Shss! It's Softly, Softly For Lulu in The eBook Wars

This week seems to be the week that anyone remotely connected with selling ebooks is announcing a hook-up deal with Apple or Amazon. We have already seen announcements from Author Solutions’ deal with their brands, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse and Trafford for inclusion on Amazon’s Kindle, and yesterday, news came of the popular Smashwords announcing a distribution deal on their ebooks with Apple for inclusion in the new iPad iBookstore.

 
Since early yesterday, at least a dozen different digital technology websites and self-publishing news sites have been reporting a deal struck by DIY self-publishing service Lulu. If you dig a little deeper, all of the reports I have seen actually cite one source; Dean Takahashi of digital.venturebeat.com, writing yesterday on the Digital Beat section of the site. Just for the record, here is what Dean reported:


This is one more way that indie books by self-published authors can appear on Apple’s iPad platform, which is a tablet computer that is expected to be one of the hot gadgets of the year. The self-publishing book company said that authors whose work is in iformat can use Lulu to publish their e-books on the iPad. Lulu will convert the books from the Lulu format into the ePub format at no cost. Authors will receive proceeds after Lulu and Apple take their cut.


Lulu said it would automatically convert books for submission to the iBookstore, unless authors didn’t want their books published on the iPad. Smashwords, another self-publishing e-book company, also said over the weekend that its books can be made available on the iBookstore. Lulu supports the ePub and PDF formats, with or without digital rights management."

I have no doubt Dean is spot on in what he has reported, but what I find odd is that in a 48 hour period when every man and his dog was announcing a deal, Lulu chose to tell ‘its top authors over the weekend that their electronic books can be made available on Apple’s new iBookstore that is debuting with the launch of the iPad on April 3’. If we are to go on recent announcements and Lulu’s general megaphone marketing approach–particularly this year–one would have thought such a significant announcement warranted a press release, and at the very least, a posting on their widely read Lulublog.

Not a sausage! Although…

The news from Lulu on books being converted to epub for the iPad was flagged as in the pipeline more than two weeks ago, but I wonder if this free ‘deal’ is quite what it first appears for Lulu authors. What particularly grabs my attention is that Lulu have–according to Dean Takahashi–told their ‘top authors’. The real point here is how Lulu quantify top authors. I mean is it top authors, top-top authors or top-top-top authors. This deal certainly does not include me, but does it include you if you are a Lulu author? Lulu has extended the reach of its marketplace this year to boast established authors like John Edgar Wideman, Jeremy Robinson, Simon Levack, and Stephen Covey. Are they top-top-top authors? In regards to the latest news by Lulu, I just dunno. Tonight, I’m none the wiser. Enlightenment is the order of the day.
 
Come on Lulu, get it together!

This is a cross-posting from Mick Rooney’s POD, Self-Publishing and Independent Publishing blog. Also see this follow-up post, Did Lulu Get A Shed-Load of iPads With Apple Deal?!

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