A new company called Blurb just popped up this weekend -- a service that allows people to design, publish, and sell their own books.
One-off custom publishing solutions already exist, but Blurb aims to make it WYSIWYG, with pre-defined templates and drag-and drop design tools. As the company's CEO, Eileen Gittins, told me on Friday: "Unlike other 'self-publishing' services that are designed for authors who can create a print ready PDF from their manuscript or file, Blurb has a super-friendly easy to use application (Blurb BookSmart) that enables people to drag and drop their digital content into professionally designed templates."
From what I've seen on the new Web site, it looks a little like some of the better online photo sites that let you design photo albums, or like bogging sites such as TypePad and TagWorld that let you design via click, drag, and drop, rather than requiring you to enter code. But Blurb uses an application that runs on PCs or Macs, not a pure Web interface.
The site is good-looking and boasts oodles of templates. But I won't know for sure how easy it is until they release the BookSmart application, which the site says will be available for download on Wednesday. And I'll be seeing it at the DEMO 2006 conference in Phoenix this week. So more details to come.