Lulu xPress for Shopify is Live!

Hey all!

I'm happy to announce that our eCommerce App for Shopify went live yesterday afternoon!

Link to earlier discussion

Lulu xPress App info Page

Lulu xPress Shopify App page

I'll be posting an announcement blog on Monday and I'll add a link here once it's live.

I'd like to use this thread for any questions or comments about using the App and using Shopify. Fire away!

Comments

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Paul, 

    I have private and direct access projects which I've created for clients or family members. If I connect the Shopify app will those become public or in any way be viewable to people visiting my store? Or will only the books whose PDFs I reupload via lulu xpress within Shopify be viewable?
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Also, can we sell our lulu epubs in the shopify store via Lulu express, those with and without distribution?
     A citizen of the world.

  • First question:

    Nothing currently on the Lulu Bookstore will be pushed over to any Shopify store you create. The only way to get a POD book on your Shopify store is to upload the PDFs through Lulu xPress. We've made the process incredibly simple - literally just upload an interior, pick size/binding/paper/etc, upload a cover.

    99% of PDFs created with Lulu will work seamlessly with xPress, though there are a couple of cover size mismatches that we're ironing out.

    Our dev team is working on an update that will allow users to connect existing projects to Shopify so you could start adding existing projects, but even then it would require you to select the project to add.

    Second question:

    Not currently. Lulu xPress is solely a print app at the moment. Shopify already has an app they built called Digital Downloads that facilitates automatic file transfer after payment, so all we would be doing is performing the conversion and creation of the EPUB.

    I foresee that coming eventually, but we're focused primarily on our print market at the moment, so I doubt we'll dive into the EPUB conversion tools for eCommerce until we start rebuilding the Lulu EPUB converter.
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Thank you, Paul. Excellent answers.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Paul, I have one more quick question. Whose shopping cart is it, Lulu's or Shopify's that is managing the payments? 

    To clarify, if someone's buys my book from Amazon using a fraudulent card, nothing happens to me or my books. If someone uses a fraudulent card to buy one or more of my books listed on Shopify, would I have to repay the loss? Will I be penalized in other ways such as my account being deleted? What is the policy?
     A citizen of the world.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    That's an interesting question, because of course, places such as Amazon are trusted.
  • wildwindwildwind Publisher

    Surely the shopping cart belongs only to the person who set up the Shopify account and has nothing to do with Lulu. As for fraudulent transactions, you would have to read the Shopify terms and conditions.


  • The cart is all on Shopify's end.

    You would set a price for your book, say:

    $10 + $4 for shipping = $14 total.

    When an order is placed, you collect the $14 from the buyer through Shopify.  We then bill you for the print and ship cost, say $2 to print and $4 to ship, so $6. That transaction is handled through Shopify as well.

    So there ends up being two transactions with every sale: You charging the customer for the retail price + shipping and Lulu charging you for the print cost + shipping. Both are handled through Shopify's eCommerce.

    Here's an article from their Help pages about their security - they are PCI compliant and offer SSL security, so the level of protection is on par with any other professional eCommerce tool out there.



  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Thank you, Paul. That's very clear.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    A light just went on. Maggie, I completely misunderstood what I needed to do for what you asked about. Got it now. I'll complete those tasks this week.
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Take your time, Skoob. I still haven't bought my Shopify membership. I'm trying to find out as much as I can before I use it. It would be great if someone who has it to tell us if it was seamless. What to watch out for.

    Paul, have you used it as an author?
     A citizen of the world.

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian
    I'm not brave enough to start paying for services when I don't yet earn the kind of figures I want to.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Okay, I ran the digest/philo-cover version through Xpress and ordered one, but I don't see an option to allow others to buy directly -- i.e. to put it into their shopify stores -- nor a place to set pricing. Color me confused.

    Xpress did run very smoothly and nicely, and it was very simple to use; also the cover preview gave a much better image for safety margins and bleed. Kudos on the design of the interface.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    https://help.shopify.com/manual/intro-to-shopify

    I had to hunt around a little to find an FAQ on shopify, but I think I get it now. A Shopify store owner (me if it's my store) places the description of the object online. When it is ordered, the store owner goes to Lulu Xpress (if it's my product in my store) or to a direct sale link from Lulu Old-School (if it's my product in someone else's store) and fulfills the order by drop shipment.

