My second book - comments
I have received my second book and I want to share a few comments on my experience.
The first book I created was quite disappointing for a few easily avoidable reasons:
1) The big format, that is only worthwhile if you have VERY good photos (I would suggest 10+ megapixels for full bleed but this is arguable, the resolution and sharpness of many of my pictures was simply inadequate)
2) I optimised the photos for my monitor, without tuning the monitor (photos that look great on the screen were dark, fuzzy and lacking contrast.
In my second book I have:
1) Used the 8×10 format, that is anyway quite large
2) Tuned my monitor (a Samsung 19" CRT) for sRGB (just used the monitor menu)
3) Used a very good and unexpensive photo enhancement program (Colour Science Image Editor from http://www.colour-science.com/)
The results are VERY VERY GOOD and I am very pleased with Blurb. Well done guys!
On the negative side:
- One of the books cover fell off after a little browsing; the Blurb support immediately acknowledged the issue and resend another copy free of charge
- The text editor is really the worse part of the software. Changing font and font size is an incredibly frustrating experience and I have ended up with at least one wrong font size on the page
I have had pretty much the same sort of experience on four different books. If you don’t calibrate your monitor, and you don’t work in sRGB, chances are the images when printed in your book will appear more saturated, darker overall. In some cases where this has happened, it has been a fortuitous accident.
Far and away to my way of thinking at least, the text editor is indeed the weak link in the whole process. Given the history of text editing software and the improvements that have been made to it in the past couple of decades, I don’t understand why it can’t be substantially improved without huge expenditures of money and time. When I try to make my headers a color, or a mixture of colors, they often revert to a different typeface and become black. Same with the title on the spine—even when I lock it, it can revert back to something else. I really hope this addressed thoroughly and soon.
Having said all of that, I still am very proud of what I’ve produced and somewhat in awe of the fact that I can produce a coffee-table quality book of my own, 13×11", for $65. I come from the offset printing world. If you tried to do one identical book, using offset lithography, you’d spend at least $15,000 in the US, and at least $6,000 in China.
I’m wondering if that’s what happened to me. I used 300+ dpi photos that are 5-7MB in my 11×13 book, and many of them appear muddy – not pixelated, just blurry around the edges of faces and things. I feel like I can see the halftone screen too much, too – if that makes sense. I hate to have to down size for my next book – I love the large format. Is there anything I can do to correct for this when I make my next book?