Maharg's Posts

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Can you alter elements on a page after creating a cover?
PDF to Book

Yes, you can alter elements on a page after creating a cover.

Posted by
Maharg
Apr 17, 2014 3:51am PDT
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Maharg
 
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - I'm sick of the SPAM
Book Design and Imaging

Still happening

Posted by
Maharg
Apr 14, 2014 6:03am PDT
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Maharg
 
Can you alter elements on a page after creating a cover?
PDF to Book

Yes 

Posted by
Maharg
Dec 14, 2013 4:53pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Simpler and more transparent pricing? Not for Aussies
Ordering and Shipping

As I said, just hope and pray that Blurb don’t introduce "geo-blocking". There’s a government enquiry at present where Adobe, Microsoft and Apple are being questioned as to why they do this, and why we are forced to pay vastly more for their products than Americans do.

Posted by
Maharg
Mar 22, 2013 5:48pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Simpler and more transparent pricing? Not for Aussies
Ordering and Shipping

Just got an email from Blurb which began "In response to requests from customers for a simpler and more transparent pricing structure, we have moved to a per page pricing model." But it will still be necessary for me to suggest to prospective buyers in Australia that they pay in US dollars, as the Australian prices are up to 30% higher.

Example 1: 20 page large landscape, dust jacket, standard paper AU$62.72 = US$65.02, but on US/global site US$49.99.

Example 2: 20 page large landscape, dust jacket, pro-line uncoated paper AU$84.67 = US$ 87.78, but on US/global site $68.09.

It’s not as if our currency is volatile; it’s been above the US dollar for almost of the last few years.

Curiously, some of the Australian prices are a little lower than the US ones, but the vast majority are higher, by around 15 to 20%. Blurb must think we Aussies are a soft touch.

At least it’s still possible for us to switch to the global site and pay in US dollars. Will Blurb deny us this option in the near future?

Posted by
Maharg
Mar 14, 2013 8:30pm PDT
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Maharg
 
What is the cover stock for softcover book?
Book Printing

It is. I’m guessing it’s about 200 gsm.

Posted by
Maharg
Mar 6, 2013 2:05pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

Oh, and I’ve tried it on a second computer, so I really can’t imagine the problem is my end.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 23, 2013 12:18pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

Having done a bit more sleuthing, I notice that the problem occurs in all categories with large numbers of books. In small categories, such as "Romance" or "Computers and Internet" or "Just published" there is no problem. It would appear that something in the code isn’t coping with large numbers. I don’t know what the threshold is, and I don’t have time to find out.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 23, 2013 12:16pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

Now try selecting "travel" books and see if it happens. I think you’ll find that it behaves perfectly 80% of the time, but when you least expect it, it will take you to the first page, last page, back a page, back several pages, etc. I must admit, I didn’t try it in other sections. The fault happens on both Internet Explorer and Firefox. If you select "Just published" it works fine.

While we’re at it, here’s another little curiosity that’s been around for a year now. Whether it’s Facebook’s fault or Blurb’s, it still looks rather unprofessional, yes?

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/6/topics/13320

http://forums.blurb.com/forums/6/topics/12841

(At least on this occasion, there was a response from Blurb staff.)

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 23, 2013 11:28am PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

Thank you Tony. I did that on January 11 also, and was told that it would be passed on to the web people. You, Tony, would be more supportive if you confirmed what I’m saying. Perhaps then the gurus at Blurb would be more likely to do something. Until a few months ago I was getting between 500 and 1500 views a week, then suddenly it became almost zero. I’m not losing sleep over it, but it would be nice if Blurb was a little more responsive.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 22, 2013 4:16pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

The site was down for maintenance recently. Aha, I thought, this little problem might be fixed. Alas, no. I hope it hasn’t been given a nil priority, as I really would like people to be able to look at my books. It’s clearly been happening for a while … http://forums.blurb.com/forums/6/topics/13770

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 21, 2013 7:24pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Blurb Australia - Buyer Beware - Same Print Press as Snapfish?
Book Printing

Blurb began using Eastmon in Glen Innes about a year ago. And yes, they do work for several Australian companies, including Harvey Norman, Camera House, etc etc. Prior to a year ago almost all Blurb books purchased by Australians came from the US.

For quite a long period there were major quality control issues with the Australian operation. There are many threads about it in this forum, some of which I started. Blurb always quickly sent replacements for defective books, but sometimes it took several attempts before an acceptable product was received. Common defects were banding, misaligned pages, inconsistent colours and inaccurate trim. I also received a book where several pages had been included twice.

