FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

Lulu announced on 27 January 2010 that they were iPad ready. The link to their blog article is below.

They make this claim because they sell ebooks in ePub format. They basically claim if you publish an ebook on Lulu it can be read on the iPad.

Well, technically any ebook can be read on iPhoneOS devices, so long as you invest in a third party application, such as Stanza etc. You can even read ePub today on iPhones.

At the crux of the matter is Apple’s new ibooks application and the ibookstore they are launching. It will use a Fairplay based DRM system wrapping ePubs for use in their proprietry software - ibooks.

The question that hasn’t been answered by Apple directly is if like iTunes for movies and music (and Photos to iPhoto) whether the iPad ibooks functionality will be controlled by iTunes and let users sync their own ePubs to the device.

This could likely be the assumption being made by Lulu. Or alternatively Lulu could be looking at signing up as a Publisher to the ibookstore like it has with Amazon an act as a cost per publication service model gatekeeper as it does with Amazon.

Harish Abbott, the Chief PRoduct Officer who made this blog announcement, and his further comments latter talks about Lulu building a conversion service from PDF to ePub, but doesn’t provide any details about how Lulu intends to get content onto the iPad.

It will be interesting to see their approach to supporting this platform.

FSpace Publications uses Lulu as a vendor for printed books, some PDF ebooks and CDs with intentions of using other concepts.

We’ve found that Lulu uses a very passive model of support, and isn’t actively using the catalog of products and getting them into other vendor channels. They want authors and publishers to pay for the privilege. As such their service has performed poorly for us, even though we promote our products on their service on our website, and in a variety of other advertising forms.

We’d like to see Lulu take a far more proactive approach, especially with ebooks. A completely automated process to list books in other channels, or in app purchasing with their own reader/library software would be very convincing.

Lulu if is wants to compete and expand it’s business in a competitive environment needs to break new ground.

As an iPhone developer with our own ebook engines, we’re already present on the Apple platforms and showing the best digital media sales result of any channel we’ve participated in. As a registered publisher, Apple may let us into the ibookstore directly. So what incentive is there to use Lulu? None really. Apple’s costs to date are cheaper than Lulu’s business model for the results we are getting.

We’ll see, maybe Lulu will have a rabbit to pull out of their hat.

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