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Lulu xPress App Comments

Hello,

Just after some feedback from any experience they've had with using Lulu xPress so far?

The list below is just some notes I've taken from the comments section under the Lulu xPress app listing in the Shopify App Store. Would be good if anyone could elaborate on their experience so far to get a better sense of how the workflow overall is going with the relatively new app.
  • "...numerous test orders that have been incorrect" (Backwards pages we're noted)
  • "...My first order was messed up"
  • "...international shipping is not tracked"
  • "...be prepared to spend hours manually fulfill..."
We're about to launch a new title and are weighing up the option to use Lulu xPress as part of our current distribution workflow, but need to find out more before committing. With moving several thousand books, scaling the issues listed above will be not so great.

Another urgent question (that I have sent to support, but if they get to it here first then great!) Why does the pricing on the 'xpress.lulu.com/pricing' page calculate so differently with the 'Lulu xPress Shopify App'? I calculated an 8.5" x 8.5", 48 page, Color Standard, 80# Coated White, Perfect Bound, Glossy book on the website at $3.56. I calculated the same book in the Shopify App at $8.03? That's a pretty significant price difference.

Cheers,
Az
Tagged:

Comments

  • Hi Az,

    I'll speak to the comments we've seen on the Shopify page and I've passed the question about pricing over to our support team.

    Regarding the comments:
    • "...numerous test orders that have been incorrect" (Backwards pages we're noted)
    We do see errors from our printers occasionally. As of today, our error percent is less than 0.5% of all printed books (from all Lulu printers). When you consider that we print thousands of books a day, that rate is very small.

    Of course, if our printers make a mistake, we replace the product. 

    The issue can be due to file creation too. I don't know exactly, but pages shifted like this are often going to be a file error.
    • "...My first order was messed up"
    This one is too vague to respond to with accuracy, but we have a robust support staff and respond to all customer inquiries. Once we determined what "messed up" meant, I'm certain we made it right.
    • "...international shipping is not tracked"
    There are some shipping methods to some regions that are not tracked. The messaging to users regarding this is not perfect, and thanks to feedback like this, we're working right now to implement a better system to let vendors know if a method is non-traceable. 

    • "...be prepared to spend hours manually fulfill..."

    This one is just untrue. The application sends a print request when an order is made and that order is shipped to the address the buyer provides. Once automatic payments are set up (this can be done after the first order is placed), you as a vendor do not need to do anything to fulfill an order.

    That's kind of the whole point of the app.

    We'll get some info on the pricing ASAP too. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them here. We do have staff in the office you can speak to via phone or email with questions too. Go ahead and PM me if you want direct contact info.


  • edited October 2018
    Hi Az,

    I went into our Shopify store and when entering your specifications, I received the price quoted at 3.56. I also received the same price via our Lulu Xpress website.

    I am attaching a screenshot (I had to zoom out a bit to get all the specifications) of what I entered in Shopify.

    If you can attach a screenshot of what you see on your screen, that would be great! 


  • Az_Az_ Reader
    edited October 2018
    Hi Taylor & Paul,

    Thank you for the responses. I couldn't seem to figure out zooming out, so please see 2 screenshots attached below.

    Cheers,
    Az



  • Az_Az_ Reader
    Hello again,

    Just some follow up questions regarding xPress while I'm on here.
    • Is there any ISBN tracking/information attached to the Titles uploaded to xPress? We use our own ISBN's and they will be included in the "design" of the Books, but I can't find anything in regards to how xPress deals with ISBN's if at all (Metadata, sales tracking, etc.)
    • Are there any holiday/busy period, notifications and/or warnings for particular dates where orders and shipments may be delayed?
    • Is there any Lulu/Lulu xPress branding on either the printed book or packaging?
    Cheers,
    Az
  • Hi Az,

    I'm going to let Taylor look again at the pricing. But for the follow up questions:
    • Is there any ISBN tracking/information attached to the Titles uploaded to xPress? We use our own ISBN's and they will be included in the "design" of the Books, but I can't find anything in regards to how xPress deals with ISBN's if at all (Metadata, sales tracking, etc.)
    When you're using xPress, we act solely as a printer. So you can (and should) include the ISBN in your book, but we don't have any requirements that you register it with us. In terms of search, Shopify has a "Barcode Number" you can include when building your product. That's where I suggest listing the ISBN.

    Here's a screen grab of the "Inventory" options (found while creating your product in Shopify):


    • Are there any holiday/busy period, notifications and/or warnings for particular dates where orders and shipments may be delayed?

    From early November through middle December, our printers get much higher volumes than usual. Plus Fedex is working harder too. These factors can combine to result in longer production and delivery. We'll be posting our calendar later in October with the dates we guarantee shipment by (based on shipping method) to regions all around the world. 

    • Is there any Lulu/Lulu xPress branding on either the printed book or packaging?
    Nope. White label all the way


  • Az_Az_ Reader
    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the follow up. I will wait for Taylors' response in regards to the pricing.

    Just touching on this point below from a previous question. Whilst the fulfilment automation is ultimately the ideal workflow. Can you easily switch from it being automatic to manual and back?

    Key reasoning is for how we have handled "pre-orders" in the past, where we capture orders but fulfil them at a specific later date.

    Cheers,
    Az


    • "...be prepared to spend hours manually fulfill..."

    This one is just untrue. The application sends a print request when an order is made and that order is shipped to the address the buyer provides. Once automatic payments are set up (this can be done after the first order is placed), you as a vendor do not need to do anything to fulfill an order.

    That's kind of the whole point of the app.

  • Hi Az,

    Automatic payments can be turned off and back on again pretty easily. I think our system forgets your payment info when you turn the auto pay off (for your security), so you may need to be re-enter some info to turn them on again.

    One of our first customers did exactly that, taking pre-orders for a couple of months, then on the release date, they went in and fulfilled a hundreds of waiting orders and started the books printing. 

    The one thing that may not be fully functional is setting a specific product to fulfill automatically. I'm not sure if that's a limitation from us (as in, we haven't built that functionality yet) or from Shopify, but it's certainly a feature I could see being necessary for releasing and pre-selling future books. 

  • Hi Az,

    I am not sure why the pricing is different. I will have to inquire with my development team.

    I will follow up via support case.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I don't know how xPress deals with user provided ISBNs, but I have noticed that if one wants to apply a Lulu one on xPress it brings you to Create on Lulu.com.
  • Az_Az_ Reader
    Hey Kevin,

    Cheers for the feedback. I don't think I'll be using a Lulu ISBN, but when you say the below, is there an option somewhere I'm missing?
    ...if one wants to apply a Lulu one on xPress it brings you to Create on Lulu.com.
    Cheers,
    Az
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I experimented with xPress and there is an option to obtain a free Lulu ISBN.

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see Print With Distribution. (A free Lulu ISBN includes that.)

    https://xpress.lulu.com/

  • Az_Az_ Reader
    Hey Kevin,

    Ok cool. Yeah I followed that link, but missed any Lulu ISBN part.

    Cheers for the feedback,
    Az
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Some of the book types (shape, size, etc.) on Create have a green tick on them. That means they can have a free Lulu ISBN and Distribution (on line sites like Amazon, but 1000s more, some just as famous.) A shame it does not actually say what that tick means! When you enter a Project Wizard the option to apply one is given and if you take the option it then has to be added to the Copyright page of your book before uploading the file. The Cover Wizard section will auto-add an ISBN barcode to the back cover.

    When a printed book is bought anywhere, POD takes effect without you having to lift a finger, and you get your 'cut.'

    If you consider a ePub, then they can all have the free ISBNs. Although PDF e-books cannot.

    ISBNs or not, they will all appear on a personal Lulu Storefront, but there are options about that also.

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