Print ready files: PDFs won't convert (keep having an error)

So, I am using Indesign CC to make a print book.  I'm using Lulu's full bleed PDF job options.  I've used these job options before on the same indesign files I'm using now, but have started having problems.

The problem I am having is, I recently updated my Indesign document (corrected some typos) and exported it the same way as usual, but when I get to the stage where I have to convert the PDF to a print ready file... it takes several hours, and then gives me an unexpected internal error message.

I've tried re-exporting the PDF from indesign a few times and doing this again, I've tried making a new project from scratch.  Same problem.

I've found I can get the PDFs if I export them as separate chapters to convert into individual print ready files, but the conversion process breaks when I try to export them all together.

I also tried making a print ready file by adding all the separate chapters to the book and then running the converter, but while it can handle them individually, it fails if I try to add them all to the project together.  This would not be ideal in any case because I need the document to have bleed, and combining individual chapters results in losing that.

The files are well under the maximum, at just slightly over 80mb, so I know that's not the issue.

I really really need to get this book ready this week and make an order, I've sent an email to Lulu, but haven't heard from them yet.  I know they try to get back to people ASAP and I would give them that I've actually been impressed by their customer service thus far.. but this is a situation where I'm really in a hurry to update the project with typos fixed and get it shipped off.  I've been trying for 2 days to get the file to convert to print ready.

What should I do?



  • In case it matters, creating the print ready file seems to progress to about 90%, hang for a good long while and then progress to the end only to show the error and not allow me to proceed beyond this step. I've checked and the print ready file will show up in my files, but that does me no good since I can't go to the next step in the content creation wizard.

  • I've been having similar problems. Support only said "Image rich files have been causing our converter to time out. I'm going to run some test uploads and see if I can get it to work. I'll be in touch soon when I know more."
    He hasn't been back in touch and all I get are errors at the moment Smiley Sad
  • As Salith commented, file analysis for complex files can take some time.


    I recommend you both contact our print support team.

    They will be happy to have a look at your files and provide recommendations for speeding the process. In the mean time, I can suggest you flatten the file and remove all transparencies before you upload it.



  • It is a image intense book, there's at least one big image on each page, but it being graphically intense is pretty important to me.  I exported it with transparency flattening, but it doesn't help, still seems to be timing out.  I've been trying to do this for 3 days now.  I never had problems with image intense files before, so I'm guessing this has something to do with a recent update to the system.


    I've messaged them, but am pretty sure I'll just hear the same thing the other poster with this same issue heard.

    In any case, this makes sense, it does seem to be timing out, but I've tried... well over 10 times to do this in the last 3 days now, no luck yet.

  • Exactly my problem, exact description of how it goes on my end, with all graphic-intensive books. I managed some books by (get this) opening the original PDF, using a PDF printer which comes out with a 300dpi no-vector PDF file (each page becomes a 300dpi image), which bumps a 40MB file into 300MB+ (also wastes a long time converting). It worked on two different books (resulting books reached me just fine). No luck with the third (and since the "unexpected error" is so misterious, there's no telling if it ever will work like that again).
  • This issue is of particular interest to our print support team.

    We are actively investigating the cause and seeking a solution.

  • Did anyone find a solution? As for myself, I emailed support and had no reply. :-\

    PS.: post author, please let me know if I'm disrupting this thread, we're in the same situation but I'll understand and take the discussion elsewhere if you prefer. Smiley Wink
  • I having same problem


    I just resaved file as PDF/A and flattened it and that seems to have done trick

  • I just resaved file as PDF/A and flattened it and that seems to have done the trick

  • I'm having the same issue, all okay on prevous occasions, just won't budge this time.
  • Hi all,


    Just wanted to add that I too have a problem of being stuck at the  "Please be patient, Lulu is making your print-ready file" page. 


    I've uploaded a 8MB PDF file, generated by LaTeX, like I have done dozens of time before w/o problems. This time however, I seems to get stuck. Will be happy to provide more info if this will help you debug.




  • Nevermind, the problem seems to have been on my side --- i just recreated a PDF verion 1.4 (instead of 1.5) and the print-ready process ran fine.
  • It can often be the fault of how busy Lulu's site is, and even how busy the Internet is, even how many in one's own street are on line, and Wireless does not help either. People tend to forget that a site and/or tool they are using on one, could be 1,000s of miles away down a mesh of wires, cables, microwaves, mainframes etc etc, and that the transmissions are split in to little Packets that wizz around trying to find the fastest route, hopefully all melding together at the right place, in both directions. I wont even bother to add that one's own PC and router and ISP can make a difference too, speed etc. We just take it all for granted.


