eBook Distribution FAQ
What is eBook distribution?
If you are considering selling your eBook on retail sites other than Lulu.com, your eBook must include a unique International Standard Book Number (ISBN), comply with our retail partners’ distribution guidelines, and pass both Lulu’s and our retail partners’ quality assurance reviews.
Your eBook will be eligible for distribution if you:
- Select Sell this book in the first step of the eBook Publishing Wizard
- Apply an ISBN to the project
- Create it as or convert it to EPUB format
- Comply with all eBook distribution guidelines
How can I get my eBook distributed to other retailers such as the Kindle Bookstore, the Apple iBookstore, the NOOK® bookstore, and the Kobo Bookstore?
When you publish an eBook in EPUB format that includes an ISBN, you will see a pricing and distribution step in the publishing wizard. In this step you will enter your retail price and select retail distribution options. Your projected revenue for each selected retailer will be displayed. Your book will enter the distribution process once you complete the publishing wizard.
Following publication, you can review and edit your price and retail selections from the My Projects page. Click the Manage distribution button next to the project to view and edit distribution options.
Will my eBook be available for purchase on Amazon.com?
Lulu's eBook distribution options include the Kindle Bookstore on Amazon.com.
One of my distribution options is "Kobo and More," which online retailers are included in this option?
The Kobo and More distribution option includes all online eBook retailers included in the Ingram CoreSource eBook distribution network. This network includes specialty bookstores that offer regional and curated content. Here is a link to a current list of Ingram's online eBook distribution partners.
How much does it cost to place my eBook in distribution?
There is no charge for submitting your eBook for distribution.
What is an eBook Quality Assurance Review?
When you choose retail distribution for your eBook, it is submitted to our Distribution Team for a Quality Assurance (QA) review. Your eBook will then be reviewed to ensure it meets our retailers’ distribution requirements. If your eBook does not meet these requirements, it will be rejected for distribution and you will be notified via email of the rejection reason. You may then revise your project and resubmit it for an additional QA review.
Important Note: The QA review is a technical review, not a review of your content.
Will I be notified when my book passes Lulu’s eBook Quality Assurance Review?
Yes. When your eBook passes the Lulu QA Review, we will send you an email to alert you that your eBook has been passed to the retail distributors you selected in the publishing wizard or Manage Distribution page.
The eBook’s distribution status will be set to Processed. If you chose to distribute your work to the iBookstore, the Available on the iBookstore badge will also be applied by Lulu when we submit your eBook to Apple for review.
Please Note: The Processed status only indicates that your eBook has been reviewed by Lulu and submitted to the retailer. It must then also pass the retailer’s QA review before it will be available for purchase on the retailer’s site.
You can track your eBook’s progress through the distribution process from the Manage Distribution page. For more information about distribution statuses and action alerts, see How to Use the eBook Manage Distribution Page.
My eBook was rejected for distribution. What do I do now?
If your eBook is rejected because it does not meet eBook distribution requirements, you can revise the project to correct the issues discovered during the QA review and resubmit it for another review.
For more information about why eBooks are rejected for distribution, see Top 10 Reasons Why Your eBook Was Rejected.
Why is it necessary for Lulu and the retailer to review my eBook?
The Lulu Distribution Team verifies that your eBook meets current distribution requirements. Retailers then confirm that your eBook is not in violation of their publishing terms and conditions, which can change at any time and varies between retailers.
How long will it take for my eBook to appear on a retailer’s site?
When you submit your eBook for distribution, it is queued with all other eBooks awaiting review. On average, the Lulu team will review your eBook within a week of submission.
If your eBook passes the Lulu QA review, it will be submitted to the selected retailers for final review. The eBook distribution status will be updated to Processed.
If your book passes the retailer’s review, it will be queued for addition to the retailer’s online catalog and should be available for purchase in 2-4 weeks. Each retailer has their own process for reviewing, approving, and listing eBooks on their sites.
Please Note: All times are estimates and vary depending on demand.
Will I be notified when my eBook is made available on other retail sites?
No. When your book passes the retailer’s review, your eBook will be queued to be included in the retailer’s next site catalog update. The only means of verifying whether a title is listed on a retailer’s website is to search for the title.
