Books, Nostalgia

Making a Book from Scratch

When eBooks first started to see widespread use, publishers had to deal with a common misperception, the idea that paper, printing, binding and shipping made up the majority of the costs of creating a book. While many initially argued that, freed from the physical object, books should cost next to nothing, it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone seriously try to make that argument, as the true costs of creating a book have become somewhat better understood.

The physical object remains an increasingly small portion of the overall cost, due to advances in technology and the benefits of scale. But what if you had to make your own book from scratch? What would you need to do, and how much would it cost? As part of the “How To Make Everything” series, Andy George gives it a shot.

About David Crotty

I am the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. I oversee journal policy and contribute to strategy across OUP’s journals program, drive technological innovation, serve as an information officer, and manage a suite of research society-owned journals. I was previously an Executive Editor with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, creating and editing new science books and journals, and was the Editor in Chief for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. I received my Ph.D. in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing. I have been elected to the STM Association Board and serve on the interim Board of Directors for CHOR Inc., a not-for-profit public-private partnership to increase public access to research.


4 thoughts on “Making a Book from Scratch

  1. From the introductory paragraph, I thought the video would show how to make an ebook from scratch. Is there such a video?

    Posted by pbrown | Jan 22, 2016, 11:39 am
    • Not that I know of. I suspect it’s a lot less visually compelling.

      Posted by David Crotty | Jan 22, 2016, 11:40 am
    • A really good basic introduction is in the help files for the open source epub software Sigil. Search for books/ebooks by Elizabeth Castro (e.g., EPUB Straight to the Point). It’s mostly html/xml.

      Posted by agraham701 | Jan 22, 2016, 2:21 pm


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