General Interest

My First Blurb Book - A Potted History - Part 1: The Process

Having monitored the forms since stumbling across Blurb about 3 weeks ago I was very concerned about some of the reports about quality and binding, but never the less I decided to place an order for an 80 page 13×11 book of portraits for one of my clients. Here is a synopsis of the process I went through and the results:

The Process

  • Page layout in Photoshop CS3 using my own front end application (psAlbumHelper) for designing the page templates.
  • Saved as PSD and then converted to a JPG.
  •  Placed each JPG onto a full bleed Booksmart page
  •  The only text entered into Booksmart was on the jacket flaps. I note that the colour of the text I chose (a light blue) printed a sort of dark blue/purple, I’m not totally surprised at this as text often does not render well in blue. Would have been fine if it was in a JPG.
  • Ordered the book very late Saturday night  25th August 2007.
  • Book was delivered at 11am Friday 31st August  2007.


The Results

Packaging was as expected, standard cardboard book sleeve, inside the book was shrink wrapped (nice touch).

Slight crease on one of the dust jacket corners. Maybe if the package contained bubble wrap it might make a difference, although this type of minor damage could occur while shrink wrapping.

Dust jacket printing superb (with the exception of the colour shift in the text on the back flap.

Inside printing, better than I had expected after reading some of the other posts on the forums. Yes the images are not as vibrant as they appear on the screen but that is to be expected. If I colour proof using the HP5000 profile mentioned elsewhere on the forums the screen image is identical.

I have used Lulu and GraphiStudio in the past. The quality of the Blurb product is probably slightly better than Lulu though slightly more expensive, and for us non-States boys (UK) no ability to sell on the site is a distinct disadvantage. Obviously Blurb wins on the size as the largest hardcover from Lulu is around letter size. It would be nice however if Blurb could bring out a printable hardcover.

Obviously there is no comparison between Blurb & Graphi. The production methods are completely different and therefore the Graphi quality is far greater, possibly the best on the market, but of course the cost is more than 10 times greater.

Conclusion

Blurb have produced a superb product for the price. For me the result was terrific and the delivery way beyond my best expectations.

Once that you have worked out the international sales side of things I will most certainly be able to take even more advantage of the great Blurb services.

Thank you Blurb, keep up the good work and please pass on my thanks to your printer in the Netherlands for a job well done.


Louis

PhotoLouis

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
PhotoLouis
Aug 31, 2007 4:29am PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

Wow, PhotoLouis, that was a very thorough review! Thank you. We truly appreciate the useful feedback. -Allison

Posted by
allibehr
Aug 31, 2007 9:26am PDT
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allibehr
 

Curious to know if you created any type in your Photoshop images and if so, how did it hold up in the final printed product? Also, what point size was the type?

Posted by
citykitty
Oct 19, 2007 12:34pm PDT
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citykitty
 

Also does PS Ablum Helper only work CS THREE?

Posted by
citykitty
Oct 19, 2007 12:34pm PDT
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citykitty
 

Hm….my book had a rather nice layer of bubble wrap….

Posted by
forevertues
Oct 19, 2007 9:24pm PDT
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forevertues
 

citykitty

Sorry for the late reply, I wish these forums had a notification functions! 

I do use some type in my books, normally limited to titles though so they tend to be in fairly large font sizes and normally with a shadow, or other effect applied. They come out great. 

The latest version is compiled for CS3 although the original code was cut using CS2. I dropped the CS2 support as I couldn’t get the .Net application to run with both versions of the API and as I went CS3 there wasn’t any point in doing both. If anyone needed an older version I could probably do one.

The download is a bit out of date as I have been adding more functionality as I have been using it on a number of new wedding books recently, but haven’t had time to update the documentation. 

Louis 

Posted by
PhotoLouis
Oct 19, 2007 11:17pm PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

Yeah, nice review Louis. I haven’t used any other publishing sites, but so far have been very happy with Blurb… Ran into a slight problem with binding holding with a 300 page 7×7 book. After a few emails to customer report. Actually more than I’d like. they sent new books to my family in the UK without having to send the disfigured books back to the printers.

Posted by
labarryj
Oct 19, 2007 11:19pm PDT
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labarryj
 

Hey PhotoLouis –

As far as the notification function goes – that’s something we hope to work on in the near future. The forum platform we’re using doesn’t offer that feature natively, so we’re going to have to build it ourselves. As far as the notification itself, do you mean that you’d like to receive an automated e-mail when someone replies to your post?

Also, I wanted to clarify that most people in the world can create a book with Blurb, make it public, and sell it to nearly anyone else in the world. For now, only U.S. customers can sell their book for a profit. But that is something else we hope to fix quickly. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere in the Forums, the challenge of making our Set Your Price feature available to all members lies within the ability to comply with all the different income, tax and reporting laws of all supported countries outside the U.S. But, it’s a big priority for us, so stay tuned.   

Thanks,
Jack

Posted by
JackLyon
Oct 19, 2007 11:49pm PDT
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JackLyon
 

Thanks labarryj, glad you liked the review. I have just finished a 240 page 13×11 and am just waiting for the customer to approve it, so I’ll soon know what the binding is like on a larger book!

Jack,

Email notification would be good, although you could also put a new message/post indicator on the dashboard. Lulu use the email route, Smugmug give an indication that there are messages on the dashboard.

Why not use one of the very good forum packages that are freely available rather than reinvent the wheel? Either you’re working the night shift or must have terrible insomnia :-)

Louis 

Posted by
PhotoLouis
Oct 20, 2007 3:04am PDT
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PhotoLouis
 

Thank you Louis.. the larger type makes more sense to me.  I always thought small type in Photoshop just wouldnt hold up under these printing circumstances, since the type would not actually be type.. but instead be made up pixels and just look like a fuzzy mess.

Posted by
citykitty
Oct 22, 2007 12:11pm PDT
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citykitty