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BookBaby vs. Lulu

Who should you trust with your all-important book project?

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How do you choose which self-publishing company is right for you?

It’s a tough question when you’re self-publishing for the first time. Lulu specializes in volume book printing, which can often yield cheap, low-quality books. And there isn’t much concern for royalties or global distribution. Meanwhile, BookBaby offers everything an author needs to successfully self-publish, including high-quality book printing, industry-leading distribution, eBook conversion, cover design, book formatting, and more. We frequently get asked which company — BookBaby or Lulu — is best for independent authors. If you’re an aspiring author who takes self-publishing seriously, then take a look at how BookBaby differs from Lulu and decide for yourself.

"My second BookBaby project turned out as good as my first, and that is because BookBaby does it right every time. As an author who has published dozens of books on Lulu’s as well as several other platforms over the past 4 decades, I can say wholeheartedly that BookBaby and Judy Kathleen Thompson are a terrific team lifelong!"

— Judy Kathleen Thompson, Author

Authors earn more through BookBaby. Lots more!

We have negotiated the best eBook royalty rates for authors selling through websites like Amazon, where the bulk of self-published author income comes from. While Lulu takes a selling fee from authors’ profits – up to 20% in some cases—BookBaby doesn’t take a penny, meaning more profit for our authors.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

BookBaby Lulu
Amazon Retail Price $5.99 $5.99
Distribution Fee $1.80 $3.14
Net Profit $4.19 $2.85
Fee $0 (0%) $0.29 (10%)
Net to author $4.19 $2.56

BookBaby’s publishing experts are standing by to answer your questions

Self-publishing is a complicated process and authors usually have a lot of questions. It’s hard to get answers from companies like Lulu with foreign-based call centers. Not with BookBaby. Customer service is one of our strengths. Our US-based self-publishing specialists are standing by to answer any and all of your questions. We want you to feel confident and well informed when you publish your book.

Have a question? You can reach our book experts by phone, email, and live chat, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

BookBaby handles all the technical details

Lulu and other companies claim that self-publishing is as easy as uploading a word file. But Lulu’s complicated website shows otherwise, practically requiring authors to be graphic designers and printing experts in order to produce a quality book. We hear reports from authors who routinely complain that some companies allow out-of-spec files to go to print, resulting in poorly printed books.

That never happens with BookBaby. Our prepress specialists look closely at every file to make sure they are ready for printing. If they aren’t – we’ll either make minor fixes ourselves or let the author know what needs to be done. That’s how we deliver the absolute highest-quality printed books to the marketplace – guaranteed!

BookBaby authors get the world’s biggest distribution network for both eBooks and Printed Books.

Lulu distributes eBooks through Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Scribd and KOBO.

Meanwhile BookBaby authors sell through all those stores – and dozens more. From Gardner’s, the UK’s biggest digital book store, to the Baker & Taylor catalog – BookBaby delivers eBooks to over 60 stores in 170 countries.

For printed books, Lulu distributes through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram.

Compare that with BookBaby’s Print On Demand program featuring Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Ingram Network, Powells, BooksAMillion, ChristianBook Distributors, and many more.

The bottom line: If you want your eBook or Printed Book to be discovered by readers, BookBaby is the clear choice.

Brick-and-mortar retail shelf placement

BookBaby authors are eligible for brick-and-mortar retail shelf placement.

Here’s a cold, hard publishing fact: Bookstore owners won’t take the risk of stocking self-published books if they go unsold. BookBaby offers a returns program to booksellers, making it possible for our authors’ books to find their way into hundreds of retail stores worldwide.

Lulu doesn’t offer this program. Neither does CreateSpace, or Ingram-Spark for that matter.

Don’t be misled by Lulu’s promises of “free” publishing and book marketing services.

On its website, Lulu claims to offer “free” eBook and Printed Book distribution. But when they take a percentage of every author’s sales – up to 20% of net sales – it’s far from being truly “free.”

You should know that LuLu offers an extensive list of book marketing services on its website. Yet Lulu doesn’t actually do any of the marketing work. Since 2013, they’ve partnered with Author Solutions, one of the most infamous and controversial “vanity publishing” companies, to provide these services.

I know you'll be happy with our work.
In fact, I guarantee it.

I stand behind our products and services with the strongest guarantee in the eBook and publishing businesses.

Steven Spatz, President Emeritus, BookBaby

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