ConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
Lulu is total scam. They publish almost for nothing but they make money by making you market your book. After spending $9000 on marketing, you will sell hardly 0-5 copies hardly. LULU IS TOTAL SCAM and so are all the self-publishing companies. You better off publishing on just Amazon...
I have helped writers from many areas of the world produce their books on Lulu for free (well, if they want to be on Amazon, they have to pay for one preview copy, at cost plus shipping). I do this because many authors are unable to self publish in their country, or simply don't have the technical know how. But now, on Consumer Affairs, I see false claims about Lulu. I have to assume these are from people who are supporting self-publishers whose greed for money from authors is unequaled - such as iUniverse, Dorrance, Page Publishing, etc.
Lulu does not require authors to purchase editorial services or art services, although they will supply those if you want. The same for marketing services. But an author can simply publish her or his book for free. Then if the author charges more than the cost (e.g., charging $19.95 for a book that costs $9.95 to print), then the author earns the difference. This is far more generous than a typical royalty situation. The real problem, as with all self-publishing, is that these books are very difficult or sometimes impossible to sell.
I am a first time author and followed everything that was shown for my first book to be published. After paying the upfront fees that were supposed to be the total, since we asked ALL the details, we were then asked to pay other large fees to finish the book. They would have other "scam" artist to call me and explain why we really needed all these other unknown factors for the book. When we decided that this was unprofessional and asked for the money back then the circle went round and round. Months later we were only able to receive half our money back, so they made money for nothing. It was not worth the money or time hiring an attorney to get the rest back. So, I would suggest to research your company better than we did and record and document ALL correspondence and phone calls, they recorded yours.
I always buy my stuff at Lulu coz I'm living nearby from electronics, clothing, groceries and etc. I even bring my colleague to buy their stuff as well. Overall we are very satisfied. But today I went there to buy some stuff and had a very bad experience with the cashier name Jenelyn **. I bought rice cooker and she told me to go to gift wrapping for the handle. I told her this is not for gift. Instead of explaining nicely, she said in rude way "I'm not saying you go there for wrapping, they will put handle." Then I left and forgot the receipt. I went back to get the receipt for the warranty. What shocked me is she was talking to her co cashier about what happened like she is very proud of what she said to me.
I didn't mind what I heard instead asking her for the receipt that I didn't get. She said "I gave it to you with the change" talking in a rude way with angry face. I said, "I don't have it." She said "Because you leave it here." I'm also working in a customer service but we don't treat the customer like that. I came from work with busy day. And we want a smiling people to attend us. Not a rude one. Anyway, I just want to share my experience coz I'm really really disappointed.
I am a first time publisher with a children's book. I contacted Lulu and explained that I needed help creating a book. I needed help with the illustrations and was told that the artists were great to work with. After I submitted my book, I was told that graphic design was included, but not illustrations. $290, per illustration extra. When you look up the meaning of graphic design, it's explained as pictures and text together, not to Lulu. Being that it was my first experience, or inexperience, very frustrating. So they would not work with me. I asked for a refund, still waiting, 7-10 business days. I've invested 1 month's time and the saddest part is that I am not trying to get rich here. I wanted to create this book for charity, St. Jude and Toys for Tots. I hope that this helps some people. Be careful. I felt like I was crystal clear. But in the end, they wanted more money. Very dissatisfied!
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My experience with Lulu has been nothing but pleasant and rewarding. They did a fantastic job of laying out my book and creating a beautiful cover. I have had pretty good sales, but then again I put effort into marketing and promoting my book. The reviews complaining about lack of sales obviously think that people are just magically going to know their book is available on Lulu. I have three books on Lulu and will publish there again. I've tried other self-publisher and there is little chance of making a dime on most of them. Lulu is the only one where you can actually make money on your writing.
I’ve published with my first book with a company called CreateSpace and had a horrible experience from the start to finish. So I decided to publish elsewhere. I ended up getting referred from an author who published multiple publications with Lulu’s services. I was a little hesitant because of the some reviews but gave them a shot since they are one of the most renowned self-publishing company. Without a doubt this it was the decision I could have made. Their team was very up front and knowledgeable. I told my Publishing Advisor what kind of investment I had to put into the project and they came up with a plan that suited my needs. I spent around 4k and ended up making my investment back within 18 months. I am currently working on my 3rd publication and I will be working with Lulu!
