General Interest

Bookstore Staff Picks - Do They Actually Look Inside?

After checking out many PDF previews of the their contents, I’m curious to know if you think the books that make it into the Staff Picks section of the Blurb Bookstore are judged solely by their covers….

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Posted by
hayweird
Aug 7, 2008 9:09pm PDT
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hayweird
 

I’m sure they look inside!

Posted by
leahlady
Aug 8, 2008 10:22am PDT
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leahlady
 

So am I!

Have you had a look at the FAQ where they describe what they are looking for in a Staff Pick?

Go to the  Search FAQs page and search on Staff Pick.  At the top of the list you will see How can I nominate my book for Book of the Week, have a read of that.

.........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Aug 8, 2008 11:21am PDT
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tfrankland
 

The entire process thus far is very unscientific and has nothing to do with page views, or whom we know. Instead our choices (made by our top-notch editorial and content team) gravitate toward exceptional photograpy, stories, and use of BookSmart.

Posted by
Michal
Aug 8, 2008 1:04pm PDT
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Michal
 

Hi all,

You better believe we look inside. That is why you have to have your book preview on to qualify. Narrowing the list down to the top picks every week is a very time-consuming process involving a group of dedicated Blurberati. We’re talking hundreds of books here, folks, every week. Cover, inside pages and all. 

We have fun making the selections. I hope everyone enjoys the ones picked.

– Kathy 

Posted by
kathybad
Aug 8, 2008 1:23pm PDT
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kathybad
 

Me? I’d much prefer you’d spend the resources on fixing the latest BookSmart so it would work acceptably fast on a Mac. That would be vastly more enjoyable.

Posted by
Michal
Aug 8, 2008 3:00pm PDT
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Michal
 

Hayweird,
Some of us were speculating that this staff pick book gave you that impression: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/310216

If so, I assure you that I looked inside before nominating it. I can also assure you that I would not have nominated it had I only looked at the cover :) Not that it’s a bad cover, it’s just not my style.

And Michal, you should be pleased to know that the intersection of the set of all booksmart developers with the set of all staff pickers is the empty set.

Posted by
trafnar
Aug 8, 2008 6:12pm PDT
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trafnar
 

oh michael don’t be so negative!

i think the staff picks is a fantastic idea (i’d be thrilled to be picked!)

and as a side note, i use a mac and booksmart was just dandy for me :) 

Posted by
thesmu
Aug 13, 2008 4:28am PDT
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thesmu
 

Thanks for the replies!

The only reason I asked (and I can’t think of any way to say this without offending somebody, so I apologize) is that when I was looking for inspiration for my wedding and engagement photo books, most of the Staff Picks from the weddings category had exceptionally artistic covers but rather pedestrian photography and layouts inside.

Posted by
hayweird
Aug 13, 2008 11:30am PDT
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hayweird
 

“rather pedestrian” lol I like how you said that!!

Posted by
leahlady
Aug 13, 2008 5:03pm PDT
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leahlady
 

Haywierd was being admirably diplomatic, (and correct in his observation)....

Posted by
cantudoit2
Aug 22, 2008 12:10pm PDT
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cantudoit2
 

You know I wondered the same thing about the staff picks becuase I created a little 40 pages book about our dogs with a cute story told from the viewpoint of one of the dogs and with what I thought were fantastic and very unusual photos and layouts – never got a mention.

 Many times in the Blurb ads it says "just have fun" but it seem like a very critical eye is looking at these staff picks and they’re looking for books from professional photographers instead of everyday people with an idea and imagination.

It would be nice if books that are being previewed could have a place where the previewer could leave comments (like in Flickr) about the book, the photos or the layouts.

Anway, I thought I would just add my two cent and ask those of you to check out my book:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/246216

to see if it meets that:  exceptional photography (as a novice), great story (as told by the dog), fantastic layouts which reflect a great use of Blurb.

 Let me know what you think.

