- a way to publish books (and they like Gnu licenses!)

Posted 9 Mar 2006 at 21:54 UTC by lkcl Share This is a web-based publishing house. I'm making people aware of this because if you are prepared to do a little bit of work yourself, you could make your own documentation available - as a book. Or take some GPL or Creative Commons licensed documentation - and sell it. Also, there is a very interesting paragraph which the dickheads of the MPAA and the RIAA could REALLY do with reading.

I was intrigued in particular by this section:

Don't worry about losing sales after setting a license. Even though people can make copies of your work and give them away, those copies aren't likely to be of the same quality as a Lulu book. If people really like your work, chances are good that they'll buy their own copies. Keep in mind, too, that nearly any file can be duplicated. It's almost impossible to prevent that from happening. Doing so usually places a big burden on the customer who purchased your book as a download. What you may want to consider is that getting your book out there and seen is more important than protecting it so fewer people can read it.

And so it begins - even this simple self-publishing print house "gets it".

Anyone want to publish printed versions of already-available Free Software Documentation?


Reprinting documentation, posted 10 Mar 2006 at 02:06 UTC by omarius » (Journeyer)

Heck, that's not really a new idea. Once I got snowed into joining the "Computer Book Club" or some such Columbia House/Book-of-the-Month Club-like nonsense. One of the "free" books I received was a hardback entitled "The Perl 5 Programmer's Reference."

Within which one may find the Perl man pages, spat onto dead tree.

I'd have felt worse if I'd paid (more directly) for it, but sheesh! :)

"free" books - you misunderstand, posted 10 Mar 2006 at 17:18 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

no, this is not _free_ this is not "get books here, for free", irritate the crap out of you by then demanding money and claiming you have a 2 year contract to buy books at full price (or else) job.

YOU, that is YOU, must UPLOAD a PDF plus its cover pages (as pngs).

they then PRINT the pdf as a book, and make it available for ordering via their web site.

you also specify what you want to receive in royalties (and they add 20% plus the cost of the printing, and that is the published buying price on their web site)

if you really want to, you can also ask for "global distribution" in which case they will give you an ISBN number, and contact various places like and make your book available via there as well. is a web-based print house, not a book-toting fool-people-into-paying-money-for-books-that-are-advertised-as-being-free whore-house.

if you _realy_ want to, you can also make it "private", as in "only i can buy this book", and you specify the royalties as "zero cost".

then, you can order the book "at cost", and presumably can then go and sell it for profit, at trade shows, or conferences etc.

things that you, as a free software developer, could consider doing as a book:

* any GPL'd documentation

* any creative commons documentation

* the contents of the philosophy site as long as you don't charge a royalty, and you make sure you preserve the copyright notices (duh).

* the debian manuals and FAQs

the list is _endless_!!

and before you say "awwww, but we gooot the stuff on the screeeeen whyyy do we neeed to priiiiint it" well the reason is that sadly, screens are long-term unreadable, due to flicker, lighting, and also due to the fact that people have forgotten why margins are supposed to be about 1.5 inches wide (to reduce tiredness in our eyes) which people who wrote old manuscripts understood very well.


want copies of some documentation in an easy-to-read format? just go DO IT!!!!


from, posted 11 Mar 2006 at 07:07 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

Isn't it run by a former guy of RedHat, by the way?

really?, posted 11 Mar 2006 at 10:31 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

_cool_! that'd explain the open source licensing awareness, and why there's stuff about how to use openoffice to write your book. i _thought_ that was a bit strange :)

It is Bob Young's doing actually, posted 11 Mar 2006 at 11:10 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

After some digging (not very hard) here's the relevant link:

RALEIGH, NC- October 18, 2005 - Red Hat (NASDAQ: RHAT), the world's leading provider of open source to the enterprise, announced today that Bob Young, co-founder and former executive of Red Hat, has decided to resign from the Red Hat Board of Directors.

Young, who founded the company in 1993, served as an executive at Red Hat until 1999. Since then he has been a member of Red Hat's Board of Directors. Young plans to focus on the growth of, an online independent publishing marketplace started in 2002.

"In a funny way, my resignation is perhaps the finest compliment I can pay to everyone associated with Red Hat today, I have complete confidence in the future of the company," said Young.

excellent!, posted 11 Mar 2006 at 12:08 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

thank you yeupou. hey, that's so cool. bob young's a really nice, very sensible person.

That's how O'Reilly started, posted 11 Mar 2006 at 15:52 UTC by aminorex » (Journeyer)

O'Reilly began by publishing open-licensed documentation, such as the X11 manuals. But you probably won't build a media empire on That's not a bad thing.

Thanks, posted 12 Mar 2006 at 19:38 UTC by cdfrey » (Journeyer)

Hey Luke, thanks for posting this article. It's good to hear about companies that are trying to do the right thing.

Non-functioning javascript nav link, posted 14 Mar 2006 at 19:15 UTC by jae » (Journeyer)

Bah, it sounds so sweet... then they spoilt it with a "publishing tour" being a javascript link. <expletive deleted>

I'm working on a Lulu book, posted 15 Mar 2006 at 23:26 UTC by MichaelCrawford » (Master)

It's taken me a long-time to get around to it, but I'm going to offer a dead-tree edition of Living with Schizoaffective Disorder through Lulu. At fifty pages when printed in US Letter hardcopy form, it's hard to read off the web.

I understand that the PDF that OpenOffice exports works for their printers; not every PDF-making program will. If you publish with Lulu, be very careful to observe their advice on preparing your PDFs.

If I use their six by nine inch format and have a modest margin, my article should make a hundred page book. I have a couple other essays that I plan to include as well, so it's likely to come to a hundred-fifty.

I'll post an announcement in my diary when my book is ready (it won't be for some time yet) or else you can watch my Lulu page.

using scribus, posted 17 Mar 2006 at 12:59 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

heya folks, glad to hear that people are interested - and actually already using lulu, that's a nice surprise. me, i'm using scribus (1.2.4) which took some getting used to (it was a week before i found the text-frame-linking feature so that text can be automatically split across several frames duh :) and i haven't worked out how to do chinese fonts yet...

... but i will keep you posted as to how it actually prints out.

printing and binding machines, posted 17 Mar 2006 at 14:26 UTC by badvogato » (Master)

at one time, i did a little research on printing and binding machines for hard copy small press. Anybody intereseted in finding out more on compiling hardware options towards that final stage of printing? And what about printing on soft silky clothes, etc?

Got a feeling..., posted 26 Mar 2006 at 17:09 UTC by salmoni » (Master)

I have a feeling that I mentioned this somewhere in my journal. I used to print copies of the SalStat manual ( - can't wait until someone actually buys a copy!

Found it: see the entry for 28th September 2004:

I found Lulu to be quite good fun but the prices are a killer. The cost of postage seems to be higher than necessary even for bulk orders, and books are only available in a few sizes. CafePress has more sizes available and it's much the same self-publishing thing. There might be some gumpf in my journal about formatting a document created in Lyx suitable for pdf creation for Lulu. They need to have embedded fonts (found it: see 9th October 2004).

fixed sizes, posted 4 Apr 2006 at 17:23 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

the basis for the digital printing is that it's a very large photocopier.

digital printing typically costs a _lot_ of money to set up.

by pre-agreeing fixed page sizes and fixed paper weights, much of those costs are eliminated.

the digital printers' markup will be absolutely tiny - but the combined bulk ordering will allow them to actually make sufficient money from orders - enough to make it worthwhile.

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