Thursday, August 27, 2009


Web 2.0 has opened up a myriad of services to the common man that were unthinkable even ten years ago. One of those is the self-publishing of printed books. Services like and others bring limited run printing to the masses. Lulu in particular allows anyone to upload content, have it printed and bound and then sold in the Lulu marketplace. Even offline companies are now allowing much smaller runs of printed book material than ever before. For me though, the online realm is most exciting, as it doubles as a marketing and promotion tool.

A group of us are about to embark on a self-printing experiment. Each of the four group members will get 25 pages out of a 100 page book to use as they see fit. Fiction. Poetry. Biography. Anything goes. Each member will get to edit, comment on and rate all of the other members' work. In the end we'll self-publish the book by some mechanism or another and attempt to promote it.

It's exciting because before the self-publishing revolution what we're attempting to do was almost entirely outside the realm of possibility, without strong financial backing. Limited and one-off runs didn't happen, so a large upfront expenditure of capital was required. Now anyone can publish. That means a lot of garbage will wind up in the marketplace, I know. We might even be contributing to that...who knows. But some of this brave, new content will be very, very good, and will finally be able to get into the hands of readers.

It's funny to me that as people that herald this sort of thing are heralding the demise of the printed word, services like Lulu are popping up, allowing a more democratic, ubiquitous world of printed words.'re wrong.

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