Journals and blank books have been popular sellers since paper became affordable to the average guy. Just think of the value of DaVinci’s notebooks. Or Anne Frank’s diary. Almost everyone gets the urge at one time or another to keep writings and/or drawings from their deepest selves. And they want to keep them together in a handy place. When we see what the famous journal and notebook keepers have produced, we’re glad they answered the urge.
If you’ve never experienced the kind of need to physically record self-expression, you’ll just have to take the word of people who do have that experience. Because of them, booksellers have made endless profits from selling books full of blank paper. Or books with inspirational quotes at the tops of pages, with blank lines below. Or books with dated pages and otherwise blank plain or lined paper.
Just look at the variety available in any bookstore, stationery store, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and so forth.
You can easily and quickly make these profitable items. You can make them so easily and quickly that if you are reading this in the morning, you can be in business with a few items this very afternoon.
That’s because the only thing you have to do that requires much time is produce cover images. Putting those cover images on blank pages is a snap.
Then you can sell them at places like CafePress, Lulu and CreateSpace, as well as for sale at craft fairs, through your websites, or on places like Etsy.com and even Amazon.com. All depending on how much of the work you want to do yourself.
As I’ve said in my other articles about image-based products, you can create your own images from scratch, you can get free images from the public domain, you can buy images that are commercially licensed and you can modify images to fit your niche.
You don’t have to be an artist or fine photographer. You just have to have a good eye for images and a sense of what makes a good one. You don’t have to have expensive software. The GIMP is a perfectly good substitute for Photoshop.
You don’t have to produce the items yourself. You can go to CafePress.com and get a template for the journal, plop your image into the guides, modify it until it looks right and upload it to your CafePress Shop. They take care of everything else.
Of course, you do have to know how to use an image manipulation program.
You do have to know how to set up and run a CafePress Shop.
You do have to know how to market products on vendors like CafePress, Lulu and CreateSpace etc. (All of those are great for book products.)
If you do want to physically produce the books yourself, you can do it with a good quality printer, a hole punch for spiral binding and a supply of binding spirals. All you have to do for a quick production is buy a bunch of spiral bound notebooks and replace the covers.
Then, you can set up your listings on Amazon.com and send your books off for fulfillment by Amazon. Or you can opt to do your own packing and shipping and sell them through Etsy.com, EBay.com and Amazon.com. (Yes, any one or all three at the same time.)
However, I’d opt for the easiest way: pay the commissions and let the experienced vendors take care of the advertising, handling and shipping.