Last weekend I had the following conversation with my 5-year-old nephew, Alex.
Alex: “Where are you going?”
Me: “To the store.”
Me: “Because I want to buy some shoes.”
Me: “Because I’m a girl, and girls like shoes.”
Alex: “But you don’t need any shoes.”
Which, from an objective point of view, was certainly true. I had a whole closet full of shoes. I needed another pair of shoes like Alex needed another Buzz Lightyear action figure. But I didn’t feel like getting into a philosophical conversation about needs vs. wants with a preschool kid, especially if it meant forgoing a new pair of sandals in order to set an example of self-restraint.
With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about a few things we’re doing here at AncestryPress to address both your needs and your wants. I’d also love to hear more about what you need in a self-publishing application (e.g., “I really need to print a book with more than 100 pages”) and what you want (e.g., “It would be cool if I could create a custom cover with one of my family photos on the front”).
Several customers have written in to say that they love the book building tool, but they can’t do justice to their family history in 100 pages or less. If you share that sentiment, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve just raised the limit to 250 pages. The binding process for longer books is slightly different — books over 100 pages are not hand stitched — but you can still expect a very high-quality product.
Several weeks ago we also added a large-format book (14″x11″) to the product line. The new size is obviously great for near-sighted people who prefer bigger fonts. It also provides the look and heft of an heirloom-quality coffee table book.
If you’d like to make a large-format book, be sure to select the larger size when you start your project. At the moment, it isn’t possible to convert a book from the smaller size to the larger size or vice-versa, so please make a careful decision about which size you want when you start your project.
You don’t have to choose the type of cover you want until you place your order, so it’s OK to change your mind about that halfway through the project. You can even order three copies of the same book with three different covers. And, just to be clear, you don’t have to do anything special to create a book that’s longer than 100 pages. The only decision you really need to think through at the beginning of the process is the size of your book.
Finally, a quick word about the various cover options. Our basic book cover is “leatherette,” which is a paper-based material that simulates the texture of leather. People in the printing industry refer to it as nuba. The leatherette book was our first product offering because in our early market research, most customers told us that what they really needed was an affordable way to publish their family history research.
Last month we added a bonded leather cover that is available in black and burgundy. Bonded leather is real leather that’s been processed so that it can go through an imprint machine, which allows us to stamp a gold foil title on the front.
Our leatherette cover comes in charcoal gray. It actually has a very nice look and feel. The biggest downside is that it doesn’t wear very well if stuff gets spilled on it, whereas you can wipe peanut butter off the bonded leather and it still looks as good as new.
I’d love to hear what you think of our current product offerings. Are we meeting your needs when it comes to book size, length, format and cover choices? Are you happy with the manufacturing quality of the printed output? Are there other products that you don’t really need — like the strappy yellow sandals I bought on Saturday — that you’d like to create just for fun?
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NOTE: AncestryPress is now MyCanvas
In October 2008, AncestryPress was relaunched under the name MyCanvas. It is still a free, online software program provided by Ancestry.com. For current information about products and features, please see my more recent blog posts.