Lulu hardcovers: Nice product but not worth the trouble

The first question you should ask yourself before publishing a hardcover book on Lulu is, “Do I really need a hardcover of my book?”

If the answer is yes, you’ll get a quality piece from Lulu.

But you’ll be one of the few who appreciate it.

The hardcover of “The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal” costs $32.95 on Lulu.com, and I’ve sold four copies — all to people who are related to me and love me a lot (thanks, Mom, et al).

The trouble of publishing on Lulu wasn’t worth it. I had to print the hardcover a half inch taller and wider than the softcover on CreateSpace because Lulu offers limited sizes; this required me to completely reformat the Microsoft Word document. And because the hardcover comes with a dust jacket — with flaps — that had to be completely redesigned, too.

Let’s face it: Self-publishers aren’t big New York publishing houses which have the time and money to release a hardcover first and follow-up in six months with a re-promotion of the paperback.

Publishing your book is probably about getting your story to the world, not creating a lovely printed piece, so Amazon is a better vehicle for you.

Even Lulu isn’t about promoting your content. It’s making money on the printing, I assume. I still can’t figure out how the pricing and royalties work (so I’m afraid I can’t explain them to you).

No one at a public event has ever asked me for a hardcover either, so Createspace is a better source for paperbacks. And dramatically faster than Lulu. My loved ones told me they waited two weeks or more for the hardcover from Lulu, while the paperback from Amazon arrives in a matter of days.

So, give Lulu a try if you must, but don’t do it for the blockbuster sales.

Tomorrow: Direct sales

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7 thoughts on “Lulu hardcovers: Nice product but not worth the trouble

  1. I imagine CreateSpace will do hardcovers eventually, so it may be prudent to just wait for that. Overall, it seems to be the self-publisher’s best bet in every other way.

  2. Hi, thanks for this. I’m currently looking at the options on the table for self-publishing. I wondered about the quality of the hardback books on offer from the various self-publishing websites, because I’m looking to do something as high quality as possible (I’d love a gold-leaf cover…but I don’t think that’s an option yet!). Which one do you think offers the best chance of getting bespoke, high quality output?

    Cheers
    thesecretsdaughter.com

    • Honestly, as far as self-publishing goes, you’re going to have to pour your manuscript into a template of some sort. I mentioned Lulu has a number of templates in terms of size, but they don’t have as many as CreateSpace’s paperback options. What I’m saying is, you might not find gold-leaf simply because few self-publishers are willing to pay that much. I’ve used Lulu, for my book, and Blurb, for photo albums (which could easier be more words and less photos), with good results. But they both remain mass-market options.

      • Monica, that’s really useful, thanks. I’m still trawling through the (many) options out there. Maybe I need to self-publish without using a self-publishing tool!

        Thanks again,

        D

  3. Createspace offers hardcover books that are only sold to the author. The setup fee is $99, but CS converts your paperback book into the hardcover without any format changes needed. You have to contact CS directly to create a hardcover of your book.

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