I posted just over a week ago about my experiences in submitting a custom book order to SharedBook based on content this blog, using the company's Blog2Print capabilities. And now the book has arrived! I must admit it's exciting to have this hard-bound volume of some of my recent musings, and I can't help but show off the book to friends and family, who all also seem genuinely impressed or are at least too nice to act otherwise.
Part of the process involves the generation of a final "proof", a low-res PDF of the book that the user approves prior to order submission. As can be seen in the photo above it's a perfectly capable tool for final proof, and although the current version includes the addition of embedded graphics, a feature that I was waiting for to push me over the edge enough to be motivated to do my own book, there are still some pagination issues that were evident in the PDF, but not enough to hold me back from ordering the book. And, when the book came, wow, I was impressed, even with those spacing issues and a few other minor irritations. A couple of (inevitable?) small typos that I could live with in the on-screen version of my blog (and in fact, not even noticed in the proof), jumped out at me from the hard copy, making me cringe! But I'm not saying that's SharedBook's fault, just the interaction of my self-edited blog and the power of the (physically) printed page!
Their service is in beta phase, and while some of us who use "beta" products like Gmail have come to expect near-perfection from "beta" versions, SharedBook admits there are a number of things they're working to improve, partly through gathering user feedback. Which, come to think of it, is just what "beta" is supposed to mean. While the widow-and-orphan improvements will be welcome, I did go ahead and order the book with "full disclosure" and thus am living with these imperfections. There was one issue I put back on SharedBook, and which they are making good on. I'd paid extra for a "suede" cover, and the book came with the more standard laminate hard cover. They're taking care of a refund on the difference in cost, and are addressing the issue in their ordering software.
All in all, I'm quite pleased with the results from Blog2Print, and look forward to trying more books, as well as checking back in with Blurb to see how they're doing with a similar but not identical customer value proposition. And for you readers, have at it! You can print my blog as your own book by clicking on the Blog2Print button to the right!