Author Archives: Virginia

About Virginia

I'm a writer, editor, reader and traveler based in Seattle but found elsewhere as often as possible. E-books have their place, but you'll always find my bookshelves full of the old-school paper kind.

The different faces of print-on-demand

Print-on-demand is really a catch-all phrase for a number of different opportunities: access to books that are otherwise out of print, access to books that are being scanned by Google or someone else (and are often in the public domain), and self-published materials.

The latter seems quite different than the first two. Self-publishing involves a lot more than just print-on-demand. It’s just one step of a process that can also involve a host of other services like proofreading, formatting, design, and marketing.

But even if I’m not interested in self-publishing, I might be interested in getting access to an out-of-print book, or one that is only offered via print-on-demand. For books with narrow appeal, print-on-demand makes a lot of financial sense.

I went to see the Espresso machine at the UW Bookstore and spent some time chatting with a guy who was manning the machine. While the phrase “print on demand” and the presence of the Espresso machine within the bookstore makes it sound like you can right walk in and print your book, that’s a little misleading. The UW supplies submission guidelines along with a self-publishing coordinator to help you through the process. I also saw a disclaimer-like notice along the lines of: “This is new technology so please be patient.” But as with all technology, I’m sure that the print-on-demand technology will rapidly evolve and become easy for just about anyone to use.

Will I want to use it? My current project is a blog, and unless I decide to turn the blog into a book, I’m doubtful that I’ll use print-on-demand with this project.

I do wonder what the demand will be like in the future. I love hard-copy books, but will they eventually go the way of vinyl records and simply become a novelty? Will print-on-demand will be the only way to get your hands on a book?





Searching for a homepage “hero” image

Since my blog is going to focus on both travel and books, I’ve been thinking about what kind of home page image will encompass both. At first, I thought I’d want something like the temporary image I’ve uploaded–a beach scene because I really love beaches and would be happy traveling around the world looking for interesting ones.

But what I’d really like is something that says both travel and books. When I searched these terms on flickr, I found some interesting images. This first one isn’t quite right. It does look a little too arranged and commercial.

This looks like a bookstore travel shelf.

This looks like a bookstore travel shelf.

The next two I found are closer to what I’m looking for in terms of tone and idea. They’ve inspired me to try to put something together myself. I like the one with the three girls. They look like travelers, but they’re also focusing on reading something.

I map and travel book combo is another interesting idea.  I’d like to try to create a photo with a map, some books, and maybe a few simple objects that you associate with a traveler: a camera, pen, and notebook come to mind.

books and map

I like the variety in this photo

I like this one: They're clearly travelers though the age association isn't quite right for me.

I like this one: They’re clearly travelers though the age association isn’t quite right for me.

Okay, I’m cheap—but I do like these

It’s hard for me to commit to investing money in a blog theme when I still have some ambivalence about my blog concept and future direction (will I try to make money from this? Will it just be a creative outlet and fun project?). Added to that are the incredible number of choices out there—I’d say, overwhelming number of choices. It would be easy to get lost for hours and days searching for the perfect theme. So, for all these reasons, I decided to confine my search to the free themes on wordpress.

That said, I’m pretty well decided on Sundance. It’s simple, uncluttered, elegant, and does everything that I want it to do (responsive design, integration of social media, flexibility in photo placement).

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I like the layout with the top bar navigation and sidebar at the right. The one question I have is whether video is required for the hero shot, or whether this can be a still photo. I’m assuming the latter.

But, I also like Misty Lake. As it says in the header, it’s tranquil. Maybe a little too tranquil (I don’t want to put anyone to sleep). If the video is a required part of the Sundance template, this is my fallback.

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If I do decide to buy a theme, I’ll look closely at Linen. I love the way it looks—clean, elegant, easy to navigate. I like the way blog posts are placed—really front and center. I also think it has more complexity and functionality than I need at this point. With all the themes, I need to remember that the photography is part of the attraction. Will I be able to find something similarly beautiful?

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