    I just come back later.


    One thing I have discovered is that if one steps back a process in the Wizard, then forward again, the up-load or conversion has happened anyway, it's just not told you! It was the tool's progress bar that stuck. (Although you should get a mail to say it has converted.)





  • In the midst of this same problem. Support has reached out, and, initially suggested I get the file size down (originally it was a 700M PDF, and is now a 450M file). Still not converting.


    It's a very image intensive book (graphic novel).


    Any suggestions on what to do (or not do) in InDesign?



  • I'm facing the same issue. It will get to 90% on the print-ready file page and then give a non-specific error. I tried to call Lulu but they are out of office until Monday.
  • Hey Kaitlyn,
    Sorry to hear about the error. I noticed our converter doing that while I was working on a project recently too.
    I suggest trying to run the converter a couple more times. It may well be a glitch on our end that's showing that error when it shouldn't.
    I found your support case as well and passed that to a member of our team, they'll reach out to you as soon as they can to assist.
  • I get nothing but these errors, all the time. However, I recalled one workaround, again from the good old days but it still holds good now. When the project stalls with such error reports, and / or when you get the dreaded white page with the project frozen, simply go back to the projects page, then go back in the process, literally using the back options right to the start, and then move forward again. Unless there is something really wrong with your files, then, barring a serious site glitch, you'll get your files through and the book published - it may take 3 or 4 goes doing this, but it will get there in the end.
  • It has happened with every single project I started in the last two weeks. Therefore, instead if 10 hours of uploading time it took me 30. It happened at the PDF interior conversion, at the cover stage, back and forth 5 or 10 times. Truly, I think fixing this should be a priority. So, as John Haines says, go back and forth back and forth, refresh, back and forth, until it works. Good luck.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭
    Part of the issue may also relate to network problems. I've noticed when my service goes down, it also goes down in places on both east and west coasts, Houston, New Orleans, and so on.

    Even if your local internet service is working fine, if there are connectivity problems down the line it can affect what you're trying to do with a project on Lulu.
  • Cameron, 100% sure it's the lulu upload and conversion software. I have perfect high speed internet and have been around the uploading block an embarrassing amount of times. It needs to be fixed. I have other work to upload and I am dreading it.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭
    I'm not saying the upload / conversion software doesn't need an update. What I am saying is there may be more contributing to the problem than just the software itself.

    The internet may work perfectly in one geographic area while having issues in another geographic area. I've been around the block as system support where a facility in one state was up and had great connectivity while a plant in a different state (hundreds of miles away) was unable to connect due to local issues.
    Em_Press said:
    Cameron, 100% sure it's the lulu upload and conversion software. I have perfect high speed internet and have been around the uploading block an embarrassing amount of times. It needs to be fixed. I have other work to upload and I am dreading it.

  • It's a serious problem. It needs to be fixed ASAP.  Lulu users should not hesitate before they publish a book. Nor should there be so many suggestions to contact support only to have them disappear once you go back and forth ten times. This is bad business. End of story. Lulu software must work perfectly. It should be the first priority.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭
    Perhaps if the developers enlist a few end-users (such as yourself) who have experienced problems on a test platform they can find solutions.

    Back when I did system support we tested with actual end-users and it was amazing the glitches they found as opposed to the developers. The reason being the developers know how a system is supposed to work so they have a good idea what not to do. End-users on the other hand have varying levels of expertise and will often push a system's limits.

    As for software working perfectly, I'm still looking for that critter, but that's another story.
  • MaggieMaggie
    edited December 8
    I think if they test it with any book they will see the same thing.

    But your idea is a good one.

    * * * * *
    Within these colouring books you will find scripture or prayers in large letters that you can colour in to experience God's words in yet one more way. It will give you a beautiful moment to pause and stop thinking of the worries of life, a moment to do something meaningful and relaxing. You can colour in one word or one page a day. Some books contain, in addition to the actual scripture or prayer, Christian crosses, ornamental first letter or peace-inspiring mandalas as in the Psalms book. Colour pencils or crayons recommended. Product information. 8.5x11 paperback, 60# white interior paper, black ink outline, glossy cover finish, perfect bound.

  • So I was aware of this being an issue for some users, but it wasn't triggering our threshold to get our QA team involved. Maybe there's some bigger issue at work here. I'll check in and try to get an update as soon as I can.
  • Em_PressEm_Press ✭✭
    Thank you, Paul. It's every single book.
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