Addicted to novelty since 2001

Printable Editions of Hyper-Local Blogs

At Northern Voice, Rob from Techvibes introduced me to Frank, who (I gather) created ZinePal. Here’s the elevator pitch on ZinePal:

Use zinepal.com to create your own magazines or zines for short. Select content from your favorite blogs, websites or RSS feeds and put it in your zine. zinepal.com creates an online version and a printable PDF. Then you print it and read it in your favorite coffee shop, e-mail it to your friends or just let them subscribe to your online zine feed.

There are bunch of these print-your-blog services out there, but what I liked about ZinePal was the sample Frank handed me. It was a two-page version of the recent posts from Kitsilano.ca (another of the aforementioned Rob’s projects). I snapped a photo:

Fairfield, 2-Mar-09

Kitsilano.ca is a hyper-local blog, covering a particular neighbourhood of Vancouver. It’s easy to imagine that they could produce monthly “best of” editions of their blog using ZinePal, and distribute them to local businesses. They could replace the charming but goofy Coffee News (I recently took a photo of that publication as well). Local businesses could buy a combo advertising package, with their ads appearing both online and in the print edition. Briana from Tenth to Fraser (a blog about New Westminster) should check this out.

I created a quick ZinePal edition of my own site, picking entries that didn’t have embedded video. ZinePal provides a dedicated page for each, uh, zine, or here’s the direct link to the PDF. I didn’t go to the trouble of uploading a custom header or deploying a few other bells and whistles.

In an age of embedded audio, video and other Flash-powered widgets, ZinePal certainly isn’t for every site with an RSS feed. However, I do like the idea of extending a hyper-local blog’s audience into the offline world.

2 Responses to “Printable Editions of Hyper-Local Blogs”

  1. Frank

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you for the plug! :-)

    Two things I wanted to mention. First, if the page you are adding to the zine contains videos, flash or other non-printable content; then zinepal will be smart enough to remove it and put in a placeholder instead. If people are reading the print edition, then they will know there is more to see if they come back for the online version.

    Regarding the advertising, I’m currently working on functionality that will allow zine creators to add adverts to their zine. I’m testing this out with Rob and kitsilano.ca – once it’s working well it will be available to everyone.

    Cheers,

    – Frank

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