by Christopher Butler on in culture

A few weeks ago, I posted about my first time using Lulu.com to create a book, which was actually just a compilation of articles that I had been planning to read online. After seeing a post by a Google employee about how he’d used Lulu to create a book of web articles so that he could read those articles more comfortably in print, I decided I had to try it out. It was a quick, easy and cheap success. Lulu’s application is really simple and well designed, which makes the user experience really great.

Even though my design was pretty spartan, with a far-too-small type size, I ended up reading through the 120 pages of articles pretty quickly. Since I had plenty more saved online, I decided to create a second book and employ some design improvements. This second one also ended up being twice the size (about 320 pages). I increased the type size slightly and gave more attention to the page layout. I also designed my own cover after Katie told me that using a print-quality image for the cover would increase the quality dramatically over simply choosing colors and text in Lulu’s “cover wizard.” You can check out a few more images below.

In general, I was pretty impressed with this service after making my first book. But after extending just a little more effort for the second one, I can see enormous potential with print-on-demand. I posted an article a few days ago about how print on demand might affect web content, and now I am even more convinced that print-on-demand is the future of printed publications. To be able to compile and create my own 320-page book with a custom-designed cover in just a couple of hours (including the time it took to create my book’s PDF and cover, upload it to Lulu, and configure my order) for under $10 and have it delivered to my office in 3 business days is just incredible.


  • http://ableparris.com Able Parris

    I really need to do this. Is your gutter swallowing your copy or is it just the photo making it look like that?

    Looks great, man!

  • http://jasonrobb.com Jason Robb

    Wow! What a splendid idea! What did you use to compile the articles, Lulu service or InDesign?

    Very awesome. Thanks for sharing! =)

  • https://www.newfangled.com/chris_butler_blog Chris Butler

    @Able Parris, I took the pictures outside this morning by that herb patch next to Newfangled, so that’s the green stuff you’re seeing. Is that what you meant by “gutter?”

    @Jason Robb, Thanks! I actually just copied and pasted the text of the articles I wanted into OpenOffice, set up standard styles for titles, subtitles, authors, urls, comments, quotes, etc., then exported to a PDF. For the cover, I created it in Photoshop and exported to PDF (Lulu requires a PDF for custom covers. There is a tool to calculate the spine width based upon the number of pages in your book).

  • http://ableparris.com Able Parris

    Nah, I mean the gutter of the book. Where the pages meet.

    Side note: I wish I could subscribe to comments here. Is that possible? I’ll email Nolan and have him get on that later today. ;)

  • https://www.newfangled.com/chris_butler_blog Chris Butler

    @Able Parris, Ahh, yeah, I was using one hand to hold the book and the other to hold the camera, so that’s why it’s only partially opened. I don’t think we have a comments RSS feed. Good idea, though.

  • http://ableparris.com Able Parris

    Email notification would be great. :)

  • Ted

    Great. Just what we need- more paper being used. What about your whole conservation stuff?

  • https://www.newfangled.com/chris_butler_blog Chris Butler


    Wow, there’s just no winning with you, is there?!? Of course I’m not saying that every article should turn in to paper.


  • Camille

    What font did you use for your text?


By Christopher Butler

Chris Butler is the COO of Newfangled. He writes and speaks often on design and the web. You can follow him @chrbutler. More by Christopher Butler