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Lulu.com is a trusted site for producing high quality books and e-books. It has published over one and a half million books to date, since beginning in 2002, and provides a few options with regard to binding and length. However, it does not provide the wide range of options you'll find elsewhere, and whilst it has a marketing team for advice (which you'll need to pay for), the site itself does lack the necessary information in some areas for anyone looking to publish their book.
It's hard to deny Lulu's track record in publishing, with so many writers choosing to use their services. As well as standard books you can also print photo books and calendars, and it's not clear how many of these publications are actually just photo albums or calendars, which we wouldn't really class as “publications” as such. Either way, they're still used by the public, which is probably a good indication of the quality of the end products you'll receive. You can choose from three kinds of binding for paperbacks, and two wraps for hard covers, plus each book can be printed in a wide range of sizes. You can also choose the kind of paper you want to use from three options. This is good to see because it means you can make your book more personal, although in terms of design options it's still not as versatile as some of the other book publishing websites out there.
There are three key packages to choose from: classic, debut or blitz. Each of these provides one on one support, global distribution, an ISBN number, discounts for copies to the author, a custom made cover and the ability to sell in e-format. However these packages aren't cheap and come in at the higher end of the pricing scale when compared to many of its competitors. Adding colour inside will also cost you more, although that's quite standard for these sorts of purchases.
The website offers other services which you might be interested in, including cover design and illustration, editing, book review, promotional services and book fair information. You can also hire a specialist who will work closely with you to make your book just how you want it. Such services could be useful if you feel you have a particular weakness, but they will also cost a fair bit of money.
Considering you have a cover made for you through Lulu, we were a bit disappointed by the look of many of these covers. Some were quite bland, others looked very outdated, and a number of them appeared to have been quickly produced on a program such as MS Word. We'd expect a much more professional job to be done for the money being paid. If you do decide to go down the LuLu route then we think it is worth making it very clear what you're looking for in a book cover before you hand over any substantial amounts of money. The old addage, “don't judge a book by its cover” is unfortunately not all that true because customers will be put off purchasing a book if it looks amateurish.
Lulu is a mixed bag really. It offers plenty of options in some areas, but not in others. Its team seem professional at times but then their covers can look pretty terrible. It's all a case of what you need and how much you're willing to pay. It's a site worth checking out and potentially using if you feel they can offer what you're looking for.
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