Lulu is a "self-publishing" POD (print on demand) company that allows authors to publish their books, obtain a free ISBN for them, and then distribute them to Amazon, Barnes&Noble and other online retailers as well as to Ingram from which physical bookstores can purchase copies of the book. With Lulu you publish your book exactly the way you want it to be. There is no one to tell you what you can and can't do. There is no one to order you to make changes that you don't want to make. You are your own books. The only thing you have to do when publishing your book is adhere to the distribution requirements.
Publishing a book with Lulu is easy. To start off the process you have to create a free account on Lulu.com and then start a new book project. Enter the title and author name for the book and then choose which type of book you want to publish (book size, binding, paperback or hardcover, b&w or color...). Then upload your manuscript and upload and already made cover or create one from scratch directly in the Lulu cover creator. Next, enter the book information including a book summary, relevant keywords and copyright info., select the price of the book and hit the button to publish your book. When you follow these steps your book gets published and can be purchased by others right away, though it takes a few minutes for the book to appear in the website's search results.
Whether your books are purchased from Lulu or from other online retailers the books are printed only when an order has bee placed for them. That is the advantage of POD books. You don't have to worry about buying copies of your book, or stressing out about where you will store them all. You only order the books when you need them and order as many or as little as you need. No one dictates how many books you should get. If you don't plan on selling physical copies of your books to people or gifting them to friends and family you only ever need to buy one copy of your book, and that is so you can proof it before approving the book for distribution, which is a requirement.
When you do buy your own books you pay the manufacturing cost of the book not the retail price of it, so you save a lot of money and if you buy in bulk you save even more. Sometimes, Lulu even offers discounts on orders so you have an extra option to save even more money. You can share the discount code with your potential customers when you market your book, which can help them save money on their orders and also bring in more sales your way. On top of that you can discount your books sold directly on Lulu and change the discount or remove it altogether whenever you want.