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Self-Publish header Self-Publish header Falling Book

How to Publish a Family History Book

If you want to self-publish a family history book, or see your genealogy work in print, you need a partner to guide you through the process. 48 Hour Books prints family history books you’ll be proud to hand down through the generations.

Find the Best Printer for Family History Books

We’re different from other family history book printers. 48 Hour Books gets your family history book or genealogy book into print faster than anyone else.

You get:

  • Two-day turnaround: We print perfect bound (softcover or paperback) books in 48 hours, guaranteed. Hardcover and coil-bound books take five business days
  • Top-notch customer service: We answer our phones and we love helping self-publishing authors. Contact us by phone, email or chat.
  • Easy ordering: We offer quick and simple online ordering. If you have any questions, just give us a call!

We're experts at printing family history books, as well as any other self-publishing genres.


Self-Publishing Tips for Family History Books

So how do you self-publish your family history book? First, consider why you’re collecting family stories and doing genealogical research:

  • A keepsake for family members to pass down through the generations
  • A genealogy book to market and sell

This will help guide your approach to self-publishing your family history book, by directing the design, layout, cover, and book binding choices.

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Book binding options

Hardcover book binding offers sturdy protection for years of use. A family genealogy exploration intended for retail might be better with a paperback binding for portability. Coil-bound books are another popular option for family history books.

All binding options have their benefits, so the style is up to you!

Learn more about book binding options
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Cover design

Family keepsake books can be less formal, with more personal touches, particularly on the cover design. Perhaps choose an old photo of the family patriarch or matriarch for the cover. For retail genealogy research books, you might choose a more formal cover option.

You can design your own book cover, work with our in-house designers for a fully custom book cover design, or use our economical Create-a-Cover option for $100.

Learn more about custom cover design
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Online Resources for Family History Research

Take advantage of online resources when investigating and writing your family history.

  • Enter your name into website databases on ancestry.com and myheritage.com, to find details about your family history. These sites help generate family trees, some even without a subscription, which are great additions to a family history book.
  • Genealogy software can help organize data and research. Look for sites with free trials. When selecting genealogy software, make sure you can export graphics and documents as a PDF.
  • Consider DNA testing with databases such as 23andMe.com that can give you genetic breakdowns, help you locate family members, and provide evidence of ancestry.
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How to Format a Family History Book

48 Hour Books offers free family history book templates. These book templates quickly and easily give your interior pages a professional format. The formatting templates open in Microsoft Word (or just about any word processing program). They come in four standard sizes:

4 Template Sizes

Choose the right page size based on the intended size of the finished book. When you’re done formatting, convert the file to PDF format, which you can upload to the 48 Hour Book website. If you have questions, or get stuck at any point, our friendly team is just a phone call away.

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How to Add Photos to Your Genealogy Book

Priceless photos of ancestors and historical documents make a genealogy book come to life.

48 Hour Books prints full-color photos, black and white photos, or a combination of both.

  • To save money on full-color photos, try grouping them in one section in the middle or end of the book.
  • 48 Hour Books can convert color photos to grayscale, so you can print color photos in black and white.
  • For a family history book with lots of color photos, we recommend 80# silk (matte) text paper, rather than standard 60# offset (uncoated).
  • Many family history books contain old photos, scanned from scrapbooks. If you’re scanning your photos, set your scanner photograph setting to at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). You can use low-resolution photos if they’re newer photos from webpages (such as Facebook). Zoom in to 200 percent to see how they’ll look printed. If they don’t look sharp, try asking the person who took the photo for a high-resolution version.
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How to Organize Your Family History Book

You can take several approaches to your family history book layout.

  • Choose a narrative approach, with your book set in chronological chapters. You can incorporate photos in each chapter or add a collage of photos in the middle or end of the book.
  • If you plan to sell your genealogy book, you might prefer a more structural approach. Divide by sections, such as significant periods of your family history.
  • Since a family history book may be dense with information, it can be useful to add an index in your book. Microsoft Word offers how-to guides for creating an index.
  • To add more explanation to terms, people or events, without breaking up the flow of content, include a footnote or endnote with the deeper explanation. Microsoft Word offers detailed instructions for setting up footnotes or endnotes.

Let the experts at 48 Hour Books help you self-publish your book!

Ultimate Guide to a 48 Hour Book

48 Hour Books is Your Family History Book Partner

When you print your family history or genealogy book with 48 Hour Books, you have access to a team of experts. See our self-publishing guide and order your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide to a 48 Hour Book.

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Ultimate Guide to a 48 Hour Book