Blog 2 Book Expt. 4: Google’s Blog 2 Print (Beta)

For users of Google’s Blogger service, Google Blog 2 Print is drop Dead Simple to use.  Unfortunately, the resulting book is very expensive, starting at $29.95 for a 20-page hard cover book.

I found Google Blog 2 Print by searching “blog to print book” in a Google search window.  Of course, the Google service came up first.  So I clicked on it.  After doing this, the service presented me with a choice:  move straight ahead to purchase a book or take the web service for a test drive.  I decided to take a test drive so I entered in the address of one of my Blogger blogs — you know the one.  I also uploaded a cover image to use and entered that I wanted all of entries to be used (the tool also has a way to input a date range) and then pushed “next.”  Within 2 or 3-mins the web service presented me with a preview of my book and asked if I wanted to personalize it.  I did and then it was at this point that the program prompted me to register as a user.  Once I registered, I was taken to a nother easy to use tool that allowed me to either choose a pre-rendered cover or to upload my own.  I chose a suitable pre-rendered cover and moved on to do a full preview of the finished booked.  Satisfied with my creation, I purchased 1 softcover book.  The whole process took me less than 10-mins.  It should arrive here on November 27th.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  The cost was pretty steep, though, at $29.95 for a 40-page soft bound book.

Oh, it looks like you can’t sell your book to the public through this service.  It’s purely a vanity service.

Kids at the Bookstore Talking About Anime

I was at the bookstore the other night looking for something new to read when I heard a pack of teenagers talking about the anime shows they watch and the fact that they watch them on YouTube.  Huh?  My first thought was why are they doing this.  YouTube is very low quality and you can’t archive the episodes.  My husband who looks down upon on everyone under the age of 24, theorizes that it’s what they know — in other words, “Net Effects.”  He said because they use YouTube, all of their friends use YouTube and they don’t venture to find another solution.  I wonder if this is true.  Anyhow, they were complaining about how difficult it is to find episodes because they are removed very quickly due to copyright enforcement.  I thought this was the generation that was all into the internet and trying new things out.  Wouldn’t some of them have done a search and found other sources than YouTube as well as a bunch of shows other than “Naruto” and “Eureka Seven.”  Personally, I think it has something to do with the transient mindset of the younger set (I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this concept) in that they want instant gratification and once satisfied they throw it away and then move onto the next thing.  They are always in “the now” and they do their best stay in the now with all of their associates.  I remember being very much this way in high school and college.  At one point I decided to discard my teenage years entirely and burned all my letters and photographs.  Now that I’m older, I wish I hadn’t done that, but at the time, “now” seemed very important and the past was holding me back.  Perhaps it’s the same mentality.  You know, teenagers remaking themselves daily or maybe even by the minute, leaving no record until they settle on a “self.”  It’s very 15-mins-of-fame and in that respect very “YouTube.”

I’m not sold into the idea, yet, that vast majority of millenials are very net-savvy.  My brother, who is 23, was blown away by the vast treasure trove of anime I had carefully archived and when he comes over to my house he basically raids my collection and binges on anime for the entirety of his vacations.  I was surprised that he had seen less anime than I had … Sigh … Anyhow, I’m constantly on the prowl for new anime and manga and I will consume the media in any media I can be it analog, digital, electronic, or printed.  I wonder whether it is age or depth of interest that makes the difference with regard to this.

Blog 2 Book Expt. 2: Lulu.com

This time I try to turn my external world blog into a book via lulu.com and in one afternoon I have successfully created a book.  Am I now a legitimate published author?

I heard about lulu a few months ago through reading the booksmashup F2 blog.  After crashing and burning on Blurb, I decided to give lulu a try.  Again the process begins by registering with lulu.  I noticed in the menu, transforming a blog to a book was not explicitly listed.  I chose to make a hardcovered book.  Lulu then gave me a choice of sizes, 6×9 inches or ~8x~10 inches.  I chose the smaller format.  Lulu then opened an upload dialog box and suggested that the user change the page size to 6×9-inch in whatever editor the user is going to use.  This was actually rather nice.  Instead of re-inventing the wheel and giving the user a text editor, lulu uses a file the user provides.  Blogger is nice in that it allows you to copy and paste text from a blog, without taking the sides of the blog space with it.  This made for swift cutting and pasting of my entire blog into MS Word.  From there I was able to reformat my entire blog in 3 mouse clicks:  select all –> font Arial –> size 10.  I added in a few lines between entries and did a little proofreading (the proofreading actually took the better part of the afternoon) to complete my book file.

Uploading was pain free.  After I uploaded it, lulu tranformed my creation into a 2 up layout ready for the printing press.  The only place the processed hiccuped was during the creation of the cover, which was done using an online tool through Lulu.  It took about 10-minutes for the tool to fully load and once it did load, it worked very smoothly.  I created a simple cover and send it to print.  After this, lulu allowed me to adjust my book availability, set my intellectual propetry settings, and setting my pricing.  Yes, now the whole world can buy my lousy book for $20.97 hardcover ($5 goes to me) or $3.75 download ($3.00 goes to me).  The book is searchable, but you can’t actually buy the book because I’ve set some permissions for access.  A second edition will be published from home and put out to the public to see if anyone actually buys it.

I ordered a couple of copies of my new book.  I’ll let you all know how it comes out when then arrive.

Media Consolidation — Should I Care?

Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post about a small FCC protest that took place a couple of weeks ago.  Since I watch very little TV, I don’t really think that much about the effect of having huge conglomerates owning big chunks of the media landscape.  At the same time, though, homogenization of American media is probably the biggest reason that I don’t watch TV or listen to broadcast radio.

I wonder, with the proliferation of broadband, how many people actually get all of their news and entertainment from one source.   Granted YouTube and MySpace are owned by huge media companies, however, the user generated content is varied and, in general, filtering is limited to the elimination of copyrighted materials and materials commonly accepted as offensive.  There are also the numerous blogs and special interests sites that on the web now, so I think there’s more than enough choice out there and as this article points out, there is no longer much advantage in monopolizing a media market.  What was unsaid is that this is due to the many niches that viewers have fractioned into.  How does this impact things, though?  It seems that Internet companies are becoming media companies and media companies are being reduced to content suppliers who are competing with every one else in the world — thanks to YouTube, MySpace, and the like — for viewers.  What’s happening now is quite a revolution when you consider that Joe-nobody’s video of whatever is competing with the evening line up from CBS, NBC or the like.  The interesting thought is what could happen in the future, when perhaps today’s big media companies will have to compete with Joe-nobody’s content for bandwidth … Hmm …I’m thinking more about that writer’s strike … and net neutrality … ;p

I’m glad to see at the end of this article that the FCC did get some meaningful work done, like loosening the grips of cable companies on specific cities or areas and making sure phone numbers are portable across all telephony platforms.