The Most Bizarre Story of the Year
Now Is Gone, by Geoff Livingston with Brian Solis

Blog2Print

Blog2printEvery week I seem to stumble across a new blog that I'd like to catch up on.  The tricky part is finding the time and grabbing the content in a manner that's portable and conveniently readable.  Printing is an option but you're pretty much limited to the formatting capabilities of your browser.

Earlier today I found another solution called Blog2Print.  It's far from perfect but represents an interesting start in the right direction.  It does what its name says...it converts your blog into a printed book.  Pricing is prohibitively high though, IMHO, as it costs $29.95 for hardcover and $24.95 for softcover.  I'm looking for the convenience of offline reading, not a coffee table book, so I can't think of a single blog that's worth this much to me.  Blog2Print probably ought to consider other options that produce PDFs a customer can print on their own as well, and at a much lower price point (or funded through advertising).  I'd also like to see them add more customization options.  For example, you should be able to include post headlines as table of contents entries.

If you're interested in seeing what Blog2Print's finished product looks like, go to this link and give it a try.  Just enter your blog's URL and check out the results.  Oh, btw, Blog2Print is currently limited to Google's Blogger platform only, so if you don't use Blogger you're out of luck...for now.  Regardless, you can still see how it works by plugging in the URL of anyone else's Blogger-hosted blog.

Comments

Ellen Gerstein

I love this idea! I keep a family oriented blog that's intended to keep our relatives up to date on what's happening with the kids. Avoiding the dreaded "you don't send me pictures anymore" syndrome. Someone at work saw the blog and remarked on what a great family album it created and how it was a gift to them. Yeah, I thought, you're right, but am I ever going to download the damn thing? This would be an excellent way to capture my family memories.

Another blog this would work for is the one written by friends who are traveling around the world. What a great way to keep their travel journal. The price is decent, much less than you would pay for a photobook at Kodak Gallery, and less time consuming than scrapbooking. I like the coffee table aspect - maybe I can get one as a gift for them when they return?

So, you see, the form factor is right for some of us!

Joe Wikert

Hi Ellen. Glad to hear it. Now I just hope they'll listen to "the rest of us" and offer some other options as well!

Brad V.

This is a great concept! Too bad it doesn't support my blogging platform (Typepad), at least it didn't when I gave it a test drive.

You're right, the price is a little steep. I can see bloggers using it as a promotional item, rather than trying to sell the book for a profit.

Thanks for the tip!

Yvonne DiVita

So, now ANYONE can print your work...for their use? Hmmm... why aren't the masses revolting?

This is an idea that's been touted for awhile now and one which we recommend to our authors. Unfortunately, we also recommend Typepad, not Blogger... so, our authors will have to wait until a typepad version comes out (and that will happen quickly, I expect).

So, Joe, with print on demand, and blog2book and kindle heating up the industry, where do you see traditional publishing headed? I mean, who needs the big houses anymore?

Joe Wikert

Hi Yvonne. I don't see the ability to print a blog as anything that's going to threaten the traditional publishing world; there are far bigger threats than that to deal with! In all fairness, traditional publishers need to continue evolving and adding more value to the equation. A publisher that does little more than simply print the work has probably already found the going rough.

The good news in all this is that tools like Blog2Print, print-on-demand, etc., will only help level the playing field for great content. 10 or 20 years ago a great writer with a fantastic idea might not have been able to break through; getting the attention of an agent/editor was (and continues to be) challenging. All these other options open the door for that author to produce and distribute their content, letting the market determine the results. As a reader I love all the options that are emerging. As a publisher I try to keep my eye on new developments and leverage them accordingly. For example, every year POD becomes an even more important component of the business I manage as we extend the long tail of all our books that can't support traditional reprints.

One final point: Why in the world would you recommend Typepad over Blogger?! I have blogs on both and very much prefer Blogger. It's not just because Blogger is free, btw. I have yet to find an option or feature I want that Blogger doesn't offer. It's also much more responsive; I can't tell you how much time I've wasted over the past 3 years waiting for Typepad's servers to respond to my blog post, comment, etc. Google is obviously running servers with a *lot* more horsepower than what Typepad is using. You should take another look at Blogger and reconsider your position. I'd *never* recommend Typepad to anyone. Period.

Yvonne DiVita

Hi Joe, thanks for the fast response. I so agree with your thoughts on publishing. We are having great success with our POD publishing options. We have great authors and work very hard to produce books that can sit on a table next to anything from a big house... and look, feel and BE, just as good.

On the typepad issue... it's interesting that you've had better luck with blogger. We (and many folks we know) have had terrible luck with blogger. Typepad just offers all the added features one needs, in one place... at a very, very reasonable price. WE have NEVER had to wait longer than 24 hours (usually much less) for a response to a trouble ticket.

So, we're at odds on the blogger vs. typepad thing. I've had fantastic results with typepad...over and over... and find the majority of blogger blogs not only unprofessional, but filled with poor content. I have seen YOUR blogger blogs and you are the exception to the rule. And, I will admit, I'm seeing more good blogger blogs - but those are created by people who know technology (and can add the plug-ins without issue).

Most of our authors and clients just want a point and click answer...and want to have us waiting in the wings to help, if need be. The typepad platform works great for that. And looks good without a lot of manipulating (though we do create most of the designs for our authors)

One thing you should know, that maybe you don't... if Google decides your blog is spam (whether it is or not) they will delete it, without hesitation. We've known a few good people who have experienced that, too. All their work... gone without explanation because Google made a bad call or because someone else actually spammed their blog. And, attempts to find out why -- virtually ignored by Google.

Typepad, I am 100% sure, would write to the blogger first.

Joe Wikert

Hi Yvonne. Hey, thanks for making me paranoid about Google's policies... After all, they recently shut down my AdSense account for no reason and with a payment pending! Nice. I guess I better head over to my Kindleville blog and start backing things up!!

Yvonne DiVita

Always back up, Joe. Always back up. Cheers for the New Year.

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