I’m probably behind the curve on this, but I bumped into blurb.com, cast as:
Sounds like a vanity press at first, but it’s not. Think iPhoto publishing writ large, incorporating both text and image. Or think flickr in print: shared images. Or think fast prototyping. Or think single-volume binding.
Download a layout app, construct the book on your local machine, then upload, and pay to have the work printed. Prices are reasonable, and blurb has some interesting sizing: 7″ X 7″ and 13″ X 11″, for instance.
What’s interesting is the app’s support of layout and multiple image and text formatting. The app is a full-blown layout tool – not a Quark-killer but more than enough to learn and work with the principles of page and book design.
What’s also interesting is Blurb’s bookstore. This comes closer to a vanity press, but Blurb uses tagging to line up buyers with sellers. Authors offer their books to the general public, and set their own prices. Blurb takes printing costs; author takes the rest. Copyright stays with the author.
It would be hard to make million through publication on demand, but it’s an interesting way to
broaden distribution change mode of reproduction and distribution to explore and consider what happens. It’s that aspect that makes Blurb interesting in teaching writing and literacy. Book design and print-publishing-on-demand is now part of the DIY and return-to-craft culture that flickr, youTube, del.ic.ious, weblogs, wikis, and even iTunes encourages.
Having just finished teaching Tech Writing and looking forward to Weblogs and Wikis in spring, I have some ideas. It becomes easier to move print production into Tech Writing, and to consider that it means to remediate a weblog project into print.