Friday, May 15, 2009

The Blog Book

Front Cover - 2007 was our 10th anniversary and this picture was taken outside the church where we were married. It seem an appropriate cover photo for the book

Back Cover - Picture was taken Christmas Eve 2007

I ordered a book of a year of Mayhem Mania from blog2print about two weeks ago. It came in the mail today. I love it! It is perfect! As I write Charlotte is sitting beside me, flipping through it with a running commentary of every picture she sees. She is having a blast.

I've known about web sites that do blog books for over a year now and been saying I need to take advantage of it. Several months ago I looked into blurb. From the looks of it blurb produces great books and allows you to do a ton of customization. Unfortunately, blurb requires you to download their program to do the book in. The few times I played around with it, by the time a did a page or two the program crashed, required me to reboot and start over. I had over a year's worth of blogging to do and this did not seem like it was ever going to be a viable solution. You could have blurb automatically populate the pages but I didn't like it's formatting. The pictures were square and small. And every post got its own page no matter how short it was. So some pages had a bunch of wasted white space. Blurb did have an option to footnote each post with any links used in the original posts. But I don't remember anyway to include the post's comments.

A few weeks ago I found blog2print. It did not require downloading a program. It did everything on its site. Blog2print also allows you to customize your book extensively. I chose not to go that route as I now have over 500 blog posts to deal with. I went with its default layout. It took 20 minutes from start to finish to make an almost 200 page book containing a year of blog posts for $87. For an additional three dollars, I got the entire book in .pdf format, which I did for back up purposes. Blog2print does not footnote with links, but it does footnote with all comments. The comments are not with each original post but are in the back of the book though the post does nicely note the footnotes. The pictures are smallish (probably 2x3) but good. The pictures do not show up in the same spot they did in the original post and captions end up as part of the text. Blog2print does not page break after each post it fills the entire page. This means that sometimes a new post will start at the bottom of a page - not ideal, but not a huge deal for me either.

Click on the picture above and you will notice that the captions do not match the pictures. But it is pretty easy to figure out what goes with what. Here is the original post so you can see the differences.

Typical page above

Close up of how comment footnotes are noted

Another option I found was to pay someone to do a custom book. The person I saw started at $200 for the first 50 pages and $1 or $2 for each additional page for the size book (8 1/2 x 11) I did on blog2print. I would have had a much "prettier" book when completed but I would have had a fortune in it (a minimum of $350). I could not do that.

The last option would have been for me to set aside the time to do all of the customization myself. But right now I'm not getting laundry done and could not imagine where I was going to carve out the time to spend hours and hours making the perfect book.

I think blog2print gave me a nice balance between time, cost, and final layout. It is not my dream book and it is not perfect, but it is "good enough". And sometimes "good enough" is what I need.

I will definitely be ordering Mayhem Mania 2008 from blog2print soon.

Jenn - learning to let go of some things and like "good enough"


Alicia said...

It looks good and saves all those memories for you!

Tina said...

Found your blog on mck's blogfrog...

Wow I think your book looks really good and I agree for the price it is great. I have noted the site so I can check into them when I am ready. Thanks for the info.

Amy said...

I think I am going your route. Thanks for the info - super helpful and the end product looks great!