Not sure whether some butts were kicked, threats were made, or some extra tuition was provided, but the books I’ve received (also other people I know) in the last several months have been fine. So, cross fingers, it looks as though Australian customers are receiving products up to the standard of the US plant. However, the hardware used to produce dust jackets is/was not the same as in the US. Check out this thread http://forums.blurb.com/forums/5/topics/13825 which I’m hoping might be answered one day.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 13, 2013 3:53pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Please fix your website
Web Features

The "Next" button in the bookstore doesn’t always do what it should. Often it will take you to an entirely random page, sometimes it takes you back several pages, sometimes it takes you to the last page (at first I couldn’t understand why so many of the books were about things in the year 2006).

Please fix this, Blurb webmaster. It might explain why after a few weeks the number of my views my books get drops dramatically.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 11, 2013 3:47pm PDT
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Maharg
 
black and white pages + a softcover in colour = prize doubled?
PDF to Book

Black and white books have colour covers.

Posted by
Maharg
Jan 6, 2013 7:24pm PDT
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Maharg
 
What's the firsth page?
Book Design and Imaging

The book will print as you see it on the screen in InDesign. Pages on the right will be on the right and pages on the left will be on the left.

Posted by
Maharg
Nov 15, 2012 4:19pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Why Blurb needs to shut down its Australian operation
Book Printing

I hope so, too. I received my replacement book last week, again from the Australian plant, and it was almost perfect. (It was a reprint of an earlier book with a dust jacket, and the dust jackets are still not up to the US standard. I’ve decided with regret to design any new books with image wrap.) No banding, pages correctly aligned (so that horizons in two-page spreads correspond), trimmed correctly, solours accurate, and packed much better than six months ago. But I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security before.

In the meantime I’ve dug a little deeper and have found that there are a few other services that accept PDFs from InDesign, so it might be time to give one or two a try. A pity, because Blurb’s new InDesign workflow is nice and slick, and familiarity breeds trust. It’s a pity there aren’t any quality comparative reviews in magazines of various print-on-demand (POD) companies. (If there are, I haven’t found them.)

It would be ironic if I switched to a different POD company only to find that they use the same Australian plant. Nothing would surprise me …

Posted by
Maharg
Sep 2, 2012 4:02pm PDT
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Maharg
 
We'd like to hear from you about the future of our forums
General Interest

Oh, I think you should include all posts for at least a year in your new system. Another thing that would be nice would be for threads to be automatically locked after, say, six months of inactivity. As you know, occasionally irrelevant threads from several years ago are (probably unwittingly) revived.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 29, 2012 5:52am PDT
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Maharg
 
We'd like to hear from you about the future of our forums
General Interest

It would be nice to be able to edit posts, like, say, if you’d typed "here" instead of "hear" in your header …

Notifications of responses would be nice, too. The other three I could live without.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 29, 2012 5:49am PDT
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Maharg
 
Low resolution image warnings
PDF to Book

If the effective PPI in the links panel in InDesign shows 300 for all your images, then you should have nothing to worry about. Blurb’s "pre-flight check" occasionally gave false alarms. I don’t know whether their new InDesign workflow does.

I occasionally have printed images at 200 dpi or even a bit less, and I find them to be still quite acceptable. 300 is better, of course.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 29, 2012 5:45am PDT
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Maharg
 
Can anyone explain this?
PDF to Book

For those of you who have been on the edge of their seat awaiting the final chapter in this saga (!) …

The replacement book arrived, but the funny fraction wasn’t fixed. I contacted Blurb again and was told that they’d get back to me. A week later I hadn’t heard, so I gave them a nudge, and was told that there may have been a fault in the font I was using. It was suggested I outline the font, and they’d reprint it again for me.

This was successful, and the third book was fine. (It came from the US, whereas the other two came from the Australian plant, but I doubt whether this is relevant.)

Memo to self: in future avoid using Californian FB font, or if you do, outline any text that contains fractions.

I’m impressed that Blurb stuck with me on this and reprinted twice, when I had stated that I thought the defect was trivial and I was prepared to live with it.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 27, 2012 3:39pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Why Blurb needs to shut down its Australian operation
Book Printing

My experience with Blurb began two years ago. I didn’t want to use the photo "kiosk" services from department stores in Australia as they were expensive and I had heard unfavourable things about their quality. I was very happy with the products I got from Blurb, and recommended them to many people including some professional photographers. Many of these people had previously dismissed using services like Blurb, but were very impressed with what they saw. Over the last couple of years I ordered 118 books for myself (and many for others) from the US plant. Of those 118 books, only three had printing faults and needed to be reprinted (less than 3%).


