Book Printing

Received my 232-page L-Square Proline book - here are my comments

It’s my fourth time ordering from Blurb, but my first using Proline pearl (glossy) paper.

232 pages
Large Square
Proline Pearl Photo paper
Proline endsheets (white)
cost incl. shipping: $200 (after 25% discount)

Book cover:
I picked imagewrap cover, as I did in one previous occasion a few years back. I quite liked the neat feel to the book. Imagewrap has seemed to improve, the edges aren’t as thickened as a result of the folding and the amount of the image lost seems to be less. the matte cover means less reflection but I do continue to feel it is quite a delicate cover.

Proline pearl photo paper:
This is the first time I’ve used the proline pearl photo paper. I used premium lustre paper on my previous occasions. It does feel a lot thicker and more premium. But as the name suggests, it is ‘photo paper’ and it is the type that is not entirely smooth. As such, I find the prints to be great when the photo is light in colour, but feels grainy in the darker coloured areas, especially for portrait photos. (I had a few black coloured background pages, they turned out fine). Brightness-wise, I found no problem with the brightness of the photos. My monitor was not calibrated. I was hoping for more like a magazine paper but I guess this will be as good as it gets from Blurb for now.

This is a 230+ page book with thick-ish proline paper. The binding feels a little weak, but I’ll see how it withstands the flipping. If it does fall apart unreasonably quickly then I should trust Blurb’s customer service? Hopefully!

Gripes and complaints:
Okay, the more objective comments aside, here are some things which disappointed me:
1) when viewed at a particular angle, there is a glossy line that runs down the full length of the front cover
2) I chose the white proline endsheets, and while the paper was nice (though I couldn’t imagine any worse), the edges of the front and end sheets (for about 1 inch in width and running the whole length of the book) have become a bit blackened from the abrasion with the opposite page. Not ideal given I paid extra for white, only to have it turn out less than white. (Blurb could perhaps place a protective sheet of paper on these pages which are prone to abrasion? not ideal given that it costs $3 for 2 pieces of paper which turn out less than perfect)
3) my biggest gripe is an issue with black text on a black background. On the copyright page I did not delete the copyright words, but instead had the black text be placed on a black background page (I wasn’t sure initially whether I wanted to add the text back again). When viewing on Blurb’s Booksmart program, in both edit mode and preview mode, the words do not show up. HOWEVER, on the printed book, I can see the copyright sentence in a slightly different tint of black making it rather awkward right at the beginning of the book!
4) This again happens on a few other pages with black backgrounds and where my book title in black text was meant to be at the corner. I was made to believe on Booksmart that the book title text would not show up on that page. However, again I can see the book title in a slightly different shade of black. If I knew it would show up then I would have tried to delete it on those particular pages, or changed the text to white. Now it looks like I’m trying to have some secret text in the book.. or I just look silly..

These gripes aside, the paper and print quality has kept up to the standards that I remember Blurb to be. I previously had print quality issues in one of my previous books which are not evident here. I am not sure if it is too much to ask for Blurb to reprint and rectify the black text problem. I’ve checked the preview on Booksmart and it shouldn’t be the onus of the user to order for ‘test’ book for this. This is especially since at $200 even after a 25% discount, it is not a cheap book. I’ll dwell on this a short while to see how much I think it will affect the overall book.

Posted by
Nov 22, 2013 6:43pm PDT

Hi – that’s an interesting review. I use the Pro Line Pearl paper mostly for my books because that’s the only paper with Blurb where you don’t see the individual dots of the print raster. So it’s my favorite paper. As others have stated the Pearl Paper books tend to be printed darker than other papers, so  I try to prepare the pictures a little bit brighter. I still have some problems with color cast. My last order contains two times the same book, once a large square with Pro Line Pearl and a small landscape with Premium Matte paper. The Premium Matte print was correct in colour but the Pro Line Pearl has a green on the whole book.

From my opinion books with Pro Line Pearl paper get rather heavy and delicate to handle, once you have more than about 160 pages. They are more "comfortable" below that page count.

Still the Pro Line Pearl paper is my favorite!

Posted by
Dec 2, 2013 5:04am PDT