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Questions about Lulu ISBN, Tax forms, distribution, Please help



I've wrote some poetry books and I recently added a new one.


I hope I can ask the right questions and get the most up-to-date and correct answers.


Well, I got the Free ISBN numbers from Lulu for all my books. I went for the global distribution.


I went to update one of them tonight, before I buy proof copies of them all, and go through to 'accept' the distribution.


I was going to purchase them some time this week.


But when I went to update one of them, it said my title and author's name was 'locked'.


I am worried about the whole tax forms thing, because honestly I don't know how that works, and I just wanted to write books, buy copies for my friends and family, and hopefully, if it is possible, get my books into some bookstores online or something. I don't know, just as long as people read them, I don't care so much about making money because poetry for me is great therapy and an emotional outlet.


So I guess I'm wondering:


Do I have to fill out tax forms in order to continue with the Free Lulu ISBN number and global distribution?


I don't have a lot of money to spend on distribution and I just really CANNOT do the thing with the taxes. And I don't really understand it.


I'm ashamed to have to ask these questions. I did read the terms of service and all, but I didn't know if it would really affect me or apply to me in a way where I HAD to pay anything for my books to be distributed.


I know I should have asked this before hand, that's why I'm embarassed now. Please bear with me, I'm really new to understanding this kind of stuff.


I live in the USA by the way.


Also, if I DO have to fill out tax forms in order to get the free isbn from lulu and global distribution, is there any other way I can still have my books available for people to buy without me having to fill out tax forms and all?


And would 'any other way' mean me having to start my books over again here on lulu (like, retire them and start new projects)?


Any information will help me greatly. I apologize for my ignorance of the subjects.


Thank you in advance, I greatly appreciate it.


  • Don't Panic.


    You don't need to do anything yet.


    I'm not a lawyer, and this is not advice. But it's my understanding that:


    First, a business usually doesn't send you a 1099 (the form that reminds you that they paid you) unless you've gotten at least $600 from them. Copies that you buy for friends and family don't count towards that $600. So there's no reason to panic there. I don't know what the Lulu threshold is for 1099s, but by law, $600 is where a business has to send you a 1099.


    Secondly, let's suppose that you make $200 on book sales this year. Here's what will happen: Lulu will hold back 28% of that and turn it over to the IRS. So you'll get $144, and $56 will be withheld.


    When you go to file your taxes, you request that Lulu sends you a 1099 (assuming that they didn't automatically), and you use that to show that you got $200, but that $56 was withheld. So your gross income goes up by $200, and your "Amount of tax already paid goes up by $56, and depending on the rest of your income you get part or all of the $56 (maybe). But that's when you file your taxes, so it's no big deal until next tax season.


    If you're making a lot of money -- let's say that you sell millions of copies above what you buy -- then your situation gets a little more complex, and you may need an accountant to file Self-employment Taxes and so forth... but you'll have the money to hire the accountant, if you're selling that well.


    So, again, no worries.


    This is just me speaking, off-the-cuff, and someone from Lulu can explain it better, but... In general, don't panic.

  • I might have misunderstood your question... but... you do have to give your SSN to Lulu if you want to get paid. I don't think that's linked to getting a free ISBN -- it's jsut something that the tax folks make Lulu get if they're going to send you money.


    But no real tax forms, aside from that -- of course you have to file your taxes at the tend of the year, but you'd have to do that anyway.

  • Hi!


    Thanks for replying. Smiley Happy


    My books don't sell much at all, and I don't mind. I just thought that having an ISBN would make it more available to people, along with having the global distribution. I'd like to try to give a copy to my library and another bookstore here in town, the lady that owns it has taken my brother's books before that he wrote, as well. I wasn't sure if either of them required an ISBN or not. I'll try to go talk to them sometime so I will know. My brother used Lulu for one of his books, but used ... I think it was called 'damnation publishing' or something (it was a horror novel, please excuse the name).


    I understand and thank you for explaining what you did. But I have a tiny issue I might need to talk to someone in private about. I didn't really want to say it publicly.


    I'm really just writing books for fun, it's a great way to get out frustrations creatively. And I've been writing poetry for years now. I just like to have a copy of my book to say to myself "I did this, I can do something with my life".


    Well I'll tell just a little of my issue here... I live with my mom, I'm in my 30's and she advised me not to do the global distribution after I told her about what I read concerning taxes and all. She wants me to ... I think ... drop the ISBN and global distribution due to any taxes that will ever come with it. My aunt is into taxes for a living, and maybe she can explain it more to me.


