The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (the Church that I belong to) published new books in 2017 that had updated English translations along with Malayalam text and Manglish (Malayalam in English Letters). The book is a great resource, but it can be hard to navigate as there is a lot of page-turning.
I wanted to add tabs to the book to make it easier to navigate.
Creating the Tabs
This was actually way more difficult than I was expecting. I thought I could just find an Avery template for book tabs and I’d make it in Word and call it a day.
But turns out I first had to find out what to Google.
After searching for “1 inch book tabs”, the result was from Shein. So I decided to give it a try and ordered some tabs (and a polo and some shorts 🤷🏾♂️).
The tabs were pretty good quality but the paper it came on was a very weird size. I built my own template for printing using Illustrator and a ruler (and lots of time).
After an evening of work, I was able to create the prototype:
Testing the Prototype
Next, I had to see how it actually performed during service.
I used the book and knew I was onto something when I held someone else’s book during service and wished I could get mine back.
I asked other people at Church what they thought and I heard that they wished it was white instead of multi-colored to blend in more and be less distracting. I also realized that some tabs should be reserved for more important sections.
Building the Final Version
Now that I had tested the product and got early interest, it was time to build the final version.
I did some more Googling because I knew that this Shein method was not ideal. Eventually, I came across “page flags” and other words that yielded better results for what I was looking for.
I also found a brand like Avery that had pre-made templates through Word so that step was taken care of.
The only issue was that the tabs were 1 and 1/8th instead of 1 inch. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but it meant that the tabs would have to overlap.
I tested a sample copy and realized that I could overlap 3mm on each side without affecting the legibility of the tabs too much.
I went back to Illustrator and ruler and created a template that you can flip back and forth to properly align the tabs and to guide you to the page that each tab needs to be stuck on.
A few hours later, I took pictures of the final product.
Creating the Payment Page
This also took way more time than I was expecting. I wanted to create a landing page to buy the books that also shared the images and explained what you would get.
I wasn’t happy with the Stripe page I created, and it was expensive or difficult to try and embed the product onto my WordPress site.
I got frustrated so I created a Paypal button to get paid. I put that on the website, hit publish, and shared the news on Facebook.
It was 5 minutes later that I realized that Gumroad also works for physical products now. It was truly so much simpler and more aesthetic so I quickly set up my profile and launched the product on Gumroad.
I got my first sale about an hour later!
Now I have to create and ship out my first order.
I first bought more tabs off Amazon. Each book needs 8 tabs and each sheet holds 25 tabs. I decided to just leave one tab blank – that means I use 1 sheet per every 3 books.
I still need to create nice clean versions of the “template” that shows where to paste the tabs. And lastly, I want to create an email template that I can send which shows how to install the tabs properly.