You would think an online print-on-demand bookstore would be able to print books on demand. But you'd be wrong! A reader reports that he wasn't able to finish checking out a book on Lulu, a print-on-demand startup. (Red Hat founder Bob Young, shown here, was inspired to start the company after he ended up with boxes of unsold copies of his Linux nonthriller, Under the Radar.) A customer-support rep said that the company had known about the ordering bug for a week, and might not fix it for another week. An online store which doesn't want its customers' money? Odd. The only possible conclusion: Lulu doesn't have enough actual customers to worry about letting them conduct business with the company. Here's the exchange with the support rep:

Welcome to! An online representative will be with you shortly. Your wait time will be approximately 0 minute(s) and 11 seconds. Thank you for waiting. You are now chatting with 'Chris M' Your Issue ID for this chat is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Chris M: Welcome to Lulu. Please hold while I review your question. I am at this screen: Chris M: xxxxxxxxxxxxx-is this regarding your concern? yes, when I select "standard" or "express", this screen reloads, but does not progress to the next step. i have tried removing my credit card info, as you previously suggested, but this has had no impact on my ability to progress past this screen. have tried on both a mac (firefox 3) and winxp (ie7) Chris M: I'm sorry about this but this is actually a glitch on our end. Chris M: We are still working on fixing this one. Sorry about the delay. thank you, what is your eta for completion? Chris M: I'm sorry but we don't have one yet, hopefully after 2 weeks from the time we had a site release, which was last week. so you're saying we can't order a book today, and maybe not for the rest of the week? Chris M: Yes, We need to fixed this one first. Sorry to say. is there some other way to place our order then? this is a proof version of a book that we plan to order 500 copies of in time for delivery by christmas. if we can't order the proof, it is exceptionally unlikely we will be able to place the rest of the order with lulu. in order to get this proof in time, we need to order it by today or tomorrow. Chris M: I'm really sorry about this one. I'll update this ticket but I can guarantee a reply right away, since we have a 3-4 business days wait for responses as this time for site issues. can or can't guarantee Chris M: *sorry abot the typo, can't* Chris M: *at this time. If you only support online ordering (and not order by IM or telephone), and you cannot accept online orders, then your business is broken. I will recommend to our team that we will no longer be using lulu for our on-demand printing business. Thank you for your time this morning. Chris M: I'm terribly sorry about this issue, you can try emailing or and hopefully they can go over your request.