Thursday, September 9, 2021

As Requested . . . A Look Inside My Most Recent Blog Book (September 9, 2021)


Following the most recent post about my blog-to-book efforts, Nancy, one of the long-time readers of this blog, commented that she was considering making books of her genealogy blog ( My Ancestors and Me).  She asked if I could show more of the inside of the book.  I am more than happy to do so and additional photos with explanations are presented here.

The headline photo above is of the so-called "Great Photo Wall" that appears to be a feature of IntoRealPages books and cannot be changed so far as I know.  The Wall is created by taking thumbnail photos of the pictures that accompany posts within the book and making a collage of them at the beginning of the book. 

There are basically two different ways to organize a blog-to-book using IntoRealPages.  For comparison purposes, interested readers should please open the blog post of December 20, 2020 here in order to see the important differences in the two organizational options.

In the book featured in the December 2020 post above, I used what is called a "Chapter Index" organizational format.  In this format each individual blog post is considered a "chapter" in the book.  As a result (and as illustrated in the referenced prior post), a "chapter page" is inserted before each and every blog post.  The chapter page merely repeats the title of the adjacent blog post itself and so it is not only redundant, it adds unnecessary pages to the book and thus to the cost of each book because cost is ultimately determined by the page count. 

The definite benefit of the Chapter Index format is that it produces a very nice, user-friendly index that provides the title of each individual post and the page number on which it begins (see the photo at the December 2020 post above).

While I believe the IntoRealPages blog-to-book is a quality hardback book that should last generations if treated with a modicum of care, the truth must be told that the books are NOT inexpensive.  But, if the time and effort that goes into creating such books for our posterity is added to the cost and then "amortized" over the time and generations that will be able to benefit from them, they really work out to be a reasonable cost.  Even so,  there is still no reason to add to the cost where it is not really required.  For that reason, I switched in the three latest volumes and produced them with what is called the "Month Index" format.  A picture of that style index is illustrated in the post of August 28, 2021 here.

The Month Index format organizes the blog posts in chronological order within each calendar year included in the book.  A calendar year page is inserted into the book in the same way as the Chapter Index, but only where necessary to distinguish blog posts in one specified year from posts in a subsequent year.  This means, of course, that there will be far fewer indexed pages inserted in the book and thus the cost of each book will be less. 

I will freely admit that the Chapter Index format is much more user friendly for the reader than the Month Index format.  However, after pondering the matter I decided that I preferred to go with cost savings now as opposed to user friendliness for descendants in the future.  

Why did I do this?  

I did this because I realized that far into the future of these books the reader would not be likely to search for specific blog posts using the Chapter Index unless and until he or she had become somewhat familiar with the titles and content of book and any particular blog post he or she had found interesting or important.  Someone opening a book with the Chapter Index for the first time in say 50 years would perhaps get some vague idea of what a post is about from the title, but for many they would not.  I think they will be more likely to just skim or browse through this "genealogy book one of their ancestors or relatives produced"--sort of like looking through an unindexed catalog of today.  IF such readers find things of interest or import to themselves, then they will dog-ear, bookmark, or otherwise create a way to easily locate the post(s) again. The same will be true of a book using the Month Index format and their browsing can be done in sections by year and then chronologically within the year.  The difference for today is that the cost of producing the book is lower by eliminating a redundant chapter page before each and every blog post in the book.

One last note about the overall book organizational format.  It is possible to do a book in a third "format" that I somehow did with one volume by mistake.  Volume 4 is the thinnest (and therefore least expensive) of the four IntoRealPages books I have produced.  In that first volume after the Chapter Index book, I attempted to eliminate the insertion of redundant chapter pages for every blog post.  I was successful in doing that, but I also inadvertently eliminated the user friendly index and thus the book became nothing but an unindexed chronological collection of the blog posts put into that volume.  The photo below illustrates how three blog posts appeared in that volume without any chapter insert and throughout the book neither was there any calendar year pages to indicate the beginning of a new year of posts.

Finally, I need to point out that the IntoRealPages blog-to-book is printed in what I believe is an unalterable three-column format.  The photos or other inserts in the original online blog post all appear in the book, but they are positioned to accommodate the three-column format; as a result your posts in the book will look different than that in the original online posts.  The paragraph separation and font size and position of photo captions will also be different–but not distastefully so.
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Copyright 2021, John D. Tew
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All photos by the author.
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  1. These pages look great, John! They are expensive but I can see they are worth it. Thanks for taking the time to show photos and give details about your choices and other options. I appreciate it.

    1. Nancy--I am happy to have been of assistance in any way. The books are not inexpensive, but when viewed as an investment for the future they really appear pretty reasonable I think. I bought three copies of each volume, which increased my cost significantly, but each son now has a copy to enjoy and pass on and I have another copy myself to leave--thus increasing the likelihood that all my work and the photos and data I have collected will be preserved for some time to come.

  2. Very helpful to see the similarities and differences. TY for sharing the results!

    1. Thank you for your comment Marian. It is such a relief to have all that time and effort now preserved in six hardbound volumes. ;-)