Cover Quality in UK - Problems with curling and warping
This topic has been aired before (several years ago), but nothing came of it apart from a monumentally useless suggestion that you 'gets what you pays for' and if you don't want faulty books go somewhere else.
I've published over twenty books on Lulu, so I have a bit of experience. Part of that experience is that almost every order over the last few years (printed in Eastbourne, UK) has been defective in the cover department.
The problem is the curling up or warping of the cover, sometimes slightly, usually quite badly, occasionally grotesquely (aspiring to the condition of a Swiss roll). Non-defective orders are rare. I just laid out a recent order on the table of a cool, dry room, and watched the cover of each book gently pop into the initial curling position, which already looks tatty and will worsen steadily over the next few days. Such books, whatever you do to them, NEVER return to normal. And most people don't want to buy them (who can blame them?), so every order runs at a loss.
I have a fairly large personal library of about 3,000 volumes, mainly paperback, and only one (o-n-e) book ever curled up like this, so the problem cannot be regarded as normal. My daughter also worked in a big high street bookshop chain for six months and assures me that such a fault would have meant the return of the whole consignment as defective and unsaleable.
It seems to me that the fault has to do with the tensions produced by the laminate. If this is so, surely the machines can be adjusted. I've had subsitute orders placed by Lulu, so the printer knows there's a problem (I'd welcome matt-finish covers actually - much smarter-looking, but that's another story).
I've complained to Lulu about this, using the link on the orders page, and, as always, their extremely helpful agents are sympathetic. But the most they seem to be able to do is place a repeat order, which has a pretty good chance of being not much better than the first one. And it's a hassle and a waste of time one shouldn't have in the first place - in the end one just gives up. Receiving an order should be a pleasure, not an occasion for wondering apprehensively what the printers will come up with this time.
What I would really like to see is Lulu changing its UK printer (now acquired by a larger group, I believe, but with no effect on quality) if it doesn't pull its socks up. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for a better product.
I'm interested to see whether other Lulu authors are having this problem or if it's just a matter of the Great Printer in the Sky not liking me. If a Lulu employee could respond to the suggestion in the previous paragraph, it would be very helpful indeed.