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Two Web Tools Are Democratizing the Printing Press

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Hashem Bajwa Hashem Bajwa also writes the Brain Sells Blog.
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one," said A.J. Liebling in 1935. Today, two companies are bypassing the publishing industry and putting the power of the printing press in the hands of everyday people.

The first company is Blurb, where anyone can create and quickly print and publish their own bookstore-quality book.

The site makes it simple to design anything from a wedding book or cookbook to more complex things like business books, a portfolio, a catalog for your company or a book of your blog. Books can then be sold on the site, with the profits going to the author.

What makes Blurb unique is that it has created a marketplace called Blurb Nation for users to exchange services. Let's say you have an idea for a book but need an illustrator or a writer to help you. Through Blurb Nation, you can find people offering various services for a fee or trade.

The second company is MagCloud, which was launched by HP Labs as a beta test. (Disclaimer: HP is a Goodby client.) MagCloud does for magazines what Blurb does for books. A person can upload a PDF and have it printed as a professional magazine and even sell subscriptions.

As YouTube made it simple and easy for individuals to create and share content through video, Blurb and MagCloud are empowering people with creative expression through publishing.

These tools provide marketers and their customers with new ways to create professional, personalized content on their own or with others in ways not possible even a year ago. Brands can also get in on this as Lexus did when they created a Blurb book on green living customized by city to give to each new Lexus Hybrid owner.
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