First, I would like to share the fact that I strive to provide a quality book for my readers. It’s important to me for a physical copy of my created worlds to be top-notch, as good, if not better, than what a huge traditional book publisher can do. For my paperbacks, I went with CreateSpace because they met that standard. For my hardback book, I turned to Lulu.
I could post pictures, talk about the Customer Service emails and post them, you know, as a method of proof. I won’t need to, because they only had to prove their capabilities to one person. Me. They failed miserably, and I’ll explain just how much they have done so here. Be glad this was with me, and not one of you, because I promise you would have been livid.
The hardcover is 701 pages long. 6×9 and is considered a ‘case’ type hardback. There’s no dust cover, but the artwork is still there. Think about a College Textbook where the image is directly on the hardcover. That type. Like all hardcovers, they’re not cheap to manufacture, and as such, the price reflects it. Just for me to order one at production cost, plus shipping and handling, would put it at the $35 dollar mark. Retail, it would easily pass the $50 mark. So the quality was important to me.
The first one arrived with no glue on the spine. The paper was completely separated from the paste board for all pages. The only thing that kept it from falling off was the glue of the paper-printed artwork attaching the cover to the first and last page. I sent Lulu an unhappy email to their service department, reminding them that the first impression is always the most important. If I’m going to pay any administration fees for distribution, it’s not going to be for a poor quality hardcover book. I did the interior file formatting, I did the artwork for both the front and back cover. I made sure it met their standards for a production run, and I did. They didn’t hold up their end of the process. I even asked if there was any Q&A on their print floor, and somebody should get written up for wasting my time and money.
I let their customer service do their thing. First message back, they wanted pictures. I did them, and no, I won’t post them here. It’s ‘my’ novel that was made to look so bad, I don’t even want to share post-mortem pics. So please, don’t ask. Just be suffice in the fact that if I was completely unhappy, so would anyone else. They messaged me back five, that’s right, five days later. They were sending me another copy, free of charge.
I decided to give them a second chance. We’re all human after all. Maybe the fluke found my first proof copy and wouldn’t ever do so again. I got that replacement copy today. This time, the spine was attached. I opened the front cover to regard the first page just to hear the spine crackle and pop. Part of it separated from the spine, spilling daylight between the hardcover and paper along the spine’s lower edge. So in essence, there was glue this time, but it wasn’t quality glue. Each time I open it, more of the spine works loose, and you can actually hear it coming apart with just a gentle page turn.
Lulu blew it.
The link to the book is dead. I retired the project over at Lulu, never again will I use them for anything. I’m sorry I even insulted the characters in my novels for trying to make them live within such a flawed, physical condition. I will not pay for their distribution or production at this point. What money I already paid them, I don’t want back. Call it my fine for an education about their lack of Quality and Assurance. I won’t even bother sending them a mail. I just closed my door over there, and I’m silently ignoring them.
If you, or anyone else you know, had a good experience with Lulu, I’m happy for you. Either you’re lucky, or the new guy they’re training just happened to get my book twice. Well, twice is enough for me, when the quality is sub-standard. My readers will never have to suffer that loss of their investment into my fiction. Ever.
Maybe next week, I’ll have better news to share. Until then, stay safe.