From Blog to Book
February 28, 2008 7:22 AM   Subscribe

How do I convert my blog entries and comments into a book-type format (digital or analogue) without paying too much money?

As part of our KaosPilot application, we are required to submit a journal of our application process and progress. Since I already have a blog that does exactly this, I was thinking of just printing off my blog entries and compiling them.

Is there something like LJ Book that deals with WP.COM blogs? I've tried printing the WP.COM pages themselves but they print weirdly (and their Support is rude and unhelpful when I bring it up). I don't need a fancy service like Blurb (which doesn't even ship here!), just some way to get all my posts and comments organized. I can print it myself, though I am also looking for options that convert it into an eBook.

Any ideas?
posted by divabat to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to try copying the text out of your WP blog and pasting it into something like Google Documents. Then just arrange it how you want, insert pictures if necessary, and save to PDF. This takes care of the eBook part, and also arranges it in an easy-to-print solution.
posted by nitsuj at 8:28 AM on February 28, 2008

Wordpress does have an XML-based export format. So you can extract the content of your blog and manipulate it. That format won't be especially friendly for print, so you'll need to spend some quality time with GREP to clean it up. It would be slick if you took that XML, transformed it into one big HTML document, and used a CSS print-media stylesheet to format it for output. It would take some doing and some trial-and-error, but it should work.

I'm guessing you can't install WP plugins on your account, but there is a Wordpress export plugin that lets you use other export formats, like MT's, which would be somewhat less unapproachable for formatting by hand, but still require a fair amount of massaging.
posted by adamrice at 9:43 AM on February 28, 2008

Create a print css so your blog posts look good when you print them out. Print them and take them to Kinkos for binding.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 11:05 AM on February 28, 2008

Response by poster: nitsuj: There are a LOT of posts and comments, and that would take time.

adamrice: I'm not very technical, but it would be great if there was a program that let you feed an XML file and output it to something more managable. Do you know of any such programs?

dmd: I've seen all those posts, but they all eventually go back to Blurb, which is not what I need at the moment.

Taken Outtacontext: I can't upload CSS files to my blog. Is there a way to make & use that print.css file anyway without having to upload it?
posted by divabat at 2:05 PM on February 28, 2008

In response to Taken Outtacontext's comment and your response, could you download your website using something like this, and then combine that with a print.css file to open the files locally and print?
posted by artifarce at 2:22 PM on February 28, 2008

Divabat: The magic word for this is "XSLT." There are a number of programs that you can use for this (here's a couple 1, 2) But creating an XSLT translator may be more trouble than its worth.

I downloaded my own WP blog's export file and took a look at it. It supposedly works as RSS, but apparently is not valid RSS (it contains a bunch of custom tags and some illegal entities). Doing a bunch of search/replaces would be tedious, but not too hard. If you've got a decent text editor, you can figure it out. One interesting quirk I discovered was that the export file had all my deleted but unpurged spam.
posted by adamrice at 2:36 PM on February 28, 2008

The more I think about this, the more I think the best way to deal with this is to:
A) export the content of this blog
B) import it into a self-hosted blog somewhere that gives you more control (placed photos might be a problem)
C) hack up a Wordpress theme to display all posts and comments on one page
D) hack up a stylesheet for good print output.

The first three shouldn't be too hard. I've never messed with print-media CSS, and it would no doubt take some fooling around, but shouldn't be terribly hard.
posted by adamrice at 8:03 AM on February 29, 2008

I've seen a lot of people do exactly this using Blurb and TypePad. I work with the TypePad team, and it could import your WP posts, and print them out as a really nice book pretty easily. It costs a couple bucks, but our support team isn't rude and unhelpful. :) Feel free to email me if I can help.
posted by anildash at 8:08 PM on March 1, 2008

Can you use Google Blog Converter to get it into LJ, and then use LJ Book?
posted by unknowncommand at 5:36 PM on January 23, 2009

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