Printing blogs?

by Eszter Hargittai on November 23, 2005

One of my students asked whether it would be possible to receive a hard copy of students’ blogs for the quarter. This is a nice idea. I don’t know how long the course blog will stay online (and some of it will probably start anew next time I teach the class) so such a solution could be nice for archiving the material. (The Web Archive hasn’t picked up their blogs yet.) I had created archives of the blogs from last year using HTTrack, which is a handy tool, but an additional hard copy would be nice.

I have been looking around and although I have found some options, I am interested in finding some more. I know that Qoop has a Blog Printing service in beta, but it doesn’t seem to be open to just anyone (plus it is not clear whether they are supporting all blogging software at this point). In any case, given my experiences with Qoop’s Flickr photobook printing, I would rather explore some alternatives first. (The result was okay. The cover was very nice, but the rest seemed more like a notebook than a book per se. For that, the price seemed a bit too high.)

It looks like LiveJournal users have a ready-made solution. But I need something for WordPress. This person seems to have done a nice job printing a book (or “blook”), but the process seems extremely tedious. Does anyone have experiences with BlogBinders? (I don’t like the idea that they strip out the images from the blog.)

Has anyone done this? Any recommendations? Any thoughts on what to avoid or what not to forget?

My preference would be for paying a bit more if it meant having to do less work on it.



Kieran Healy 11.23.05 at 10:31 am

There’s a WordPress to PDF plugin that uses LaTeX as a formatting engine and (I think) understands textile formatting etc. I tried it once for CT and it worked pretty well, but I didn’t pursue it. It’s something you need to install on your server, though. “Here’s the Project Page”: at sourceforge.


Michael H. 11.23.05 at 11:03 am

Warren Meyer of Coyoteblog (a nice blog) recently wrote of his experiences publishing his blog as a gift for his dad (a nice idea). He used lulu.


Chris Karr 11.23.05 at 11:36 am

I don’t know if any blog services or software do this, but a somewhat simple and flexible solution would be to generate a full-text RSS feed of each entry (and comments if desired), and use XSLT to FOP (, then turn that into a PDF with the styling you want.

Granted, this feed would be huge (it’s essentially a database dump), but you don’t have to allow access to it. The feed would also be useful if you want to add your blog contents to search engines like A9 or Google Base.


Eszter 11.23.05 at 11:38 am

Michael – I link to that discussion in the post.

Kieran & Chris – Thanks. Those sound like possibilities, but I’m hoping for something simpler.


Michael H. 11.23.05 at 12:03 pm

Sorry, I did not notice that you had linked to that post.

He later denied it was all that tedious. Anyway I assumed you were going to have your students do the work, it really wouldn’t be that much trouble for them. They might learn something too.


Reed A. Cartwright 11.23.05 at 4:25 pm

I run Movable Type on my blog and a few months ago, I added a feature that automatically creates PDFs of my entries.

Using LaTeX one could take all the PDFs and combine them together in some book format.


Bill 11.23.05 at 7:36 pm

Eszter –

When did you order a photo book? We started using a new photo paper about a month ago that is very nice.

And our makes very cool books – our lead on that project will contact you.

– Bill


coturnix 11.24.05 at 12:28 am

From what I heard, is the best in terms of speed, price and quality. And if you hurry up, you can enter your blog-turned-book for the Blooker Prize. Hey, a $1000 is not nothing…


godoggo 11.24.05 at 2:38 am

I know this is almost 5 years out of date, but Hal dispensed a punch card when Dave asked him for a hard copy.


John Holbo 11.24.05 at 4:28 am

It’s an amazing coincidence that you made this post, Eszter. Just today I was emailing someone with questions about this very issue and got sent to Qoop. Then I clicked over to CT … and you could have answered my questions for me. To the extent that they have answers at this stage. Also, just two weeks ago I was at a meeting joking about ‘blooks, blarticles and blessays.’ Something in the water causing everyone to think of certain print issues at once.


Eszter 11.24.05 at 10:42 am

Bill, thanks. My Qoop book was shipped on Oct 19th. As I said, I loved the cover (as did my Mom who got it as a gift). And to be sure, the service was very easy to use and quick. I just wasn’t sure if “book” was the right word for it.

While I have your attention:) I thought I’d mention a couple of things that I think would be helpful tweaks to that service.

First, if I recall, it was not possible to specify the order of the pictures. I recall redoing the entire book after having rearranged the sets in my Flickr account just so some of the pictures I wanted at the end would be at the end. I was able to adjust the set ordering this way, but I don’t think it’s possible to specify the order of the photos individually, is it?

Second, I don’t recall having any say in what photos show up on the cover. I liked the random selection this time, but I think I would prefer to have some say over that.

And thanks for putting me in touch with the BlogPrinting folks!

Coturnix – Lulu seems like a great service for creating products from various types of content, but I don’t recall seeing any quick method for converting blog posts into a book format. (I am not going to sit and copy/paste all posts. I am looking for an automated method. What I’ve been shown of the BlogPrinting beta seems extremely promising. It addresses that point very well.)

John – That is a funny coincidence. I suspect to some extent it may have to do with the upcoming holidays. Perhaps people are looking to make gifts. In my case it’s related to the end of the teaching quarter and a student’s idea, as I noted.


yabonn 11.24.05 at 2:18 pm


The horror. The horror.


Bill 11.24.05 at 2:39 pm

Eszter –
Thank you for the comments
– photo ordering choices coming soon
– Cover options coming soon
– And thank you for looking at our blogprinting beta and commenting

– Bill


Ehud 11.25.05 at 10:14 am

Does any of these solutions work for non English blogs?


coturnix 11.26.05 at 9:27 pm

Well, I am going with Lulu for a number of reasons:
a – they are in town if I have to go personally to do anything and they have people who can help
b – my neighbor is a blogger who recently published a book with them. He is very satisfied and has promised to help me with formatting
c – They send a preformatted Word file – you copy and paste and send back. In two days, you get the book.
d – I cannot print the whole blog. I have been copying and pasting GOOD posts all along so I have an MSWord file in chronological (as opposed to blog-standard reverse chronological order). When I first heard about this, I looked at the file and it was, dunno, 800 pages or so. And that’s just the chosen “Best of” posts. No memes, cartoons, one-liners, linkfests or carnivals included. By changing the font, reformatting paragraphs, eliminating several mediocre posts, cutting out all the superfluous stuff (unfortunately, that means cutting away lots of links), I got it down to about 450 pages and I am still working on it. Thus, I have to work with a file, copying and pasting to begin with, so that is not a negative for me.

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