I have to thank Alun for coining the term ‘blook’ to describe my experiment with Lulu.com to create an archived version of this blog. It’s been about two weeks since I put it on Lulu and ordered a copy. My printed version arrived in the mail yesterday. I’m pleasantly surprised by the overall quality. The cover art is sharp, clear, and glossy. The feel of the book is ‘right’, too. I didn’t do any work to improve any of the images that made it between the covers, but for the most part, they’re quite good. I of course made a few mistakes – I think a few more interstitial pages would help in its readability (not so much an issue for the digital downloaded version though).
The contrast with my thesis, which was published in the BAR series (John Hedges inc, not Archaeopress), is interesting. Essentially, it was the same kind of work for me to get my thesis ready for publication with BAR as it was to get the blook ready for Lulu. BAR does of course have its own signature look, but in terms of the final product if I had to do it again, I might be persuaded that Lulu was the way to go. The big difference is that BAR is an established series of archaeological monographs, and so has a bit of authority. You know what you’re getting with BAR, not so much with Lulu.
Let’s think some blue-sky thoughts for a moment, and imagine that PD(Q) is wildly successful. If we can establish some authority and a reputation for a good product – ie we demonstrate that print-on-demand and digital publishing can be as academically rigorous as traditional publishing (but a good deal faster and cheaper) – why not publish theses, monographs, etc etc….