Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Discovering Lulu

After looking around at some differing web 2.0 tools, I zeroed in on one area in particular and that is books. I was already a little familiar with book related 2.0 places such as LibraryThing and biblio.com so my eyes gazed at a site I'm not familiar with: www.lulu.com The site itself is pretty easy to follow at first because it has a basic interface to start with that advertises all the varying tools lulu has to offer: publishing, buying, selling, etc. It is pretty clear the benefits of Lulu especially in terms of 2.0 tools. Part of what 2.0 is about IMO is connecting users more easily with resources and the world around them using online tools. Lulu in many ways is no different in that it allows people sort of an easy to use connection with the publishing aspect of books. The world is filled with thousands if not millions of would-be artists and writers and a site like Lulu is designed to give people of all types a chance to be their own publisher if you will and create their own book or work. It even advertises that for a fee you can create your own book with its own ISBN number! The search features are pretty advanced although I would have some suggestions. On the main web page for Lulu the search box is almost hidden in the upper right corner, IMO that should be more pronounced. The other small things I noticed is that it would be nice to have more "samples" if you will of people's works on the site. You can see some very brief descriptions about each book and see the cover, but that is about it. Also the place has a "connect" function to connect with other online writers, but it probably could use some advancement especially in relation to what other 2.0 sites do in terms of online communication.

Some small flaws aside, I definitely see the value in Lulu as a self-publishing tool for the 21st century and hopefully makes it possible for many more people of all backgrounds to be able to create a work or book if they really want to. A cynic might say it just allows people who may not be qualified to write about something a window to do it, but I believe the more open doors to allow people to try new things the better it is for people, libraries and the world of information.

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