    Is that about right?
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Skoob, you have a Shopify store, correct? May I see it?
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    I think a video tutorial on how to use lulu x press and the Shopify app from a to z would be helpful. 
     A citizen of the world.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    edited May 2018
    No, I don't have one. I just went to shopify to try to understand the process. Unfortunately, the front door is "SIGN UP NOW!" so I had to find the back door to get the tutorials.

    I concur that a tutorial on how it all works together would be great. Em_Press, I think you'll need those direct sale links from before.
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Yes, I have them saved in my messages.

    I'm so nervous about this. I don't want to make any mistakes nor have new tax forms to fill out for the govt bec suddenly I'm a store. Too many unknowns.
     A citizen of the world.

  • oncewasoncewas Librarian
    Someone needs to take a leap of faith, and get their fingers burned.
    This is totally, and utterly, not risk free.So your sales in the world's
    largest POD store are disappointing. Hmmm...what should I do? Start selling
    in some other store, where I have to pay for the pleasure. Now why didn't
    I think of that?

    Would those who achieve success please come back and tell us about the
    success they have achieved.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Where's the world's largest POD store?
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    edited May 2018
    The problem is and has always been that lulu is marketing itself as a POD publisher and not a store. The store is an afterthought, almost like begging. Example, the tag line, Support Indie Publishers. It screams of badly produced books and sounds like please buy my book. I, as a buyer, wouldn't risk it if I weren't already affiliated with lulu.

    "Books you always dreamed existed." 
    "Unique and daring books."
    "The biggest bookstore in the world."
    "The wildest books of your wildest dreams "
    "Satiate your hunger. Read Lulu."

    There are so many non-begging tag lines that could be used to promote buying instead of publishing. Amazon has managed to split identities. Amazon store, Createspace POD. Lulu needs to find a way to do the same.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The problem is and has always been that lulu is marketing itself as a POD publisher and not a store.

    Indeed, and I have been saying that since I started to use Lulu. I actually heard of Lulu via an advert on the back pages of a totally un-related to books magazine. The advert was for POD publishing, not for books. I don't recall seeing Lulu advertise that it has a book store.

     The store is an afterthought,

    I am not sure about that, but I know what you mean.

     almost like begging.

    I don't know what you mean by that though.

    Example, the tag line, Support Indie Publishers. It screams of badly produced books and sounds like please buy my book.

    Indie Publishers are not always the same as POD or Self-Publishers. It means a publisher not part of some huge publishing empire that owns 100s of different publishing arms.

     I, as a buyer, wouldn't risk it if I weren't already affiliated with lulu.

    Self-Publishing does indeed still carry a Vanity Publisher stigma, and very often it is deserved, and people know it is. Although there are a few well-selling self-published books, but buyers have no idea they are self-published. But often that SP has hired many experts to create the book. I myself  do not admit I am self-published due to that stigma.

    "Books you always dreamed existed." 
    "Unique and daring books."
    "The biggest bookstore in the world."
    "The wildest books of your wildest dreams "
    "Satiate your hunger. Read Lulu."

    Well, a lot of those are just plain nonsense.

    There are so many non-begging tag lines that could be used to promote buying instead of publishing.

    This is what Amazon say  when Searched for - "Books at Amazon. The Amazon.com Books homepage helps you discover great books you'll love without ever leaving the comfort of your couch."

    Which just about sums it up.

     Amazon has managed to split identities. Amazon store, Createspace POD.

    I think it's because they are literally separate places, but linked. Createspace came along later than Amazon itself, whereas Lulu has always been a self-publishing POD place.

     Lulu needs to find a way to do the same.

    I fully agree.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Kevin, instead of just dissecting and criticizing, offer suggestions, ideas. Your "nonsense" is nonsense to me. Complete.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_Press said:

    Paul, have you used it as an author?
    I started a membership and created a store to test Shopify and develop our help documentation, but the store isn't public.

