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Location: Denbighshire, United Kingdom

After deciding to resign from the Civil Service after 25 years, I am now free to pursue my dream of writing. My first book '194 Radio City - The Heart of Liverpool' was published through Lulu in April 2006, and is available from good bookshops and internet suppliers. If you have difficulty getting a copy, please contact me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Could the Lulu Honeymoon period be over?

Came in for a bit of a shock yesterday when it was brought to my attention within the Lulu forums that, without our knowledge, all our books on sale in the UK have suddenly increased in price overnight. This means in my case that the £6.99 cover price I set (and still sell for) has now risen to £9.49. When contacted, A Lulu spokesperson has this to say:

“I sincerely appologize for the inconvenience this has caused. When we recently took a look at our figures for our global distribution costs, particuarly we discovered that the costs we had assumed for books produced through LSI UK were far too low and, as a result were losing a large percentage of our revenue due to this miscalculation. In light of this information, the increase in the retail price of your book in GBP is to compensate for the miscalculation in production costs and offset this inbalance. This was not something we were particularly happy about doing and fully understood the unfortunate impact this would have with some of our authors.”

(LSI UK is the printer and distributor within the UK.)

However, this was all achieved without any consultation with UK authors and Lulu appears to have reneged on its Global Distribution agreement, effectively changing the rules by which we had all calculated our costs and royalties (already minimal) in the first place. As you can imagine, a huge forore has broken out amongs Lulu authors from outside the US . We are demanding a return to the original pricing (after all, the mistake was Lulu's, and not ours) or a refund of our Global Distribution cost. Speaking for myself here, I can't see that anyone is going to pay nearly £10 for what was once fairly priced at £6.99. It will clearly be better for me to market and sell my books myself (as I have been doing anyway alongside the big stores), and I don't need Global Distribution to do this.

For this reason I will be making it clear to people through this website that they can still buy the book from me, either by contacting the email address at the top of the page, or from eBay for £6.99 (where it will be signed) or they can buy from Amazon Marketplace which still has my book for sale at the moment for as little as £4.64. If you look at the Amazon page now for my book, you will see it includes a "sourcing fee". This "fee" (which now appears on all Lulu books for sale on Amazon.co.uk) appears to be the amount that has been added on to make up for Lulu's mistake. Incidentally, my book can, of course, still be purchased through Lulu's site for a little under £6.99.

We are waiting for a full explanation and a reply from Lulu and I will keep you informed. As I said to Lulu yesterday, this will seriously affect Lulu's current good reputation in the UK publishing marketplace. I for one have given Lulu plenty of free advertising over the months (see the recent press release for one example) because it was a company I admired. They are not going to be getting any again until this matter is resolved.

Please do get in touch if you have any queries. I should add that this issue will not affect distribution. Everything will continue to run the same way, the only difference is that the price has increased in most places.

STOP PRESS: - latest from a Lulu spokesperson on the forum....

"I'm not familiar with the sourcing fee issue, but we are addressing the price adjustment that affected your UK titles.

Thanks for setting us straight on this situation. We value your decision to use Lulu, and want to work together in bringing more opportunities to authors like you. We'll learn from this and move forward, and we hope we can earn back your trust.

I hope to have a plan to announce today or tomorrow that will help get this resolved."

1 Comments:

Blogger Brian Jones said...

Oh Kathy, what a great disappointment this must be for you.Perhaps the people at Lulu should become politicians in charge of countries...saying one thing doing another scenario springs to mind. Does this mean that for any future projects you would not use Lulu anymore? Are there other companies that provide the same service but with similar costs that Lulu used to charge.

8:01 AM  

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