Blogging has become an important form of information dissemination for many academics. Yet, even highly followed blogs containing scholarly and rigorous work are in most cases not considered submissible as a part of an academics tenure or review application. However, the emerging trend of self-publishing and development of programs aimed specifically at converting blogs into books would allow academics to format their blog for submission as a part of their tenure or review package. A few options for converting blogs into books currently exist including: Anthologize, Lulu, Blog2Print and Blurb, each these will be reviewed below.
The tool most geared towards academic blog publication is Anthologize. This program was launched on August 3rd 2010 as a result of the One Week| One Tool workshop organized by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.
Anthologize (which is still an alpha prototype) allows WordPress bloggers with WordPress 3.0 and PHP 5 to transform their blogs into book format. Anthologize works as a plugin, which you add onto your WordPress account. From WordPress you are able craft and mold your entries into a book. Once you have formatted your book you can export it in several formats including PDF, ePUB and TEI, and also make it accessible on e-readers including Kindles, iPads and Nooks. Anthologize makes it very easy to convert your blog into a book. However, although it allows you to convert your blog into book format, it does not offer users the option of self-publication directly from their site. The best site available for self-publication is Lulu.
Lulu markets themselves as the global leader in self-publishing, boasting over a million members and 900,000 visitors a week. Lulu allows users to easily upload PDF or Microsoft Word documents, and format these into a variety of hardcover or paperback books with diverse binding or paper quality options. They also offer users the ability to market themselves on Lulu as well as on other sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Importantly, users also receive an ISBN for their book, and their book is only printed when copies are sold. One drawback is that Lulu receives 20% of a book’s profits, while other self-publishing sites allow the author to receive 100% of all profits from book sales. Also, Lulu is not geared specifically towards blog to book publications. However, this site offers authors the best self-marketing options available, and by using Anthologize to turn their blog into a book, academics could easily upload their book to Lulu for sale.
Two other sites exist that are specifically geared towards converting a blog into a book. These are Blog2Print and Blurb. Both of these sites allow users the option to easily upload their blogs from a variety of platforms including: Blogger, TypePad and WordPress, and format their blog entries into a book ready for publication. Both of these programs are easy to use and allow users to quickly and easily create a book from their blog. However, only Blurb offers users the option to sell their book through Blurb’s website. Both Blurb and Blog2Print are useful for blog to book creation however, are not geared specifically towards academic publication as the previously mentioned Anthologize is. Therefore, although useful for blog to book creation for Blogger and TypePad users, Anthologize is more suited to academic blog to book creation than Blurb or Blog2Print.
Overall, Anthologize is the best tool available for academic blog to book creation as it is a program developed by academics, for academics. However, as it only allows users to convert WordPress blogs into books, if a blogger is using another blogging platform like Blogger or TypePad, they can also utilize the blog to book programs Blurb or Blog2Print. If a blogger would like to self-publish their book, the best option available for this is Lulu, as they are the industry leader in self-publication. All of these tools allow academics to easily convert their blogs into books that could be included in their tenure or review package. They will allow an academic to receive the academic recognition they deserve for the development and maintenance of a scholarly blog.