Comparing Book Publishing Applications: Lulu, WeBook, Blurb, and Qoop
When comparing book applications there’s one thing to keep in mind: what’s the purpose. Say you’ve got a manuscript and you want to put it out there, bring it to the world, and for that you may want application that can print it, slap an ISBN on it, and send it out for distribution as widely as possible. What if, though, you have a personal project? Or a few poems but not enough for a book? This is why the applications that we’ve reviewed this week each have benefits of their own.
This week we reviewed Lulu, Qoop, Blurb, and WeBook, keeping in mind that not all users want the same thing, but measuring the features of each as publishing platforms. Following the chart we’ll talk more about some of the differences in the applications, but if you’d like to read a primer on the subject there is our first post: Online Publishing With Web 2.0.
|Hard and soft cover||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Owner retains copyright||yes||yes||yes||yes|
|Language Support||no||Latin only||unicode||no|
|Import from design applications (inDesign)||no||yes||no||yes|
|Can assign an ISBN||no||yes||yes||no|
|Formats accepted||n/a||DOC, RTF, WPS, PDF, PS
* Images (jpg, gif, png)
|doc, jpg, png|
|Import blogs, photos||no||no||yes||no|
|Single copy of a B/W text paperback, less than 40 pages (lowest possible price)||n/a||$5.30||$4.95||$5.20|
|Public and private||no||yes||yes||yes|
For printing applications, the first trick was to establish what the user needs. For the most traditional type of printing, for example, Lulu offered the widest variety of services, not only providing a platform for competitively priced printing in soft and hardback, but able to issue an ISBN. Layout and design in Lulu can be done with their layout tool, or uploaded as a print-ready pdf. For users with design experience, this is an attractive possibility, letting them lay out their book in inDesign or Quark.
Additional services Lulu provides include book scanning (perfect for preserving vintage sources), videos, calendars, and a range of other printed formats.
Clean and attractive, Blurb is the most versatile of the layout tools, with a catch. Free to use and downloadable for Macs and PCs, the layout software from Blurb is easy to use with a number of design elements worked into it, but it’s not intended for design professionals. It works with doc, jpg, and pbg files, but has no allowance for pdf or even txt. Users that will like Blurb are users who want to layout and publish outside of an expensive graphic program.
Buyers and sellers alike will enjoy the preview interface in Blurb, which turns pages in a popup. Smooth and fluid, the interface complements books.
Qoop, like Lulu, also has the ability to print in a variety of formats, offering book publishing in addition to apparel, mugs, calendars, and more. Users that are attracted to Qoop are likely to be users that have design capabilities and ones that want to take advantage of the many products that are also printed at Qoop.
Collaborative users may be attracted to WeBook, where their works can be combined with others in a social environment. Community tools such as messaging, following, and comments are worked into the WeBook application. The advantage to WeBook is the collaboration, however, and authors looking to produce their own work should consider one of the other applications we reviewed.
Each of the programs also have their detractions, some more than others. WeBook only prints reviewed and approved books, Qoop has no design tool of its own, and Blurb can not work with pdf’s.
Applications offering distribution and/or ISBNs (Blurb and Lulu) have royalty arrangements with participating users that treat the applications as the publisher, which means that if you strike it big, you’ll be getting royalties instead of direct payments. Lulu also supports only Latin based text, so unlike the Unicode that Blurb offers, only some languages are supported. Qoop and WeBook only support English.
To find these or other applications, there is the Listio search: books+publish.
Previously in this series: Lulu: Publishing Books And More
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/WEbook/
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/Blurb/
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/QOOP/
Listio Profile: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/Lulu/
New to Listio? Our tag cloud search offers an easy way to narrow your hunt for the perfect web application or service. No more second guessing of search terms. Just click on one tag, then as many more as you'd like to narrow your search results. It's easy and ensures you get to the listing you want. Finding web 2.0 was never so easy.