Book Printing

Book to book consistency

I am a professional Fine Art Photography and I teach as well. This would be my first attempt at making my images into a book. I print everything myself and teach the process as well so I am not worried about making the book itself.

 

What I am worried about is book to book consistency when I put it up for sale. I am worried about someone buying the book off of the website, it is printed and mailed to them, and I never see the quality. What if I sale 20 books in one month and 18 of them are not printed the same as the books I got for myself, you know something may have gone wrong.

 

Can anyone testify as to the consistency of Blurb’s printing from one book to the next over a period of time?

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
mltphoto
Jan 2, 2009 1:46pm PDT
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mltphoto
 

mltphoto,

I have been creating and ordering books for over a year from Blurb. My experience with the hard bound books with the printed cover is that the internal book printing is pretty consistent. Not identical as when ordering  a large number from a single printer. B&W color shifts as you might expect are more noticable than with color images. The covers on the other hand can be dramatically different, especially background colors. The covers are not printed on the same printer as the books and  the color shifts can be quite large as I found on my last book (private printing). This has caused a small problem in that the books were given as gifts and now several on the individuals have asked to purchase additional books for their children. The printing have now come from two different printers and the green color of the cover vary from a sherwood green to bluish green. It takes a little explaining that the difference is not a defect. If the background color of your proposed books are critical, you might want to contact Blurb Support to see if there is a way around this. I think there is but it will cost you.

Len

Posted by
lcarreira
Jan 2, 2009 7:31pm PDT
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lcarreira
 

Thanks Len!!  A few more questions on this topic.

 So when you say "background color", you mean the color I choose to go on the outside of my photo? Will that effect the colors of my photo, or are you saying the outlining color around my image might be different but the photo fine? I will either choose black, or leave it white, so from what I think  you are saying I should be fine.

Also, when printing cover photo directly onto book, versus printing onto cover sleeve, will they look the same. Is printing directly onto a cover of book a problem, or should I not do that and only print photo onto sleeve and just print name onto hardcover?

 

Thanks 

Posted by
mltphoto
Jan 3, 2009 9:38am PDT
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mltphoto
 

mltphoto,

Perhaps that you want to do a proof book with first twenty (yes, 20) pages with most challenging images and cover sleeve. I would think that proof book itself will speaks for itself.

To address with quality-related issue, best if you contact with Blurb staff through email support customer service when you run into some kind of specific issue that might arise from time to time.

As for consistency of book to book, outsourced printer to other printer, I strongly encourage you to submit a after-thought, in-depth analysis and perspective from someone like you as expertise in your field, your knowledge and skills could be of help and benefit Blurb staff and all. To do this, perhaps that you want to submit feedback email support submission.

You want to do a survey posted by Blurb.

Hope that this helps.

Cheers, Brian {a passionate Blurbarian}

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 4, 2009 3:46pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

mltphoto,

I realize that I failed to include the link to survey info announced by Blurb, the link below:

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/3/topics/4883

Hope that helps,
Brian {a passionate Blurbarian}

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 4, 2009 3:56pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

mltphoto,

I wasn’t very clear in my response. The contents of your book will be printed on an HP Indigo 5000 series printer (These printers us a liquid system to carry the toner to the image unlike the xerox iGen series that use a dry toner process) The dust cover with be printed using a different printer, probably an ink jet system. The two printers are not color matched and therefore your images will not be identical in the book and on the cover. From printer to printer I have found the book photos to be close but not identical to one another. The difference are acceptable for my use but I’m not sure about yours. The problem with re-orders is that you have no control over which printer printes your book. So even in producing a test or proof book it is difficult since the book will be printed by a printer is somewhat random fashion. Now getting back to an image on the cover, since the printing process for book and cover printing, the same photo in the book will be rendered differently on the cover. I have found additionally that the the cover printings are not as well controlled as that of the books themselves. Blurb does have a special service, for more money, that as a professional you might take advantage of to minimize some of the differences I mentioned. Contact Customer Support for more information.

 I strongly support what Brian said about proofing a book. But keep in mind that your book might not get printed by the printer that printed your proof. My books have alternated among three printers, one three miles from my home, one in MA, and one in WA. Despite some of Blurb’s claims, distance from your location have little bearing on which printer is chosen. Three separate proofs of my recent (private) book came from 3 miles away and my order ot 15 books came from over 2K miles away in WA state. Go figure. (The standard response will be printer backlog at the closer printer)

 Len

Posted by
lcarreira
Jan 6, 2009 12:08pm PDT
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lcarreira
 

My experience has not been so positive with consistency. Of the 5 books I ordered in the past month only 2 have come out acceptable. I am still waiting for a correction of the errors. Of my first order (3 books) 2 were correct, the third (in the same box) had someone else’s contents entirely.

I ordered 2 more, slightly different layout but with mostly the same images. One came with large white borders on the top of all pages (cutting off my images), and they both had colored stains on the booksmart borders provided by blurb. One had globs of glue seeping out of the spine.

Now I understand mistakes are made, but I would not be comfortable putting my professional name on a product and having it shipped directly to a customer with this huge margin of error. The ones that were correct look great, but 2 out of 5 isn’t a great track record so far.

Posted by
shannonholm
Jan 6, 2009 3:33pm PDT
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shannonholm
 

Shannonholm,

I agree with you. I don’t consider myself a professional but I and my wife have created 10 books over the last year. Most have been for private use and several have had more than one printing order. In all cases I have made all orders ship to me. In this way I can review each book for errors and can hand them out or ship with knowledge that the receiver will get an acceptable book. My concern is not having, in most cases a family member or friend, have to deal with Blurb directly. Blurb is extremely good on making all books a quality product and will correct errors but unfortunately workmanship at the printers can vary a lot.

Len

Posted by
lcarreira
Jan 7, 2009 10:38am PDT
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lcarreira
 

I’ve ordered three different Imagewrap 13×11 books. Blurb has printed 6 books so far and only 1 came out OK.  I need to photograph defects and get them to reprint two more(again). The books were ordered between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  All but one of the defects came from Rochester, NY, but one came from Seattle, WA. I have 5 defective books!  I’m truly ready to give up—despite Customer Service’s responsiveness.  It just wear on you that these $100 books are 80% defective!  I’ve been assured there are no higher-than-usual defect rates for these books or Rochester.  However, since Math is a skill I enjoy, I understand that probability of 5 out of 6 books being defective for me and it not being an indicator of a larger issue—is like me winning the lottery. Woo Hoo!  I guess I’m just lucky.

I ordered one 10×8 imagewrap and it was perfect (and from Rochester). Four copies of that 10×8 books have been purchased by other people.  Two have arrived successfully, there was something slightly off with one, but the receiver was willing to ignore it.  I don’t know about the other two as they were purchased directly from Blurb. 

Posted by
royalef
Jan 13, 2009 8:40am PDT
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royalef
 

Can anyone tell me about the quality of the text only 8×5 books from Blurb?  Paper Quality?  Printing quality and consistency?  Cover quality and consistency?

Posted by
ciannavei
May 12, 2009 7:48pm PDT
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ciannavei
 

I completely agree with others who commented on the cover quality control. Basically, there isn’t any. In the same batch, an imagwrap cover looked different from a dust jacket. And both were completely wrong from past covers in terms of colour and dynamic range.

 Plus, the imagewrap cover won’t lay flat. 

 Completely useless.

Posted by
smgalbraith
May 13, 2009 4:01pm PDT
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smgalbraith