I was keeping a blogpost on this, so I thought I should make it available for public use here…
1. Preparing the photobook at home…
I selected 60 of my photos from Paros island. I had already installed the Booksmart application (version 1.8.1 back then) to make the layout. Booksmart is provided for free by Blurb and is easy to create a book with templates etc. The most current version is now 1.9.5 , which is much more stable.
It took me almost 3 days (evening work) to make the layout, including photos and captions. The end-result was looking rather good. All photos were imported at full-size 300dpi. It took me almost 40 mins to upload the book and the whole thing was rather easy (full marks here). I should note however, that I have been using a monitor color calibrator for optimal results. If you wish to make a photobook not only with Blurb but indeed with anyone else you should have one of these little gadgets to avoid color wash-out surprises!
I ordered the book on September 15, 2007. Blurb said it would ship on September 25 so I guess I would be having it at around Sept 28 (shipped to Athens, Greece), almost 13 days after ordering. Another full mark here for Blurb.
The shipping costs remained an issue. My hardcover was landscape 10″x8″, 120 pages total, and amounted to €28. Shipping USPS standard costs were at €25! Ι complained. I wrote to them on Saturday 15, 2007 as soon as I saw the charges. They responded early Monday. They said that this is “normal cost”, much reduced since the past. Well, it is better than the past, but still too high. Since then, they have also introduced a cheaper but slower normal mail possibility. Nevertheless, the book went into preparation.
3. Photobook arrived!
Well my Blurb book arrived on Sept 25,2007, earlier than expected (!). The packaging was good and the book was shrinkwrapped, although not with bubbles. Blurb could do better on that. The packaging is similar to how Amazon.co.uk ships books. Mine came to Greece shipped from the Netherlands.
4. Examining the photobook…
The colour reproduction was faithful and I was amazed by the good quality even though I had some “difficult” sunsets included! The overall setup and purchasing experience was quite improved since my first book (about Santorini island) so I was really happy about it. Stitching was hard made this time, although I kept my fingers crossed. The original Santorini book fell apart as soon as I browsed it. As of today (June 2008 ) almost nine months later, the Paros photobook is as strongly stitched as day one…
I know that no description could match a sample of the real thing. So here are some photos of the book… (some artifacts or visibe noise on these pictures is due to .jpg compression and not visible on the book)
The cover (at the right of the cover there is a desk-lamp shadow which looks like a bent. It’s not. The book arrived in perfect shape)
An overall view of the inside:
Another inside view:
A detail of the stitching:
Despite the original nagging at my first Santorini photobook which fell apart, this time this photobook is still going strong after so many months of use. Actually I went on to order some 7 or so more copies for friends and clients. A sample of the inside is here in pdf (as produced by Blurb)…
Although I have not yet moved on to produce my most aspiring photobook about Venice, I think summer might be the time due to some spare time after job… An overall positive Blurb experience.
(I should make a note here that I am not directly on indirectly or in any case affiliated to Blurb. I have been in the past very critical about some aspects of their work, but this time I think they are starting to make a difference in the new and promising Printing-On-Demand business)
Your own comments on your Blurb books (plus possible links) would be most welcome, so as to enrich our experiences!