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07/21/2009 01:01:52 PM · #1
I recently printed my first photobook; after setting up and using Lulu to create several but never finishing, I tried Blurb.

I liked the software, and the template flexibility much more than Lulu. And better still, I was reading complaints about print quality in the Lulu forum, and someone mentioned how much better Blurb was.

Well I tried it. A week ago, I received my first books.

My minireview.

The good:
1) I liked the complete flexibility of the templates. Start with a template; if you don't like it, edit it and save your own
2) I ordered two softcover 7x7 books, 120 pages, one on the heavyweight paper. Both were good with good quality printing and no surprises!
3) Production was fast

The Bad:
1) You can't change book sizes after you create a book :(
2) There were a few annoyances in the default set of templates it would show for a new page; I just wanted it to show my set of custom templates, but I had to select that each time.
3) The online preview only shows you 15 pages. For a photobook, I wish they'd let potential customers page through the entire book.

Anyway, the good far outweighed the bad, and I will order again. Everyone who has seen the books thinks they are fantastic. Here's a link to my first!

745089-c2a77641675aa33ccccec2e8987554e8.jpg

Post yours, and your comments, if you've tried it!


07/21/2009 01:24:06 PM · #2
I've got a major problem. Lucy is smiling way too much. Lucy's not a smiler. But the photos are great.

Here's my Lulu link:

http://www.lulu.com/nowculture

I use Lulu to make poetry magazines, which include artwork and photographs. I have complete flexibility. All I have to do is upload a word document, and upload the cover separately as an image file.


07/21/2009 01:29:39 PM · #3
Hey, that looks like fun. I might publish a book of my travels. One book for each country visited.

Great idea!!!!
Thanks
07/21/2009 01:47:36 PM · #4
I just finished one for a wedding I did.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/764521

And I did my Trip to the Desert book through Blurb as well.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/275190

I will say that if you use their layouts, be careful how close you run the pics at the top and bottom - I lost a lot of the tops of heads on the collage pages for the wedding book. I'm also not entirely thrilled with the non-premium paper - I prefer the paper I had my first book published with, which I'm assuming is now considered "premium". But the service is excellent, colors are very good, and they're fast!
07/21/2009 02:34:42 PM · #5
Originally posted by Melethia:

I will say that if you use their layouts, be careful how close you run the pics at the top and bottom - I lost a lot of the tops of heads on the collage pages for the wedding book.


There is a local pro photographer who presented at our camera club this spring about his Blurb books. He found that doing his layouts in Photoshop worked better because otherwise you're letting them do the scaling and subsequent sharpening. I am pretty sure they have a full page template you can download. Just make sure you leave room for the gutters etc. like Deb suggests. The other advantage is you have a lot more flexibility for text styles and fonts etc in Photoshop.

eta: here's a link to his books
http://www.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=Darwin+Wiggett&filter=all

Interestingly enough his biggest challenge was thinking like a publisher (i.e. layout etc) and getting his book to flow nicely. There is a definite progression in his work. He has a few books published commercially but of course an editor takes his pic and creates the layout.

Message edited by author 2009-07-21 14:41:16.
07/21/2009 02:45:52 PM · #6
Originally posted by nshapiro:


3) The online preview only shows you 15 pages. For a photobook, I wish they'd let potential customers page through the entire book.


In case you hadn't seen this, looks like the full preview is coming.

Beta Full Book Preview
07/21/2009 09:11:43 PM · #7
Originally posted by Melethia:

I just finished one for a wedding I did.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/764521

And I did my Trip to the Desert book through Blurb as well.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/275190

I will say that if you use their layouts, be careful how close you run the pics at the top and bottom - I lost a lot of the tops of heads on the collage pages for the wedding book. I'm also not entirely thrilled with the non-premium paper - I prefer the paper I had my first book published with, which I'm assuming is now considered "premium". But the service is excellent, colors are very good, and they're fast!


fantastic wedding book. and I own your desert book so I know how great it looks onscreen and off.
07/21/2009 11:06:23 PM · #8
Tip for Blurb books and others that put their logo on the last blank page... RAZOR! If you are careful, you can cut that whole page out without leaving more than a tiny bit of page in the gutter, just enough to keep the binding secure and clients will never know it was there. :)
07/21/2009 11:12:03 PM · #9
I finished my first book last week. It was so satisfying to see it through from beginning to end.