I am a first time author about my own ideas about my profession, which is conventional medicine and now anti aging/alternative/holistic/ with conventional medicine only for an emergency. I was very excited going through the process of publishing my book which I think is well researched, unique and of interest to the public in general. However I was amazed at how no one can find it on the internet, unless they actually typed in the exact name of the title (how would anyone know?). There are many books in this area (health) that can be found easily, and they either have been around for 10 years and published by private owners of fairly large medical groups and essentially give them away free to their patients, or they are published by major publishers and are written to advertise the drug industry with is a multibillion dollar industry.
So far I sold 2 books this year and made about 13 dollars. I actually need to sell about one hundred thousand books to break even with all my legal and medical fees that this medical story reveals. I see they are starting to come up with some expensive marketing packages for internet sales. I have not tried them yet. I just got set up with about 4,000 dollar basic package to get in up worldwide, but not at all marketed. The world wide press release is actually apparently used for the various international bankers/corporations to market their own agenda and not a individual person like a self published book. So in other words, after I paid for a worldwide press release to about 24,000 news outlets, it resulted in one extra book sale that week.
So now if I spend say 2,400 dollars on Google advertisement, will this generate another 10 or 20 dollars in sales? I do not know. I already had to file for bankruptcy, so it is not like I can just start throwing lots of money marketing for fun. Does anyone have experience hiring professional advertisements for their self published book? Do you need a budget of many thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to actually get it on the market? Is this going to be wasted money or get my book seen by the public? I think many self published authors have this problem... How do you actually get it up so that the public can find it on the internet?
I had a 3 books published with and have only received like $14 in royalties. I KNOW they are not paying me because my friend ordered over 10 for his bookstore AND I NEVER GOT MY ROYALTIES!!! I then searched Amazon and found that 53 BOOKSELLERS ARE SELLING USED COPIES OF MY BOOKS but STILL NO MONEY TO ME!!! I sent emails, tried to call and finally they called me and said "Oh, these are people listing your book and if you buy from them WE will ship it..." Complete BS because my friend listed 5 of them in his possession!!! Thieves. All of them. STAY AWAY FROM LULU!!!
I tried self-publishing my first book and I thought I would try Lulu. They gleefully and happily took my $2,700. I also had to pay to have it separately edited. Thank God I did not use them or else I would have been looking at thousands of more dollars for editing. Now here is the big rub! I cannot get Lulu to get the search terms right for the major sellers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. If you search the key terms for my book that I gave them, you cannot find my book on the big sellers unless you enter the specific title. I have worked repeatedly with customer service and all I get is excuses. My sales are in the tank 1 1/2 years after the release of my book because no one can find it.
I have had to spend more money to try and market it myself - which then Lulu makes more money because they print the book. Of course, Lulu tried to sell me a huge package of thousands of dollars to market my book that I turned down when I told them no one could find my book on Amazon because the search terms were wrong. Makes me wonder if I was set up to sell me the marketing package. I have more books in the pipeline with one almost done! I will NEVER use this company again!
Mainly dissatisfied with Customer Support. I made an order from Lulu and I found out that I wanted to add a different name on the shipping address so I decided to cancel it. I didn't get any refund so I contacted customer support. First response came to me 4 days later but they didn't mention anything about the refund so I made another ticket. I waited another 4 days for a response to come in. The person in the email said that my bank has made a pre authorization and not a final payment. However by the time the response came to me, the pre authorization was already sent to Lulu. I wrote another ticket now and I am hoping to get my money back. I originally planned on making the order again but after two weeks of still waiting for a solution and the fact that the customer support takes so long to respond, I most likely will not make anymore purchases on lulu.com.
Response to email inquiries is very slow and never provides an adequate answer. Revenue not showing up on my profile even when I provided an order number that shipped 3 months ago.
I have published my own books, plus those for clients, through Lulu and frequently recommend them. I love that they offer hardcover books, which CreateSpace and others do not. I have just published a book of my own in the spiral-bound format. I have not used their paid promotional services because I do that myself--for myself, and for clients. I have called Customer Service and have had remarkably astute and polite assistance, even when I called at 3 minutes before their closing time! I actually heard the CS assistant whisper "Have a good evening," to a co-worker, but not in an unpleasant tone. She was not hurried and very patiently explained the answer. I had read something wrong, and she told me where the answer was on-screen. Duh. I feel for anyone who has had less than stellar experience with Lulu. My experience has been remarkably wonderful!