CJAYJR

 

Posted by
CJAYJR
Sep 10, 2008 6:44am PDT
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CJAYJR
 

It’s true that books made by professional photographers do often make the Staff Picks list. But, there’s no specific attribute or user type that’s being sought out. If you look through the Staff Picks, you’ll see all kinds of books. Travel books, biographies, children’s books, the list goes on. While there are several different criteria that are looked at, you can rest assured that all public, preview-able books are looked at objectively and completely on their own merits. 

Posted by
JackLyon
Sep 11, 2008 1:32pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Since the staff picks are based upon the Preview option, then I assume it is based on the first 15 pages, and covers. Since the first few pages aren’t often all that interesting in a lot of books, heck the first 2-4 pages are blanks, titles, and copyright. So I would think covers weight pretty heavily just for sheer % of pages with something interesting.

I think largely it is just personal opinion. I’ve seen some staff picks that were awesome, others I have no idea why they got picked. 

I WOULD LOVE to see a rating and possibly comment system attached to the books so the blurb community itself can chime in on it’s own value.  Blurb could get creative here is recognizing what they want to encourage. Rather than a simple 5-star, rate creativity, professionalism/finish, photography/artwork, text content, entertainment.  Remember people are publishing cookbooks, diaries, memoirs, photographic journals, kid’s storybooks… there are a lot of values here to encourage, and a rating system that recognizes that creativity and originality may be high even if the professional polish is not. . 

I would also love to see at least five of the two page spreads in the Preview be user-selectable. If Blurb sees itslef truly as a bookstore for people to sell a book, then hindering them by bluntly using the first 15 numerical pages of the books forces the author to re-construct their layout to be saleable on blurb, rather than appropriate for content. 

Posted by
royalef
Sep 24, 2008 1:07pm PDT
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royalef
 

I am new at this but it seems to me that people are spending to much time thinking about the wrong things….I looked at the books listed here, the dog book was cute, personal….the other book was well shall I say not to my liking…But so what, I am interested in a high quality book…better paper, better software etc.   The staff likes it that’s great

Posted by
travel33
Oct 11, 2008 8:17am PDT
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travel33
 

Good to know…

Posted by
Stickertrade
Nov 30, 2008 2:51am PDT
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Stickertrade
 

what i want to know is… if the staff picks are so important to us in choosing what we feel will be worth publishing… why cant we also have an area on the persons page to leave comments or stars… i dont agree with all the books chosen for the staff picks but there are some people out there i have looked up and would love to tell them my thoughts but i can’t

Posted by
thuillier
Feb 25, 2009 6:13am PDT
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thuillier
 

Good idea! We really want to make the Bookstore more interactive in ways similar to what you described above. I can’t promise any changes this year, but you never know. In the meantime, keep those great suggestions coming.

Thanks!

– Kathy

Posted by
kathybad
Feb 25, 2009 12:28pm PDT
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kathybad
 

I would love to see the ‘stars’ or comments areas, too – they do have comments area in Shutterfly books.  It is fun to see the comments people make and know what the possible selling potential is of your book or even just for your own use in the next book you do.   Wendy

Posted by
wjukich
Apr 19, 2009 10:41am PDT
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wjukich
 

I would also like to see more flexibility in what pages are selected for the Preview. Many of the first 15 pages of the book are "wasted" on blank flyleafs, nearly-blank title pages, copyright data, etc. Perhaps the first 10 pages, plus selected spreads from the actual meat of the book.

One photography book I recently looked at had zero photographs in the first 15 pages (aside from the cover). It was all tables of contents and introductory text.

Also curious if the staff looks at the entire book when making a staff pick, or just the same 15-page preview as everyone else?

Posted by
nomadicfrog
Aug 9, 2009 1:25pm PDT
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nomadicfrog
 

2 years later…

 When ordering my first copy, I’ve kept the book on private since I need to see the proof before making it publically available. It will be over a week from initial upload & order to making it public. Once public, is that when staff will review it & consider it as a staff pick, or has that horse already left the barn?

Posted by
jakerome
Apr 11, 2011 8:38am PDT
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jakerome