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Publishing your content as a book  

Got content?

If you've ever thought about turning your online content into a real book, it doesn't necessarily mean a huge capital outlay. 

If you've been slaving away on your site over the years, it's likely you've amassed a great deal of useful content that can be incorporated into a book. The content might not only be articles and tips you have written yourself, but items posted by your user community. It's a gold mine of information that others could likely make good use of if it was in an easier to digest format.

I've often been asked about when Taming the Beast "the book" will come out and it's an idea I've toyed with on many occasions. Some of my work has already appeared in a few hardcovers and paperbacks written by others. There's over 800 pages of web development, ecommerce and marketing articles/blog posts on the site now I think; so I guess there must be a book in amongst all that :).

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There's still a place for physical books

Even in this age of digital publishing, there's something still very attractive about physical books to many people - and that will always be the case. After staring at a screen all day, I find it very relaxing to spend some time with a good book. Having a physical book can also help boost your credibility among your audience and customers; generating more sales of your products and services.

Books can also be used as sales incentives - an added bonus for purchasing high tag price products. Books also tend to be passed around between people and wind up in libraries, so there's a viral marketing aspect to publishing a physical book as well.

Publishing a book isn't a small undertaking though; it's very different to publishing online and it's something I'd like to do right. While my book may still be a way off; I've been looking around at book publishing options in the interim. 

One of the problems with publishing on paper is trying to secure a good deal or in the case of self-publishing; the capital outlay involved. 

Some publishing houses require thousands of copies to be printed as a minimum order. If it's your first time publishing, perhaps that's the type of financial risk you don't want to take. I have nightmares of winding up giving unsold books away as gifts to friends, colleagues and passers-by for the rest of my life :).

But it doesn't appear that nightmare has to come true - several online services have been established for self publishing that can reduce the risk of being left with a pile of unsold books - they'll even help you sell your literary masterpiece. There's no running around, the entire process is handled over the 

Small run book publishing services

Blurb.com offers a short run publishing service for hard and softcover books and there's no minimum order. To have a single 81 - 120 page standard size (8x10 inches) softcover book printed is currently $29.95 or $37.95 for a hardcover with a dustjacket. A print run of 200 - 400 attracts a discount of 15% with better discounts for bigger runs. To make a book with Blurb, you download their free BookSmart bookmaking software. Blurb also offers a store where you can sell your book. The books look great, but it seems rather pricey; particularly when you add your profit margin.

Another similar service is Lulu.com - which seems to be quite a bit cheaper. A similar size softcover book in greyscale costs $6.53, in full color $19.53 and hardcover in greyscale $19. Lulu also provides you with the option of selling your work through Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble and on Lulu itself. The company will handle all transactions, order tracking and shipping. Lulu also doesn't require the use of special software - Word and PDF documents can be uploaded. 

Don't forget the eBook option

The other option is to not bother with a hardcover/paperback, but just run with an  eBook format or the fancier eBrochure type, which are very popular alternatives for many self-publishers - there's some great eBook generator software packages around, there's a much better profit margin, instant delivery to the customer and the product is more environmentally friendly too!

That's another benefit of the Lulu.com service that I noticed -  you can sell a physical book and an eBook version of your publication as well - you can even have a CD or DVD version. 

Lulu also offer an eBook only service which costs nothing to use, you just pay a commission for each eBook you sell through the Lulu storefront.

If you've used any small run book publishing services such as Blurb or Lulu, I'd love to hear some feedback of your experience!

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
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In the interests of transparency and disclosure, please note that the owner of Taming the Beast.net often receives goods and services mentioned in reviews for free, or may receive payments or affiliate commissions for advertising or referring others to merchants of products and services reviewed.

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