Sunday, December 16, 2007

On Friday afternoon I googled "print my blog" because I want my grandma to be able to read my blog and see all the photos of our girls, but she does not own a computer and is not computer literate. I actually started my search in the Blogger help section, to see what other bloggers were doing to print their blogs. All of the solutions offered in Blogger were ridiculous - they either required you to mess with the HTML in the blog so that you could print your blog from beginning to end (instead of end to beginning, like it's posted) or they told you to get some kind of $100 blog backup software that would download your blog, turn it into a PDF and then allow you to print it. The $100 software is no longer available so that option was out, and my blog won't even print in reverse, much less beginning to end after messing with the HTML. That's what led me to my Google search. It's interesting to me that, although Blogger is owned by Google, my Google search was far more productive than my Blogger search.

When I searched Google quite a few commercial options popped up immediately, but most of them were only available with paid blog options (like for people who use Typepad or some other paid blog service). But one, Blurb, was available for folks using "new blogger," which is what I use (Blogger acquired Blogspot and became "new blogger"). So, I checked out their website and found that their book prices were competitive with or better than what you pay to print a photo book at a place like Snapfish or Shutterfly. But, their free software (called Booksmart) is much more user friendly and is downloadable, so you build the book on your computer instead of on the web, which makes it much faster. Plus, the software is super versatile, allowing for lots and lots of different layout options, something else not offered by any of the photo book services. Once you've put your book together on your computer (it integrates seamlessly with iPhoto, Picasa, and other services like Flickr, by the way), you upload your book to their site, which took me about 15 minutes for a 72-page, photo intensive book, and then order the book from them. The best part is that it's totally easy to get your blog from the web into the book. Blurb downloads your blog from your blog service to Booksmart and uses it to auto-fill the pages of your book. Then you move photos around, change layouts and backgrounds, and edit it to look how you want. You can also write directly into the book, in case you need to edit your blog postings or add to them.

I'm totally stoked about this service - I scrapbook digitally using Photoshop Elements, but I've been looking for a better way to do it. A way to integrate what I've written in the blog with extra photos and the scrapbook writing and journaling I did before I started the blog. I think my resolution for next year might be to get the girls' scrapbooks (which are made in Elements on 12x12 pages and then printed here at home onto white 12x12 paper and put into a traditional physical scrapbook) transfered over to Blurb and printed in a higher quality, bound-book format. I could do this with one of the other photo services that are now offering 12x12 books, but Blurb makes it so much easier. The book I printed for my grandma will turn out great, I think. It should arrive here at our house in about two weeks - I'll let you know how it comes out! Until then, you can check out a low-res PDF version of the first fifteen pages here.


Laureen said...

The book looks awesome! Your grandma will love that! I may have to order one for myself for a keepsake.

The Holloways said...

Hi--I just ran accross your blog because I too was googling how to print my blog and there you were! I was really considering using blurb, but wondered how your books turned out. I have tried to read lots of reviews, but most seem like they are just trying to make photo books--not transfer a blog. That is my real question--does the blog look okay once printed? If you have a chance to let me know, I would really appreciate it! My email is

Anonymous said...

Another great new website has just opened up for BETA testing. Scrapbook Blogger will turn your blog into a hard copy coffee table type of book for you. It allows for background customization on different pages and has multiple layouts. It is designed for mommy bloggers.

See for more information.

Judy said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful book. As a retired teacher and mom of two sons, I too am wanting to print my blog. I had trouble with prtint2blog but now may try blurb.

Hillary Dickman said...

You're welcome, Judy! I've used Blurb a few more times since I wrote this post and I've really liked the results every time. I think it is a great service.