How to Create a Family History Journal – Part 7: Typing, Copying, Printing and Commercial Publication

Part 7 (the final part of this 7-part series) contains information regarding saving your book to a CD or DVD, printing and publication options, creating a PowerPoint presentation or an e-book.

Once your book is complete, typed and ready to be distributed, you need to decide how you want it published. The following are options to consider:

Saving your book to a CD or DVD: This is the least expensive way to distribute your book in several ways. You save on the cost of paper, ink, and mailing.

Keep in mind that the only way anyone can view your family history will be on a computer screen, a DVD player or on a TV screen with a DVD player connected.

*  If you save the book as a Word or text document, anyone can make changes to your file. If you do not want anyone else to be able to make changes, consider password protecting the document so no one else but you can make changes.

*  You can save the document in PDF format which will prevent anyone from making changes. PDF files are easier to read. To read a PDF file will require the reader(s) to have a computer or a tablet or other file reader unless you save it to a DVD formatted for an external DVD player.

*..If you save the book to a DVD, be sure the format is one that can be universally read by all DVD’s. Check the save to DVD instructions in your DVD software program.

*  If you save the book to a CD or a DVD, be sure to check the size of your file.

Double-check the format. Not everyone has Blue-Ray compatible players so you may not want to purchase Blue-Ray DVD’s. To learn more about Blue-Ray format, check online.

If you have quite a few pictures and document images, it probably won’t fit on a CD and may not even fit on just one DVD. You can save it to two or more discs by splitting the file into however many parts are necessary to make them fit. If you do have to split your file, be sure to add a first and last page to indicate the file is in X number of files and which part this disc is.

If you do NOT want someone to be able to make any changes to your files, I suggest you use regular CD-R’s or DVD-R’s NOT CD-RW (Read/Write) or DVD-RW discs.

Here is the URL to a site that can give you information about size and capacity of these discs:

Link to site with CD and DVD size information

Printing: You can either print copies of your book yourself at home using your own printer or use an outside copy service. Per page copy prices whether you copy them yourself using your printer or using a copy service will vary depending upon the following factors:

*  Printing two-sided pages (printing on the front and the back of each page).

*  Printing in color or black print only.

*  Using a laser printer or an inkjet printer. If you decide to print the book yourself and intend to use an inkjet printer, depending upon the number of pages, this could be costly… more than using a copy service. Be sure to call different copy/printing services for prices before you decide. If you want your book printed in color, ask the service if they use laser color printers or inkjet. Most copiers today use laser printers.


*  Printing on 3-hole punch paper for insertion and distribution in a folder or 3-ring binder. When you are estimating the cost to print one book, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the folders or 3-ring binders in addition to the cost of the paper.

*  Coil binding. This can only be done using a copy service. NOTE: One of the advantages to coil binding and printing on 3-hole punched paper is that if you or any other family member should want to add pages to the book later, it can easily be done.

*  Perfect or soft binding (pages glued together at the spine). This type of binding is usually used for paperback publications. However, if your copy service will do this for a reasonable price, it’s a nice finishing touch to your book.

PowerPoint Presentations:  Your text and all the pictures and images can be imported and saved in a PowerPoint Presentation. Voice recordings, video clips, music, narration, and special effects can be added. Presentations can be saved to CD’s or DVD’s with menus to send to family members or uploaded to one of many sites online that only you and your designated family members and friends can view.

As for the cost if you don’t know how to create a PowerPoint presentation yourself, there are many services that can do this for you.

E-Books:  E-books require special formatting to create in order to read them on a tablet, Kindle, Nook, computer or other ebook reading device. There are many ebook publishing services that offer this type of formatting.

Cost: Keep in mind that the more pictures and documents you have, the higher the cost will be especially if you want the book printed in color. The cost to put your book together can include any or all of the following:

*  Typing of the text and Table of Contents

*  Pictures and document scanning, cropping, size scaling, adding text titles, image editing (if necessary), and insertion into the file.

*  The time to save each photograph and/or document as a file then combine them in the desired order.

*  Printing costs vary depending upon the number of pages.

*  Printing in color will cost more than in black only.

*  Special paper. If you choose special paper, this will cost more.

*  Binding costs if you choose to have your book bound.

The text portion of your book:  Most likely you’re going to do the writing or typing yourself. You may even be able to scan the pictures and documents yourself. If you know how to scan images and insert them into a document and if you know how to save a document to a CD, you might not have to pay for anything more than the cost of the CD’s.

If you don’t need many copies, you can print them at home. Remember that color copies with pictures can use up a lot of ink. It might be cheaper to save the file to a CD and take it to a copy service to have copies made.

You may be thinking, “I can’t afford to publish or print a book nor do I even want to.” It doesn’t have to be a published book. Once you have ALL of the material put together in a computer file, you can take the file to any printer or most office supply store and have copies run off for your family. You can also save copies to CD’s or DVD’s for distribution. The cost is not all that much. Price what the cost of one book will be, before you.

I hope this 7-part article about putting together a Family History Book is helpful to you.If you found this article useful, I would love to hear from you.

In 2021 I plan to put all seven parts together into one ebook that can be downloaded in many formats from this site or from Check back with this site and the Schedule of Future Posts and Past Articles  to find out when it will be published.


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Author: GSKWAuthor

Semi-retired. Worked most of my adult life as a secretary, executive assistant & in middle management. In 1998 I formed a secretarial service business at home specializing in the transcription of manuscripts, formatting for print, and eBook publication then uploading to POD publishers. Through ads and a website (no longer active) the business attracted customers from all over the U.S. In 2016, I phased out my business. I now spend the remainder of my "spare time" writing cozy mystery/suspense/thrillers. I hope to publish my first novel titled "Susan's Stalkers - Double The Fear" before the end of 2023. The synopsis is in this site. Check it out.