Book Design and Imaging

First book. My review.

Received my first book.
8.5×10, hardcover, 28 pages.
Ordered on 1/13, delivered on 1/18.

I like the software better than iPhoto.
Page thumbs and source photos in view simultaneously.
More page templates and easier font modification.

Very pleased with the glossy cover.
The entire book consists of photos of oil paintings so I think I am a little more critical than if the images were of people or normal scenes.

I used the available HP profile and proofed all photos in Photoshop.
The printed photos were reasonably clear but there is a fine grain in all of them.
If they were as clear as the cover, that would be excellent.

Photo color was correct. However the images had a little too much contrast.
I went back and reexamined the original layered files and decided I had over compensated a bit when soft proofing.
So for now I will mark that down to user error. I have modified the images and will print the book again.

The font was a light cream color, Helvetica on black. Smallest size, 11 pt.
There isn’t much text but it is clear.
The thin Helvetica Neue also looked nice. (24 pt.)

Criticism;
Images not photo quality.
In edit mode, if a black page background is chosen you can’t see the place holder text.
As someone pointed out, if you don’t delete unwanted black text, it can be seen even on a black background when printed.
Just noticed on my book the small header/title on the black photo pages. Didn’t realize it was there when making the book. But you have to look for it to see it on the printed page.

When I select, Header>show none>apply to all pages, it does not work. You have to choose “apply to this page only” and do it for every page.
Maybe I am doing it wrong.

What’s the deal with the bar code???

Paying $10 to not have the Blurb logo is a flat out rip off!
Even Apple gives you the choice to leave off the logo

Would like to see:
A global font change feature.
The color picker remembering swatches for a project even if BookSmart is closed, then opened.
A color picker that can take a sample from the computer screen.
Full bleed page template with text box.
The ability to slide in a custom background of my creation behind a photo box, on a fixed page template.

Over all I am pleased with the book.
I would rate it 8 out of 10.
We shall see how the construction holds up within a gallery environment.

Thanks.

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
TomM
Jan 20, 2008 11:13pm PDT
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TomM
 

Excellent review.  I am anxiously waiting to see my first book.  Your review gives me some insight as to what I can expect.  Thanks.   

Posted by
Orchids
Jan 21, 2008 12:07am PDT
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Orchids
 

Orchids

Did you receive your book yet? How did it turn out?

Thanks

Posted by
Pamela107
Feb 2, 2008 7:22am PDT
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Pamela107
 

Hi Pamela.  Yes, I did receive my book.  It was my first book from Blurb.  I have made several other books with Shutterfly and one with Picaboo.  The Blurb book was a 10×8 hardcover with 24 pages.  It was ordered on 1/18 and received on 1/24.  Delivery was very fast considering I am in Hawaii.

Reinforcing some of your comments, I liked the BookSmart software.  It was easy to use.  Importing photos was quick and easy.  I was very pleased with the glossy cover.  The photo colors closely matched my soft proofs in Photoshop using the HP profile.  I did not expect photo quality prints in the book and they were not.  The photo quality was as good as Shutterfly and Picaboo.  The black 11 pt. Jester font I used on a cream background was clear and easy to read.

I am in agreement with your criticisms in your review.  I too missed the small header/title on a couple of my pages.  I did not realize they were there until I saw the printed book.

I endorse your "Would like to see" features.  The global font change would be very useful.  I also would like to see a full bleed page template with text box and have the ability to slide in a custom background (or photo) behind a photo box on a fixed page template.  Picaboo has these features which I liked very much.

Besides the above, I would like to see the USPS as a shipment option.  Being from Hawaii, the cheapest shipment option offerred by Blurb is 2nd Day Air.  My 24 page book cost me $53.49 of which $23.54 was for shipping.  Priority mail if offerred would have reduced the shipping cost in half.  Both Shutterfly and Picaboo offer USPS as a shipping option.

Over all I was very pleased with the Blurb book.  I used the 24 page book as a proof book.  I expanded the book to 40 pages and recently ordered 9 copies for family and friends.  The book contained photos and text of our family Christmas Party.

Posted by
Orchids
Feb 3, 2008 12:59am PDT
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Orchids
 

Orchids

Thank you for your reply. After I receive my book I will reply back. Mine is an engagement proof album sample.

Posted by
Pamela107
Feb 3, 2008 8:16pm PDT
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Pamela107
 

Just got the revised version of my book reviewed above.
Unfortunately, even after adjusting the photos they are still dark.
I noticed that the same text color was much darker which suggests an inconsistency in printing that also may have nullified my photo adjustments.

The images are not very clear.
The cover is again the best part of the book.

Conclusion:
I will not be ordering more books.
Let me know when the pages match the quality of the cover.
Thanks.

