On print-on-demand publishing workflows

I’m sharing here my answer to a question I received, related to my editorial activity with Greyscale Press:

I’m working on an experimental publication myself with a group of people and i wondered if you could help me out:

How do you manage to workflow for such a publication all the way over from Github to amazon. I think it is an amazing process.

Could you say me how this works?

My process for publishing on amazon is the following:

  • Get an account on Amazon Createspace.
  • Create publication, upload PDF for interior and cover files (in the case of the Manifestos, the interior is generated with Pandoc, the cover is made with Scribus).
  • Wait 24 hours until the files are approved.
  • Validate the result – a few hours later, books are available to be ordered and printed.

Whenever I make an update, I do the following:

A decision to make when publishing revisions, is if you want (A) to replace the previous version (as explained above), or (B) create a new publication – that’s what I did with revision 0.8 of the Manifestos, as there were big changes, and I wanted the previous version to co-exist.

As you see, it’s a simple manual process.

If you want to setup an entirely automated workflow between Github and Amazon, the thing Michael Mandiberg did it with Print Wikipedia would be the way to go. His solution to mass-publish on Lulu with a browser automation tool.