I’ve now been through the process of publishing a book at Lulu and getting an ISBN from them. The process is necessarily convoluted and their wizards are unncessarily confusing. But it can be done.
Getting an ISBN from Lulu requires paying them $99 for the optional Global Distribution package. You can only do that after you’ve stepped through their publishing process. Only then are you given the ISBN. You then have to assign the ISBN to a new edition. Then you upload the updated materials for the new edition, including a cover and front page with the ISBN number on them.
Here’s a step by step:
Go through the normal publishing process. You’ll upload your content and your cover, specify sizes, specify a price, and be given an opportunity to buy a sample copy for yourself. At the end of it all, go back to your Publish tab. Click on the Global Distribution package link to the right of your book listing.
Go through the steps to pay them $99 Go back to your Publish tab. Note that you now have an ISBN.
Click on the “Accept or Deny” link Click on the “Reassign ISBN” link
On the next page, click on the “Assign ISBN to New Edition” button It will create a new edition for you and start up the Publish wizard again.
Do not continue. Close out of Lulu. Come back when you have your new cover with the ISBN printed on it.
Use a service such as barcode-us.com to turn the ISBN number into a bar code. They charge $10 to email you a high resolution EPS file which you can then stick onto the back cover of your book.
When you have the new cover and content, go back to your Publish tab and click on your project title, which will start up the Publish wizard again.
(I ran these steps past the helpful support person on their live help chat line, and he approved.)