Publishing Your Blog as an Ebook in Multiple Formats

We read in a ReadWriteWeb post that Borders has partnered with BookBrewer to allow anyone to publish ebooks and sell them via the Borders ebookstore. The most attractive feature from my perspective is the ability to create an ebook from a blog. [15 months ago I used the Blurb BookSmart app and service to create and purchase a printed book from the first 350 posts in my blog. Others can purchase the book but as I am the only likely buyer I have now opened the whole book for preview on the Blurb site.]

2010-10-17 SNAG-06I signed up with BookBrewer and created a test ebook from my blog feed. Being set to contain only the last 15 posts BookBrewer only imported 15 stories. I then had to tediously add each post (story) to the book. A preview download of the 3.3 MB epub book can be read in Adobe Digital Editions in the usual way as shown to the right.

It was disappointing to find that the title of each post was not automatically added into the ebook which seems rather odd. Each story is tagged with the post heading but it seems a heading text in a suitable font has to be added manually. The prospect of doing this for over 500 posts is daunting if I import my complete blog.

Nevertheless the thought of generating an epub ebook instead of a printed version is compelling even if it going to cost USD 200.

I then looked for alternatives and via a Lifehacker post of well over a year ago I found the free Zinepal web app. Zinepal can import stories from your blog and produce an ebook in a much wider variety of formats and online locations:

  • PDF
  • Kindle/Mobipocket
  • epub
  • Zinepal site
  • Scribd

As before when I used my blog feed the 15 stories were imported and an ebook produced in PDF (2.4 MB), mobi (0.6 MB) and epub (2.1 MB) formats, shown below in Adobe Reader, Kindle for PC and Adobe Digital Editions:

2010-10-17 SNAG-02 2010-10-17 SNAG-03 2010-10-17 SNAG-08

PDF

mobi

epub

The PDF format comes in columns of your choice and is very readable. Also the PDF and epub versions come with a table of contents with entries for each blog post. Surprisingly the mobi format readable on the Kindle has no table of contents.

During the creation process on Zinepal the ebook is created for public access on the Zinepal site and published in my Scribd account:

2010-10-17 SNAG-05

Sadly it appears that even with a paid Pro account Zinepal only supports the import of 100 blog posts which is not enough for my own blog. I will have to investigate how to generate appropriate RSS feeds for 100-post segments.

Nevertheless I am really impressed by Zinepal as an ebook blog archive  produced periodically for individuals and organisations of all sizes. Just imagine having your most recent blog posts available for distribution as a newsletter or report.

Advertisements

About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

2 Responses to Publishing Your Blog as an Ebook in Multiple Formats

  1. Avram Lyon says:

    You may want to look at CHNM’s Anthologize — http://anthologize.org/ — created at their NEH-funded One Week One Tool barnraising.

  2. Michael Rees says:

    Thanks Avram. Sadly my blog is on WordPress.com so can’t use this plugin which looks very useful indeed.

    Michael

%d bloggers like this: