Saturday, November 27, 2010
From blogs to books
Nowadays, other than first drafts of essays, almost everything I write is developed and stored electronically. This blog is an obvious example, but even my personal notes are made direct to the screen. My work exists largely in a virtual world and I worry it will be lost. And much that I like electronic publishing, there is something that remains exciting about the physicality of a book.
So last January I decided to transfer my blog to print. I used a company called Blog2Print and ordered two copies, one for my house in Wales and one for Wiltshire - they cost about seventy pounds which I guess is quite expensive but I opted for hardback and they do have over 150 colour pages. There is an option of a high quality PDF which you can self print for about a fiver.
The advantage of Blog2Book is that the set up is incredibly simple - it takes minutes to have the layout on screen, you can personalise covers, add dedications and receive a low resolution proof to check before confirming the order. The disadvantage is that the formatting is limited and the process doesn't always like posts with wrap around text. Overall the quality is excellent, the service fast and its a nice way of keeping a physical record of your work.
I suppose the whole point of home books is that they are not intended for a wider audience. This means they are not restricted by the conventions and commerciality of publishers. Like our lives, they are less than perfect, full of quirks and foibles - at their least, home books are a bit of fun and a personal touch; at best they are unique and intimate records to be passed down generations.
This isn't a sponsored post or anything like that, but I'd say having your blog printed is a good exercise. It reminds me of when I exhibited paintings - it is only when you see the images together that you fully understand what you have created. I always thought of Views From The Bike Shed as a public recording of my random thoughts. The interesting thing, that I can't fully explain, is when I see the words in print, it feels more personal, something more worth the keeping. Maybe your blog is like that too?