I am a best selling author that was looking for a wider experience than my last publisher offered. LuLu was recommended by a group of Authors I am friends with, but they had no idea how awful of an experience I was going to have. I paid the $1999.99 fee immediately and with a smile on my face, I thought I was in for a great experience. Since my payment, my first Coordinator quit (supposedly) and it took a week for anyone to contact me about it. My new Coordinator is Barb ** and she is just as worse as my last one. It took 3 phone calls and 5 emails to finally get someone there at LuLu to accept my manuscript. When I finally submitted it, it took three more days for someone to recognize that the email was received.
I received an email yesterday from my Coordinator telling me that my book needed a few changes, but they were unaware I had my book professionally edited by a local company in Tampa. No changes were needed and they are just stalling. They allegedly have a proofing content department and since I just read all of these bad online reviews, I am going to ask for my money back and I have found a more reputable publishing company to help me. Stay away from LuLu because all they want is your money upfront and a 1000 excuses to not publish it.
Not a stellar company. Lulu produces a fairly decent print book, but the ad campaign is sorely lacking. Not having a small fortune to start with, this leaves a person at a handicap. Lulu requires an upfront payment for an ad campaign, and has no particular interest in your product. They made their money whether you do or not, opposed to a company that would generate a campaign and then take out their cut on a per book basis. Overall, I'm a bit underwhelmed. As an "independent" publisher, they certainly live up to the name. You end up feeling VERY independent... and alone in all this.
Using their services to publish a book. It seems as though I should have higher sales rate than I did. I had compared to other authors who had been published elsewhere. They were getting numbers of book sales yet I was not seeing the reviews, the sales or the author revenue. It seemed unusual to say the least. In fact at one point after a few months when I first published there were more "used" books for sale than I had sold in "new" books (how does that happen?).
Testing the system, I purchased a pile of books from various distribution channels. I check on my account 6 months later and only 3.3% of the sales were reported from the publisher. That's a conservative figure because There surely were a few random sales thrown into that mix. Quite disappointing. It could be that the print houses aren't reporting. Does not really matter. I'm done with them. Quite disappointing.
I paid a tremendous amount of money to LULU so they would edit and publish my script, however when it came to the cover, which I provided, they decided to be impossible. I had my own image, but they refused to use it unless I could somehow PROVE that this was my own image. I mailed back and forth for weeks, with absolutely no help from their side whatsoever. Completely unflexible towards individual needs and unwilling to help you.
I've been thinking of writing a review for Lulu. They have created a quality product with my book, yet through one line emails I don't think many of the team members realize that people are putting HUGE INVESTMENTS in their projects. HUGE... Many cases everything they've got. It's business, I get it. They want to keep the money coming and send people on their way. And yes, many of us feel foolish for doing it. The guilt is colossal as well. Because what I very well may end up doing in the end is filling out my Schedule C form for taxes next year claiming this as a COMPLETE LOSS. It's life, yet has serious effects.
People want to know that the team they are pouring TONS of money into consider their project seriously. I know everything is business, but Lulu is EXCELLENT at taking your money and sending one-liners. Everyone says "Feel free to call" and they are very busy and can't take constant calls, but in my experience these last 6 months, I've made 5 phone calls? Two being to the consultant selling me my expensive package, one to Carolyn and one to marketing. The response on the other line is not helpful and not welcomed, it's a bother. Lulu has called me MANY more times to ask me to pay more money every step of the process. The team is quite friendly there until you explain you can't possibly bleed another penny.
I can only hope and pray for the semi-success of the book. It'll surely be a lesson learned if not. I am not trying to be a best seller. But with it being a solid book and ALL this marketing I still hope for a recoup of this money at the very least. Time will tell. Lulu is "so-so". They certainly take your investment for granted. They do not care about bleeding you of everything you've got and sending you one line emails to get you out of their hair. Caution there if you've LOVE being attended to.
I would not recommend the use of LULU for any type of project. Their customer service is very unhelpful and their uploading software is archaic in terms of not being flexible or catching errors in the uploading process.
Overall, I do not recommend Lulu.com for self-publishing. I did the $1000 basic package. There has been very little feedback and creative input. There have been many, many e-mails. Some even automated and wrong. The only thing they really did was format the text, which takes less than half an hour, and create a cover, which I'm sure they took from stock. There are also many hidden fees for late changes. This was not explained at the outset. I have another book that I needed a small change to with Lulu.com and the person who helped me originally said he had no idea who to speak to or how to make the changes even though I was more than willing to pay for it. Very disappointed.
