benjamlee's Posts

Voting for the Photography.Book.Now.
Web Features

I agree with you Morten, the PBN bookstore is so large it has become impossible to navigate in any meaningful way. Alphabetical order would help, I agree. I’d also like to see it split into the entry categories (Fine Art, Editorial, Commercial), and the usual Blurb categories (travel, children, etc).

I’m not so sure the order is randomly changing (though that would make voting more fair). I noticed it change once but it has been the same books on the first page for several days now.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 28, 2009 11:45am PDT
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benjamlee
 
Wishlist or online bookshelf
Web Features

Thanks very much Brian. I’m glad you discovered my website, and liked it!

Also I should say thanks on behalf of everyone on these forums who you help so much and so often. I’m going to take your advice and submit my suggestion to Blurb.

Cheers, Ben

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 25, 2009 10:15pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
Wishlist or online bookshelf
Web Features

With so many thousands of books now available in the Blurb bookstore, I think a really helpful feature would be a wishlist or online ‘bookshelf’ where you can keep a record of all the books that have caught your attention.

Such a feature would have made voting in the PBN People’s Choice a lot easier as it took me ages to find a book I knew I’d seen in there!

Anyone else think this is a good idea?

 

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 25, 2009 12:33pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
LIST YOUR WEBSITE HERE + TOP 5 TIPS (with links to Blurb)
Web Features

I’ve just put up my first site at www.bengolik.com and included a special ‘Book’ page on it.

This showcases one of my Blurb books – using a series of preview spreads – and links directly through to my Blurb bookstore. Haven’t added it to my blog yet, but that’s definitely my next step.

 

 

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 24, 2009 1:14pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
Not so sure about Full Book Preview
Web Features

I agree with janechika. As often the first few pages of a book are taken up with introductions, contents and forewords, many standard 15pp previews only show 2 or 3 photographs. Not much to see if you’re going to take the plunge and buy a copy of the book. Now it’s possible (with PBN entries at least) to browse as you would in a shop – and then make a properly informed purchase decision.

Blurb books aren’t the cheapest. I can pick up a book by Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller or Martin Parr for less. If you’re going to take a punt on an unknown photographer – it’s only fair to see the full body of work.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 24, 2009 1:04pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
Book Comments/Review
Web Features

I often see previews that inspire me and I’d love to tell the author that, so I think feedback should be open to all. Would *love* to see this feature added! Surely getting work seen and receiving feedback is part of the joy of Blurb?

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 2, 2009 1:23pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
My Large Landscape Template
Tips and Tricks

Your templates sound to me like they have made the proper allowances. The last book I did using my own templates (8×10 lanscape) I followed Blurb’s pixel measurements and all worked out perfectly. But (and someone will correct me if I’m wrong) – when using the pixel measurements, you only need to work in 72dpi. This will give Blurb all the pixels it needs. It keeps your files smaller, and helps Booksmart crunch them faster.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jun 25, 2009 12:32pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
My Large Landscape Template
Tips and Tricks

Like you, I prefer to use the original ratios of my photos, rather than the crops most Blurb templates impose. But I’ve found a much easier way is to select the ‘full page’ image template, then simply place and size my image to suit within that shape.

Use the % indicator on the +/- photo sizing bar if you want to be sure all your images are the same size. And you don’t need to worry about all the ‘grey’ left around the edges of the template area as it will simply print as white (you’ll see this in Preview mode too).

I used this trick to create most of my books – it saves so much time!

Just remember that for an image to be visually centred, you need to offset your images to the left or right to account for the part of the page lost to the spine – I simply shift all my images an equal number of arrow clicks each way. It’s a simple cheat but it does the job.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
benjamlee
Jun 25, 2009 11:31am PDT
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benjamlee
 
A place for comments?
General Interest

There is a graph at the bottom of my dashboard (home) page under the title ‘Book Metrics’. It shows the total combined views ‘public’ books have had from week to week.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jun 12, 2009 11:20am PDT
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benjamlee
 
A place for comments?
General Interest

Over a hundred people have viewed my books this week (which is quite exciting!) and I can’t help but wonder what those people thought.

