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June 13, 2006

News & Opinion: Knocking out the gatekeepers

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:45 PM – Filed under: Publishing Industry

That's what Lulu.com is doing in the publishing industry. They've cut out the gatekeepers and enabled people to self-publish with ease. Unlike traditional self-publishing which requires putting up a somewhat hefty payment for the first print run, Lulu is print-on-demand (it's amazing what the web has and continues to do for us).
What's cool is that they have design templates and handle the printing, shipping and order tracking. Lulu is unlike similar functions run by Random House (Xlibris), Barnes & Noble (iUniverse) and Amazon (BookSurge) which require authors to pay "an up-front fee of $300 to $1600, [and where] book prices are set by the services, and royalties range from 10 to 25 percent"; Lulu, on the other hand, doesn't charge anything for layout and design. Authors pay Lulu only when a book is sold and their royalties are 80% (minus Lulu's production price).
Today Lulu is doing $1 million in business every month with book sales around 36,000 - 91,000. Get this, there are a thousand new books on the site every week!
So what is the reaction in the publishing world? The founder, Bob Young says that some ask him to sell his software. And some say what Lulu publishes is not worth their time. But it leads me and the article's author to wonder what will happen if Lulu becomes a major hit? It has potential to change the publishing industry indefinitely.
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*Taken from the June '06 Business 2.0 article Freedom of the Press.