    I, too, think it will be okay since I don't sell many books (I've been publishing here on lulu since 2012 after my dad died and I still haven't sold one book... I do buy them, however, and pass them out to friends and family). But my mom sorta got scared about this when I told her about taxes.


    Well, I'll just say it. I'm disabled, and I don't do taxes that I know of. My mom pays them but I don't think I do. (I've got some illnesses, I'm embarassed to say).


    So that's why I was not sure about how the whole taxes thing would affect me.


    I'm embarassed because I know a lot of people would look down on me because of my illnesses and maybe ask 'why are you on the internet if you're sick?' ya know. I'm very ashamed of my situation, but making books on lulu gives me something to look forward to in life. It's something I'm able to sit and do. (And I know I shouldn't worry what others think about me.)


    Anyway, I apologize for giving a life background story. I just wasn't sure how or if all this would affect me at all.


    I highly doubt my books will sell millions. I'm just happy to be here, and getting to do something.


    Well anyway, I do greatly appreciate your answer to my questions. I really do. I'll check back in a little while to see if anyone else knows anything about these subjects.


    I thank you again for your knowledge. :-)


    OH, also, would it be easier for me to just set the prices of my books so I don't get any revenue? I know this may sound strange, but I just love writing. I don't mind not getting paid as long as people will read my books.

  • Well also, having this all said, I wanted to know:


    Should I keep the global distribution with the isbn (which might be subject to taxes and all) or should I just retire my books to get rid of the global distribution, and start all over again with them, and re-upload them and just use "sell on lulu only" option?


    I know it should be all up to me, but I'm just not sure about what to do at this moment.


    I'll be wanting to purchase them soon, so I wasn't sure if I should just restart the projects or keep them as they are.


    Thanks so much for bearing with me, everyone. I apologize if this has caused any trouble or is confusing. I'm trying to explain the best I know how.


    I'll check replies soon. Thank you. Smiley Happy

  • Illness is nothing to be ashamed of. People get sick or become injured. It happens. No shame in that.

    I think that there is an income threshhold for filing taxes, and you aunt would be the best judge of that. If you're only selling to yourself, or yourself and a few others, the income wouldn't be enough to matter on taxes.

  • Hi,


    Thanks again for replying.


    I think my mom has talked about the income and filing taxes thing before. I wasn't sure exactly what it was. But I will definitely look into it.


    I'll try to get ahold of my aunt soon. She's busy a lot and has two new grandchildren just this year; both my cousins (her children) had babies this year, so I know she's busy helping them plus her job with taxes. I don't know when I'll get to talk to her, but I'll maybe call her this week or email her to see if I can talk to her about it. :-)


    I think you're right about the income not being enough to matter on taxes, though. But I think before I purchase the proof copies of my books I'll talk to my aunt jennie about it to make sure.


    Thank you for the advice :-) Very much appreciated, as well as the comment about illness.


    Once I talk to my aunt, I'll try to get back on here and let everyone know what she says, just in case anyone else has this issue come up.


    Thanks again, Skoob_Ym :-)

  • I'm a bit confused. In my case, the 1099-Misc shows an amount in royalties that is far below what my actual sales figures are. The royalty figure is about 10% of my total sales.
  • Hi Ajs123321,

    You will only need to file a tax form if you do not wish for Lulu to withhold taxes on sales with your Lulu-owned ISBN. Currently, the withholding rate is 24%. Please note that all sales (Lulu and Retail) will have tax withholding. We own the ISBN and so we have to report the taxes to the IRS.

    Once you publish and purchase a proof copy of a book with an ISBN, the metadata (everything on the title step) will become "locked". This is because the information regarding the book (author, title, binding, type of book) has been sent to the ISBN agency.

  • I'm a bit confused. In my case, the 1099-Misc shows an amount in royalties that is far below what my actual sales figures are. The royalty figure is about 10% of my total sales.
    Do all of your sales have Lulu-owned ISBNs? We only withhold on sales with Lulu-owned ISBNs. Any sales that do not have Lulu-owned ISBNs would not be reported on the 1099.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Does that also apply to books published here, sold only via the Storefront, that have no ISBNs at all?
  • Does that also apply to books published here, sold only via the Storefront, that have no ISBNs at all?

    You are correct. Sales with books that have no ISBNs (specifically Lulu-owned ISBNs) will not be reported on the 1099. This is because the sales are considered "other revenue".

    Our Knowledge Base article regarding this topic can be found here:

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