When Steve Mandel, a management trainer from Santa Cruz, Calif., wants to show his friends why he stays up late to peer through a telescope, he pulls out a copy of his latest book, “Light in the Sky,” filled with pictures he has taken of distant nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.
“I consistently get a very big ‘Wow!’ The printing of my photos was spectacular — I did not really expect them to come out so well.” he said. “This is as good as any book in a bookstore.”
Mr. Mandel, 56, put his book together himself with free software from Blurb.com. The 119-page edition is printed on coated paper, bound with a linen fabric hard cover, and then wrapped with a dust jacket. Anyone who wants one can buy it for $37.95, and Blurb will make a copy just for that buyer.
Other companies that do this:
sharedink.com, which goes after high-end photographers ($39 for 20pp)
Lulu.com, b/w novel-type books they'll sell through Amazon ($8 for 150pp)
picaboo.com says most of its customers are moms with kids
I have previously used MyPublisher.com to print a storybook for my daughter. The prices on Lulu are low enough that it might be fun to print a collection of her stories and distribute them at her birthday party.