The Process

Flexibility is key to Content & Contour’s custom book process. Clients decide how involved they want to be in a book’s design and how often they would like progress updates. For some, collaborating on a custom book is a meaningful creative opportunity. Others just want to provide the raw materials for a book, then go about their own business until the project is complete.

Typically, we create the layout for a book with the Adobe program InDesign, then order the book through the company Blurb. Clients can do many of the things we do if they have the time and know-how—but many people can’t make the time and don’t desire to learn all the steps involved in the process.

Types of Books

The limits to what a custom book can be are imposed only by the imagination. Here is just a sampling of book subjects:

  • Individual trip
  • Lifetime of travels
  • Cookbook
  • Friendship (to give to a friend as a gift or keep for yourself)
  • Wedding
  • Couple anniversary
  • Retirement
  • Memoirs
  • Place (such as a family farm or childhood home that’s going to be sold)
  • Family tree/history
  • Achievement (marathon, starting a business, renovating a house)
  • Collected writings (poems, columns, letters from Person X, letters from my children)
  • Object collections (parents’ belongings they can no longer keep together in one place, artwork, shot glass collection)

The book-making company Blurb recently promoted another excellent book idea: “Imagine building a book around your favorite things. Favorite books, favorite albums, favorite wines, etc. Things about which you’re really passionate—passionate enough to share with the people who mean the most to you. And what if you built the book in such a way that you included some pages on which the recipient could list and illustrate their favorite things alongside yours. That might just be their favorite book ever.”


A custom book is a unique item you will treasure for many years. It’s an experience as much as it is an item. The material costs of a custom book range from $4 to $50 or more, per copy, and the costs of editing and design are distributed over far fewer copies than a published book. So custom books are rarely as inexpensive as non-custom books—but they are investments that are almost always more gratifying than other high-priced products.