Memeoirs: Emails to Book – Overview

Memeoirs is a recently introduced online service allowing users to create a printed book (POD – print-on-demand) based on your own email exchanges. The service reminds me of several websites allowing users to create a book based on their blog or Facebook page.

Memeoirs: your emails in a book. Seriously? Yes, no joke.

We take communication very seriously and we realized the evocative power of our past correspondences. Being able to experience again the emotions connected with what we wrote and what others wrote to us can be a real thrill. Sometimes it’s like staring at the novel of your life.

While being participants of the pervasive real-time frenzy of The Internet, we at Fitmemes are also strong supporters of All Things Physical and of the reassuring stability of printed press. “These words will forever be on this page” reminds us of the value and the mono-tasking dedication we gave in writing a snail mail to our peers.

Created to merge this duality, Memeoirs is as broad and versatile as email can be and it reflects the habits of the author. It has been used to collect love letters, buddies emails, academic exchanges and even meeting minutes.

No matter what kind of email user you are, if you are reading this it’s because you probably give to your writing the attention it deserves. By bringing letters back to paper Memeoirs gives the opportunity to convey the timelessness and profundity of your ideas in a book. Make the best of it.

At the moment the service is only on offer to web-based Gmail and Yahoo account holders, but there are plans to develop the service to include Hotmail and email providers using POP3 and also MS Outlook. The system used by Memeoirs is reasonably straightforward, simply requiring users to log into their email service through the Memeoire website.

I don’t see this service as being a platform to sell books, but rather a more personalised keepsake of pen-pal or love exchanges through email. I do like the potential of the long-distance travel ‘flavour’ of the project, and in the right hands could produce a basic working proof of a travel log or memoir. there is a lot to play around with here if the right comtact and time period is chosen.

So, how does it work? How do my e-mails go from mailbox to book?

Excellent question, we’re glad you ask. There’s this little man, knowledgeable in what is good or bad writing. He’s also a very fast reader. No, seriously. Your Memeoirs is made by selectively publishing the e-mails from your contacts that fall into the time frame you choose. That said, newsletters, account activation e-mails, and all that non-personal mailing will be discarded for you. Also, we try our best to purge the body of the e-mails of redundant content.

This is where Memeoirs’ programmers and creators need to be careful – yes, the love and travel email projects could be fun, but I think the real strength of the service is in a more commercial vein. I’m thinking particularly in regards to archiving important memo and legal correspondence, or annual company reporting, by department or globally. As an example, I get authors sending me email correspondence they have had over many months with publishers and agents, sometime including other third parties – publishers and agents they may have experienced difficulties with and require sound guidance and advice. Wading through these emails and getting the time-frame right as to who said what/claimed what and when they did can be a real nightmare.
What makes me conclude that this will not prove to be a viable commercial publishing option for an author – however casual – is the pricing. The cost of a printed book starts at €12.50 for a 30 page paperback (hardback also available), rising through to €22.90 for a 200 page book. Discounts are offered if you purchase several copies, but again, I just don’t see this as an out and out publishing venture.
There is a gem of a commercial idea behind Memeoirs, but I think its founders should take a close look at Scribd – a much larger archiving/publishing platform and decide the longterm direction they wish to take Memoirs in. Where Memeoirs are now is where Blurb were when they launched in the mid-noughties. How much of the fun element do they want to retain, and how best they can move forward with a commercial service.
Memeoirs will be fun as well as interesting to see how they develop over the coming year or two.
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