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Lulu discontinuing online chat support and laying off employees…

A post in the Lulu forum under Customer Service Announcements on the 15th states that Lulu was discontinuing online live chat support as of the 15th.  I’ve never had much success with their chat techs anyway as you may remember from experiences I recorded in the POD Diary.  During Lulu’s recent problems with loading book covers on previews, an author who I helped with his cover was told through chat support that something was wrong with his cover.  So, he came back to me for help.  I was already aware of the problem Lulu was having with book covers loading across the board, but the chat tech never mentioned this to him.  It turned out to be the Lulu problem, and not something wrong with his cover.

Posters in one of the forums are worried that help through email won’t be much better and may be more time consuming as authors sit and wait for replies.  I always thought the option for live chat help was at least ahead of other POD publishers out there who don’t offer it.

Lulu also recently laid off 24 employees, including their president Bryce Boothby Jr who was just brought on board last year.  Apparently Bob Young, Lulu founder, is taking a more active role in the company during these hard economic times.

Let’s hope for now that Author Solutions doesn’t come snooping around.  They already own iUniverse and Authorhouse, and just recently bought Xlibris.  I found this line from a Wall Street Journal article about the buy out to be humorous, particularly the part about “placing books in stores”…

Print-on-demand publishers take manuscripts from authors, edit them, market them and place them in stores and for sale online, in exchange for payment.

What are POD publishers?  Book prostitutes? Even Wall Street has no idea!

3 Responses to “Lulu discontinuing online chat support and laying off employees…”

  1. I enjoyed the comment by the Lulu spokewoman in the Wall Street Journal article that Lulu was “paring” down their staff due to the economy, that Lulu itself was stable. When you cut 25% of your workforce and fire your president, I don’t see how that can be considered “paring”, it seems more hatchet-like to me. I know that in my industry when someone cuts 25% of the workforce, they are considered to be in trouble.

  2. Shannon,

    I actually found the Lulu chat support a great help and I do think the overall service will suffer because of this. There was a lot of luck involved with the chat support, as much of it seemed down to you getting a decent support opperator on the other end.

  3. We love working through LULU and are saddened by this news. Maybe a free, or open-source method of IM exchange can be deployed — i.e. yahoo IM. If a customer/ publisher leaves a message for Lulu; Lulu can send a reply whenever they have a chance. The reply will remain in the customer’s queue until they open their IM again. This would offer a hybrid between email and live chat… just a thought.

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