Articles tagged "printing"

Book Printing Simplified: Lulu Print API

5 min read

Lulu is proud to announce the release of our Print API, the first of several API connections we plan to offer the publishing and developer communities.

What exactly does this mean for you?

I’m glad you asked! Are you a publisher, a developer, an entrepreneur, or a business owner? Are you a web-savvy author with your own website who would like to sell directly to your readers? If you fall into any of these categories, the Lulu Print API will allow you to take advantage of our print network directly.

Let’s take a closer look at the Lulu Print API and how this new service might work for you or somebody you know.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the technical aspects of APIs for software, you’ve almost certainly encountered them online without realizing. The acronym API stands for “Application Programming Interface.” Most basically, API is code that allows two unique pieces of software to talk to each other. This, in and of itself, is pretty simple. I say this as someone with only the most rudimentary understanding of coding.

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Independent Authorship for the Senior Citizen

2 min read

Individuals over 60 years old have a great deal of experience to impart on others, but sometimes they do not have their “visions” shared because of the complexity writing and publishing their stories.  In most instances, the senior has access to word processing software, and the ability to use the software, but after writing their story has to wait for printers or traditional publishers to review and approve their stories.

Chris (center) with Senior Center directors

 

This is where I come in. I’m an independent author with Lulu for almost 20 years (yep, he has been with Lulu almost from the very beginning!), and I teach at local senior centers in Baltimore Maryland about self-publishing and how to format and publish a person’s works so that they may share with others their knowledge and experience.  The course, entitled “Self-Publishing 101 for Independent Authors,” is taught with help from a study guide that I wrote and published on Lulu!  Using this study guide, along with the many different types of books (children’s, fiction, non-fiction, and education) I also published over the years, I aim to make the publishing process simple and clear.

My first class was given at Parkville Senior Center near Baltimore and had several individuals that wanted to learn more about self-publishing.  The students actually had products in electronic form that they wanted published and Chris accommodated them through a step-by-step approach.  As a result, most students have published works with Lulu.  A sad chapter in this story is that one of the students completed his book, and has it published on Lulu and shortly after publishing his work passed away.  His book of poems is available for sale on Lulu, which has been a great consolation for his relatives, who know that he left something for his future generations.

The gift of knowledge and experience is something that is priceless, and knowing that these individuals in the class have the ability to author a book that focuses on something they want to share is also priceless.  The fact that Lulu provides a platform for these individuals to express themselves makes them feel useful.  This, according to author Elie Wiesel, in his book “Night,” is something that can make the difference between life and death.

With Lulu as part of that platform, I’ve been able to make a great impact on the future independent authors; young heart, old smart.


With a combined 35 years of experience as a military officer, federal civilian and private industry combined, along with periodic teaching at the secondary and undergraduate levels, Chris has the perfect combination for writing everything from fiction to children’s books. Take a look at the many different offerings and see if one of these many titles fits your needs. You can contact Chris at chris@grectech.com if you have any questions or special requests.

 

Check out Chris’s Author Spotlight

Linotype Machines & the History of Printing

2 min read

Image courtesy of Adam Foster. Please click image to see his photostream.

In this digital age, the actual act of printing becomes an afterthought. We type and then hit print, assured that the lasers housed in our sophisticated printers will deliver us our perfectly-written piece. It seems ages ago that the very idea of printing words was a complicated ordeal, involving sophisticated (and incredibly cool-looking) machines.

Linotype machines were the industry-standard for the better part of the 20th century. They were mammoth machines which used “hot metal” to create complete sentences for manual printing. The printer would type the words into the machine, and the machine would create a unique piece of metal to transfer the ink to the page. The actual mechanics of the machine are fascinating, and if you’re into the sort of thing, you can check out this page for a complete breakdown of the function of each part. Here is a great Flickr photo album by Adam Foster with images of an existing machine.

A new documentary, Linotype: The Film, explores the origins and importance of a machine that changed the world, but has fallen into disuse. Thomas Edison called the Linotype machine the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The documentary “tells the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.” It will be released on DVD later this year.

Most Linotype machines were scrapped after the advent of quicker printing methods, and there are very few machines left out there. The original operators of the machine are dying off, and without a new generation of printers, we might lose the art of manual printing forever.

So what? New technology replaces older technology all the time. But maybe by reflecting on older forms of printing we can learn things from a time when words were not so cheap. In the digital age, we take for granted the ability to transmit our words across the globe in an instant. But for hundreds of years authors chose their words carefully — it cost a good deal to print something.

By learning the history of printing, we can appreciate the exciting era we live in, where we can print and distribute our work with the click of a button.