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As selfish as this sounds, I’m really interested in having my own book printed physically for myself. I don’t intend to sell it or distribute it, and I’m primarily interested in having my book that I’ve been writing printed.

I’ve started off with writing my stories on Wattpad, and while they do have ways to get your book published, it’s kind of a long shot for me. Especially since it’s a fanfiction, is there a way I could get my online fanfiction printed?

I know it is possible to get a fanfiction published, but for me, I do not plan to distribute or sell the book, and I just want it printed solely for me. That’s all. Is there a way I could do this?

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    What exactly does having it published mean to you beyond having a physical copy of the book? – DM_with_secrets Jul 17 '20 at 6:45
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    I think you have to define what you mean by 'published' – Strawberry Jul 17 '20 at 13:18
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    Most university towns will have a shop which does "thesis binding" or similar work, ideal for printing one or two copies of 10k-100k words in large hardback format. – pjc50 Jul 17 '20 at 16:03
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    Here is a list, I have never tried any of them so check for good reviews/scams before buying - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_self-publishing_companies – chasly - supports Monica Jul 17 '20 at 17:09
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    Do you need to prevent other users from buying the book, or do you just not care if other users ever buy the book at all? (And also: Which country do you live in, the best service for print on demand depend on your location). – MTilsted Jul 17 '20 at 23:24
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'Publish' is a word with specific meaning and from the context of your question I can tell you're not looking to publish. You're looking to have your work printed.

That can be done quite easily, if you have $39 to spare and live in the US.

(I'm not affiliated with BookBaby and have never had them print a book. I can't say anything about the quality of their work and this answer is not an endorsement. Other printing services are available.)

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    +0.5 vote for usefulness of answer, and +0.5 for professionalism of disclaimer. +1 in total. – Spencer Barnes Jul 17 '20 at 8:23
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    This would be even better if it had a few words on the difference between printing and publishing. – gidds Jul 17 '20 at 19:27
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    Any town/city with a major university will have one or more local bookbinding businesses, who are used to dealing with printing and binding student theses, and will be happy to deal with your book. Costs are usually modest. – avid Jul 18 '20 at 0:23
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    A slightly more meatspace option than BookBaby is the Espresso Book Machine, which can print and bind you a book from PDF while-you-wait. (Obligatory disclaimer: I have never done this. I once considered it, for a book off of archive.org, but it turned out Shakespeare & Co.'s machine was inoperable on the day I visited.) – Quuxplusone Jul 18 '20 at 0:29
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Yes, this is relatively easy to do these days through Print On Demand services. One that I've personally used in the past is Lulu.com. Their user interface is easy, and their POD books are of comparable quality to what you would see from a traditional publisher. The price per book is also comparable to what you would pay retail for a standard book. They do both hardcover and softcover. Amazon.com has a similar service called "CreateSpace", with ties to the main Amazon site.

When I did POD, those two were the industry leaders. However, that was a decade ago, so my information may be stale. A quick search for POD (Print on Demand) should help you find out.

The caveat with all this is that you will either need to do all formatting, layout, cover design, and so forth yourself. Otherwise, you'll pay a premium for someone else to do it for you. As with many industries, a lot of how POD makes money is through upselling high-priced optional extras.

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    If you get your book printed on Lulu, be careful to make sure your book is not find-able by either the general public or your fans, as this will make the rights-holders of the original work become unhappy. – Brian Jul 17 '20 at 19:10
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Just to offer an old-school solution, you could always print and bind it yourself! Yeah, there's lots of services which can print on demand these days, but when I printed a book for a friend, they were not around.

Whether you want to go through the effort to print and bind it yourself is really a matter of how you feel about the physical object you end up with. Obviously doing the work yourself will put more significance on the physical object. Whether it is worth the effort is up to you. I still smile when I see it on my shelf.

The process I went through was:

  • I typeset the document using LaTeX. LaTeX gives superior text layout to any other tool you might use like Word. It's got a learning curve that's pretty brutal, but I already had experience with it. I used MikTEX, which was an easy to use packaged version of LaTeX. I used this to get all of the details like page numbers and chapter titles right. I typeset it for a half page (5.5"x8.5"), which matters for the binding process, and had to spend some time getting the margins right.
  • I printed the pages on a duplex-capable printer. I have one at home, but you could go to any print place and get them. There is a correct order to print the pages so that, if you take 4 sheets of paper, and fold them in half, the result is 8 half sheets in the correct order (double sided, so 16 pages of your manuscript printed on those 4 sheets), called a "signature"
  • Print and fold all of these.
  • Bind the book together using a saddle stitch.

This takes much more time than having a publishing house print it for you, but the memory does last better. I smile when I look at the book, even though the work is amateurish at best!

Here's pictures of the one I kept. I chose not to finish the covers on this copy, so that you can see what it looks like on the inside of a hardcover book. Book contents photographed with author's permission.
Spine Pages

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I agree with the warning about Lulu.com. If you ever want a second copy because yours was damaged, they charge an arm and a leg, making it pricey to reprint. You would be better off going directly to a book printer and asking them. Or someplace like 48 Hr. Books where you keep all the books and all your rights.

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Of course you can have one copy of a book printed…

The only problem will be the cost, which will be vastly greater per copy - here, simply vastly great.

Depending on the size of your book it might be worth printing it yourself, and then you'll need both a suitable press - modern or ancient - and suitable skills.

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I print very small scale print runs (like 5 copies of a thesis) at my local Copyshop in A4 and then have them use a binding machine on that stack.

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