Sweetness

Blurb also now has an option to replace their logo with your own. You have to pay a little extra, but at least it's an option now.

I also wanted to add, I didn't use any of their templates or designs...I made my own layouts. It took me a couple days to really get into the groove of the blurb book building software, but the time was worth it.

Message edited by author 2009-07-21 23:14:07.
07/21/2009 11:17:05 PM · #10
Sarah - Thanks for that info about the full book preview. That's great to hear.

Deb - I looked through both your books - both excellent, but I was really taken by your desert book. I'd have a lot of trouble captioning my photos--you did a great job there too.

Don - I haven't had time to read your sample pages yet, but I love the cover with the birds!

Craig - Your friend has some great photos and great looking books! They will also help me consider layouts.

Speaking of layouts, I am curious to discuss these. What's your feeling on the most professional looking layouts for multiple photos on a page? I have a problem with this...there are some that I like a lot (like Deb's back cover of the wedding book, and Craig's friend Darwin's front cover with four photos in a "let it be" style.

But in many cases, multi-photo layouts don't say "professional photo book" to me.

What are your thoughts? Favorite page layouts?

I want to do another one soon; first another show I shot; then I may tackle a real photo book to show my work.

Addendum: Cindi--good tip. For my first book, I didn't know what was right and I even voluntarily left a "layouts copyright blurb" message on my copyright page. Which was kind of silly because most of my layouts were single photo, and most were custom!

Message edited by author 2009-07-21 23:30:59.
07/21/2009 11:20:11 PM · #11
Neil - I have tried several of the book printing companies out there. I NEVER use their templates. I layout all of my pages my way using Photoshop, save them as single images, then upload them using the book companies "blank page" template. That gives so much more flexibility and you books will be unique. Its how I create my senior albums and my wedding books too (though now I use only pro printers for those).
07/21/2009 11:43:52 PM · #12
Gorgeous book, Rachel. Let us know how it looks when you get a print copy!
07/22/2009 12:31:52 AM · #13
Originally posted by Melethia:

Gorgeous book, Rachel. Let us know how it looks when you get a print copy!


Ditto.

Neil, that cover might look familiar:
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_454143.jpg

a 5.3. oh well.
07/22/2009 11:19:04 AM · #14
I did one at the beginning of this year collecting pictures I shot in 2008; and I plan on doing it again next year for this year. I ordered the image-wrapped hardcover and was very happy with it.

545373-26ae196637db214e5aab1985acdad313.jpg?12325095152008: First Light

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/545373
07/22/2009 10:50:49 PM · #15
Nice one Craig! Very professional look, and a great idea to document your thoughts and lessons learned while shooting.

Questions for everyone:

1) Does anyone know what happens if you don't fill the photo frame in booksmart? It shows gray, whereas the page background is black. So usually, I edit the page to make the frame fit. But I suspect the gray doesn't print, and you don't have to do that...anyone know for sure? (I'm working on a new book now.)

2) Sales? Is anyone finding Blurb is good for generating some sales? Or are they your customers and friends mainly coming by? (I haven't made a general interest book yet, but I am working my way towards one!)
07/22/2009 11:46:01 PM · #16
Neil, if you don't fill the square, the background color displays. And all my sales have been to friends and family. :-)

Message edited by author 2009-07-22 23:46:11.
07/19/2010 02:14:02 PM · #17
Blurb has no quality control. The second time I ordered from them, my three books were bound together wrong. They had attached the wrong half of each book, so that they were mixed up all three books. I explained the problem, but Blurb would not believe me and demanded that I send a scan of the problem.

There's no customer service phone number, so you have to contact Blurb online. I explained that I did not have access to a scanner and gave a detailed description of the error they made. They replied that they would not accept my word for it and that I would have to prove there was an error by either giving them a scan or by returning the books.

Since I didn't trust Blurb with my only proof of their error, I decided it wasn't wise to return the books. So I borrowed a scanner and spent nearly two hours scanning in three 30-page books which had been put together wrong.

