back to print

I’m probably behind the curve on this, but I bumped into blurb.com, cast as:

Self publish with free BookSmart software for Windows or Mac | Blurb

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.

5 thoughts on “back to print

  1. Pingback: blogging, the net, and vanity publishing « Weblogs and Wikis Daybook

  2. Pingback: Self-publishing is the new vanity? or the new practice? « Weblogs and Wikis Daybook

  3. Pingback: Inanis the Hooded » Blog Archive » self publishing styles

  4. Froyd

    Well, I WAS going to wait until I’m back in bemidji to let you in on the secret, but since it’s apropos to this discussion, take a gander at Createspace.com, which does movies/cds/books. I used it for Inanis the Hooded…basically it’s like a lot of the print on demand places. The difference is, like blurb, with the cost. You don’t have to have a huge print run, you don’t have to pay some professionals to do what you’re quite capable of doing yourself…it’s all driven by the user. I designed the cover using photoshop, and formatted the book into pdf form. With some help from Sharon Simpson, I finally got it edited to my liking. The cost to me? About $18 for 3 proof copies. Now it’s for sale to everyone on the world wide web.

    Better yet, is the fact that because createspace is owned by amazon, it’s listed there for the us customers.

    Instances like this may be useful for publications by students, from the beginning to the end of the process. It’s certainly educational, and relatively cheap. If BSU wanted to add a class in self publishing, it might not be a bad idea, especially since the process is all there.

    Btw, if you’re going to be around over break, I’d love to have a beer with you.

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