Bloggers! Put your archives to work. Give your visitors the ability to read your entire blog offline and earn publishing revenue for your hard work.
I had a similar idea along these lines a while back. It had a different focus, though, which I think would work better. It was inspired by my friend Sam’s business, Echo Memoirs. They make incredible-looking, one-off memoir books about weddings, businesses, pets, personal histories, etc. They’re-one-of-a-kind, involve a ton of work, and aren’t cheap. Like, CAN $2500 not cheap. That said, her business is doing great.
Here’s what PrintMyBlog doesn’t get: nobody wants to buy your blog but you.
My idea was to enable bloggers to create a nice-looking book (not Echo Memoirs quality, of course, but something soft-cover and attractive) as a personal keepsake. They submit an XML version of their archives, chose a template they like, maybe choose or submit an image for their cover, and we print their book. They might sell them on their site, but that would definitely be secondary and their business.
The idea would be predicated on the automated capture and generation of the text. You’d need some developer to build you a system that could suck in the XML archives and convert them into acceptably laid-out pages of text. This is certainly doable–we built a very simple XML-to-PDF Web service at Cape Clear. Still, it’s a thorny technical challenge.
The automation is important because it’s the labour that drives up the production costs. Ideally, the blogger submits their archives, we automagically generate a PDF, have the user review it, make changes, get it printed and send it back to the blogger. These things might start at, I don’t know, CAN $100 for a hundred page book? That’s a total shot in the dark on price.
Maybe somebody’s doing this already? I think it’s a viable business model. Don’t underestimate the value of a physical artifact, especially when that artifact has only existed virtually.
Clearly these guys don’t know much about search engine optimization or the blogosphere. Their entire site is built out of images, and they don’t have a weblog of their own. The images thing is particularly foolish, because if they want other bloggers to talk about them, they ought to provide some text that’s easy to excerpt. They’re going to lose some word-of-mouth because people are too lazy to retype their shtick.
Also, there are no photos of the books. Why would I place and order if I can’t see what they look like? The owner does have a weblog elsewhere, incidentally.