    Skoob_ym said:
    Okay, I ran the digest/philo-cover version through Xpress and ordered one, but I don't see an option to allow others to buy directly -- i.e. to put it into their shopify stores -- nor a place to set pricing. Color me confused.

    Xpress did run very smoothly and nicely, and it was very simple to use; also the cover preview gave a much better image for safety margins and bleed. Kudos on the design of the interface.
    At this moment, there isn't an option to link from xPress to Shopify. We've got a version in the works that does allow you to connect from your xPress account, but we had to establish the app in Shopify and get it working before we could complete the work to connect from xPress directly.

    Glad you liked the wizard though! I would say its one of the biggest accomplishments of Lulu in recent memory, so we're all pretty excited about it. There will be a store front connection for xPress eventually too, but that might be a little farther off.

    Em_Press said:
    I think a video tutorial on how to use lulu x press and the Shopify app from a to z would be helpful. 
    Our app page on Shopify has three videos linked at the bottom that walk through the process.
    The reason we don't have better material currently is that we actually need the app to go live before we could put together FAQ/tutorials. Our test versions and the sandbox we can use to connect simply didn't provide the functionality we needed to make useful help content.

    That said, last week was almost entirely absorbed for me with creating that content. We've got a "Beginner Guide" and an FAQ page on xPress in the works. The guide is going over to our design team today (I say, full of hope) and should be in a usable form by week's end. The FAQ requires an update on xPress to add, so that might be the week after before we have it going.

    We'll be doing our best to trouble shoot here and through support too, so don't hesitate with the questions.
    Em_Press said:
    The problem is and has always been that lulu is marketing itself as a POD publisher and not a store. The store is an afterthought, almost like begging. Example, the tag line, Support Indie Publishers. It screams of badly produced books and sounds like please buy my book. I, as a buyer, wouldn't risk it if I weren't already affiliated with lulu.
    The tag line is...bad. We're doing a full on brand exercise this year, which should result in new tag lines/mission statement, the works. I think as a company, Lulu is aiming to be more of a POD fulfillment platform than a store, so I doubt the store will become central for us, but it certainly will be updated (we're even toying with using something like Shopify for the Lulu store) in the near future.

    It's Monday morning, I've only had about a half gallon of coffee, so if I missed any questions in this thread, don't hesitate to repost them or PM me.
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Thank you, Paul. That's fair.

    Just one question related/unrelated if anyone knows. Because we will be collecting tax from customers, I am assuming, how will it complicate, or not, our own tax situation. It's so new to me, I'm not even sure how to phrase it.

    Up until now, Lulu or Amazon, and other retailer sites have been collecting tax per product from customers. If we have our own Lulu/Shopify store will we have to reimburse the government the tax collected per sale? Or will Lulu or Shopify?
     A citizen of the world.

  • For Lulu's part, we'll collect tax in the same we always have for sales - so state by state and VAT in the EU. This will be based on the print cost a store owner pays to Lulu, and will not look at the tax collected by the store owner from the customer during check out. That part has to be done on Shopify's end.

    I found this article in their "encyclopedia" that goes into Sales Tax and has some links at the bottom - https://www.shopify.com/encyclopedia/sales-tax

    Shopify also offers Tax Apps through their app store which may help to organize and track tax, though I'm not familiar with any specifics regarding tax collection. I do know they have an option when setting up a product to collect tax, which I understand to mean they would automatically apply necessary taxes to orders on your behalf. What I don't know about this is how they report this tax info back to their store owners.

    Last link - https://ecommerce.shopify.com/c/accounting-and-taxes - this is the Shopify forum category regarding taxes. I haven't had a chance to browse through it, but it's likely others have asked similar questions and from what I've seen of the Shopify forums, they are pretty good at getting back to folks who post there.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Thank you so much, Paul. The links are amazing. I will study them.
     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor
    Wow. I'm starting at zero. A link from within Paul's tax link for those who want to try:

    https://blog.taxjar.com/drop-shipping-scenarios-sales-tax/


     A citizen of the world.

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