Blurb Book Review

The photo book we designed and printed using Blurb arrived today. We both really like it! After all, it’s a bound book of our photographs. What’s not to love?

What’s that? You want something more nuanced? You want to know how it compares to fine art books and prints? You want me to critically evaluate the Blurb book itself? Okay, but just remember that it was (a) my first book from Blurb, (b) something that we did in an afternoon, and (c) something I could probably do better on my second go. Oh yeah, and I’m a fastidious perfectionist.

First off, let’s just get this one thing out of the way: The book is not equal in quality to a fine art photography book printed by Aperture, Steidl, Phaidon, etc. Those books appear to have finer resolution, better color, and higher production requirements. Then again they’re printed in much larger runs with lots of proofing all along the way. Okay, now that the obvious is out of the way, what did I really like?

  • The cover looks beautiful. I think it’s slightly higher quality than the inside pages.
  • The colors are quite good, even for a non-color-managed workflow. I know better than to compare the colors of the print to my monitor, but the colors match my memory and the gamut is decent. (They explicitly say they aren’t using an ICC workflow but seem to expect sRGB input.)
  • The paper is nice. We used the slightly more expensive “premium lustre” paper.
  • The binding is quite good.

What’s on the other side of the ledger?

  • The halftone pattern is occasionally rather obvious, especially in continuous tone areas (such as the sky or clothing).
  • Some of the skies look a bit splotchy. (It’s subtle, but still . . .) I can’t tell if some noise is getting sharpened or if there are compression artifacts during upload. Perhaps it’s something else.

Next time around — and there will be a next time, I’m sure — I’m going to pay more attention to my output sharpening, image dimensions, and compression settings. (It’s testament to the quality of Blurb that you can get a good quality book on the first try without using any of the information in the support forum.)

It’s definitely a good value. And I love our book.

This entry was posted in 101 in 1001, Australia, Book Notes, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2010, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Blurb Book Review

  1. Leslie M-B says:

    Yay for books! When will you be publishing your Massachusetts towns tome?

  2. mary says:

    great news!! i told lisa that she has to bring it to work so i can check it out. although, i guess i can just take a look when i come up there for the concert next month.

  3. My sister and I put together a huge book project in 2008 using Blurb. We published a book of family stories with old photos scanned from slides going back to the 1950s. It ended up being a 100+ page coffee table format hardcover book with slip covers. I was really thrilled with the result, and I know all of the family loved it.

    We’ve so many digital photos, it’s easy to forget the joy of lingering over a published set of these, recalling memories and re-examining places and times we’ve half-forgotten.

  4. Jeff Mather says:

    I think it’s great that we can publish our own books. Ten years ago I would have never guessed that print-on-demand would really come into being.

    My mom has also published some books, and the one she gave us was quite well done. She gave me some tips on how to use some of the features in the BookSmart app to get better print quality.

  5. Jeff Mather says:

    Leslie: As soon as I get enough of my pictures scanned and edited, I’m going to publish the first volume.

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