Every person should keep a journal
and every person can keep a journal.—President Spencer W. KimballWith that said, journal keeping has been a struggle for me since I've been married, and as we added to our family it has became even more difficult for me to keep a journal. I know not good- think of all the things I'm going to forget. Then we moved to Arkansas, and my sister, Amber, told me about blogging. I had never even thought about starting a blog and didn't even really know what blogging was all about. Now almost 4 years later our family blog is still going strong. Last year I turned our 2008 and 2009 entries into their own blog books. I really liked how they turned out, and we really enjoy looking back and reading what our family has done & how much the kids have grown & changed.
As soon as 2010 was over. I knew I wanted to turn it into a book, too. I've used 2 different blog to book websites- Blurb and Blog2Print. I've been impressed with both of them. They each have their good things and their not so good things. I thought I'd share what I like and didn't like about each one. I strongly encourage any one that has a blog to think about doing this- no matter what company you use or even if you just print out your blog. I think it will be something your family will treasure in the years to come. :)
This year I went with Blurb. Our blog had over 250 entries for 2010. So it was going to be a big book! Blurb ended up being cheaper for me to use than Blog2Print, and I even got a bigger book with more pages. With Blog2Print each post would not of had it's own page and my book would of been about 200 pages with Blurb each post got it's own page (or two) and my book ended up being over 280 pages. Blog2Print has free shipping, but even paying shipping with Blurb it came out to be a little bit less.
Here's the front cover of our 2010 blog book. You can design your own cover, title, choose what font you would like and picture. Our book also has a picture on the back of the book. You can do it this way, or for a little less you can have a dust jacket printed or do a softcover book. They also have different size books. I did a standard portrait size 8x10 inches. (Blog2Print also has both softcover and hardcover books.)
With Blurb I had much more creative options. You can do full photo pages as well as just about any other combination of text and pictures. Below is a picture of our title page. I love all these happy pictures of our family enjoying the journey. :)
A downside of Blurb is that it is very time consuming. I spent about 4 to 5 hours creating my book. You go through page by page and edit each one. (I probably should of spent a little longer with it because I found a few typos and things I would of changed if I had spent more time working on it.) With Blurb you have to download a program to your computer that allows you to work on your book. When you are completely done with your book you have to download your book to Blurb's website- another very time consuming project. It took about 2 hours for mine to download to their website....your experience might be faster depending on the size of your book and your computer. (We have an old computer!) With Blog2Print is is much easier and faster. No program to download. Blog2Print's website slurps it into a book automatically, and you can have your book ready to order in under 30 minutes.
The standard size in both companies are not the same. Blog2Print's standard books are just a little bit larger than Blurb's standard book. Above is a picture of my Blurb book on top of my Blog2Print book. See it's a little taller. Also, Blurb has a matte finish to their books, and Blog2Print has a shiny protective coat over the top of their books. It seems like the Blog2Print books will stand up to wear and tear a little bit better. Overall, I am impressed with the quality of books from both companies.
A big plus to me was the many different options I had with Blurb. You can do pictures different sizes and arrange them in many different ways. You can edit your blog post, too. You can chose a color scheme, too. I went with a blue-ish themed book this year. So my pages are blue instead of plain old white. Below is a picture of one my favorite pages. That picture of Cara cracks me up and makes me smile every time I see it. :)
With Blog2Print they do the designing for you. You can delete post you don't want in your book and you can delete the content pages, but other than that there is little flexibility in how the pictures and text are arranged. All the pictures in your book are the same size. With Blog2Print you can design your own book cover, too. They have lots of designs to choose from and you can choose the picture that goes on the front and back of your book. Below is a picture from my Blog2Print book.
Below is another one of my favorite pages in our Blurb book. With their program I could arrange all of Cole's baby pictures in order and put a title underneath each one showing him grow from birth to 11 months. My sweet baby! :)
Below is a picture from my Blog2Print book...not a lot of rhyme or reason to how the pages are set up. For extra you can have you blog's pictures line up with your blog's text, but it will make your book much longer and cost a lot more. Blog2Print does have excellent customer service. When I got my books in the mail my 2009 book was missing the picture from the front cover and some of my post in both my 2008 and 2009 books were missing their pictures. I contacted them, and within a week they sent me two new books for free, and they let me keep the messed up ones, too. Both Blurb and Blog2Print have very fast shipping. I was surprised how quickly I got my books each time I've ordered.
I would love to hear about your experience turning your blog into a book. Are their any other blog to book companies out there? I would love to hear about them. :) I'm sure next year about this time I'll be looking to turn 2011 into a book. :)