This morning I received a big, big box filled with 10 copies of a book I created two weeks ago using Lulu.com, the publish-on-demand company founded by fellow Hamiltonian Bob Young.
The Lulu experience was a pleasure from start to end: I used Apple’s Pages word processor to create a 346 page book, complete with table of contents, and Wordle to make a colour image for the cover. I created two PDF files, one for the inside and one for the cover and uploaded them to Lulu, used their tools to set up the page size, cover format and binding, paid for 10 copies (I could have ordered as few as one), and that was it: the next thing that happend was the box at my door.
The quality of the finished product is excellent: I ordered perfect-bound 6”x9” books on ivory paper with a full-colour coated cover. You wouldn’t know that these were “self-published” books from the look, feel and heft of them: they are every inch bona fide books.
I was inspired to do all this by my friend Steven Garrity, who achieved “The Best Christmas Presents Ever” by creating a book of Garrity family aphorisms. In my case a good friend and fellow blogger is having a significant birthday, and to mark the occasion I turned her blog into a book.
While not quite owning the means of production, Lulu certainly puts those means closer to the ground than ever before and makes creating lasting cultural objects within reach of anyone with something to say, some basic design sense, and an application that can emit PDF files.