Don't force authors to buy proof copies

Why does lulu insist on forcing people to buy proof copies?

"In order to approve your book for distribution, a proof copy of the most recent version of your book must be purchased....We want you to be 100% sure that your book is exactly the way you want it to be before it becomes available worldwide. Purchasing a copy for review is the best way to check the cover and the content before the final published work is sent into the distribution system."

I don't think many people are convinced by that. People know when they are being forced to buy something they don't have to. They know lulu is just trying to sell some books. I believe most authors are satisfied with the works they have submitted for distribution and don't make any changes afterwards.

Purchasing proof copies should optional. Authors should  have the option to approve copies for distribution without being required to purchase proof copies. Createspace used to have the same requirement - you must purchase a proof copy to make sure everything is OK with your book - but they dropped it after they realized people knew better than that. And they have been getting even more customers because of that, among other reasons, of course, including books being listed on amazon.com almost right away - the next day or so and without charge.

If lulu continues with this policy, forcing authors to buy proof copies, they will continue to lose customers to their competitors, especially Createspace. Createspace even had free ISBNs long before lulu did. Now lulu is also giving free ISBNs. They also need to let authors approve their works without being required to buy proof copies. Those who want to buy proof copies will do so. But don't force those who don't want to just for their books to be approved for distribution.

Comments

  • You're talking through the top of your head.

  • Why does lulu insist on forcing people to buy proof copies?

    They do not force them, You do not have to Approve. That's up to you.

    "In order to approve your book for distribution, a proof copy of the most recent version of your book must be purchased....We want you to be 100% sure that your book is exactly the way you want it to be before it becomes available worldwide. Purchasing a copy for review is the best way to check the cover and the content before the final published work is sent into the distribution system."

    Eexactly. Never a truer word was typed. It's remarkable how many people only spot mistakes in the printed form, and often they also see that any images were not printed how expected, and then they can adjust them.

    I don't think many people are convinced by that.

    You mean the millions of people who use Lulu very happy and sensible enough to purchase a 'Proof'? Look the word up to do with printing.

    People know when they are being forced to buy something they don't have to.

    Indeed they do, but they do have to buy one to see if what they created looks OK in printed form. Some who use Lulu only want that one book anyway, why should it be free?

    They know lulu is just trying to sell some books. I believe most authors are satisfied with the works they have submitted for distribution and don't make any changes afterwards.

    That is far far from the truth as seen by the many books looked at in the forum, and they are just the tip of the iceberg, there are many books on Lulu that could do with a substantial editing, proofreading and so on.

    Purchasing proof copies should optional.

    Why? It only makes sense to want to see what your book looks like when in solid form. The option is not to publish if you are not willing to pay the cost of the book. Lulu have to pay for them. Lulu do not make them.

    Authors should have the option to approve copies for distribution without being required to purchase proof copies.

    Why? This is a self-publishing site and often some people only want one copy. How is Lulu supposed to pay for the site and their staff if they give the books away?

    Createspace used to have the same requirement - you must purchase a proof copy to make sure everything is OK with your book - but they dropped it after they realised people knew better than that.

    Better than what? I don't know if that is true about Createspace (if so why don't you use that then?) but Amazon is massive and cash rich though, so can perhaps afford to pay staff to chuck any book out they dont approve of, but that does not sound feasible. I know they do that with books for Kindle however. Staff take a look at them first.

    And they have been getting even more customers because of that,

    And you can prove that is the reason? If it is true that is. But do you mean Createspace or Amazon?

    among other reasons, of course, including books being listed on amazon.com almost right away - the next day or so and without charge.

    But that is Amazon and this is Lulu, who simply send listings to Amazon, and Amazon can take as long as they like listing them. Lulu do not charge for the ISBNs or for Dist, either.

    If lulu continues with this policy, forcing authors to buy proof copies, they will continue to lose customers to their competitors, especially Createspace.

    Ermm, Lulu have been doing this for around 10 years ...

    Createspace even had free ISBNs long before lulu did.

    So?

    Now lulu is also giving free ISBNs.

    Indeed, and has been doing for the many years I have been here. So?

    They also need to let authors approve their works without being required to buy proof copies.

    How? How can something not seen be Approved?

    Those who want buy proof copies will do so. But don't force those who don't want to just for their books to be aproved for distribution.

    There's one main option. If you do not like Lulu and cannot afford even one book, then don't use Lulu.

  • Last I checked on createspace, not only do you have to purchase a proof copy, however you cannot do so after their staff review your book files for formatting, etc which takes up to 48 hours before you hear back. etc. THEN you get to order a proof copy. Purchasing a proof is not publishing. So yes, it is free to publish. One day, purchasing a $5 proof copy may save you some major headaches.
  • Derek

     

    If you don't want to buy even one copy of your own book - at the print price -  in order that the book can go on distribution and be made available for people worldwide to buy.......

    ....why do you suppose anyone else would want to buy it at the retail price?

