Whats and Whys of BookSmith

We started the new year with Public Launch of Booknomics – the blog to book tool as you would have read in the previous post.

What does the tool do?

You can give your Blog’s URL to BookSmith (e.g. blog.pothi.com for this blog), it fetches the content from there and creates a print ready book out of it. Then you can order print copies using Pothi.com’s Print on Demand platform. There are no minimum number of copies to be bought, since Print on Demand can print even one copy at a time.

What’s the big deal about the converting blog to a book? I can print it as it is.

There are several design considerations that need to be applied to create a good print book. Printing content as it is would not make it a good book. Some examples of things that BookSmith does are

  • Create chapters out of posts and start each chapter on a new page to make them distinct
  • Paginate the content
  • Format the content with a font that looks good in print
  • Insert blank pages suitably so that the important sections start on the odd pages/right side of an open book (very important and a basic consideration when formatting content for a print book)
  • Automatically create a table of content from the posts/chapters
  • Clean up the post for HTML issues before formatting it so that unnecessary extra spaces, tracking codes, content generated by plugins etc. are gone and you get the content that is suitable for a print book
  • Reformat URLs to separate out the anchor text and URL. Clickable URLs mean nothing in the print book. So, URL needs to be extracted out.
  • Several other things like putting suitable margins, handling images, handling WordPress smileys etc. to make it a good looking book.

Anything else?

Some distinctive features of BookSmith are

  • Support for images in the post. Booksmith supports including images from your post and suitably resizes them so that they do not go out of frame when too big.
  • Option to include or exclude images. When you have a blog where images are not essential to the content, you may want to leave them out in the print book
  • Selection of covers. You can select from the pre-defined book covers while creating the book. If you want you can also order custom cover design service from Pothi.com to get a unique cover before printing copies.
  • Free e-book download. An e-book is made available for free download, which is useful if you want to circulate the book online. It is formatted differently from the print book to make is good for on-screen reading. Some major ways in which the e-book formatting is different from print book formatting are
    • Use of a different font, which is suitable for online reading
    • No blank pages as they do not make sense for e-books
    • Links remain clickable in e-books since they are meant for on-screen reading
  • Option to include or exclude post date from the book. For a blog of short stories or poems, putting post date on a print book won’t make sense. But for a blog covering opinions of current events, it is absolutely necessary. So, BookSmith gives you the control to choose whether or not you want the post dates to be mentioned.
  • Ability to select posts to include and reorder them.

Why BookSmith?

Pothi.com wants to make publishing accessible to all. There are three major categories of expenses while publishing a book

  • Book preparation cost: This includes editing, designing and all the pre-press activities.
  • Printing and Operations Cost: Cost involved in printing the copies, maintaining the inventory, supplying them to buyers and managing the entire operation
  • Marketing Cost: Cost involved in promoting the book.

For making publishing accessible it is important to bring down the costs involved in all of these activities. For a casual writer/publisher, each of these costs in the prevailing set-up can be daunting. The only way to bring these costs down is to infuse technology in the process. There are some things for which humans can not be replaced. There is no replacement for a good editor or a designer who can do a super customized design for a book. But other things can be enabled technologically and hence the cost can be brought down. Pothi.com is on a mission to use and develop such technologies.

Internet as a technology and medium provides ample opportunities for an individual to market their book. Not with some overnight magic, but with persistence over time and by using suitable tools, an individual’s brand can be created with very little or no financial investment.

Printing and Operations costs are brought down by the Print on Demand platform provided by Pothi.com. You can print one copy at a time; so there is no need to pay upfront for printing in bulk. Besides the effort and costs to maintain the inventory or manage the logistics are gone too. Just set up your book on Pothi.com and they will be printed and shipped as the orders come. There is no inventory to maintain and logistics is taken care of by us.

A tool like BookSmith aims to bring down the book preparation cost. It lets you design a good looking print book. It is not a replacement for a super-customized design by a good an trained designer. But it is pretty good for most individual publishers. And it will keep getting better. Yantra – the cover design tool on Pothi.com is another such tool, which bring down the cost of designing.

So, convert your blog today. Or, gift a loved one a copy of theirs. It will really make them jump with joy. Meanwhile, we are working hard for bringing more exciting stuff your way.

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3 thoughts on “Whats and Whys of BookSmith

  1. Pranab Chatterjee January 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm Reply

    OK, link shoes 500 internal sevrer error…wassup?

  2. Jaya Jha January 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm Reply

    Which link is giving error? BookSmith is working fine.

  3. Pranab Chatterjee January 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm Reply

    Yes, sorry, logging in from a different computer solved the problem must be something to do with the other one.

    cheers!

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