The following is a guest post by Vanessa Lang.
Disclaimer, I’m not a fan of Lulu.com for reasons I’ll outline in a future blog. One of the main ones is that CreateSpace does the same thing, does it better, and offers more for the emerging author.
The growing popularity if self-publishing has people wondering how it will affect the publishing industry as a whole. Lulu.com is a site specifically for self-publishers, and it is quickly attracting attention. They allow prospective authors to publish their work for others to purchase online. When a customer buys the book, Lulu.com takes care of the rest, including printing the book and mailing it to the customer. All they require is 20% of the profit. With the growing number of people wanting to write a book, it gives hope to those who would have a small chance of being published otherwise, and this online site requires a much smaller cut of the sale than typical publishers. These large publishing companies will also usually require some kind of upfront fee before they publish a book, but Lulu.com doesn’t require anything if your book doesn’t sell.
This all being said, I believe that self-publishers are going to take over a large portion of the publishing industry in the next few decades. There is money to be made, and with time, many more business men and women are going to realize this. The sale of eBooks and products like the iPad and Kindle are becoming more popular each year, and the act of buying an actual book is becoming less common. Lulu.com and the many sites like it that are sure to spring up are going to save a lot of money by only printing and sending books upon request, and the money they make selling eBooks is sure to take off quickly.
I predict that these self-publishing sites will not only make a lot of money quickly, but they will save much more by decreasing the amount of time and energy necessary to run typical publishing companies. The books bought from Lulu.com aren’t touched by human hands until it is opened by the customer. Their software takes care of it all, which also means fewer people to manage and employ. The cost of storing and shipping large amounts of books is not necessary for this type of company, which leaves a lot of revenue left over for marketing the books and the website.
Self-publishing sites will never have to try to please book stores like other publishing companies. All they have to worry about is pleasing the customer. One of the best ways to sell a book is through word of mouth. If one customer is happy, they’ll recommend the book and the service to their friends and family. The happy customers will write reviews and convince their social network that this is the next book they all should read.
We could also see a shift in the use of textbooks in schools if self-publishing does take off. The use of laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices in the classroom is increasing, and future teachers and professors may find it much easier and less expensive to use self-published books on these devices. The teachers may even want to publish their own work to give their class the information they want to teach, and they may find that changing their texts for different levels of education and styles of learning will be much easier if they publish the book themselves rather than trying to go through a publishing company.
I don’t think that the publishing industry will be completely taken over by these self-publishers. However, I do feel that self-publishing sites have the potential to make a major impact on the industry very soon.
Vanessa Lang is an author who writes guest posts on the topics of business, marketing, credit cards, and personal finance. Additionally, she works for a website that focuses on educating readers about factors to consider with payday loans.
What do you think readers? Lulu or CreateSoace or another service? What are your experiences? Thoughts?