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EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

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EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby EPNet Admin on Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:46 am

Beautiful books. Made by you.
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Carol Lynn Coronios
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Carol Lynn Coronios on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:31 pm

Carien - or anyone else, have you used BLURB? Can you give a personal recommendation as to quality? Can you compare to, for instance, MPIX/ACI/ASUKA?

Thanks!

Carol
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Betty Cooper on Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:20 am

Carol:

I tried to use them once. It took me two days to get two pages. I left in disgust. I know others have had success creating them with this company, but I would not touch them again. Their quality is not as good as Asuka books. (Asuka cost more and you see the difference).
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Michelle Twohig on Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:20 pm

20%'s a nice discount on Blurb. I've tried blurb, photoworks.com (now shutterfly.com), aandibooks.com and here's what I've learned about printing books online:

>Lay-flat pages are wonderful and worth the extra cost for client work (aandibooks.com has them)
>Don't become reliant on any online layout tool—use InDesign or Photoshop and upload entire page jpgs so you can easily take the jpgs to another publisher later if you want
>Be very careful to follow specs for layout/bleed etc.
>Do some research around which shape/size is best to give you the most flexibility in where you can take the same book in the future to be published
>If you do go with an online layout tool and don't have the pdf approval option, make sure the online proofing tool works for your needs/client for approval before starting
>Be careful of the book maker's policy around whether their logo has to show on the book and/or what you have to pay extra to delete it
>Make sure continued access to viewing the book online is not determined by the number of copies ordered/sold
>Be sure you're okay with minimum $$ amounts and how often you get paid for any books sold (blurb requires many copies to be sold before you ever see a check unless you mark it up so much it won't sell. Major catch-22).
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Jim Smith on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:11 pm

Carol,
I second most of what Michelle said in her previous post and did not have the same problems that Betty seems to have had. I have done 3 books, all for specific personal (not client) purposes, and none were intended for sale to third parties. I have not worked with other print-on-demand printers (yet), so have only the Blurb expereince so far. A few other comments from me (some redundant for emphasis) follow, with sumary comments at the end.

First some of the positives.
>Their proprietary design tool is relatively intuitive and adequate for fairly simple layouts (and if you know exactly what you want). However, I would not use it unless you have no epxerience with, or do not own, Adobe InDesign (which is a far better design application, but considerably more complicated with associated steeper learning curve).
>Their website and instructions are fairly user-friendly (again, I can't compare to others I haven't used).
>The cost is more moderate (but still not cheap) than what I've seen with other P-O-D printers.
>They have some "Pro" upgrades with I would build into the cost since the standards are just that - standard. I use either Premium Luster paper or the Egg ProLine.
>The sizes are standard enough for most jobs (but see negative following).
>I found the quality and color to be very good for the price and the equivalent to what I see in mid-level or upper mid-level coffee table style books (but see limitation below).
>The print time was as expected (about 5 buz-days to print, standard shipping, received inside 2 weeks from order depending on shipping distance transit times).
>They make offering your book online easy, especially if you want to allow purchasers to buy at "cost" without your having to get involved in their order/payments, etc. And, you can set your own price, but if you want to mark it up for profit, they will hold your profits until you reach a specific minimum before forwarding funds (see negative "minimum" comment below).
>You can chose to have your book previewable and customize how much and which pages are previewable.

Now a few negatives.
>Most people won't have InDesign, so be sure to check out their design tool first and see what ou thnk. You could create a bogus sample without uploading it and decide based on that.
>If you want something other than a 8x10, 11x13 or 12x12, there is nothing larger. So you would therefore have to go somewhere else for anything larger or with differnt proportions.
>The online viewing is set up primarily for someone wanting to browse the book and not for a really close look (although if you plan to use iPad or iPhone, the zoom works). Books with 40 or more pages (especially ones that have a full-page graphic such as a full-bleed background image vs. a smaller image floated on the page) are much slower and I would find that to be a real problem for a client who wants to see the whole book or look at images close-up (vs. quick browse for feeling).
>If you plan to sell your book for profit, Blurb will hold your profit until their minimum has been reached before sending you the proceeds. I don't recall the minimum being a specific number of books, but rather a minimum amount of profit dollars.
>The CYMK profiles that they use are considerably different than those you might be used to with Photoshop.
>Once you've created a book, you MUST purchase at least one copy within 7 days (or maybe 10 days, I forget) or the book will be dropped from their web and must be re-uploaded before it is visible again (with another 7-day wait).

In summary:
I will Blurb again for books which I expect to meet bookstore standards and which I want to have total flexibilty for how many books I or others purchase (prices quantity-disounted on tiered order amounts). I would not use it for a wedding album-quality or if I wanted a special media or feel. I suggest you try it like I did along the following lines. Create a simple small or medium 20-page or 40-page book (or multiple books with different page media and cover types). Those are around $11 and $25 before any discounts. Use a variety of sample images and sizes. That way you can get a feel for the design and see a result without investing too much. Be sure to look for discounts and offer then to your clients for checkout discounts. Most will be like EPN's at 20%, but occassionally some turn up for an exact amount (like $30) so you could get the first $30 of samples free).
Be sure to use their downloaded profiles and convert your final-sized files to their color profile before finalizing. And remember, a P-O-D book is NOT going to be the same quality nor have the same color fidelity as a true 4-color offset or your own photo printer, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I typically create the same PDF that will be uploaded after finalizing and before uploading, then print it on my Epson 7880 for proofing. I've noticed that once their profile is embedded, my print works pretty well as a proof, and I re-adjust color and brightness, etc. of the native image before finalizing and uploading
I know this is long, but I hope it helps you and others considering Blurb. Glad to answer any others that I can.
Cheers.

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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Carol Lynn Coronios on Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Thank you all. Each of you has contributed valuable insight, and it's greatly appreciated. I hope others are sharing in the learning!

I may give Blurb a shot. Yes, CMYK is tricky - I believe it's Cafe Press that requires that color format, also - and I always have to tweak my calendars (but their quality is so superior to other calendars it's worth the effort).

Thanks again....
C
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Barb Young on Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:21 am

I made her annual Blurb book for my stepmom in RGB, and it was just fine. I think it's still on there, if you want to take a look. (Barb Young Photography) Cafe Press is RGB (not CMYK) and they are clear about that in their image specs. I guess they changed over. That said, I haven't yet produced or published anything that is what I'd call a "high ticket" item where perfect colors really mattered. I've been happy with both Blurb and WHCC for my purposes. I love the fact that people can buy my books straight from Blurb. That's a big plus, and I bought the Ex Arte Equinus IV book from Blurb in soft cover and am very happy with it. Terri Miller has a Blurb book of her "favorites".
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Barb Young on Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:40 am

Wow! I just read through the posts above, and thank you, thank you to Michelle and Jim for taking the time to share such thorough reports. It is greatly appreciated! :thumb: :beer: :hail:
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Sharon Packer on Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:48 am

Great information here! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: EPNet Affiliate: Blurb Books

Postby Carol Lynn Coronios on Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:43 pm

re: CMYK/RGB - I just took a stab that it was Cafe Press - I know ONE of the labs I use for SOMETHING requires CMYK. Will have to go check which, for what. I thought CP because I know I use them infrequently, and I do my calendars with them. Old brain...too many concussions. :scratch:
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