service.

Of course they’ll guarantee validation of ePub files only they create — because they want you to pay them to create the files! They also probably don’t want you to know it’s possible for you to validate your own ePub files either by downloading software or doing it online. Both of those options are free.

Lulu’s fees for creating an ePub file are for suckers only. If you want it done well and at a reasonable expense, contact someone like Moriah Jovan.

Lulu says:

The creator revenue that you receive per sale will be 80 percent of the profit after deducting Apple’s share.

If you can’t see the math trick there, even a math retard like me can. The Apple split is 30% to Apple, 70% to publisher. You should be your own publisher (or join a writers co-op — such as). Here, Lulu is the publisher. That 70% becomes a new 100% and Lulu is skimming a whopping twenty percent off of it! So you wind up with fifty percent of the book’s price. That’s for suckers.

Lulu says:

For a limited time, Lulu will provide free distribution to the iBookstore.

Then why skim twenty percent off the top?! Or do they intend to charge an additional “distribution fee” on top of everything else later?

Lulu says:

The simplest way to reach the iBookstore is to have us convert your file into an ePub. As mentioned earlier, we guarantee that it will pass Apple’s validation process

Making sure an ePub file is compliant with the ePub spec is not an “Apple validation process” by any stretch of the imagination!

Lulu says:

The other approach is a manual one. You’ll need to make your own ePub file and make any necessary improvements until is passes ePubCheck 1.0.5.

Ah, how nice that this alternative is mentioned, long after the hard sales pitch. But notice the link is only to the download software, not the website version!

Lulu also says:

1. Lulu will assign a free Lulu ISBN to your book.

Again, who will own that ISBN?

Lulu says:

2. Lulu will price the iBookstore version of your book to comply with Apple’s price guidelines and restrictions. Authors will not be able to change the price for now.

And that price will be what, exactly? With Lulu taking a whopping twenty percent skim, you can bet dear Lulu wants the highest possible price! And that highest possible price might not be in your best interests.

If you’re a current Lulu customer, this probably makes some sense — in the “Aw, let them handle this crap” apathetic sense. And you deserve getting taken to the cleaners for being so apathetic!

There is still no great rush for anyone to get into the iBookstore. The First Mover big-sale possibilities that app makers enjoy just aren’t possible with books. The app makers are generally like you — small. There are very few big publishers clogging the App Store with a ton of apps. They are, however, five big publishers clogging the iBookstore with their books!

Learn what it means to create an ePub file. Learn what the reasonable costs for doing that are, if you don’t believe you can do it yourself — or don’t want to DIY. Learn what an ISBN means and why metadata is crucial. And also learn what rights you’re possibly signing away! There is plenty of help and experience out there.

The days of writers expecting a traditional publisher to do everything are over. And these new “publishers” masquerading as DIY services are like the apocryphal story of Levi Strauss during the California Gold Rush — he, legend would have you believe, got rich selling the miners jeans. And the miners went broke not finding the gold they expected.

There is no gold rush at the iBookstore for self-published books, so calm down and don’t get taken to the cleaners.

8 responses to “Lulu And The iBookstore: Say NO!

  1. Holy Crap!! This is why so many people have a foul taste for anything that doesn’t come out of NY. Lulu has set itself up as a publisher and has neglected to tell the authors they are raping that little fact.

    Run, Forrest, run!!!!

  2. Yep. Lots of people out there being fleeced by many companies.

  3. All hail the great math. 20% of 70% is not 50% of the original. It’s 56% of the original. They’re only taking 14% of the list price when they take 20% of the the share after Apple deducts its own.

    Just sayin’. You shouldn’t call yourself a math retard and then make a dumb error like this one. We might believe you.

  4. >>>You shouldn’t call yourself a math retard and then make a dumb error like this one. We might believe you.

    It’s my INTENT to make you believe I am a math retard because, as you have just pointed out, I am! Do you want me to do your tax form and prove it to you by having you sent to Federal prison for some incredible error?

  5. Doesn’t Amazon own Lulu?

  6. No wonder they named themselves Lulu.

  7. Pingback: Self-Publishing Review | Blog | Get it Together, Lulu