But early this year Blurb, in its wisdom, began using an Australian plant for its Australian customers. One consequence is that we began paying GST, which we don’t have to pay on imported goods up to $1000 in value. But the irony for me was that the plant that Blurb uses in Australia is the very plant that handles the bulk of the photo "kiosk" services for Australian department stores that I had deliberately avoided. This plant uses much of the same equipment as other Blurb facilities, but not quite all. As I pointed out in another thread the dust jackets of the photo books are printed using different equipment, on thinner paper that curls up.


I’d like to be patriotic and support my fellow Australians, really I would, but as I expected, the quality control at the Australian facility, in my experience, has been shocking. Five out of the six books (83%) I have received have needed to be done again, two of these twice. In June, Mike from Blurb’s staff said in another thread: "Our Australian print partner is new to the Blurb production process and working to continually improve their workflow and reduce defects." How much longer are they going to give excuses?


Thankfully I’ve never had a problem getting Blurb to replace a faulty book. It happens swiftly without an argument. But this can’t go on forever. It means that whenever I order a book I need to make sure that I’m around for several months to receive it and allow for one or two reprints, especially now the books arrive by untraceable standard mail and are simply left on the doorstep.


The chief reason I use Blurb is to make books of overseas trips. I do three or four trips each year, usually in organised tour groups. The second last trip I did, late 2011, everyone in the group ordered a book on their return. But on the latest trip I told people that I had experienced major quality control issues with recent orders. Only two people on that trip ordered books.


There was a long period when I used to get quite excited whenever I opened a package from Blurb. Those days are gone. Now it’s rather a stressful experience as I wonder how far into the book I’ll get before I discover the first printing problems and go through the ritual of getting the camera out and lodging another reprint request. I’d dearly love to go elsewhere, but haven’t found a print-on-demand service that offers the flexibility of using InDesign. When things go right, Blurb is the best option for me, and the quality is excellent.


But things are not going right often enough for us down under. Time for Blurb to admit that opening operations in Australia was a dumb idea, and to go back to the way things were. It would only take a few mouse clicks by the right person.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 15, 2012 4:22pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Good result from Australian plant
Book Printing

Alas my excitement after receiving a well-printed book from the Australian plant has been short-lived. Today one arrived with major printing problems on four separate pages. It looks like the paper got stuck in the machine and no one noticed or cared.

Some interesting statistics. In the past couple of years I have received 118 books from the US plant. Three were faulty and needed to be done again. I’ve received six books from the Australian operation and five have needed to be done again. Two of these needed to be done again twice.

So apart from no longer being able to get books with dust jackets (as I am not prepared to accept the Australian ones that curl up), I must now be prepared to wait months for books, to allow for reprinting faulty jobs again and again.

A pity Blurb doesn’t admit that starting operations in Australia was a dumb idea, and go back to the way things were.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 14, 2012 10:20pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Australians get charged international rates for local shipping?
Ordering and Shipping

I’m not sure if I’ve misunderstood you, dirtmod, but paying in US dollars doesn’t mean your books will come from the US. You can pay in US dollars and still be supporting local business. Over the past few months I’ve received some books from the US and some from Australia, for reasons known only to Blurb.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 14, 2012 4:38pm PDT
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Maharg
 
Customer paper options question.
Book Printing

When papers of different thicknesses are used, the book spines are different sizes. All the books I make are with PDF uploads from InDesign, which offers me complete flexibility with regard to what is printed on the spine. Consequently, purchasers are unable to slect a different paper type, as that would require me to re-design the cover with a wider or narrower spine.

I have never used Booksmart or Bookify but I understand that they offer the book designer less flexibility regarding spine design, in return for which the spine dimensions can more easily be altered at Blurb’s end, and hence purchasers have the option of different paper types.

This is my understanding of how it all works; if I’m wrong I’m sure someone will correct me.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 10, 2012 8:36pm PDT
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Maharg
 
What does the pro line pearl paper feel like?
Book Printing

I was surprised how little difference there is between the standard and "premium" papers. The main difference is the latter are a little thicker. But there’s quite a noticeable step up to the proline pearl. A much more professional paper like you’d get from a professional photographer. When I’m preparing a book for proline pearl I usually lighten the photos a little, as the end result is more dense.

Posted by
Maharg
Aug 4, 2012 6:15pm PDT
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Maharg

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