  • Re: Don't force authors to buy proof copies

     

    My proof copies were (aside from the advice of this great community) were the best way to get a true sense of what customers would be viewing in their hands upon purchase. Why would you NOT want to make such a small investment for the benefit of everyone that views your work? 

     

    My proof had several issues, but I still treasure it.

    ...It was a book that arrived at my home with my name on the cover...and that is worth more than the cost of the proof copy by leaps and bounds.

     

    To be honest I am glad that we have to review our work before distribution. If you cannot be bothered to make what is likely one of the smallest investments in any form of self publishing then perhaps you are not taking your work seriously enough, or not respecting it enough to ensure it is perfect to the reader.

     

    There are other POD services out there that may claim better bells and whistles, but are they truly better? Investigation has lead me back to lulu several times when I did the comparisons...and in the end...this is my home. Trust me when I say you will be very pleased with the quality of your proof copy and should it require alterations you will be glad to have spotted it.

     

  • I do detect a bit of bitterness in the original post, perhaps stemming from not being able to afford a Proof, but having to buy just one Proof is a great step forward from having to buy 500 to get self-published, and those deals rarely included an ISBN or any form of distribution.

  • As someone who has used CreateSpace, I can tell you that they have not dropped their requirement for a physical proof. As someone who has used Lulu for a number of years, Lulu has always offered free ISBNs - for at least 7 or 8 years. It is also a requirement of the distribution printer (I have used them for a number of years too) - they will not accept your book - via Lulu or directly - without a proof being ordered.

    As for the requirement for a proof, I'll share a horror story that was shared elsewhere... a publisher added a comma and approved the revised book without getting a proof (proof would have cost $10 plus postage). The comma caused the addition of an extra page due to a river causing a line to go over on to a new page. The publisher then had to take the book off the market for several weeks to get the error fixed (losing weeks of sales) and replace quite a tidy number of books due to the bad formatting (after correcting the error and additional cost of the replacement books) - costing substantiallly more than $10 plus postage the proof would have cost PLUS a load of embarrassment.

    The purpose of the proof is to ensure that the printer has printed the book correctly. If the printer hasn't printed it correctly, then it's their responsibility to fix the printing. If there's an error in the formatting caused by the publisher, then it can be caught without the expense of replacing the books badly formatted and the embarrassment.

    Avoid the cost and embarrassment. Order a proof.

  • Wise Words.

  • Hello Dereklarue,
    You write the words
    You create the book
    and send it up to Lulu
    To approve distribution by not reading a 'proof'
    Can make alteration costs hit the roof.
    So order your proof from Lulu!

    It's not a question of rules, it is a question of selling the best you have to offer.
    If you are 'certain you have it right first time, then don't worry about the proof..., just purchase as many books as you want to sell!

    Eliza
  • Better late than never June Smiley Happy

  • My two-cents worth. I am currently reviewing my FOURTH proof. I too am in a hurry to get to distribution, but... as these wise ones have so perfectly illustrated.... we all make mistakes, and I, for one, do not wish MY mistakes to be published for the world to see. The human eye is a remarkable thing, but the human brain? Ah, that my friend, is even more remarkable! My brain KNOWS WHAT I MEANT TO WRITE, and when I proofread my own work, my brain tends to overlook those pesky typos and sees only what I meant to say. I am fortunate in that I have several good family members and friends that will put up with my occasional requests for them to read over my work and look for those mistakes. However, even with that assistance, things still get missed. The few bucks I am spending for these proof copies is well worth the end result! Hang in there. Life does have a rainbow, and when your book is finally published with as few mistakes as you can make it, you can take pride in it. I, for one, agree with a previous poster. I hold on to every one of my proofs, as they are a cherished part of my evolution as a writer. Best of luck to you with your "proofs."

  • Indeed. Make sure the mistakes are removed from a file before you upload it. Proofs in this instance are really to see what it looks like in print, which may not always be the same as it looked in the Print Ready PDF because that's not printed, bound and trimmed. Even if the text is perfect, you may still need to adjust margins.

    It's a bit like woodwork. Measure twice, cut once.

  • Same with tailoring Kevin.
    How about the privilege of actually having the Lulu site in the first place.
    ANY where else the cost of a proof is in extraordinarily high fees for every change and advisory service!
    Pay where payment is truly warranted and thank you to Lulu and this forum.

    I have published ten titles with Lulu; something I and my writing and poetic partners could only hope for but never thought possible.

    jELiza

  • hi - because i cannot afford proof copies i am unable to re-publish all my books which were once for sale on lulu.com in 2010.
    barbara osulivan
  • Hi Barbara, if your books have ISBN:booknumber4u then why do you need to republish?
    Anyway why not publish eBooks if they have picture formats or ePubs if text? neither of these formats require pre-purchase for the creator but can be a lucrative source for print costs.
    If you need help, just ask, all the best June
  • I agreeSmiley Frustrated I heard their used to be a way of bypassing HAVING to buy a copy of your own book, but EVERYTHING'S about money nowadays.  I've sold thousands of copies of certain books according to Amazon but have yet to see a paycheckSmiley Surprised  Don't get me wrong, I don't publish to earn money.  I simply love to writeHeart but some things on Lulushould be about the Author more so than those who run the siteSmiley Embarassed


    dereklarue wrote:

    Why does lulu insist on forcing people to buy proof copies?

