My Book for My Mom (Thanks to Lulu)

Posted in The Gnovis Blog

I wanted to look at my Mom and say, “hey look, I wrote a book.”  Sadly, Georgetown no longer accepts paper thesis submissions which makes all kinds of sense for the reasons you don’t need me to go into.  If you’ve paid attention at all to debates about the future of media you know paper is out and electronic is in (cheaper, better for the forests, etc etc etc).

Cover of Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Civil War Re-Enactors and the Creation of Heritage (via Lulu)

Anyway, it seemed pretty anticlimactic to send my parents a link to a database.  Thus, I turned to Lulu a print on demand website to publish my thesis as a book.

This was not quite easy.  Because I am a snob, I really wanted my thesis to look like a book and not just a regular old bound academic text on 8.5 x 11 paper.  So I had to reduce the page size, fix the spacing, and reformat the images.  That said, it probably took me about 2 hours to get it how I wanted it.  I used the Lulu cover designer and one of my own photos– I’d compare it to the hassle of converting a recipe from metric to standard/American measurements.  Not a huge thing, but kind of annoying.  I suspect that if you had a lot of tables and/or formulas it might be more trouble.  I didn’t have anything too complex, just images and text, so I can’t comment on the ease of transforming those thesis components.

Lulu made self publishing cheap– it is way cheaper to buy my formatted and bound book via Lulu than for me to print 140+ pages at Kinkos or Staples.  It also makes it easy for students to make just a tiny little big of cash off their hard work on a thesis.  I set the price so I’d make a small profit but that it’d still be less than the Kinkos price.  Oh, and my book (maybe everyone’s) got pulled into Amazon for free– so you can search for it on “The World’s Largest Bookseller.”

Obviously I’d still love to publish my thesis traditionally through a publishing house with a name people recognize.  For now, though, this has done the trick: it gave me something impressive to hand my Mama (who totally teared up, fyi), something to mail some of the re-enactors who spent a lot of time with me, and something legit-looking to send along with some applications and resumes.

I know of at least two other students at CCT who published their theses via Lulu, Brad Weikel’s thesis, “From Coding to Community,” is available in the Lulu marketplace and Gillian Brooks also used the site although it does not appear that her thesis, “Dirty, Sexy, Vanity,” is available for sale.  If you turned your thesis into a book or know some CCTers who have, leave a note in the comments!

Oh, one more thing, Lulu did not ask me to write this post.  I know I’m going on and on about how amazing it is but trust me, this is easy.  Lulu didn’t give me any cash or ask for a note about their service.