File Size too big AFTER print ready PDF is made?

I've got a 300+ page book with lots of images to be printed full color, hard bound. I've done this with a dozen other books over the past 10 years, never had a problem. Then right before Christmas I upload my next book, exported from InDesign with Lulu's exact export specs, using 300dpi and "high" for the jpeg compression quality setting. Total file size is just over 400mb. I upload it, no problem, print ready PDF is made, no problem, but it's just over 2.4gb in size, it seems weird but whatever. I order the books, no problem. A week later, I get an email saying there was an error and the books couldn't be printed and the whole order is cancelled. 

Several days pass and I finally get ahold of a Lulu support guy who starts making really uneducated comments about file compression that leads me to believe he has no idea what he's doing, then he says it's my fault for "tricking" their system into accepting a file that was too big (by using jpeg compression?) and I'll have to reduce the file size and try again. I lower the quality and get a file that's 200mb. However, the print-ready file Lulu makes is now 2.2gb in size. I reduce my file by 50% and their print ready file is reduced by 10%, so I have no idea how to get a lower print-ready file size and neither does support. But I try to order it again, five days later I get another error that it couldn't be printed. Support guy says he can't do anything because I have too many pictures, and he elevates it to the next level of support, but it's been a week now and there's no contact or response from the higher level support. I'm starting to look for different publishers because Lulu support is terribly unresponsive and my clients are waiting and I'm going to lose a ton of money on this job.

Has this happened to any of you? Anyone have a workaround so I don't have to deal with Lulu support again?


  • The file size is ballooning because the file you upload has compressed images. Part of preparing the file for printing involves "un-compressing" the file to check the quality of each image. When that happens, your file expands to the much larger size.

    This causes an error when you send a request for printing, as the printer has to download this larger file. Doing so causes a time out on the printer side.

    Unfortunately, image formatting is not my specialty, so I recommend staying in touch with the support team as they'll be able to
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