Back in the fall I bought a coupon deal thing from jasmere.com for a Blurb book. It was $22 for a $55 GC. I’d been thinking of trying them for a couple of personal photobook projects, so I figured that was a good way to get on it. It was about to expire last week so I finally designed a book. It came yesterday–and woo!! It looks pretty good!
I made a 114-page book of our two summer vacations. I used the premium paper, which is apparently thicker than their standard paper. I got the hardcover with an imagewrap (photo printed right on the cover). Photo quality is good, not amazing. But for the price, I think it’s decent. Good enough that I think I will use Blurb again.
Typically you download their Booksmart software to design your album. I didn’t want to download anything, plus I already own album design software that gives me complete control, so I designed my book in my own software. Blurb offers a PDF-to-book option, which is what I wanted to use…just submit your entire book as a PDF and they print it exactly as you’ve designed it. My software can output as a PDF, so I planned to use that. Except that Blurb uses some very specific version of a PDF that requires you download their PDF preset to get the right output, but these don’t work with my album software and it’s all over my head anyway. So I was bummed about that, because it would’ve been so easy to just upload one PDF and avoid their software altogether. But alas.
Instead what I did was to just output each designed page as a jpg, then use their online software (Bookify) to place the images in the book. I put one jpg on each page. The downside of this is that text doesn’t print as well from a jpg as it will from a PDF, and the text in the printed book is a little blotchy.
For my cover, they call it an “imagewrap,” which implies that the image can wrap around–doesn’t it? Except that with their software, you can’t wrap an image around at all. You cannot put an image on the spine at all with their software. The only way to do it is by PDF…which I couldn’t do without this confusing preset stuff. I originally designed the cover to wrap around to the back, but instead had to redesign it to fit their software capabilities. Little disappointed in that. But the imagewrap cover itself? Is beautiful. I am in LOVE with it. It might be my favorite part of the whole book.
Specs: 10″x8″, hardcover with imagewrap, premium paper, 114 pages
This book was priced at $44.95 before tax. Shipping was $7, I think. I used FedEx ground (the cheapest option) and it got here quicker than they estimated.
It came shrinkwrapped, which I thought was nice.
I put a full-bleed photo on the front cover, then a full-bleed photo (a solid yellow square, basically) on the back cover, and then chose that exact same yellow for the color of the spine.
I used the same yellow on the inside to start off each set of vacation photos. I also used it on the title page and the last page. I didn’t use much text. I just labeled sets of images with the location where they were taken. The only thing I’d do differently with this next time is make the font smaller. I intended for it to be pretty small, but it didn’t print as small as I was picturing.