Almost five years ago, we published our first article featuring complaints about Lulu. In 2011, we checked in to see how things were going there once again, and published Lulu Continues to Receive Lots of Complaints. In 2012, we once again visited their forums to see what was going on, and found complaints were then spilling onto Lulu’s Twitter page.
It’s been another three years since the last update so we thought we’d pop into their forums once again. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of complaints (new ones, of course). Direct quotes from some of them are below.
I published one book through Lulu several years ago to test their system for an article I was writing. Oddly enough, when I logged into my Lulu account today, I discovered they’ve owed me money since 2008. I don’t recall ever receiving an email from them and, of course, I never received payment.
Their payment threshold is under what they owe me so that wasn’t the answer. Their system said they needed more information from me, which I provided today (updated address). We did move in 2011 but they’d been holding my money for 3 years before that time. I certainly didn’t see any messages from Lulu asking for missing information from me. I had to click on Payments to find the form where they were asking for updated information. I wonder how many other authors have old, forgotten money in Lulu’s system…
At BookLocker.com, we immediately notify an author if we can’t get their money to them for any reason. When we mailed checks, we would post a note to the author’s account same-day if their check was returned by the post office. Our system would then send them an email alert. For PayPal payments, if we can’t deliver their money for some reason (for example, if the PayPal ID they provided isn’t valid), we also alert them through their author account (and, subsequently, through email).
Before we quote some of the new Lulu complaints below, we want to share some of the clauses from Lulu’s forum user agreement. Maybe it’s just me but it sure looks like they are being pretty Big Bother-ish about posting negative comments on their forum. What do you think?
“You aren’t allowed to post ‘claims or complaints about Lulu or any of its employees acting in collusion with or showing favoritism to a group, author, or community member.'”
“Do not post ‘Legal Action’ or ‘Boycott’ threads. Using the forums or Private Messages for encouraging, promoting, endorsing, or inciting any kind of legal action, reporting, or boycott endeavor against anyone is strictly prohibited.”
“Do not post private communications between Lulu Customer Support, community members, moderators, employees, or partners of Lulu on these forums or any other site. Publicizing any private correspondence such as support tickets, email, Private Message (PM) correspondence, or chat logs is not permitted without prior permission.”
“Do not discuss moderator actions on the forums. If you do not agree with a moderator’s decision, you may send a private message to the moderator or community administrator. You may NOT start a thread or post complaining that your post was removed. Nor may you post private correspondence from moderators, such as infraction or warning notices.”
Complaints quoted below are less than a year old. Of course, there are many more complaints in Lulu’s forum.
CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINTS
Very disappointed with Lulu – big promises and non-delivery
I am very disappointed with Lulu and the quality of its service. My books were shipped to me on 12 May and still haven’t reached me in NZ. I also find now that there is no way of tracking their progress. I have now submitted 3 support requests (the first 9 days ago) and have received no response, with no phone number to call.
This is totally unacceptable practice. I have spent a large sum of money on developing, designing and printing my book for a family birthday (now long gone) and my expenditure has vanished into thin air. Lulu should be sending all products via tracked mail (and negotiating a competitive price for this) and on a fast international service, should employ more support staff, and should put things right immediately by reprinting and resending books if there is a problem. This is absolutely standard e-commerce practice, and companies which can’t do this won’t survive.
How can I get my money back? 6 weeks and still waiting for my book to be formatted
Does anyone know how I can get my money back? First they lost my reply to their form and so they didn’t start working on my order to format my e-book for two weeks. I sent back the form and didn’t get any reply until I posted something on a public forum complaining. Finally, I got an email saying they would work on my order. That was 6 weeks ago now, and still no one has formatted my book. I can’t get anyone to reply to an email. I have written two. The first one was over a week ago. This is horrible customer service and I want my money back.
DISTRIBUTION LISTING AND CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINT
8 Print books submitted 10 weeks ago have not yet made it to Ingram?
“I published all 8 books, all with my own ISBN’s but the problem is that it’s been 10 weeks and they’re not (yet) available for sale anywhere, except Lulu’s website, and I am wondering why not? Why would one book (title removed) reach distribution channels so quickly and the other 8 books, after 10 weeks now, still not be available anywhere but Lulu? I really don’t understand why they have failed to reach Ingram unless Lulu has not submitted them or done so so late that it is taking so long. I wrote about this a month ago and every reply said just to wait: well here I am, waiting still? Anyone have an answer? Anyone at all?”
(NOTE: BookLocker.com’s books pop up on Amazon and other sites less than a week after the author approves their proof. We have NO idea why Lulu’s books would take so long to appear on Amazon or other sites! None whatsoever!!)
Global distribution takes too long or else Lulu’s system is broken
I posted these 8 books on February 1, March 1, March 2 & March 14. The last thing you get after clicking the button for global reach is the button that says to tell the world, your friends, readers, etc. the book is available, even though it’s only available for about 6-8 weeks at Lulu. I pushed that button and if you go to my Facebook page you will see that this is true, as they are all still there but still only 4 have made it and I was informed that one was not put in at all…
PRINT SERVICE DELAY COMPLAINT
Lulu is Avoiding Customer Interaction
How does lulu.com continue to manipulate and take advantage of its customers. I ordered copies of my book almost 3 weeks ago.. And, after sending four order complaint emails, to which I received no response my package is finally in the mail only to suggest its going to take another 7 days to get to my home. This can not be the most efficient and respectful manner of business. What does LULU intend to do about it extremely poor service quality.
