BOOK MAKING for authors and scrappers unique masterpieces

Talent abounds! Would you like to have your written works saved for posterity? With so many amazing, well written hubs, articles and poems it saddens the heart that publishing large quantities of books is such a limiting and unviable option anymore.

Sure, we can self-publish and spend thousands of dollars with an equal amount of time playing the PR game, but most traditional avenues now say our book will be out of print within 6 months anyway. Do we go ahead and add our masterpieces on the end of a long-tailed supplier hoping someone will eventually notice?

Let me take this opportunity to express eternal gratitude to the creators of HubPages for giving us a tremendous option. Publishing and sharing our opinions and stories on the net is wonderful – especially with the added ability to enhance them with recommended links and photos. Yet reading the collective pieces of fellow authors has more than once, made me wish I could relax in an easy chair to peruse their works the good old fashioned way.

Feeling that way myself, I thought there must be more than a few of you who would also like to be able to take your collections and bind them up – for posterity – as a legacy – or just to be able to have and/or give as gifts to cherished friends and family members.

A creative book given from our labors of heart and soul is unparalleled. Scrapbooking too has increased in popularity for the same reason. When I first started scrapbooking, it seemed a shame to have a dozen or so books that all looked alike. That was when my search first began.

Here then are a few options available to us in making unique, one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Adding the digital benefits, once you create one, you can turn it into several with a mere adjustment on the print preference tab. You can also create one and give many copied digitally onto CDs or DVDs. For the patient scrappers or poets, there are a number of amazing ways to create works of art sure to become THE conversation piece in your home.

Unique covers - very professional video to show how

Very little space is needed

Showing less than half the interior of an old step van - that's all the space you need.
Showing less than half the interior of an old step van - that's all the space you need.

Ideas/options & a few more whys - just in case :)

To organize our work, we can always simply put them into a binder – great for us, not so great to share. Printing or copying shops are all over offering spiral binding as well. Spiral binding is very inexpensive but despite the old cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover”, I am sure, most of us do.

As an author or scrapper, I know we like nothing more than to have our invited guests ask, “What’s this? Can I look at it?” We muffle our glee to respond casually but inside, our love for that person shoots up about 2500 notches. That is why we put so much effort into what we do isn’t it? To share it with the world and hope others will glean some pleasure from our efforts.

The video on the side is wonderful, showing us all how to create stunning covers with little more than the requirement of some favored material and paper, a good set of Exacto knives and some glue (both wood glue and Elmer’s type work).

Unless you happen to have an enormous empty space just waiting to bind up a book though, do not worry in the least about designing a workshop as large as hers. I created a mobile book binding office in an old 22’ step van and had ample room – and that was with eight serious machines! From experience, it takes about a tenth of the space as is required to scrapbook comfortably.

Why consider creating a special book? If not for you, your family & friends would love it!
Why consider creating a special book? If not for you, your family & friends would love it!

Just fathom the possibilities!

Here are a few testimonies as proof of how well your books will be received
Here are a few testimonies as proof of how well your books will be received

Might be worth considering...

If anyone is interested in creating a business of it - it is worth considering. I included the prices here not because I'm trying to sell my services anymore (sold whole business), merely to show how inexpensive it can be. This pricing structure is already a few years old too!

OK, you’ve seen a few alternatives with people who can bind your one-of-a-kind treasures, some easy at home alternatives, let’s get to brass tacks right? Almost...

Just in case you are considering more professional looking do-it-yourself options, you may be interested in hearing a little of the surprising history in the making first. We know the publishing industry is changing - why is it taking so long to change?

Example of bound ebook & supplies

Vinyl covers available - specify thickness
Vinyl covers available - specify thickness
Inside cover showing self adhesive end papers
Inside cover showing self adhesive end papers
You can even grab some ribbon, adding a book marker - be sure to include a little material to cover gluing this in.
You can even grab some ribbon, adding a book marker - be sure to include a little material to cover gluing this in.
Free-floating binding shown but not necessary. You can glue your bound contents right to the chipboard cover.
Free-floating binding shown but not necessary. You can glue your bound contents right to the chipboard cover.
Exquisite, professional - looks like a real book right :)
Exquisite, professional - looks like a real book right :)

Exactbind machines

Binding history in the making

There was an inventor in Finland who created a book-binding machine that can literally sit on the desk. It’s so easy to use anyone can do it. The adhesion is much stronger than large traditional binding machines are capable of - not surprising with our current advances. Replacing the large machines however is an enormously expensive proposition.

The larger machines are what make it difficult for most of us to say, “Sure, let’s print up a couple hundred of these books and see if they sell”. The traditional binding machines require a minimum printing of thousands of books - once you hit the button to stop, it will continue to print a hundred or so before the wheels can gear down.

