Yes! It's the book of the blog! As I mentioned in one of last week's traffic-destroying booky posts, I was giving a workshop at The Archive's 'Day of Books' (nice to see HH Sheikh Mohammed dropping by and commending Safa Park's finest book haven and café) on how to use self-publishing platforms.
Trouble was, I didn't have a book to use as a sample. And then it hit me - pull the blog into a book format. It took a tad longer than I had anticipated, but resulted in the best bits of my first two years of bloggery being poured into a nice booky book shaped mould. So now you can buy Fake Plastic Souks - The Glory Years as both a print book or ebook.
I found the whole process fascinating. For a start, going back over stuff you dashed down five years ago means quite a few surprises - I enjoyed myself reading over posts from that time when Dubai was overheating like a lunar capsule re-entering earth's atmosphere and then noting the transition to abandoned cars and vicious, clueless articles in the UK's media about the Downfall of Dubai. I think that period of turbulence is quite neatly documented (but then I would, wouldn't I?).
For the workshop, we uploaded the book to Createspace - which means you can buy a printed paper booky book of the Blog from Amazon for £8.99 with next day free shipping. It then went up onto Kindle Direct Publishing, which means a Kindle book can be yours for £0.77 (Amazon's minimum price). And then we uploaded the files to Smashwords, which supports the important ePub format (Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony and iBooks), again pricing the ebook at $0.99. All in about 90 minutes.
One interesting learning for me was that the Kindle Direct Publishing people came back to me as a result of their validation process because they had found the content in my book was already available on the Web. They wanted to know why - and that I owned the rights to the content - before they would proceed with publishing the book to the Kindle store. They were the only one of the three platforms to do this.
I might play around with the booky book price a little, but you can quickly see how the production cost of a paper book forces the price into the stratosphere compared to ebooks. It's one reason why I now refuse to pay publishers the same price for a Kindle book they charge for a paperback. They're just being greedy and lazy. As most will know, Amazon pays a 70% royalty if you charge between $2.99 and $9.99 for your ebook, but otherwise (from $0.99 to $2.98 and $10 to $200) it pays only 35%.
It all goes to show something frequently overlooked, but actually, IMHO, quite important. You can create an ebook out of almost anything - content can make its way into peoples' hands in seconds flat and archive material, as long as it's of interest to someone, anyone, out there can be turned into a globally distributable and available asset for an investment of pretty much nada up front.
Anyway, you can now buy a bit of this blog to put on your mantelpiece or wherever else you display precious things. If I sell more than ten, I'll do a sequel!