I have used Lulu to publish a number of types of books and am very happy with their printing quality as well as their author support. Once when there was a technical issue, they replaced all of the books at no cost to me or my client. I've noticed that with the different Print On Demand companies, it's usually garbage in - garbage out. Years ago when just becoming accustomed to graphic design programs I made some mistakes and found the folks at Lulu very helpful. Many new authors come into this with the idea that if they publish it will sell. In my experience, most sales happen when an author is there signing. This goes for all self publishing.
I submitted a book manuscript for self-publishing and had a representative/Lisa ** explain the rules, guidelines and procedures. I asked several times for a schedule but they would not provide one. I asked specifically about copyright editing and line editing. Lisa told me that after my manuscript was reviewed the company may have suggestions on content. I agreed and waited for 5 weeks.
Lisa contacted me and said, "We have rejected your manuscript". I asked why. She told me that, "Some of your statements are outlandish". I asked which statements. She provided a list of them. I read them all and said that the bibliography has provided the quotes that other sources have made. I was just quoting other sources. She told me that she was sorry for being the bearer of bad news, but the company's decision was final. I asked, what happen to the discussion about the company recommending retracting some statements. She said the decision is final. So much for the company offering any advice.
Part 2 - Refund. I asked Lisa to refund my money. She told me she would start the process. I asked, "What process?" She told me that her company had a procedure and that she would initiate the procedure. I ask the question of when will I have the money. She could not give me an exact date. I contacted my credit card company and they told me that they have a 10 day period to return the money. I waited and waited. I called Lisa and she obviously didn't want to talk. I asked to speak with her boss Donnovan. He refused to call me.
Then the head of customer satisfaction Eugene ** contacted me. What an **. I asked for an accounting and he forwarded to me immediately. He told me that he didn't want to talk with me again. I told him if there is a problem with their accounting "I will be calling you". He told me to "If you want to talk to someone call your bank". I went to another online publishing company and they reviewed and approved my manuscript within a week. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH LULU. THEY DID NOT MAKE GOOD ON ANY OF THEIR PROMISES. Then you as a customer will loan them money on your paid fees.
Terrible first and only experience with this company. Purchased a book for $99. I then downloaded 2 different software readers, per their recommendation, neither opened the book correctly. Uninstalled the software, and reinstalled per their instruction... still didn't work. Followed more of their suggestions, still no solution. After spending over 2 hours on the trying to open I requested a refund. Their response was basically, keep on trying different applications to open the book we sold you which won't open properly... sorry... good luck. Nice. Very nice Lulu.com.
I purchased a package for my book to be published. After Lulu took my money they go and tell me in order for my book to be publish it has to go through a content evaluation which has to meet their standards. Not one time did anyone from Lulu Publishing tell me that upfront, and if they would have I would not have gone with them. I sent my manuscript to them three times and each time they rejected it. I feel they want me to put my books how they wanted to be and I don't think that's right. This is my book and I should have it how I want it. I was told I have two more chances to send it back to them and for them to accept my manuscript and if they don't they're going to terminate my contract and not give me a refund. I think that is ** because I paid to get my book published and they're refusing to publish it.
I bought a book of Guitar chords from Lulu recently (Fourths tuning by Alessandro de Sanctis). But on receipt it was unusable, as it had no instructions on how to use the hundreds of chord diagrams, which strings to miss and which fingers to use to form the shape. I was disappointed, and contacted them thinking I would have the normal internet shopping protection to send it back for a refund as I had bought it blind. They were polite but didn't want to know. I am disappointed on two fronts. It was a shame the book was unusable, but online retailers like this who do not care about customer satisfaction nor the quality of the products they distribute leave consumers with very little choice. They also almost guarantee the domination of the big but easy to deal with businesses such as Amazon.
One year ago I began the process of publishing a 100 page book with Lulu. I paid their fee and submitted the copy in 6 x 9 format and PDF format. Lulu required that I submit in Microsoft Word and remove all images, which must be provided in a separate file. Did this, then several weeks later was told to enter the images back in each page. Weeks would pass before anyone would respond to e-mail correspondence. Lulu notified me that I would have to provide written permission for each image and photo. All but two photos were taken by myself. Two were taken 77 years ago, with no hope of finding anyone to provide permission. Lulu demanded that I replace other images from their list of images, then charged me for them. After countless attempts to correspond with their representative, I asked that they return my money and we would abandon efforts to publish. They did not respond.