Would anyone else like to see a comments section under each book? I see so many books I want to say "wow" to… but I don’t have the opportunity. And it would be a great way to get feedback – good and bad – on my own work.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jun 11, 2009 11:55am PDT
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benjamlee
 
NEW PHOTOBOOK: decided to keep an informative log for you
Tips and Tricks

Hello Yannis,

Great project – and great to be able to follow it with you! I’d not seen the Issuu site before and what a great way to preview the book online! Great that you can show the whole thing – I agree that if someone is buying online, they deserve to see what they’d be getting, just as they could in a regular bookshop. Fingers crossed Blurb allows full previews sometime so it’s all here on one site!

Hope the books turn out reall well.

Ben

Posted by
benjamlee
Jan 6, 2009 12:52pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
Blurb boooks vs Apple books
BookSmart

Hello Phil, 

I was interested in the difference myself. So I dropped the same set of photos into an iPhoto book and a Blurb book.

Here’s the final score:

Apple iPhoto book has better page layouts with boxes that naturally fit the aspect of photos, and the page layouts mix and match better to make for much nicer spreads.  Paper quality is a little thicker than Blurb’s too. But… the cover looks amateurish as it is just a piece of paper stuck to the front. The limit of 100 pages is not helplful.

Blurb book looks more pro. I ordered the hardback with dust jacket and this makes for a much more convincing, coffee table book finish. Throughout, the colours and print quality are better. And I got a 140 page book for less than half the price of Apple’s inferior 100-page effort.

As an iBook/iPod/iPhoto fan, I was sure the Apple book would deliver. Blurb won hands down

My only tip – up the contrast and intensity of all your pics no matter which company you decide to go with.

Will take some pics of both books when I get a chance and post them for all to see.

Good luck! Ben

 

Posted by
benjamlee
Aug 12, 2007 2:23pm PDT
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benjamlee
 
I am so pleased with the colour!
General Interest

Hello Worldcrzr,

I did not resize the images at all. My files were 3648×2736 pixels – a little larger than blurb’s recommended size for a 10×8 book. My original camera files downloaded at around 3mb each, however the ones I adjusted the contrast of in Photoshop ended up being around 7mb each.

The full bleed images did get cropped a little when the book cut – but it is normal to lose some of the edge of each image as ‘bleed’ whatever printing process you are using. I was worried as some of my images were cropped to be perfectly central, and I was worried about losing some of the image down one side. But this outside edge trim actually matched the amount of image lost to the glue binding on the inside edge, so the subjects I photographed remained central in each image.

Hope this all helps! Ben 

 

Posted by
benjamlee
Aug 5, 2007 10:23am PDT
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benjamlee
 
I am so pleased with the colour!
General Interest

I have just received my very first blurb book. In short, I am absolutely delighted.

I was very worried, as after reading through these forums, I expected to receive a book full of badly printed images with dull colours. But this is absolutely not the case. My hardback 8"x10" book has 140 pages of really well printed colour photography. And a fantastic dust jacket!

I didn’t follow all the colour profiling rules discussed in other forum topics, as I didn’t understand them. I took all my images at 10megapixels on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. I downloaded them and left them all as ‘RGB’. I did a quick tweak to each – increasing the contrast by between 10% and 15% in Photoshop, judging it by eye on my iBook (which doesn’t  have a colour-calibrated screen).

Then I put them all into Blurb and hit ‘order’ and hoped for the best. I got it. 

Just wanted to share this with anyone who uses a similar model camera, or who is nervous about giving the service a go after reading all the posts about colour.

  

Posted by
benjamlee
Aug 1, 2007 1:04pm PDT
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benjamlee