EBOOK CONVERION QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLAINTS
Ebook by Lulu.com (Paid Service)
After fourteen days of at least eight hours a day of failed attempts I decided to ask Lulu.com to do it for me. I paid them and they did. I was excited. Unfortunately, I have had many a call from my readers that the icons are not at the beginning of chapters nor are the asterixes at the end of chapters… Worst of all, I have three sections in the text where in the manuscript I sent to lulu the icons and sections were on ONE page…lulu has uploaded them in halves. This I find embarrassing and need lulu.com to resolve. The manuscript has all the icons in the right places…the book is now out in the public looking a mess. I have written three notes to lulu and the staff keep coming back to me via email to say that i have to pay for the service…
Lulu messed up my EPUB conversion and submitted book with wrong title
Having waited nearly 7 weeks for an EPUB conversion (well, by “waited” I mean nagged until someone bothered telling me they’d not touched it for 3 weeks without telling me there was more stuff I needed to do to the source file), I received the file today, complete with formatting errors that were not in the original document. The employee in charge of the conversion also decided of his own accord to change my title and omit an essential part of it. He then submitted it to the retail distribution channels without consulting me first. This also included distribution channels I did not approve as I work with them directly.
Also, I suspect Apple, the only distribution channel I actually care about, will not accept it, because of the formatting errors. Not that I’d want them to because it really looks quite bad. I have emailed support but I really do not want to wait another 7 weeks for this to be fixed. Is there anything I can do or will I, once again, be paying for the huge mistake I made in trusting Lulu to do what they claim they can?
Well, last time I waited for 3 weeks with no answer, having sent an email back with the existing order / support ticket, then another one asking if there were any problems. After I posted here, the reply miraculously appeared on the same day.
As I don’t have 7 more weeks or even 3 more weeks to wait for their support staff to bother replying, I am posting on here in the hope that someone actually does something.
PRINT QUALITY COMPLAINTS
About to hang it up with Lulu
Well, got my first book project out…I should be happy, right? Well, Lulu sure knows how to rain on a girl’s parade…or at least that’s what it is starting to feel like. Frustrating when the proof copy arrives and the cover looks too dark and the text is lopsided and runs off the page.
Poor photo print quality in Standard b & w book
I’m disappointed with the quality of photos printed in my Standard quality b & w book. The first proof received was fine, just a few minor text corrections required. Now with the second proof, the interior photos have been printed very dark, almost obliterating the detail. No changes were made to the images between the first and second proof.
MORE AUTHORS HAVING DIFFICULT MEETING LULU’S SPECS
(Remember, if you can’t understand their specs, Lulu will be happy to upsell you on their expensive services!)
Please help me with my book…
Hi I am very frustrated because I already had five revisions for my book and the complaint was the margin size was not large enough or 0.5 that’s why it could not be distributed to amazon. I already spent so much money for this.
My Proof Book is all Wrong
My proof book returned (AGAIN!!) all wrong. The manuscript is typed with 1″ margins all around on 8×11, 12-Pitch Times New Roman Font. When the proof copy returned, the header was 1 3/4″ down from the top, and the print was 9-Pitch Times New Roman-and I’m guessing, but IT WASN’T 12-PITCH!!! This is the FOURTH TIME my proof copy book returned to me like this. Must I do a PDF manuscript, well, okay, no problem I will. But, even when I did it on proof copy number 3, it still printed in small print. Is this an option–that I just put the entire 144 pages in 14-PITCH TIMES NEW ROMAN FONT and order another proof copy? Do you think it will help? I’m open to ANY AND ALL suggestions. I was soooo-oooo disappointed the third time it came back wrong that it took me almost six months before I ventured back on my laptop to try to straighten this problem out…
DIFFICULTY WITH THE LULU CONVERTER
Need error message explained
Does anyone know what this error means?
WARNING: meta@dtb:uid content ‘null’ should conform to unique-identifier in content.opf: ‘9781304013132’ in OEBPS/toc.ncx
WARNING: Irregular DOCTYPE: found ‘-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN’, expecting ”. in OEBPS/cover.html
SNARKY RESPONSES FROM OTHER USERS
If you are upset with Lulu’s slow responses or anything else, and if you think you’re going to get a kind ear and a shoulder to lean on by posting to their forums, don’t be surprised if you don’t get either. Below are just two of the snarky responses other Lulu users made to those complaining above.
“You are not Lulu’s only customer, and Lulu will not be the only company the printers Lulu use do work for.”
“I realize you’re probably very frustrated, but it doesn’t benefit you to post here.”
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Read our updated Print on Demand Price Comparison HERE.
Hint: BookLocker is only $675 vs. Lulu’s price of $1,089 for similar services.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
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Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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