    "In order to approve your book for distribution, a proof copy of the most recent version of your book must be purchased....We want you to be 100% sure that your book is exactly the way you want it to be before it becomes available worldwide. Purchasing a copy for review is the best way to check the cover and the content before the final published work is sent into the distribution system."

    I don't think many people are convinced by that. People know when they are being forced to buy something they don't have to. They know lulu is just trying to sell some books. I believe most authors are satisfied with the works they have submitted for distribution and don't make any changes afterwards.

    Purchasing proof copies should optional. Authors should  have the option to approve copies for distribution without being required to purchase proof copies. Createspace used to have the same requirement - you must purchase a proof copy to make sure everything is OK with your book - but they dropped it after they realized people knew better than that. And they have been getting even more customers because of that, among other reasons, of course, including books being listed on amazon.com almost right away - the next day or so and without charge.

    If lulu continues with this policy, forcing authors to buy proof copies, they will continue to lose customers to their competitors, especially Createspace. Createspace even had free ISBNs long before lulu did. Now lulu is also giving free ISBNs. They also need to let authors approve their works without being required to buy proof copies. Those who want to buy proof copies will do so. But don't force those who don't want to just for their books to be approved for distribution.


     

  • *There*Smiley Happy


    lakeyagm wrote:

    I agreeSmiley Frustrated I heard their used to be a way of bypassing HAVING to buy a copy of your own book, but EVERYTHING'S about money nowadays.  I've sold thousands of copies of certain books according to Amazon but have yet to see a paycheckSmiley Surprised  Don't get me wrong, I don't publish to earn money.  I simply love to writeHeart but some things on Lulushould be about the Author more so than those who run the siteSmiley Embarassed


    dereklarue wrote:

    Why does lulu insist on forcing people to buy proof copies?

    "In order to approve your book for distribution, a proof copy of the most recent version of your book must be purchased....We want you to be 100% sure that your book is exactly the way you want it to be before it becomes available worldwide. Purchasing a copy for review is the best way to check the cover and the content before the final published work is sent into the distribution system."

    I don't think many people are convinced by that. People know when they are being forced to buy something they don't have to. They know lulu is just trying to sell some books. I believe most authors are satisfied with the works they have submitted for distribution and don't make any changes afterwards.

    Purchasing proof copies should optional. Authors should  have the option to approve copies for distribution without being required to purchase proof copies. Createspace used to have the same requirement - you must purchase a proof copy to make sure everything is OK with your book - but they dropped it after they realized people knew better than that. And they have been getting even more customers because of that, among other reasons, of course, including books being listed on amazon.com almost right away - the next day or so and without charge.

    If lulu continues with this policy, forcing authors to buy proof copies, they will continue to lose customers to their competitors, especially Createspace. Createspace even had free ISBNs long before lulu did. Now lulu is also giving free ISBNs. They also need to let authors approve their works without being required to buy proof copies. Those who want to buy proof copies will do so. But don't force those who don't want to just for their books to be approved for distribution.


     


     

  • Why should an author have to BUY THEIR OWN BOOK though?Woman Surprised


    Peter May wrote:

    Derek

     

    If you don't want to buy even one copy of your own book - at the print price -  in order that the book can go on distribution and be made available for people worldwide to buy.......

    ....why do you suppose anyone else would want to buy it at the retail price?


    I get where you're coming from about the price, but the Author shouldn't have to pay for their own workWoman Embarassed


  • lakeyagm wrote:

    Why should an author have to BUY THEIR OWN BOOK though?Woman Surprised


    You are the publisher of your book, not Lulu. Like any publisher, you are responsible for all the expenses involved in creating a book. This includes printing and binding. 

     

    You ask, "Why should an author have to buy their own book?" You might ask yourself, "Why should a printer and binder---such as Lulu---provide you with books for free?" It's not their book, it's yours. And the expenses are yours, too.

     

    You also wrote "I get where you're coming from about the price, but the Author shouldn't have to pay for their own work." If the author is working through a publisher, this is true: the publisher provides copies to the author. But in the case of a self-published book you are both author and publisher. The latter means that you are responsible for all of the expenses, including providing yourself with copies of your own book.

     

    When I create a book for a commercial publisher I do get a certain number of free books. But this is an expense undertaken by the publisher, who has to pay for the copies. In the case of an author working through Lulu, they---the author---are the publisher and are responsible for all of the expenses involved. This includes providing themselves with books. The fact that you are the author gives you no special rights: you are also the publisher and that puts certain obligations on your shoulders. This includes paying all of the expenses involved in publishing your book.

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