The book publishing business is undergoing rapid changes. Self-publishing your own content is a growing trend and Lulu, an online publishing platform wants to provide publishers, content creators and developers with an API to manage the entire process. The Lulu APIs now cover publishing, document conversion and full e-commerce capabilities.
The Lulu publishing platform consists of 3 key APIs:
- Open Publication API : This allows anyone to create web applications, powered by Lulu but with private branding.
- Document Conversion API: To generate a print ready PDF, you can use the Document Conversion API to convert any Word, RTF, HTML document to a PDF.
- eCommerce API: The last mile is often the hardest and Lulu plans to cover that via the eCommerce API which will not only allow developers to allow order taking from their websites but will even forward the order information over to Lulu to fulfill the order via its global network to print and ship the book directly to the customers.
To get started with the Lulu APIs, visit the Developer Center and sign up for a free developer account. Authorized usage of the APIs is accomplished by issuing you API keys for the application that you wish to develop. For each application you will be provided unique keys for the above three APIs that you can then use and track the usage statistics. The APIs are REST like and the supported data format is JSON. For more details refer to the documentation.
The Publication API is currently rate limited with a maximum of 10 calls per second and a limit of 5,000 calls per day per Publication API key. Client libraries are available in Java and Python. Refer to the Lulu Source Repository for more details.
We chatted with Lulu's Ryan Bloom in the video embedded above at the end of a week of talking Lulu at SXSW. Bloom covers some of his favorite applications built on Lulu. You can see some of these in the Lulu App Gallery. One of the samples consist of Before I Grew Up, a baby journal that you can maintain for free and order a print copy on request. In case you have similar needs, the entire cycle of publishing, printing and fulfillment part that the Lulu API provides can be a good fit.