The books made by these small binding machines are also better because the adhesion is applied from the top (traditional bindery shoots up from the bottom and thus must be thinner). They are easy to clean no muss, no fuss.

Then why aren’t they on every corner saving the environment by us simply walking into a Borders or Barnes ‘n’ Nobles, looking up our choice and have them printed on demand? I suppose that answer would require looking at the way our entire system works. Large corporations i.e. the binding companies have a lot of money to fight this change – they don’t want to be put out of business. I was a little surprised to learn that our own dear Amazon has been in on the lawsuits as well. I suppose their business would need complete revamping if not offering the long-tail of millions of books in both hard-cover and soft. They have however seen the writing on the wall – thus their new Kindle.

When a distributor in the US jumped on the opportunity to offer these machines, they knew little about the 'good ole boy' binding industry. Thinking a great way to get the word out initially would be to have the publishing/printing houses as distributors (which is after all where you’d find interested parties). They spent years trying to figure out why they weren’t selling any. The struggle continues because the large binding houses bought many distribution rights to make sure they weren't put out of business. Hmmm…

These smaller machines are available to the public for approximately $2,500 - $9,500. Perhaps a little too much for a few books or as many as an attorney would need to maintain privacy, but inexpensive enough that every print or copy shop in the country could easily buy them and offer the service. Hmmm - back to the lawsuits. Now there are mini distributors (one may be found in your area, or not). For further compliance, similar machines are being made, assuring the office machine corporations get a piece of the pie, that are really only affordable for printing franchises or corporations i.e. Kinkos.

Perhaps we can create a pool of authors with HubPages to have our own machine(s) if enough are interested. I purchased the whole kit n kaboodle for approximately $25,000. That included not only the actual binding machine from Finland but a crease maker, laminator, paper cutter (man that thing was sweet) etc. To see full details you can head to www.exactbind.com

Whole book, without a machine

All right, you’ve seen a few alternatives, you know the history, and now you want to know: is there a way to self bind your books without having to fork out $2500 - $9500 for a machine? Of course there is, you just have to want to. I seem to recall saying that once before on this venue – ah yes, that was referring to delegation. We've covered delegating the binding on the links at the beginning so, here goes fellow creative writers and scrappers:

Naturally, you can buy all sorts of exquisite scrapbooks utilizing just the covers or modifying the whole book, often for less than $10.00 each. Many have pages you can add to, or are interchangeable with non-photo sized slip covers. EBay is a great source for these. Personalizing them with added velvet or your favorite fabric saves a lot of work.

While on eBay, you can also find some of the best paper sources for acid-free, lignon free paper – about a third of the price of retail outlets such as Michaels or even WalMart. (They're guaranteed for 100 years which seems silly to me - who tested them to prove that and what company will be around in 100 years to give your money back? You know the receipt won't last that long) Anyway, you may want to grab a few embellishments to add to your book later, or even to make the outside fancier, more personalized and inviting enough to be noticed and requested.

Putting your articles, stories, poems, or songs in a scrapbooking format is already offering the concept of this hub – adding and customizing it with photos and embellishments builds character and uniqueness. Be sure to journal it if you’re giving it as a gift (handwritten notes).

As a gift, if you write the initial story or article about the person you’re giving it too, the cover won’t matter, they’ll be touched and grateful. I used to put the person's favorite photo of themselves at the front - a practice loved by all.

Supplies to make books from scratch are also available from Exactbind or their distributors. They’re great folks, I’m sure they’d sell supplies without having to get the machines. They're also very helpful so if you say you want to make some books but cannot afford the machines, they'll point you in the right direction. Almost everything they have is for their distributors in bulk though -quantities of 25 at least, or end papers in a box of 100 (for 50 books).

To make your own covers, get some heavyweight chipboard (doubling up on cardboard with glue might be thick enough as well) and either with fabric as shown on the video or with your choice of paper larger than the cover itself. You can even use some of the colored laminate some specialty stores offer. Normally it’s best to include at least 2”-3” inches larger so it will be covered by your own homemade end papers or if you plan on doing many, the self-adhesive boxed ones.

Without a machine, again refer to the videos, simply printing your pages, single or double sided. If single so you can add photos, be sure to include an equivalent thickness of photo paper to that page before gluing – if not your book will fan out and bust up before you know it (been there, done that- it wasn’t pretty).

Getting an exact smooth edge is virtually impossible once it has been through the printer and handled – even if all your paper is 8 1/2" x 11" precut and seems to be aligned. That's why so many show scrapbooking or similar thicker paper and extol the virtues of a rough looking edge. Many printing shops will offer this service for next to nothing though. In fact, don’t believe I’ve paid for it because having your book printed by them is much cheaper – the cutting then becomes a two minute addition they’re more than happy to offer free.

showing importance of foil stamping or need to differentiate...
showing importance of foil stamping or need to differentiate...