Posted by
TomM
Feb 4, 2008 1:42pm PDT
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TomM
 

Hello all… I just created my first book last week and am awaiting it’s arrival. I noticed that the above posts indicate that the photo quality is lacking. Is this typical? I did upload rather large files so I am hoping for fairly clear images. I also found that uploading was easy..but NOT quick at all. It took 4 minutes per photo to be placed in the template. I will let me know you how my book comes out when I receive it. Thanks for the insight.

Cheers.

Posted by
framed62001
Feb 4, 2008 4:14pm PDT
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framed62001
 

Hi framed62001.  How large were your photo files?  My photos uploaded into the templates in a matter of seconds.  I cropped my photos close to the template sizes at 300 ppi before I uploaded the photos into BookSmart.  Most of my photos were less than 2 mb in size after cropping in Photoshop.

As noted in my review above, I am satisfied with Blurb’s photo quality which is like magazine quality.  I found their quality is as good as Shutterfly and Picaboo.  Anyway, give us your assessment when you receive your book.

I’m sorry we lost TomM above.  He provided very good comments and made some excellent recommendations for improvement.  By the way, I mistakenly gave Pamela107 credit for TomM’s excellent reviews and suggestions.  Sorry TomM.  If you ever find a publisher that can match Blurb’s cover quality, please let us know.  I don’t think there are any except for high end, expensive printing companies.  My two cents for today.  Thanks.

Posted by
Orchids
Feb 4, 2008 4:58pm PDT
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Orchids
 

Hello again….

My files were definitely larger than 2mb. I had to convert RAW images to JPGS which were still data heavy files. Do you know the minimum requirements that would ensure a sharp image even across a full page? I often crop my images as well, using portions of the photo so I wanted to maintain consistent quality. That said…I am pretty excited to see the finished piece seeing as it is a Valentine’s Day present for my girlfriend.

Thanks again for the info and I will post a review when I receive my book. Is the estimated shipping date generally accurate ?

Posted by
framed62001
Feb 5, 2008 8:52am PDT
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framed62001
 

I liked blurb, really hate shutterfly simply because the fact you had to upload all the photos. In addition to that, the quality was really :( :( :(. never could imagine how they could make money with this crappy job! I liked their calendar though. I like my publisher’s work, but their software, even blurb’s software are not very flexible at all. A lot of times I had to give up my brilliant ideas of wanting to change the layout of their pages.

Hey, do not know if anyone tried this site yet, happened to come across this site, never heard about it, has anyone printed any books with them yet? The site looked ok, I am especially interested in the features mentioned on their web site, the layered design, and you can move any photos around, even for those you used their templates. One extra thing, their base cost is for 30 pages not 20 pages like anyone else.

Anyway, if anyone used this familymemories.com, drop me a line. Is the software easy to use? and what about the print quality?

Emily

Posted by
edavisrose
May 27, 2008 10:06am PDT
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edavisrose
 

Emily,

may be I’m being excessively suspicious but from a quick perusal of recent postings you appear to have posted exactly this same message in response to 5 quite separate threads.

I just have to assume that you are an agent for familymemories.com why else would you do that???

So I will ignore your post.

Blurbs T&Cs do not allow advertising of other services wityhin these forums, your clumsy postings just have to be an attempt at such advertising.

........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 10:40am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Agreed.  Rude at best, spamming at worst.

Posted by
ErinGoBragh
May 27, 2008 11:30am PDT
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ErinGoBragh
 

Thanks to Blurb staff all the other identical postings (I think it was eventually 7) have now been removed, just leaving this one.

......Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 12:28pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

No problem, Tony.

Thanks for helping out.

– Kathy 

Posted by
kathybad
May 27, 2008 1:37pm PDT
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kathybad
 

I personally loved my first photo book from Blurb.  I thought that all of my images were printed better than my HP Officjet 7400 series did.  I was very careful to first change each image to 300 dpi, and then carefully crop to the exact size of the template that I wanted to use.  My camera only takes 72 dpi images, so every image needed to be readjusted first.  If I changed a template, I have to redo the image.  It was a lot more work, but I am very happy with the results.  The only images that showed excessive grain, showed it on the printed version first, so I was not at all surprised.  Thinking of the printed version, I did have to print two pages at a time, as printing the whole book at once (78 pages) crashed my computer (too much info for it to handle).  I found mistakes in the printed version that I had previously missed too.  So, all in all, I found it very useful to print the pages first.

 I fully agree with the ideas for the color picker remembering the swatches, and being able to choose from the screen.  I had to choose colors from Paint Shop Pro, check the values, and type them into the Blurb software.  It would’ve saved time if I could’ve just chosen the color in Book Smart to begin with.

Posted by
dhooper
May 30, 2008 11:05am PDT
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dhooper