Helpful hint: Searching by the eBook’s ISBN, without the dashes, will return a list of all sites on which the eBook is currently offered for sale.
If your eBook remains in the Processed status for more than four weeks, please contact our Support Team. We will attempt to locate your eBook in the process and provide you with additional information on your eBook’s distribution status.
How can my fans purchase my eBook from retail distribution sites?
When your eBook is listed on a retail site, your fans can purchase it directly from that site using their eReader or other device.
I see an “Available on the iBookstore” badge next to my eBook title. Why can’t I find it on the iBookstore?
When your eBook passes the Lulu Quality Assurance review and is sent to Apple, the Available on the iBookstore button is automatically applied to the title. Since Apple does not communicate back to us when your eBook passes their review process and it is added to their catalog, we simply add the tag in preparation for its availability on the iBookstore.
The only way for you to know when it is actually available is to conduct a periodic search.
Helpful Hint: To search for your book on the iBookstore. Type the following URL address into your browser: itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbnxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Replace the xxxxx's with the numbers from your ISBN (without the dashes) and hit enter. If your eBook is available for purchase from the iBookstore, it will display in your browser.
Note: the above URL displays books in the US iBookstore. To see if your eBook is listed in other iBookstores around the world, change the /us/ to the country code of interest (i.e. uk, fr, ca, etc.). Click here to view a list of international iBookstores.
Why is my entire eBook displayed in the iBookstore Preview?
The iBookstore generates a preview using either the first linked section in your eBook table of contents (NCX file) or 5% of the text – whichever is greater. If your eBook table of contents contains only one link, then the entire book will be displayed in the preview. This commonly occurs with short stories, picture books, and short children’s books.
To prevent your entire eBook from displaying in the iBookstore preview, you can either create additional chapters or sections in your eBook or create and upload a preview, in EPUB format, using a selected portion of your eBook. Lulu will submit your preview along with your eBook for use by our retail partners.Please Note: Custom previews must be created in EPUB format. Previews submitted in DOC, DOCX, or PDF formats cannot be submitted to retail distribution partners
Do I have to sell my eBook on Lulu.com?
No, you may choose the retailers to which your eBook will be sent. If you do not choose Lulu as a distribution option, your eBook will be automatically set to Private Access, which prevents it from displaying in the Lulu Marketplace.
If your eBook qualifies for distribution (i.e. is in EPUB format and includes an ISBN), you will see the Manage distribution button next to the title on the My Projects page. Click this button to review or edit the retail distribution sites on which you want to sell your work.
Please Note: You may notice that your revenue amounts change based on the retail sites you select to distribute your book. That is because some retailers (Lulu, Apple, and Barnes & Noble) act as sales agents meaning they sell your eBook at the price you set then take a commission based on that price. Other retailers (Amazon, Kobo) operate as resellers. This means they pay a wholesale price to a distributor when your eBook sells. Since these retailers are buying your book from a middleman at a set price, they can resell your eBook at any price they like, including a discounted price. Under the reseller model you will always make the same revenue as displayed in the retail pricing step for each book sold by that retailer, regardless of the sale price.
If I revise my eBook, how long will it take for the revision to be updated on retail sites?
If you choose to revise an eBook already in retail distribution, the entire QA review and distribution process must be repeated. The revised version should replace the previously listed eBook in 3-6 weeks.
If your eBook is still in the Lulu QA review process (Pending status) you can withdraw it (click My Projects > Manage Distribution and click Cancel), make revisions, and resubmit it for review. When you complete your revision, you can resubmit your eBook for review.
If I change the price of my eBook, when will I see the new price on retail sites?
Since a price change does not require a Lulu QA review, the price change request will be queued and sent in the next scheduled data feed for each retailer. Prices on retail sites are updated based on each retailer's schedule and are usually visible in about two weeks.
Note: E-Book price changes are immediately visible in the Lulu.com bookstore.
How do I remove my eBook from retail distribution?
You can remove your eBook from distribution by clicking on the Manage Distribution button next to the title. Deselect each distribution channel from which you wish to remove your eBook and save your changes.
Your eBook will be removed from the retailer’s site as part of the next scheduled site catalog update.
For more information about retail distribution actions, see How to Use the eBook Manage Distribution Page.