Lulu vs RPGNow: Lulu wins?

So I read Bat in the Attic's comparison of Lulu to RPGNow and I'm not seeing RPGNow being a big winner.

According to Rob, the printing cost on an 84 page book is $5.01 at Lulu vs. $3.84 on RPGNow.

***** UPDATE - I have corrected the royalty rate, I misread the RPGNow contract *****
The royalty rate on printed non-exclusive books for RPGNow is 65%, versus Lulu's 80%.

Overall price = (cash you receive / royalty rate) + printing cost

So if you want to make $5 on that 84 page book, Lulu is $11.26 and RPGNow is $11.53. Things are close to break even there.

If you want to make $10 on that 84 page book, Lulu is $17.51 and RPGNow is $19.22. Pretty lousy now.

Now if you've got an 84 page book, you've probably pumped a lot of cash into the art. How are you going to recoup that at $5 a copy?  You're probably targeting the $10 range where the disparities are greater.

Now, I just checked Lulu's shipping to Toronto. $6.99. Their shipping to London UK is $4.52. That doesn't seem outrageous.  Canadian shipping isn't great, but it's not horrific, and RPGNow's lousy royalty structure means that Lulu is still going to be cheaper for Canadian customers.

Finally, consider the constant 20% off sales that Lulu has. I don't see how RPGNow is a winner here at all.


  1. Interesting. It's good to get the complete picture.

  2. Pat thanks for giving a broader view! I appreciate your time and effort in spelling out all of the price differences across the both.

  3. Interesting. The last time we had something shipped by Lulu (Christmas time) the book was $20. The shipping was $22.

    Perhaps they have fixed their International shipping model?

  4. I believe some combinations of paper/size/cover can't be printed by the foreign presses Lulu is using, and get shipped from the U.S. instead. It's something to pay attention to when you put your book together. I don't know the rules off the top of my head though.

    I used Stonehell as my shipping example, as I like the format of it - that will ship to Canada & UK cheaply.

  5. I appreciate the rebuttal. However understand that the non-exclusive royalty rate is 65% not 55%


    Also Lulu only competes with RPGNow on Publisher Quality paper which is only printed in the United States and why Paladin had the $22 shipping charge. This may change so folks should check it periodically.

    Standard paper and Color can be printed overseas by Lulu.

  6. The print royalty rate is the same as the PDF rate. The FAQ unfortunately is not on a public link.

  7. The contract I downloaded specified 55%. I've got to go with that over a FAQ I can't read.


  8. The 55% rate is for when they scan in the book and give you a digital file. Otherwise it is either 65% non-exclusive or 70% exclusive.

  9. Oh right sorry about that. I have corrected the rate.