For Digital Teaching I have paperback, hardback and Epub (electronic) editions. These all contain the same text. The hardback and paperback editions use the same PDF file for the interior, but have different cover files (as a hardback cover is larger than a paperback). The Epub uses a different interior file which does not have the table of contents (that is generated by the Epub system). I maintain one set of common files with the chapter contents in it, common to all versions, but then have to manually update each version on Lulu with the files. What I would like to do is upload the interior content and then have Lulu generate the paper and electronic editions, but it does not do that.
Previous I produced two electronic editions: Epub and PDF. The PDF edition is only sold by Lulu directly, not through electronic bookseller, who prefer the Epub. I can't just use the paper edition's PDF file for the eBook PDF, so this would require an additional manual step. But is it worth it in terms of sales? I had thought PDF was redundant: who would want PDF when Epub is so much better. But many people think of PDF and are not familiar with Epub.
LuLu provides some summary reports of sales, and also the ability to download details as a spreadsheet for analysis. For one edition, the analysis showed twice as many sales of PDF as Epub ebooks:
What was also surprising was that hardcover sales were half that of paperbacks. I was expecting hardcovers to sell one tenth the number of paperbacks, given the different in price. Paperbacks sold one at a time, hardcovers were multiple sales, which makes me suspect these were going to library suppliers.
So having PDF and Hardback editions is worthwhile. What is less worthwhile is the Epub edition. The print and PDF editions require similar skills to produce. The Epub requires a different set of skills and more than doubles the effort required for relatively little extra return. It is only because I have already invested the effort of understanding Epub I am continuing with it.
Also I looked at where sales come from:
Unfortunately Lulu has no record of where19% of the sales were. But for the remainder, Australia is not a surprise, nor is the US, UK, or China. What is surprising are the sales in the Netherlands and France.
One thing to keep in mind that each step in the distribution chain takes a cut of the revenue. Sales directly via Lulu earn much more than those which are then through another distributor. So while almost as many sales were through Ingram as Lulu, the revenue through Lulu was twice as much:
Only some formats are accepted for third party distribution. I have found the "US Trade" size (6 by 9 inches) a good option for textbooks. Selling outside Lulu also requires another step in the process: you have to purchase a proof copy and check it. If there are corrections to be made another proof is needed, delaying distribution by another week. What I do is delay that distribution step for a few weeks, only selling the book through Lulu, to make sure I have the book right.
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