My wife (or Santa Claus?) gave me a very cool Christmas present. I was totally surprised when I opened the package and I had a printed version of this weblog in my hands! It is a hardcover book, printed on high-quality glossy paper with all weblog entries from September 24, 2004 until December 5 this year. All posts including pictures fill a whopping 554 pages. I am very happy with this, all my memories and ideas from the past 2 years in one book.
If you had asked me before I would have probably said that a blog is not interesting in printed version, but now that I have this book in my hand I would take back these words right away. It’s not comparable actually, in a blog you can click on links and add comments – it’s all interactive. But a printed version is different, you can flip through like a magazine which gives a totally different feeling to it. A lot of the posts I had totally forgotten about already, and it is nice to see how some ideas and thought have developed. I am extremely happy with this present, and have already spent more than an hour reading old posts and looking at pictures.
Of course this present gives me a new business idea right away. One that likely already exists: setting up an easy-to-use website where people can upload their blog (with interfaces for the main blogging tools/programs) and where they have to do the editing themselves (drag and drop, it should be so simple that everybody can do it). And then they can send it off to a printer in China, where it is printed within a week. Choice of hardcover or softcover, several types of binding, and for busy bees like many of us also a service where people do the design of the book for you (for a hefty fee of course). With the huge growth in blogs over the past years I think there could be a big market for this, especially for birthday or christmas gifts. I am sure this has been done before, but at least those sites’ marketing is not good enough, because I did not hear about them. So there seems to be a business potential. I won’t do it, no time for new projects, but maybe one of my readers would like to develop the idea and turn it into a (big) business.
Update: I just heard that there is already a Chinese company doing this, www.inker.com.cn. You can upload your document on the site and they print it for you. Not sure if this is the easy-to-use idea that I have in mind (you can download a ‘bookmaker’ tool on the site), they seem to focus more on printing novels and poems. They also do not have an English site, so whoever is interested in the idea might be able to team up with them.