October 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 18)
Strong Points: Excellent service and quality
Weak Points: None
Speaking of innovations like Web 2.0, Lulu is almost in a class by itself. There are many ways to describe Lulu, such as “the self-publisher’s best friend,” “a company that combines the best of virtual and print publishing,” and “the future of publishing.” What Lulu does is provide an electronic interface where users can upload content for printing. One can, for example, publish books, calendars, brochures, CDs, DVDs, and much more. A wizard guides users through the process and uploaders can define how much royalty they will make on each sale. Best of all, materials can be ordered via an automatically created webpage for each item. There is no minimum order, and uploaders can purchase items with discounts for quantity. I’ve published a book, three calendars, and a CD there (www.lulu.com/content/1307905, for example) and have found the quality, the price, and the turnaround times to be excellent. The royalty checks coming in on a regular basis aren’t bad either. How do they pull this off? I’m not sure, but the computerized interface combined with the digitally formatted files must make for great efficiencies. One of the best wonders of the web I’ve seen this year and one that will turn the traditional publishing world on its ear.