Now, one year later I am no closer to publishing or receiving money back. I have maintained a copy of all correspondence between myself and Lulu, and given that to the law firm that represents my business. This is the rudest, most unpleasant and shabbiest excuse for a company I have experienced. I'm sure they must have handled some customers better or they would not still be in business. I would just like to receive my money back and be through with Lulu.com.
UPDATED ON 09/25/2015: After eleven months attempting to publish a book using Lulu, I finally gave up. I uploaded my book to a POD (print on demand) publishing company and within ten days had copies of a beautifully printed book. I asked Lulu for a refund of the $1,244.00 they had received to process my book. After several attempts to get a response, I was finally told I would receive a refund of $250.00. Weeks have gone by, and after several attempts to obtain the check, I have received nothing. Perhaps some have had good luck with this company, but my experience was miserable from every standpoint. Oklahoma City author.
I purchased a package that cost 2 grand, I received back a product that looks like a pamphlet. Nothing I asked for was completed, cover designers not able to produce, all areas of wk very poorly done in an attempt to get the consumer to spend more money. When send back to author for review all changes cost extra. You can tell in areas of service the individuals you deal with are trained to milk you out of cash. They attempt to be rude and try to intimidate you into paying more, in my case of publishing my book, I paid to have my own editor as well as but my photo I gave lulu on the front as my cover, all they needed to do was put book together, this was even done intentionally wrong. When I wanted it corrected I was told I would be charged more. All employee are rude and try to intimidate you as the author.
I looked up an author and book online which brought me to Lulu. I purchased the book, but when I received it, I realized that most of the material was already online. Since I had paid $44, including shipping for a 144 pg paperback, I contacted Lulu and let them know I was not satisfied. After 3 emails, I was informed the book was custom printed for me and there were no returns. Didn't see that policy when purchased.
Avoid. They are available to talk prior to sale and will promise whatever they need to make the sale. Then they are unavailable to help. They only want to communicate by email and virtually never provide a complete answer on concerns. Money spent was more than I had planned and results were much, much less.
Today I called your company to straighten out a billing problem I had with a book purchase I'd made a couple of days ago, when my Paypal account bounced the debit back to me due to a lack of funds. I had already straightened it out with Paypal, and was calling Lulu.com just to make sure that you'd gotten paid OK, and that the order had indeed gone through with no problems on your end.
The gentleman who answered the phone sounded like a back-room pressman, resentful of the fact that, interrupted from his work, he was being made to answer customer service calls against his will. He hung up on me before I could explain my situation to him. Really, Bob? A company that has empowered creators in more than 225 countries and territories to produce nearly two million publications available in six languages (from your own website) hanging up on a paying customer by an obviously disgruntled worker? Is this the kind of image you wish to project to your customers who purchase books from your site? It made me feel like I’d just gone into my favorite restaurant, and the waiter, to demonstrate his resentment of having to wait tables for a living, held out my bowl of soup and poured dog poop into it, right in front of my face. Is this the kind of reputation and word of mouth you are attempting to build a successful business on?
When googling Lulu.com today, searching for an address to write to, I came across forums with many similar complaints. Usually when I encounter a company that is so poorly run as to generate this many complaints, my suspicion is that this neglect of good customer service comes from the top down. My suspicion is that you are too cheap to hire a customer service department. Please, Bob, feel free to correct me here. Tell me it isn’t so.
And if this is the way you treat your paying customers who bring you business, I shudder to think of how you treat people that you don't like. For every person like me who takes the time to actually sit down and write you a letter, there's probably a thousand angry people quietly fuming to themselves about the poor treatment they've received at your hands, who simply won’t bother to write you. They figure what’s the use?
The problem with CEOs is that they never take the trouble to experience their own company the way a customer does, and so they never get to have the lovely experience of being mistreated by their own company. As soon as someone hears that Bob Young is on the phone, the red carpet comes out, and you are given the royal treatment due a CEO. The rest of us aren’t so lucky.
Take the criticism, Bob, and fix your broken company. Otherwise, it’s been nice knowing you. I won’t be doing business with your company anymore because you’ve given me every reason not to. I will be sure to warn all my friends and acquaintances about this experience, and I will be looking forward to finding a competitor who knows the meaning of good customer service.
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