Friday, April 22, 2011

If you are going to publish PoD use RPGNow not lulu

Part of the problem is that RPGNow POD prices are behind the publishers only menu but here are some comparisons to illustrate why RPGNow PoD is a better deal and why Blackmarsh is not on Lulu.

Lulu only competes with RPGNow using Publishers Grade B/W only and it has minimum page count of 84 for both digest and letter.

84 pages is $5.01 letter size b/w on lulu
84 pages is $3.84 letter size b/w on RPGNow

200 pages is 7.10 on Lulu
200 pages is 5.30 on RPGNow

For color it there is no comparison RPGNow beats the pants off of Lulu
100 pages letter color is $25.50 on Lulu
100 pages letter color is $11.50 on RPGNow

For low page count it is even more silly
16 pages letter color is 8.50 on Lulu
16 pages letter color is 2.50 on RPGNow

In fact the only way a product with less than 18 pages for RPGNow is to use the full color option.

RPGNow is a better Print On Demand service than Lulu for RPGs.
Plus it appears their shipping is more reasonable especially foreign shipping.


Dennis Laffey said...

Thanks for the breakdown, Rob. That really says a lot, especially for low page count products.

taichara said...

I can definitely attest to the fact that RPGNow's international shipping is leagues less crushing than Lulu's.

It's very nice to pay a reasonable ~$5-6 shipping for a softback (depending on size) rather than the ~$20-25+ Lulu tried to gouge me for the last time I poked at them -- which admittedly was some time ago, because hell no. The shipping time is excellent also, averaging ~10 working days to here in Nova Scotia.

Tim Knight said...

Thank you for sharing this.

I have always (like most) been aggrieved by Lulu's international shipping, but I was put off RPGNow when there was a major screw-up with my first POD order.

However, they were very apologetic and I think it's now time to give them a second chance.

Pat said...

That's all true - but Lulu makes up for some of that by regular 20% off sales on its print products. They happen so regularly that Lulu product ends up being a bit more economical, i think.

Greyhawk Grognard said...

Very interesting indeed. Bear in mind that with there is almost always a 10-20% discount code in effect, but even with that, the prices seem superior.

Greyhawk Grognard said...

Ha! Pat. Great minds...

But if you do the math, even with 20% off, lulu ends up more expensive. It's closer in b/w than color, but still gets the edge.

Robert Conley said...

In addition for b/w if you have a project less than 84 pages there is no comparison because you have to goto the Standard Paper.

B/W Saddle Stitch 16 pages cost $5.90
Compared to COLOR Saddle Stitch at $2.50

Restless said...

I'd like to add that when you have an order screwed up by Lulu it takes ages to get a response from them. Basically, you report it, send a photo of the error and the report goes into a black hole. You have to harangue them repeatedly to get any action, at least in my experience.

Aaron E. Steele said...

As a Canadian, I encourage OSR publishers to move to RPGnow.

My decision to purchase a product is rarely affected by the price of the product itself, but is heavily influenced by the cost of the shipping.

There are at least a dozen games and accessories on Lulu that I would have bought by now, but for the unreasonably high shipping costs charged for shipping to Canada. We're right next door, for gawds sake!

Jerry said...

Where can I go on their site to read about the process? I looked for “publishers only” and couldn’t find that.

The closest I could find was a note in the FAQ asking to fill out a form and wait for an email.

Robert Conley said...

@Jerry - Pretty much it. In order to see it you have to be a publisher. For technical side of PDF Production goto the lightning Source site as you will be producing everything according to their specs.

If you have a specific question feel free to ask. In the meantime I will try to put together a post with more details about the process.

Dyson Logos said...

What's truly bizarre is that they both use the same printing company.

taichara said...

@Dyson Logos:

Interesting, that ...

Bizarre, or a sign that Lulu is making plenty of extra cash from their charges?

The Badger King said...

Well, if this isn't the excuse I've been looking for to stop being gouged on international shipping fees by Lulu, I don't know what is.

bigkevmcd said...


Thanks for publishing "The Majestic Wilderlands" via RPGnow, Lulu wanted ~60UKP to ship a copy to the UK, compared to 2.38UKP from RPGnow, I had assumed that the 60UKP figure was to get it to me quickly...but apparently not...

Obviously I can't compare quality, but I have a lot of Lulu-printed books, and the Majestic Wilderlands seems to be the same quality, so no complaints!

thanks again,


Pulp Herb said...

Having bought both a hardcover (SWN) and a softcover (EABA) from RPGNow I can also add that the quality is at least as good as Lulu (I've bought one softcover from them).

Anonymous said...

@Rob: My copy arrived today. Looks awesome and thanks for giving me credit as an editor.

@Paladin: I looked out my window and didn't see you in the neighbor's house.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Rusty said...
@Paladin: I looked out my window and didn't see you in the neighbor's house.
I was wondering who was peering through those binoculars!

-C said...

If you sign up to be a publisher (RPGnow), they get back to you in like 24 hours. It's an easy process and worth doing.

David Big Mac Shepheard said...

I am suprised at bigkevmcd being told the shipping on Majestic Wilderlands was £60.00 UKP as I paid a lot less than that.

...having said that, I bought a copy myself (just after you brought out the version with the second cover) and I was very angry.

I was not angry at you - I was angry at them. You were selling the book cheap, but they were pushing the "real price"* up to a high amount.

* = By real price, I mean the amount of cash that comes out of the punter's bank account. That is what I pay and that is what makes me decide if I am going to buy something or not.

Anyhoo, the way I see it Lulu's deal divides all of their prices up into three different things:
a) Cost price,
b) Author's bump and
c) Shipping cost.

It sounds like a fair thing, but I'm pretty sure they *can* earn a profit on a project sold at cost price, as Dark Dungeons is sold at zero markup.

And, not only do I not believe that their international shipping rates are not excessively inflated, I also do not believe that a book as small as Majestic Wilderlands is too large to print in the UK.

So the way I really see Lulu's price is this:
a) Cost price + profit,
b) Author bump including profit and
c) Shipping price + profit.

I can't see it any other way than thinking they are making cash on all three types of charge. IMHO they are doing this to shrink down the cash they are paying authors. When I bought Majestic Wilderlands the shipping (c) was more than the price of the book (a+b).

I think they should have more honest fees. And if they want to inflate the prices - fine - but do it before the point of entering a credit card (if you can calculate it then, you can calculate it at any time) and they should stop passing off Lulu profit as a cost and share more of the "real price" with authors.

Robert Conley said...

@David, the reason for the high shipping cost (your price or bigkev's) is the fact the only way I can get price down to $12 by using Publisher Grade Paper which is only printed in the United States at the moment.

Maybe it changed recently and that why you and bigkev have such radical price differences.

RPGNow is the better deal for now shipping and costs especially for small projects. But if the project is large enough (84+ pages) then I will offer it on Lulu as well.