The POD and self-pub service Lulu announced earlier this week that they were launching a new suite of marketing and publishing services. Authors can now choose one of several overpriced bundles of services (starting at $999) or authors can overpay for individual service. For more information, visit the Lulu website.
Here's what Lulu VP Kathy Hensgen had to say about the deal: “We listened to our community, and they wanted enhanced options in services. As author needs evolve, Lulu continues to innovate with a deeper range of multi-media solutions for its customers as well as an even keener focus on personal attention”.
But there's one important detail that Lulu isn't sharing, and that is who is actually providing these services.
I'm still waiting for Lulu to get back to me, but sources say that Lulu has signed a deal with Author Solutions. All the new services are actually provided by ASI, not Lulu, though Lulu is getting a commission on the revenue generated via their website.
Update: The news has been confirmed by Lulu.
Folks, the packages offered by Lulu are virtually identical to the ones offered by Simon & Schuster's vanity press, S&S Archway. They are just as much of a bad deal, though I am unfortunately the only one to come out and say that about Lulu.
To put it simply, any service that you find via Author Solutions or one of their partners (like Lulu, S&S, Harlequin, or Penguin India) is overpriced of for no other reason than Author Solutions' profit margin has to come from somewhere, and that goes double when there is a partner involved.
And even if the services weren't overpriced, there is a cloud hanging over the head of Author Solutions. They are being investigated by at least one law firm that could be looking to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of authors. ASI is infamous for deceptive practices, failing to pay royalties, and other misdeeds. Do you really want to join their pool of victims?
P.S. I have contacted Lulu and asked for confirmation. If they respond (there is a first time for everything) I will post an update.