Triple Booked

The Oxford University Press, a publisher for more than 700 years, churns out 6,000 physical titles a year despite today’s electronic alternatives. Oxford focuses on educational materials, including dozens of dictionaries. At one time the Press had the exclusive right to print the King James Version of the Bible. I know Oxford for one other reason, however: their 21-volume illustrated collection of the works of Charles Dickens.

I’ll bet you have a collection of something yourself, where the number of items in the lot goes beyond pure necessity. We have more Christmas ornaments than any reasonably-sized tree can hold. We have more mugs than we’ll ever use for coffee or tea. My brother seems to collect cars (or maybe he really does drive them all). Whatever feeds our need to collect also fuels our stubbornness to ever let these items go.

Such is the case with my Dickens collection. When I was in my twenties I got a mailer from Oxford Press advertising “a Dickens book a month”.  Must’ve been inexpensive back then, and somehow the collection spoke to me even though I’d never read a lick of Dickens.  Maybe I envisioned my future dwelling with shelves of classic literature (never happened). Several decades after I purchased the last Dickens I still haven’t read a page, but the books sure look nice all standing in a row.  I’ll never get rid of them.

This talk of Dickens and collecting is just a preface to my real topic today.  I’d like you to meet PixxiBook.  Maybe you don’t collect books (outside of those you purchase on your e-reader) but ask yourself: what if you could have your blog posts pressed into books worthy of your coffee table?  That’s what PixxiBook does, and they do it well.

PixxiBook is one of those I-wish-I’d-thought-of-it businesses.  The husband and wife behind the scenes did what most startups do: create a business based on a personal need.  “Tim and Sabrina” wanted to convert their travel blog into a book but realized the process takes more time and effort than most people are willing to invest.  So they designed a computer program to do the work instead.  Then they partnered with a printing press, aligned with WordPress and a few other blogging hosts, and a business was born.

I’m not sure whether Tim or Sabrina gets the credit, but here’s the marketing genius of Pixxibook (and the point where you’ll stop reading this post).  You can create your PixxiBooks from your blog now… and instantly preview the finished product.  No charge.  Just go to Pixxibook’s website, enter your blog’s URL, and watch the computer program crunch through your posts to create your books.  If you like what you see, you can purchase the real thing.  When my wife ordered my PixxiBooks as a 60th birthday present, they were printed and shipped so quickly I’d only written two new posts by the time I got them.  Seven years of weekly posts published in three elegant volumes.  Life In A Word is now a “triple-booked” anthology.

I wrote this one three years ago.

Earlier I mentioned your coffee table, and how PixxiBook is worthy of its surface.  Not quite true.  Some of you – especially you non-bloggers – are thinking, “Nobody’s gonna leaf through old blog posts, Dave”.  Hey, I agree with you.  Blog posts are read and digested, and then we move on to other things.  So why pay for books?

Go back to my Dickens’ collection for the answer.  Those Oxford Press gems are mine.  Not my wife’s, not my dog’s, not someone’s who we invite over for a dinner party.  Mine.  I can admire them from across the room, leaf through one every now and then, or maybe finally start to read Oliver Twist.  Doesn’t really matter what I do with them.  Just like my PixxiBooks.  They’re a nice collectible and worthy of my shelf space.  I’m never getting rid of them.


Lego Grand Piano – Update #4

Today’s portion of the concert was legato or “smooth” (read about my hesitant warm-up in Let’s Make Music!), though I won’t go so far as to say “effortless”.  The only real drama with Bag #4 – of 21 bags of pieces – was the one little piece that skitted off my desk and tried to escape the room.  Caught the little bugger before he got too far.

All Bag #4 pieces assemble to a single structure: the light-colored “deck” you see here with the red pieces towards the top and the grey pieces to the right.  Those little yellow grabbers will eventually secure the piano strings.

The second photo is a good look at the piano “mechanics”.  This view would be as if you were sitting at the bench looking directly at the keys.

Running Build Time: 4.2 hours.  Musical accompaniment: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Leftover pieces: 3

Conductor’s Notes: Mr. Instruction Manual included a couple extra pages today; pictures to show me how to “turn on” the piano by pushing a button on the battery pack.  Once I did, the battery pack started flashing.  Had to disconnect a cable to make it quit.  Wish I knew what that was all about.  Patience, maestro, patience.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

29 thoughts on “Triple Booked”

  1. Wow, Dave, I read about the Pixxibook company a few years ago OR a company like them. I wanted to give it a try, but was wondering if it was a legit company. So great YOU DID it. How do the pages and stories look, good? Gee, I want to have it done too. THREE volumes – wows!! Congratulations on THAT and your piano. Making great progress. Look forward to hearing the sound. Well, if you can upload a video!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Pixxibook technology isn’t perfect but I saw very few instances where the layout of a page wasn’t how I would want it. As for the piano, it’ll be another 17 weeks to the finished product but I’m enjoying the slow ride (and the accompanying classical music!)

