People always express wonder at how I have the time to keep up with this blog. Well, I always say that I make time to do this, because I think it is important to chronicle the days as they past, for... firstly, the kids grow so quickly! Growing a family is a wonderful journey that may be tough when you're in the midst of it, but eventually, we make it through, and we often look back in wonder of how we did it. I don't want to forget my experiences, especially the good ones! Secondly, if you don't actually take note of what you're doing, a whole year (years!) can fly past and you're left wondering "What did I do this year?". Thirdly - it's just an excuse for me to write, so that my verbal diarrhoea is assuaged to a certain extent. hahahahahhahaa...
But here is the point of this post - I wanted to share with you a service I found which helps me print my blog into books. Seeing the books printed full of content all written by me, and photos of my kids, does play a large part in keeping me motivated in to keep my blog going.
This service is Blog2Print!!!
I was paranoid about losing the contents of my blog should Blogger one day suddenly collapse, or some earthquake causes the internet to go haywire. So I was searching for a service/vendor that can print my blog, without me doing it manually. And finally, last year, I found this fantastic service called Blog2Print - they actually print out a copy of my blog and bind it into a book!
All you have to do is:
1) give them your blog URL,
2) enter the time period you want your blog posts printed,
3) choose a cover, choose a cover photo
and voila! you can print a book out of your blogposts!
It's really easy to use. And they're constantly improving their service by adding features which make your book even more customisable. But it's optional whether you wish to further customise - things like the ability to choose certain posts, or delete comments etc. But the basic functions are very easy to use, and very good already!!! I did not fancy manually printing my blog as it is bound to be a very tedious exercise!
The books are available in softcover, or hardcover, and you can even order a pdf copy of the book which costs US$7.99 the last time I did that. Yes, I actually ordered both the hard cover copy as well as the pdf copy (for back up! :p).
You can see some of the books I ordered in the first pix of this post. That's how they packed the book when they shipped it - they shrink-wrapped each book to a cardboard which was bigger that the book, so that the danger of it getting knocked into is much reduced. So the books got to me in great shape - no dented corners whatsoever! :)
Blog2Print actually prints the blog in chronological order so that the oldest post (in the time period specified that you wish to print) is right on top, so you read the book in chronological order like a normal book... as opposed to blogs which have you reading "backwards" in time since the newest posts are on top.
They also have a content page with page numbers, so that if you wish to look for a particular post, you can look at the content page to help you search for it. Very handy indeed if you have a lot of posts like I do!
The best part about this is, they print out the photos I have on my blog in full colour!!! And the colours turned out very nicely as well - forgive the quality of my pictures here for they're taken with my mobile phone. But trust me, the colours of the pix in the books look great! :) They even have a 'space saving' mode where you can choose to have them layout the print of your posts such that the pictures of the post are printed, then the text (actually, I can't recall before or after). But I didn't choose that, as I intentionally like to space out my pictures and and my words. However, as you can see, even in this mode, they still try to save space (and hence save money!) by printing two pix side by side if there is no text in between. Hence, you may have noticed in my recent posts that I have started to have my text every two pix, instead of between each post. kekeke...
Blog2Print has cover templates for you to choose from. You can then upload photos to be used on the covers - front and back (below). They even have an option for you to insert a dedication page. It's really quite cool :) When I first discovered this service, I printed one book, just to, ya know, try it out. And I really liked it. So when a discount coupon comes along, I printed the rest of my blog! So that first pic up there was when I printed like 4 books at one shot.
Oh they're not 4 copies of 1 book, they're 4 different books. I generally try to squeeze 1 year's worth of blog posts into 1 book, but even then I have so many posts in a year that the book got too thick, so in the end I had to print 2008 and 2009 into 2 books each. Each book had more than a hundred pages each. So together with my 2007 book (only one since the blog was only started in August 2007), The Tan Family Chronicles Series now has 5 volumes!!! kekeke...
I'm looking forward to printing my 2010 posts, once I am done with all my backposting! Oh! Yes, this is also the reason why I am backposting all posts with 2010 pix to December 2010, so that they would appear in the 2010 books that I print with Blog2Print!
Blog2Print is a fantastic service. Of course, they have room for improvement. My wishlist would be (1) Option to have bigger pictures printed in the book. (2) Fully customisable covers (3) Ability to choose the fonts used. But so far, they have been great, constantly asking for feedback, and coming up with new features. One of my wishlist items used to be that they have a plain black cover template - and now they do! Yay!!! Makes me wanna print them all out again, this time in black covers! Classic!
Oh! One thing I haven't covered is the cost. Price of the book you create depends on a few factors:
1)Hardcover or softcover?
2) Number of pages
3) Contents in full colour print, or black & white?
Prices start at 20 paged book - Full colour - US$14.95 Softcover / US$24.95 Hardcover
Every additional page costs US$0.35 each.
Black & white book start at US$10.95 each, additional pages (after the first 20) are at 10 cents each only.
Above prices quoted from Blog2Print website as of 1st May 2011.
To know exactly how much you have to pay for your book, you should go create one online, and then take the transaction as far as seeing your total cost (which they add a shipping fee to). This is the only surefire way to know how much your book costs. Just be careful not to confirm the transaction if you are not ready to buy the book yet.
So how much did my books cost? Well, for the lot of 4 books you see pictured above, that I made in July 2010, I paid a total of US$302 - which translates to about S$430, inclusive of international shipping from USA to Singapore. This was after a 15% discount coupon I used as well. (Go sign up at the website, it's free to create an account. Now and then, they will send emailers with discount coupons during certain times of the year. If you're not in a rush to get your book, just wait for a coupon before you print a book. 10% is more common. 15% is a steal! which I why I went ahead to print 4 books at once.)
The 4 books I printed are full colour, hardcovered books, about A4 sized (can't recall A4 or Letter sized). And the page count for my 4 books are 166, 141, 201 and 200. That's a lot of pages! So, in my opinion, S$430 for 4 thick books, including shipping, is very worth it. If I had to spend the time and energy to manually print my blogs and bring them to a bookbinder to bind, I think it will cost me more than S$430. So, really, highly recommended, especially if you have a blog.
They even have a Everything2Print service where you can print... well, everything! You can 'print your word doc, pdf, twitter, facebook... Though I can't imagine how they'd print the facebook, I didn't try. And I'm not a twit (kekeke pun intended!) so I dunno how that's gonna work... but I think it's a cool service to check out too! :)
Oh! before I go, one warning though, their international shipping is SUPERBLY SLOW. Really. Really. SLOW. So, dun be a cheapo like me to choose their cheapest shipping (I regret choosing their cheapest shipping). I think should choose one of their better shipping methods. Then again, maybe I'd just write them some feedback complaining about their shipping.
OH speaking of which... They do NOT accept Singapore registered credit cards. Which is really dumb. So I paid via Paypal, which they accept. No biggie for me coz I have Paypal, but for those of you who don't have Paypal and don't have any credit cards not registered in Singapore, bugger - Blog2Print's loss for not getting your biz coz of this silly policy. Just thought you'd like to know.
Alrighty! So run along now, go check out Blog2Print. The pix in this post aren't the most flattering at the moment. Will take some better pix and update this post with them. Or if and when you come by my place, I could show you the books themselves! The Tan Family Chronicles Series Volumes 1 to 5!!!