Saturday, January 16, 2016

Star Wars Rebels - Spark of Rebellion print on demand via Lulu

Star Wars Rebels Season 1 Sourcebook- Spark of Rebellion, is an amazing and wonderful piece of fandom. Labor of love. I just wished it were an official FFG book so I could behold it in my hands. With our marvelous age of DIY and POD, I can! And I did. Here are some of the results and lessens learned...

I went through the process of creating the personal book through Lulu's website and was careful not to publish it publicly. This personal copy was the objective. I do not intend to share the project as an item one can order online, I did want to share the results to help anyone else who might be thinking of creating a physical copy of this PDF.

Going through Lulu's book creation process is pretty clear and it is good to have the solid physical result in my hands. Future projects will be much easier to plan for and knowing what to expect and look for because of this trial.

Since this book was created to look and feel like the superb products published by Fantasy Flight Games, I will use them as comparison points.

The quality of the book is quite high. The hard cover is solid. The colors came across clearly, if maybe a little too dark. The Lulu cover is glossier and smoother to the touch than the FFG covers. The spine feels narrower than the thickness of the book, which is interesting. If I were to have several copies on a shelf, it would seem that there would be gaps between the spines. The FFG books line up with each other smartly and attractively. There appears to be a crease in the laminate along the corner of the cover and the spine that has developed with very little use. None of these are huge problems, but they are details that some might find noteworthy. 

A note about the cover image. I used a screen cap of the PDF cover for this book's cover. That might account for the color being a tiny bit dark. But what I do now know is that it should have been shrunk down to make more margin. The image as is ended up being too small and the final result is the book cover, a little too zoomed in. The edges disappear around the edge of the book cover. This was the biggest lesson learned in the project. I know how to avoid it next time.

The Lulu pages are quite similar to the FFG products. There is a difference which I find hard to describe. The Lulu pages feel a tad more... plastic.

The other problems with the book are with the PDF layout itself. I don't want to criticize the creators of this book, because it is a wonderful labor of love. But I do have to point out that more thought needs to be put into page layout. The look of Spark of Rebellion is almost perfectly spot on. It is truly amazing what they did. The problem is with page numbering consistency. In any published book, when the book is open before you, the page by your left hand will always be an even page number. The page by your right hand will have an odd page number. This PDF changes the page numbering in mid book. As a result  the iconic starship in the corner with the page number sometimes appears down in the middle by the spine. Later on the book corrects itself. And then further in, it is once again in the middle. This is not for the OCD! 

It starts off ok. The first page number we see is page 5 on the left. The YT-1300 image is in the correct corner. Any other FFG book would start with an even number on the left, but that's ok. It remains fine until page 12. Here the YT-1300 moves towards the center of the book. All of the page numbers live near the spine until we get to page 45. Here it appears to correct itself again until page 88. For the few remaining pages its back to incorrect.

Other than my slight failure with the cover and the PDF's numbering problems, this Lulu printing of Spark of Rebellion is quite satisfactory!

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