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    1. All of my photos are included, Joni. The Pixxibook program somehow varies the layout from post to post. Sometimes you have overlapping photos, other times full-page photos. It makes for a nice variety as you leaf through a book. Give the online process a try to see how TheHomePlaceWeb would look. No charge!

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    1. The process seems very straightforward, Lyssy (part of the appeal of Pixxibook), but I got my books as a gift so I can’t say for sure. With your beautiful photos I think your blog would look great in book format. Pixxibook isn’t cheap but it’s a quality product. With all of your NYC recommendations it strikes me as something someone would enjoy leafing through in their hotel room when they visit the city.

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      1. I actually ordered one with our wedding/honeymoon related posts 😃 my whole blog was like 11 volumes and as you mentioned it’s not cheap, but it would be nice to make another with my travel posts. Not sure I’ll really have the desire to read about all the food posts in 50 years 😂 but definitely travels. That’s a very interesting idea, maybe it could be my legacy when I leave the city haha

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  2. Hi Dave,
    This has been a very informative post. I love your Dickens collections.
    I had looked into having my blog post printed in a book, but like Monica, I was not sure of the if it was legit or not. I am glad you got it done and wrote about it.
    The piano keeps coming…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pixxibook strikes me as a company willing to work with you one-on-one to make your books just the way you want them. Mine have a few layout issues here and there but nothing to compromise the overall product. I’ve talked to several builders who say they blow through their Lego projects in one sitting. Not me. I’m enjoying the bag-by-bag approach. Like a jigsaw, it’s relaxing to just take your time.

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  3. I was just chatting with another blogger who likes Dickens’ work and I said I’d never read any of his books, but had seen movie versions. She wanted me to read “A Christmas Carol” which I found as a free version on the Gutenberg Press site, so will read it as she suggested. That is very interesting as to Pixxibook and what a wonderful gift your wife got you for your 60th birthday Dave. I collected teddy bears for years, but have stopped as they were encroaching into every room … I have 52 of all different sizes.

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  4. 52 teddy bears! That’s a lot of eyes on you, Linda 🙂 I will also read “A Christmas Carol” one of these days (and maybe “Oliver Twist”) because it’s such a beloved story I feel it deserves a read of the original. Maybe we can agree to finish the book on the same day and then blog about it simultaneously!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The teddy bears would be like the line from the song from the group Police – “I’ll be watching you.” I was allergic to stuffed animals as a kid, but had allergy shots for years. One day my mom and I were in a store and she said “I’ll buy you that cute bear to make up for the ones you didn’t have as a child.” It started a trend. We should read “A Christmas Carol” and share the experience – maybe this Christmas? There’s a city named Holly, Michigan and every Christmas they have a Dickens festival. They have events from that era, plus many people dress in period costumes. It sounds fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never heard of PixxiBook, but you’re right that it was an idea just waiting to happen. I do know of Oxford University Press. I don’t think I have any books from there, but I don’t use an e-reader so who knows? We have shelves filled with books, so it’s possible.

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  6. The Pixxibook idea is fascinating. My posts that feature musical selections would likely give it some problems.

    I got a similar set of books from The Franklin Library. They are a collection of fifty literary classics and include a couple by Dickens. I have probably read about a dozen of them but that was when I had lots of reading time available, which has been a long time ago.

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  7. In hindsight, I should’ve purchased your Franklin Library collection instead, J.P. I can see myself reading “A Christmas Carol” and “Oliver Twist” some day, maybe “Great Expectations”. The rest will forever be as good as new.


  8. The set looks beautiful. I manage a used book sale room in the local library and at times people donate sets of classic literature. Some were originally purchased by collectors, the bindings never cracked open (like yours?). It’s a delight when someone buys one, excited to find that treasure. But I am surprised – a few posts ago you said “Shame on you!” to people who don’t follow the Olympics. I could say the same to you! Sports have never been my thing, but I’ve always been a reader. Read one or two of your treasures. You won’t regret it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The shame is deserved, Ruth! I am not above reading printed books just because I prefer the convenience of an e-reader these days. I have a modest collection of printed books I enjoy reading over and over. And retirement gives me a little more time for reading. All of which gives me no excuse not to crack open a Dickens. Especially “A Christmas Carol” – one of the shorter books – and a story to be read any time of year.

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  10. Thank you, Linda! This just may be the push I need to get started on Dickens (though I wish it was one of his shorter reads). I still have fourteen weeks to go on the Grand Piano but that doesn’t mean I can’t handle a book challenge at the same time.

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