Printing my blog, part 2

5 03 2013

After my recent research about how to print by blog to a hardcopy book, I’ve attempted to use a few of the options. [As most regular readers know, I tend write my posts well in advance of publishing them, especially these kind of ‘research’ ones – so yesterday’s post was written weeks ago, and my experimentation took days.]

Blurb: I downloaded the software (you have to create an ‘account’; yes, yet another username and password to attempt to remember).

Type in your blog sign-in (so only the person with the password can print a blog) and then you get to select which posts you want to exclude, whether you want comments included or not, and if you want the links to be included as footnotes – this kind of flexibility is brilliant, as I want to exclude all Calendar posts from my book (as there are so many and they overwhelm the other content when looked at as a whole).

As I mentioned in my previous post, the software started to suck in the 1500 or so photographs, and then just stopped. Three times it stopped and shut down at this point. Mmmm. I even tried to import half of the content, to see if it was a ‘size’ problem – nopes, still failed at the same point.

Then I tried a different option, the ‘put posts into my library and I’ll drag and drop myself’ instead of the ‘auto-populate’ option, and it worked very quickly. Though it then does mean that I have to manually add each post and photo to the book. A few hours later and I’d done a month worth of posts, and I’m not too sure I like the formats available – I did want my book to look like my blog, with photos where I have them – however this isn’t possible with this software, plus the text colouring is lost. I’ll leave this for now and see if there’s an easier option.

BlogBooker: I liked that I didn’t need to register or anything for this one.

With a WordPress blog, just export the posts into the XML file (I do this regularly as a backup anyway); in this way, it’s clear that the only person who can print out a blog is the person with the password to get into the dashboard to make the export.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to simply exclude all posts with a certain tag (Calendar) – it seems I can include a single category or have all. Pft. I pressed ahead anyway.

Then this XML file is used by the site to slurp in the content and create a PDF file. This took hardly any time at all. Unfortunately the formatting isn’t quite up to what I had in mind; and as I don’t have PDF editor software I cannot change fonts or delete parts or add page breaks and such. But as a free site this is pretty great.

PrintWhatYouLike: I was hoping this may be a better option than using Blurb or BlogBooker to print out each blog post and import into a document that I’ll later send for printing. However it only saves to PDF or HTML. This took time to play around with, copying out of HTML etc … I then thought it may be easier just to take the next approach…

Copy and Paste: Yup, I finally thought to try the simplest method – copying each post (from a standard view page, not the edit page) and pasting into Word.

This meant that the pages looked exactly like they do when reading the blog, with respect to photograph placement etc. This is pretty labour-intensive, though surprisingly less so than fixing up the Blurb output (and I prefer to have the output this way). Sadly though, doing it this way doesn’t automatically put the links into footnotes like Blurb… so may have to do this manually. This is a LOT of work, with a month worth of posts taking more than an hour at a time to play around with.

So all of this points to it not being as easy as I hoped to ‘automatically’ create a book from my blog posts.

As such, I may reconsider even doing this… I’ll play some more and see whether I feel like spending the large amount of time it’ll take.

And yes, the irony of making a paper artifact of a blog (which exists in the internets ether) doesn’t evade me.

Have you tried to do this before? Any tips gratefully received!



One response

17 06 2013
Printing my blog, update | Melbourne Jeweller

[…] few months back I was investigating ways of printing out my blog, to make an artifact that I could hold in my hands, to be able to point to a magnificent tome on a […]

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