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Lulu Borked Their Platform in the April Update, and It’s Still Not Fixed

The publishing services provider Lulu has been in something of a tizzy these past few months. The company updated its platform on April as part of launching its new services marketplace, and things did not turn out as planned.

There hasn’t been much discussion in the FB groups or author forums I frequent (I actually heard about this third-hand) but apparently the update broke, basically everything. Multiple authors have reported:

  • lost sales,
  • lost books,
  • lost covers,
  • lost projects, and
  • lost accounts.

Lulu informed authors on its FB page on 12 June that the issues are being fixed on an ongoing basis, and also telling authors that all revenue since the end of April has been reported. What is especially scary about that is that there are authors who have recorded no sales since the April update, so it would appear that they have had no sales through Lulu for the past couple months.

Lulu also posted a link to a Google form you can use to submit support tickets for the more common problems, including:

  • missing or incorrect cover thumbnails,
  • missing projects,
  • unable to download files,
  • unable to Add to Cart, or
  • previously approved projects incorrectly requiring proof purchase.

I know I have a well-earned reputation for being melodramatic but I do not think I am exaggerating too much when I say that this looks to be the worst system update since the PennCentral merger.

If you are one of the authors or publishers who was affected by the borked update, now might be a good time to to locate the exit.

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James Viscosi June 18, 2020 um 10:41 am

Yeah, I discovered how hosed Lulu is when I went to adjust the pricing on my eBooks the other day and found that they had changed the pricing on the print editions so that the total revenue, after printing and distribution, was $0 or negative. When I tried to correct the pricing the system insisted on sending me back to the design step, where it indicated that there were no files for any of my print books and wanted me to upload new files, then buy a new proof copy. I filed a support ticket, to which Lulu responded with the standard boilerplate of different things I could try, and way down at the bottom it said "This case will now be marked as resolved. However, if your question or issue is not answered with this update, please reply to this email to reopen your case." So I replied to the email to reopen the case. Based on what I’ve seen on their Facebook page, I don’t expect a quick response …

I switched from Lulu to IngramSpark for my more recent projects. I’m finishing up a new book now and I was undecided about whether to use IngramSpark again, which is relatively expensive, or go back to Lulu, but Lulu has made that decision easy with this monumental screwup. So thanks for clarifying that, Lulu.

Fortunately almost all my sales are in the Kindle store, not through Lulu or Ingram. I only had three books total on Lulu, which I can move to Ingram if there’s no satisfactory resolution to this fiasco in the next several weeks. But from what I’m reading, many people have lost dozens of books. I got off relatively easy.

Hans Dampf August 28, 2020 um 6:44 pm

Yes, IngramSpark charges one-time fees. But there is a certain time every year when the fees do not have to be paid. If you can wait that long, you are well served at Ingram. I learned this in the Self Publishing Hub, as the former Lulu forum is now called, since it is now independently maintained by a few authors.

Many people there have changed and discussed the different possibilities with each other and weighed them against each other. What is especially annoying, besides the months of updates with all the malfunctions, is that several good features have been removed without replacement: book preview, reviews, discount for direct sales, discussion and voting of improvement suggestions, etc. It is said that they will probably be replaced by even better ones soon. In the forum nobody believes that anymore.

The Rodent June 18, 2020 um 11:58 am

Yes, Lulu’s new site release was one of the worst update train wrecks I’ve ever seen… 🙁 Still quite broken. One major issue (for me) was that they changed all of their project ID numbers, so all old links were dead.

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