How do I print one book?
January 15, 2007 8:23 PM   Subscribe

What is the easiest way to print one (and only one) copy of a book?

I've found a number of out-of-print or difficult-to-find technical books I'd like to have on hand in printed form. The authors or publishers of several of these have kindly made them available online for free, often in useful formats (TEX, PostScript, et cetera). What is the easiest way to get one printed copy of each of these books?

I'm aware that Lulu (and presumably other print-on-demand publishers) will do this; however, Lulu is clearly set up to handle quantities larger than a single copy, and I'm also a little nervous about putting someone else's book on Lulu, even if I'm supposedly able to prevent others from purchasing it. Has anyone had experience approaching local printers about this sort of work? Or is there a simpler approach I'm overlooking?
posted by IshmaelGraves to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Previously. Many Kinkos do perfect binding on site, if that is sufficient, although some satellite stores, with retail footprints too small for the equipment, and air handling equipment to mitigate the glue smells, send it off site.
posted by paulsc at 8:30 PM on January 15, 2007

Best answer: I tried this via lulu with a book availabe from project gutenberg. You can tag a project as only visible to you so no one else can order a copy. You can also easily calculate the price to see if it's worth it. The shipping ended up a large chunk of the price, you may want to see if ordering more than one will cut down on the per unit cost, you'll have a spare or can sell it to a friend.

I ordered a spiral bound paperback from lulu and was surprised at the quality. I may try a perfect bound paperback next.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:30 PM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:58 PM on January 15, 2007

Best answer: Well I've done just that with Lulu, created one copy of a book, just for myself that only I could see or purchase. It worked out great. It wasn't someone elses book, it was my own... but all the same, no one else has access to it but you.
posted by RoseovSharon at 10:10 PM on January 15, 2007

Best answer: Find the place that binds thesis for your local University (many Uni's have printeries onsite). They're used to dealing with very small runs and will make a professional, hard wearing book for you. A quick phonecall to the main phone number of a decent sized University will give you some recommendations of who to ring.
posted by shelleycat at 10:13 PM on January 15, 2007

For what it's worth, I was just about to post this same question. There's this fantastic book by Peter Watts called Blindsight, and I wanted to give a copy to everyone I know... but it's only available for free as a pdf, or as a $25 hardbound.

I wrote him for suggestions, and specifically mentioned Lulu--he replied that even though he put it out there for free (Creative Commons) he wasn't so keen on the idea of using something like that... more to the point, the moment that money is involved his publisher (Tor) would probably start to worry. That's probably true about Blurb, too.

Also, Blurb would charge $70 a copy for a 350 page book...
posted by Squid Voltaire at 10:02 AM on January 16, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Looks like Lulu might be less trouble than I thought, and I especially like the idea of finding a printer of theses.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:20 PM on January 16, 2007

« Older Quick, MeFi I need a dog park to go to in Yokohama...   |   Mamma Mia! Massive Mold! Mediation Mandated! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.