Images printed on dust cover are too dark: bug or feature?

Here is an issue I have with my "Machine a Habiter" book.

This is 13×11 inches (33×28 cm) hard cover/dust jacket photo book, about 160 pages of black and white photography.  It is not the first book I’m printing, so I am aware of profiles etc, my monitor is calibrated and, as a result, all the images inside the book are ok . The problem is the cover. I used the very same files from the image library I used inside the book and they are all looking ok in BookSmart, on the cover and inside the book. Printed, the dust jacket  is too dark.

I contacted Blurb support and received the following answer:

"Hi Emir,

You’ll need to lighten those photos for the cover, as it prints on a different printer than the inside of the book. You may want to make second versions of photos for your covers, that are slightly lighter so they will print with more definition.


Now, on my previous 8×10 inches books I have not noticed anything like this. The cover (i.e. dust jacket ) was ok. Whether Blurb changed cover workflow since then or it is a production error. Here is the image from inside the book (I photographed the actual book):

Here is the same image on the cover:

If it is a real issue and not production error I think it has to be reflected in BookSmart, FAQ, Help, etc. Right now I have to change my workflow for the cover/dust jacket and I have no idea how since it appears to be ok in BookSmart.

Link to the book:



Posted by
Jul 2, 2008 1:05pm PDT

Hi Emir,

You make a very good point. I will come up with something that could serve as a useful FAQ.

The dustjacket is made of a different material than are the inside pages, and is slightly more prone to over-saturation. The same image can print wonderfully on inside pages, and yet may look dark on the cover.

Thank you for your feedback—I’ll get to work right away.    

Best regards,

Posted by
Jul 2, 2008 4:03pm PDT

I’ve just received an order of many books, from the US, and I must say that the images within the books are the best they have ever been – they are quite neutral, good tones, etc and printed on the Premium paper.  (my book is of my black and white fine art photography).

However, the covers are way too dark on both soft and hardcover.  However they are more neutral than I’ve experienced from any previous US print run.  (The books that have been printed in the Netherlands have always been much better in craftsmanship and neutrality, and general print quality).  I have printed these exact books before, in the US, and the covers may have been off greenish or bluish but never way too dark.

 Is this something new, or an anomaly?  Please advise.


Posted by
Nov 25, 2009 11:42am PDT