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How to Publish Your Own DVDs Now That Lulu Has Quit

By Patrick Nelson
Nov 5, 2011 5:00 AM PT

Open publishing platform Lulu is known for making a global print-on-demand, disc manufacturing, and distribution and fulfillment network available to independent authors, filmmakers and other individuals.

How to Publish Your Own DVDs Now That Lulu Has Quit

For several years, creators have been able to make everything from hard-cover and paperback books to photo calendars, CDs and DVDs available in both Web-based and brick-and-mortar outlets around the world. Until this month that is, when Lulu inexplicably dropped the CD and DVD publishing element on its site and abruptly shuttered the catalog to concentrate on print publishing only.

This gap left indy filmmakers, academics marketing their lectures, and other small fry who had been using Lulu's disc distribution system scrambling. Two alternative players that are in the on-demand CD and DVD fulfillment and distribution market, and thus are suitable for independents, are Amazon's CreateSpace and A1 Tech's TrepStar.

In this article, I'll explain how to migrate your projects from Lulu.

Step 1

Log in to your Lulu account and download your content files to a local PC. Click on the "My Lulu" tab and you'll see your CD and DVD projects are no longer available. However, if you click on "My Files" you will see your project images are still there.

Artwork files use the extensions .pdf and .jpg, and disc images use the extension .iso. Pull these files off Lulu as soon as you can because Lulu has said it will be deleting them in due course.

Step 2

Click on the "Create Account" on Amazon's CreateSpace or "Free Setup" button on A1 Tech's TrepStar, and open an account. Be aware that CreateSpace is less tolerant of indy production.

For example, it won't accept monaural audio, whereas TrepStar will. Click on "Add New Title" or "Add" to start a new project.

Step 3

Follow the setup wizard to enter the project details, like the name of the project and other attributes such as the type of project -- CD or DVD.

Depending on the fulfillment house, you may be required to enter the duration of your DVD and more. Both CreateSpace and TrepStar have specific requirements relating to these types of questions that are listed within the wizard.

Step 4

Upload the artwork. CreateSpace and Lulu use the same dimensions for disc and DVD case overwrap. However, TrepStar's are slightly different, which means if you want to go the TrepStar route, you will need to re-size your art.

The disc art dimensions are 4.75-inches height and width on TrepStar. The DVD case overwrap is 3236 pixels for TrepStar. TrepStart will stretch any image to fit, so you may find that easier than reworking your art.

Step 5

Submit your files for review. Here's where the two services differ wildly. Unlike Lulu and TrepStar, CreateSpace requires that you burn a disc and send it in for checking before you can order a proof.

TrepStar, as formerly with Lulu, allows you to provide electronic files. However, unlike Lulu, you can't simply load the ISO file to the server. You need to load it to your own server and provide TrepStar with the URL, whereupon TrepStar will download the file.

Amazon Web Services provides cloud server space called "Amazon Simple Storage Service" (S3) for a few dollars a month.

Step 6

Monitor your email for confirmation from Amazon or TrepStar that the files are acceptable, and then order a proof.

Review the proof and, if acceptable, approve distribution.

Want to Ask a Tech Question?

Is there a piece of tech you'd like to know how to operate properly? Is there a gadget that's got you confounded?

Please send your tech questions to me, and I'll try to answer as many as possible in this column.

And use the Talkback feature below to add your comments!

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication Producer Report and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School and wrote the cult-classic novel Sprawlism. His introduction to technology was as a nomadic talent scout in the eighties, where regular scrabbling around under hotel room beds was necessary to connect modems with alligator clips to hotel telephone wiring to get a fax out. He tasted down and dirty technology, and never looked back.

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