Over the last couple of years I have done quite a lot of blogging to satisfy the creative urge but I came to realise that, no matter how fulfilling, it only exists in the online world.
There is no chance of leaving it lying around on your table for visitors to notice and admire while you’re off making the coffee. Clearly then, what was needed were printed versions of my blogs, and I didn’t foresee too much hassle or cost involved.
After all, I use the hugely talented WordPress blogging platform which allows you to do almost anything you want to do in the publishing line and, even if it can’t to what you want it to immediately, there is more than likely a plug-in for that.
What I was aiming for was a big text file with the title, date and contents of each post and I was pretty amazed to discover that it’s not such an easy thing to get. The best I could find initially was a WordPress plug-in called Export Posts by Joe Boydston (joeboydston.com/export-posts/), which exports each post as a separate text file.
This would not be too bad if you had a small blog but, with 300 posts and counting, I certainly didn’t feel like coping with all those separate files, and the associated hassle of importing them into Word in the right order.
I did discover a couple of services which would import the text from a blog and make you a printed book containing the posts you select. The first of these is Blurb whose book layout software will import your blog but it is not a cheap option at all, because the only option you get is to put it in a photobook.
It seemed a little excessive to pay for full-colour printing when the overwhelming majority of my content is black and white text. I then found a service called Blog2Print which imports your blog, lets you pick from a number of different designs and formats, and then offers you the option of buying a print version of the book or, for a very much reduced price, a formatted PDF file that you can print yourself.
I did get quite excited at the thought of having my blog in the form of a PDF which I could take to a local print shop. The Blog2Print service is pretty nifty but it fell down in my case because my blog only displays the first few lines of each post on the front page, and their software only imported those few lines.
Nonetheless, everything was very nicely formatted and I would definitely have become a customer if my entire blog had been included in the file they produced. I then found a service called BlogBooker, which produces a PDF file from your blog and although pretty basic, you get the chance to choose your paper size, which is crucial when deciding how big you want your book.
The PDF file produced by BlogBooker is neatly formatted and links are created between the table of contents and the post pages. In addition, links to other websites are not lost and you can just click the links to visit them.
A service I found very recently is BookFabrik which can import your blog and create a book or PDF file from it. You get a free page proof and you can then get the PDF file for EUR2.99 or pay for a printed book (112 pages plus cover for EUR11.71).
I have been in touch with the company and they are apparently planning to offer the option of a text file which you can load into any formatting software, and create your book from that.
The services are all very easy to use and generally only require you to know the address of your blog, and the username and password to sign into it. The same cannot be said for a promising new WordPress plug-in called Export To Text, which is developed by Skyrocket Online Marketing.
It will provide the full text of your blog but it is not quite ready for novices because you do need to know your way around tab-delimited text files, and how to strip HTML code out of a text file. Experienced users should be able to cope with the process, but hopefully there will be improvements along the way.