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.