Saturday, June 23, 2007 for book publishing

Using free software to create 4-color books

Ol' Myrt was browsing YouTube yesterday and stumbled across this video about the book creating & publishing company called If you’d like to come up with high-quality color print publication for a 50th anniversary or the next family reunion, check out the video presented by WebPro News: Using Technology for Traditional Media
produced by WebPro News
No matter how you slice it, digital content will never replace print. In a world where we buy music & movies online and even virtual land goes for big bucks, a page in the hand is still worth a thousand ebooks. In a pleasant break from the norm, some online businesses are embracing this philosophy. Some print photos for family albums from digital sources, some screenprint garage bands' t-shirts from uploaded designs... and some print
entire books.

Blurb is among this breed of new publisher. Yet, unlike traditional publishers, Blurb doesn't sign contracts with authors or otherwise chase talent... they open their doors to everyone. By simply downloading a desktop application (for Windows or Mac), prospective authors and artists can follow simple templates and publish a real book, dust jacket and all.

CEO and founder, Eileen Gittins implies that technology is ripe for such advancements. "If I were starting this business five years ago, it would have been daunting... starting this business now, in 2006... we're able to leverage a lot of technologies that have come before. We're like the grandchild of desktop publishing."'s book-creating process is the method our family physician used to complete a short book of about 20 pages on her family's recent humanitarian trip to South Africa. The Windows version of the software provided by is a 20MB download. It looks a lot like MSPublisher, in that there are layouts with space-holders for pictures and text. The author can copy/paste or type info as desired. I was able to click around to find photos I took during the reunion, in addition to ancestral photos I keep with my genealogy files. Then I merely dragged and dropped the pictures to the place-holders on the page, and the photo was automatically resized to fit the space. It wasn't a problem when I decided to switch layouts in mid-stream. I'd rate the software as "easy for beginners".

My goal now is to make a "coffee table" book about my Dad's April 2007 reunion with his siblings Beverly and Jack, and to share copies with all three of them.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved

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