Now, for my fellow scrap happy creators, there are companies that offer "foil stamping" at only about $5.00 a pop. This becomes enormously important once you get beyond a half dozen or so books. I know Creative Memories offer scrapbooks with a seperate binding. Initially I went for the less expensive ones but believe me, after a half dozen or so scrapbooks, being able to differentiate with the dates or names on the outside is well worth the extra. Also, with these you can send only the outside binding to be foil stamped without having to send your entire treasured masterpieces off in the mail.

For authors and poets considering binding their own books, this too would be an option to consider before binding them up. For example, if you buy the vinyl covers, you could have them foil stamped in advance. It's very impressive - without doing mine, I never knew which was which and thus, they didn't get shared at all.

There are also quite a few network marketing companies now offering one-of-a-kind books - even cookbooks. For those and a Creative Memory consultant, I'll let you search for an independent rep near you. If you can't find someone, let me know - there are plenty in our area.

Now tell me, who wouldn't want a book that looked like that with photos or your special written works of art?

It may be easier than you think to make your own books - and they will definitely be treasured more than you can even imagine!

You can also head to Book Binding Methods for more information on different ways and methods > its a great hub in my opinion.

More by this Author


Comments 14 comments

hilltrekker profile image

hilltrekker 7 years ago

wonderful hub


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America Author

thank you Sanju :) I did keep one of the binding machines and a foil stamper if you'd like some of your awesome poems bound up - I'd be happy to do that for you.


hilltrekker profile image

hilltrekker 7 years ago

Really, that's great Sem, I will be thankful.


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America Author

My pleasure dear Sir. I mentioned there'd be benefits to being my first fan didn't I? I appreciate you and love your work - anytime


hilltrekker profile image

hilltrekker 7 years ago

So should I email my manuscript to you for that?


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America Author

A copy ONLY please - being responsible for the entire mailing system is too daunting a thought. Also, it would be better to have a copy without printing too close to the edge - as the details of cutting suggest.

I could return it to you with just the pages bound and you could make your own cover as lovely as on the video, or let me know if you'd like a vinyl cover with foil stamping and exactly what to say. Color for the cover would depend on your book's thickness - I have stock for up to 1/2" thick with a variety of colored foil too.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

I once worked at a bindery, and was fascinated that book binding isn't as mysterious as we think it is.  Having big, expensive machines makes sense  when doing a few hundred or more copies.  But if binding only a few copies (i.e. a family history or a cookbook), it can be done without machinery.  I do recommend, tho, that before attaching the cover, take the innards to Kinko's (or any place that cuts business cards) and have the edges trimmed uniformly. 

Loved the Star Book!


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for you input JamaGenee - with it, more may realize it's not as crazy as it sounds. Any sort of publishing these days seems to require our own almost fulltime involvement for PR. That being the case, why not make them ourselves too?

Didn't realize Kinko's had a professional cutting machine - thanks for that too. It is necessary after binding, no matter how hard one struggles to get the pre-cut pages lined up.

I still haven't made one of those star books but keep thinking, what a great idea - a truly unique conversation piece and rare gift.

Appreciate you stopping by and commenting :)


self publishing poetry 6 years ago

Information was helpful, there is lots to read here, which is always good when you're learning something from it good job.


blake4d profile image

blake4d 6 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

Very cool, better than the online explanation that Stephen Windwalker used to have on his site, before he joined with the forces of Amazone Kindle, and apparently is now a Mini Darth Vader in training.

Love ur hub. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 6 years ago from North America Author

So good to see you here Blake :) Thanks for your input and I'll take to heart your suggestion to get back into making time for more hubbing shortly! In the last few months I've been studying website coding and design with a vision to create a co-op for design and marketing so we're not all trying to do everything ourselves. There'd be ample room to include self-publishing through a co-op too - making everything easier and more effective. Glad you stopped by - got the wheels churning inspirationally!


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 6 years ago from North America Author

Aloha self-publishing poet - so sorry I didn't come by to respond when you wrote the comment. It was flagged as potential spam so there was no notice. I'll be sure to head in both your directions as soon as time allows :) Thanks for visiting!


blake4d profile image

blake4d 6 years ago from Now Rising Out of Phoenix Arizona Earthlings

I appreciate it, please keep me in mind for your coop endeavors, I am versatile as a writer and have a lot of experience that is not something I broadcast as an artisan. More in the web html graphics end, and am teaching myself as you are in various other arenas. Always interested in alliances of productivity and shared profiteering. Raise your banners high SP. I like what you are doing, am a sailor on the seas as well.

Keep on Hubbing, Blake4d


SEM Pro profile image

SEM Pro 6 years ago from North America Author

I will indeed do more than just keep you in mind Blake - will be in touch shortly. Was extremely impressed with your profile/attitude/endeavors! The wind is gaining power :)

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