Volume 2014, Issue 4



The gift (book) that keeps on giving

Gift books

You’ve heard us say it before: There’s no gift quite like the gift of a personalized book. Usually we’re offering up that piece of sage advice in the context of a specific holiday or event. But you don’t have to wait for the next holiday to roll around to make a personalized book that you can use all year (and beyond).

The key is to think about "personalized" in a slightly different way. Traditionally we think about making books for others based on their interests. And that’s great, because who doesn’t love a “book of me?” But you can also create a meaningful and thoughtful gift that’s about the things you love and want to share. And that’s where you can really get creative.

Imagine building a book around your favorite things. Favorite books, favorite albums, favorite wines, etc. Things about which you’re really passionate—passionate enough to share with the people who mean the most to you. And what if you built the book in such a way that you included some pages on which the recipient could list and illustrate their favorite things alongside yours. That might just be their favorite book ever.

Favorite books
Favorite records
Favorite wine

So, how exactly would you do it? First, you make a list of the “favorites” you want to include in the book. Then you build out those lists (maybe keep each list to a “top five”). Write a paragraph or two (or more if you lean toward the verbose) explaining why each item is a favorite. Find some graphics (photos, illustrations, scans) that bring the list to life. Rinse and repeat for each different “list.” Then, get everything organized and begin the process of building your book.

Download one of Blurb’s free book-making tools to get started. (BookSmart is a great option with lots of built-in templates.) Import all of your content and start building page spreads. If your list content will fit on one side of a spread (the bigger book formats will make this easier to accomplish), leave the other side blank. Or, if you use an entire two-page spread for each list, leave the next spread blank (well, not completely blank; use the same list header and image outlines you have on your spread for consistency). You want to create a “call and response” rhythm to the book.




BookSmart is a great option with lots of built-in templates.) Import all of your content and start building page spreads.

BookSmart book-making tool

A few of your (and their) favorite things


Off the top of our heads, here are a few ideas of other favorite things that would make beautiful and interesting “top five list” spreads: Museums, places in the world, foods, beers, dog breeds, restaurants, movies, songs, famous people in history, smells, words, cars, television shows, memories, experiences, sporting events, colors, and websites. If you have a favorite “something,” chances are you can come up with four more “not quite favorites, but pretty close.”

Here’s our list of the top five favorite steps to creating a multipurpose, interactive, passion-centric gift book:

  1. Ideate (that means come up with your own version of that list above)
  2. Create content (make those lists and check them twice)
  3. Design and lay out the book (make it pretty, and leave room for your recipients’ lists too)
  4. Edit and proof (nobody likes to read a list of misspelled words)
  5. Publish (make one at a time or order in bulk)


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