So, I did this today.

I’ve published 542 posts on this blog over the course of 10-and-a-half years (this entry will make No. 543). That’s a lot of creative output, especially for a hobby, and I’ve long wished for an aesthetically pleasing way to capture those words in print. Years ago, I kept a running Word Document with those entries, and I periodically printed and clipped them into a three-ring binder. That worked OK, but it wasn’t precisely what I was after.

Last month I learned my daydreams could be fulfilled by the Espresso Book Machine. I received a press release announcing that a local Books-A-Million would install an EBM, which allows for on-demand printing of a variety of books as well as self-publishing options. My interest was piqued, and after I told her I wanted an excuse to use the machine, the publicist for the launch party suggested I print a copy of my blog.

Genius!

Today, that dream became reality. I spent about an hour at the bookstore, working with the technician to ensure that my PDFs met specifications and then watching my book being printed. It was a remarkably simple process, although I must confess I had a few advantages. One, I work in publishing, and so I was already familiar with the process of setting up a PDF. Two, my sister is a photographer and was willing to design the cover for me. (I promise you, it wouldn’t look nearly as professional if I’d taken the project into my own hands!)

I spent a week fussing over the pages, determining which entries to include and which to leave out. (Ultimately, I went for a near-completionist approach. I omitted a few password-protected entries for which I no longer recall the password and a few memes.) I decided to use the font this blog theme utilizes, and then I decided which photos to leave in and which to delete. I wrote an about-the-author blurb (awkward!) and told Cheryl what I hoped to have on the cover. And then I dumped my files onto a USB drive and took them to Books-A-Million.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTE0JphrAng&w=420&h=315]

The final project cost about $39–$20 for the set up and $16 for the printing, plus sales tax. I decided to make this a one-time-only run; while I was eager to hold my blog in printed form, I have no interest in distributing it to others.

And I’ve got to say, it was worth it. I giggled with delight when the book came off the press, and I’ll be working on excuses to use this device again.

2 Comments

Filed under Autobiography, Bits & Pieces, Hittin' the books, Journalism, Reading

2 Responses to So, I did this today.

  1. That’s such a very cool idea! The cover looks great too. Just out of curiosity, do you know if you’d have to pay the “setup fee” again if you went back and had another copy printed? Or since you are already “in the system” would it just be the $16 printing fee? This is such a neat machine and the potential projects are piling up in my head. Happy New Year!

  2. They offer a variety of packages, including some that would allow you to reprint for only that printing fee. However, I opted for the lowest-level package because I didn’t want it to be possible to reprint. 🙂

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