I have no confidence that Blurb will admit their error and send replacements. They have no respect for their customers' word, their customers' money, their customers' time, or their customers' satisfaction.
07/19/2010 02:42:45 PM · #18
That's unfortunate Mary. I've made three books on Blurb now. All came out fantastic. These were the 7x7 softcover editions, though I know someone who ordered the hard cover and thought it was great. All in all, I've ordered 6 total copies of my own books, and they were all done right.

They seem helpful in their forums too...did you try posting there? They supposedly have a satisfaction guarantee, so if they made a mistake they are supposed to do it over.

07/19/2010 02:47:47 PM · #19
Originally posted by MaryRC:

Blurb has no quality control. The second time I ordered from them, my three books were bound together wrong. They had attached the wrong half of each book, so that they were mixed up all three books. I explained the problem, but Blurb would not believe me and demanded that I send a scan of the problem.

There's no customer service phone number, so you have to contact Blurb online. I explained that I did not have access to a scanner and gave a detailed description of the error they made. They replied that they would not accept my word for it and that I would have to prove there was an error by either giving them a scan or by returning the books.

Since I didn't trust Blurb with my only proof of their error, I decided it wasn't wise to return the books. So I borrowed a scanner and spent nearly two hours scanning in three 30-page books which had been put together wrong.

I have no confidence that Blurb will admit their error and send replacements. They have no respect for their customers' word, their customers' money, their customers' time, or their customers' satisfaction.


Troll?
08/06/2010 07:57:22 PM · #20
Hi Neil. I looked at yours and I was able to see a lot more than 15 pages.

But...you can't zoom to preview....or am I missing something?

Originally posted by nshapiro:


3) The online preview only shows you 15 pages. For a photobook, I wish they'd let potential customers page through the entire book.
08/06/2010 08:50:59 PM · #21
When I tried making a pdf of mine, it wouldn't produce the book cover. In any case, the file ended up twice the recommended size for the sofomobolo project, so I didn't submit it.
08/06/2010 10:41:09 PM · #22
The book I made for my son's coaches

The book

(aside)I've posted this before, but I've done different books with different companies. If you watch carefully, you can get some good deals -- I got a MyPublisher one free last winter and I don't think I've ever paid full price for any of them -- I'm not terribly brand loyal on this item and will buy whichever one has the best deal.

All that said, if I had to choose between MP and blurb, I would choose blurb -- the end product is holding up much better.
08/07/2010 12:48:40 AM · #23
Originally posted by PGerst:

Hi Neil. I looked at yours and I was able to see a lot more than 15 pages.

But...you can't zoom to preview....or am I missing something?

Originally posted by nshapiro:


3) The online preview only shows you 15 pages. For a photobook, I wish they'd let potential customers page through the entire book.


That was then and this is now...they added the feature after I wrote that; it's optional, but I turned it on. You can preview the whole book now!
08/07/2010 09:55:00 AM · #24
Originally posted by jvaughn94:

Originally posted by MaryRC:

Blurb has no quality control. The second time I ordered from them, my three books were bound together wrong. They had attached the wrong half of each book, so that they were mixed up all three books. I explained the problem, but Blurb would not believe me and demanded that I send a scan of the problem.

There's no customer service phone number, so you have to contact Blurb online. I explained that I did not have access to a scanner and gave a detailed description of the error they made. They replied that they would not accept my word for it and that I would have to prove there was an error by either giving them a scan or by returning the books.

Since I didn't trust Blurb with my only proof of their error, I decided it wasn't wise to return the books. So I borrowed a scanner and spent nearly two hours scanning in three 30-page books which had been put together wrong.

I have no confidence that Blurb will admit their error and send replacements. They have no respect for their customers' word, their customers' money, their customers' time, or their customers' satisfaction.


Troll?


That's insulting to Mary. She had a bad experience and she's letting us know about it, that's what forums are for, discussion.

Totally unasked for.
08/07/2010 11:00:36 AM · #25
Here's my first Blurb book. These are photos I took for a garden club's annual garden walk. They want many photos at a low price so members can order the book to remember the event. I agree with the previous poster about how to make multiple photos/page look professional. Open to helpful comments.
http://www.Blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1510829

Message edited by author 2010-08-07 11:01:04.
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