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Holiday Shopping, Production Delays, And You

By Paul@Lulu / October 19, 2020

As of today (October 20th at least, when this post was published), there are 65 days until Christmas. That may seem like a lot of time. But since most of us won’t be shopping in-store, we have to consider delivery times.

And for the millions of online sellers, already reliant on fast shipping, this is going to be a bad year to shop at the last minute. 

So don’t! Get started shopping sooner and ensure you get those books in time!

Lulu Junior’s Production Process

Your kid finishes their book and you pack those pages into the envelope and ship them off to us. What happens next?

There is a lot that goes into it! 

Once we get your pages, the first thing we do is scan them. This turns each page into a PDF that we compile into a single file we can print for your book! The cover is created as another PDF and these files are paired into a print package.

Once we have the files ready, we use our digital printer to create your book. Then we bind those pages, along with the cover into a full-color book. 

The final step is to package the freshly bound book into a secure shipping box and send it off to be delivered!

Potential And Expected Delays

Normally, the Lulu Junior production process takes about 10 business days (approximately two weeks) from start to finish. That includes scanning, printing, and binding, and the time to ship the finished book back to your young author. This doesn’t include the time for your completed pages to reach us.

During the holiday season, we normally expect a little longer on the production and shipping times. Usually amounting to a day or two for some orders, while most books are still printed and bound within the two week period we normally expect.

This year is a little different.

Production Delays

While practice safe social distancing while scanning and printing, there will inevitably be slowdowns. During the last few months, we’ve also experienced some delays due to material shortages (such as paper or ink). 

When shipping products are delayed all over the world, it makes it harder for our printers to get their paper, ink, and other materials in a timely manner. This can exacerbate delays due to staff limitations.

Shipping Delays

While we’ve spent the past few months working to minimize and prepare for production delays, there is little we can do about shipping delays. Every major delivery service, from USPS to FedEx and DHL, are expecting delays this holiday season. According to the Reuters report, USPS alone delivered at 94% of their normal holiday volume back in May and June! 

That volume hasn’t decreased either, meaning our delivery people are already working at capacity. There are no signs of this demand slowing as the holiday approaches.

Realistic Expectations

With October already more than half gone, it’s safe to say the holiday shopping season has started. There’s nothing to do now except prepare early. 

That means shopping for those gifts you know your friends and family will love as soon as you can. If that gift includes a Lulu Junior kit, here’s what you can expect:

Ordering A Kit

If you’re ordering a kit from our website, you should expect the kit to ship out in 1-2 business days. We pack and ship kits quickly, so the most likely delay will come from shipping hold-ups. Note that Lulu Junior kits are available from a number of retailers as well. You may be able to get one locally (with curbside pick-up) from a toy or book store. 

Redeeming A Kit

If your kid already has a kit and you want to get the printed book back in time for the holidays, we’re asking that you plan for approximately an additional 7-10 business days in total production time. That means about three to four weeks from the time we receive your story pages to the time the book arrives on your doorstep.

Ordering Additional Copies

Each kit comes with one printed copy of the finished book. But what if you need more copies? You can use the book ID (printed inside the cover) to order additional copies!

Ordering more books is a little bit quicker than the first time you send a kit in. We use the same PDF for the book to print as many as you need and ship them to you. That printing and shipping process takes about 10 business days from the day you order to the day you receive your books.

Having A Happy Holiday Season

Despite the numerous potential delays and other complications 2020 is presenting, there’s still plenty of time to prepare for a great end to the year. The key thing is to PREPARE EARLY. That could mean just getting a list of gifts together now or it might mean getting your gifts ordered today.