product review: blurb vs. my publisher

Photo books. They’re fun and increasingly easy as technology gets better and more user friendly. I’ve had the pleasure of making two meaningful books with two different programs.
I started a book for my father about 3 years back. Just typing that hurt my ego. Seriously it took me that long to get my stuff together. I guess nursing school had something to do with it! After going through tons of photos, shipping them off to a scanning business [more on that in a different post], and hours of editing, I had a 200 plus page book. This thing was massive. It was after all, my father’s life in pictures. And he’s old. So, you do the math. 

Both required downloading the program to your computer. They were easy as any other download. There are step by step instructions but I learn best by playing around. It’s self explanatory and once again, user-friendly. You upload your pictures. Each page layout can be changed. There are several templates for 2 picture pages, 3 picture pages, and so on. You can even customize the layouts if it doesn’t work for you which I had to do on occasion [in blurb].
You have control over everything from the spine of the book, covers, and inside flaps [if you’re using a dust cover]. I ended up using a dust cover on Blurb. But that’s the fun, you have so many options. I drug photos right where I wanted them. I could even change it so that only photos I hadn’t used would show up in my scroll bar. This was really useful considering I had about 400 photos. 

I wish I had more photos of the final product. All I can give you are screen shots and this sucker I took on my iphone right before I wrapped it.

With Blurb, I chose the pages to be matte and part of me regrets it. I thought it would make it more professional but in the end I just worried about the pages getting dirty from grimy hands. Only clean hands that know the proper way to turn pages need apply.
But it really did turn out great.

Blurb Pros: easy to use, program doesn’t require saving or internet connection, affordable, multiple options, program alerts you if a photo’s resolution will result in poor quality, text box options.
Blurb Cons: multiple program updates needed [probably because it took me 3 yrs], rare coupons via email

My Publisher was very similar. We used it to make a book of our wedding photos. I ended up doing a hardcover with a pretty linen protector. I wanted it to be nice looking since it would be out on our bookcases. Once again, there were plenty of layout options. I did the pages glossy and I ended up liking that look a lot better. Everything was very clean and crisp. 

My Publisher Pros: easy to use, multiple options, crisp layouts, text box options, generous coupons often via email.
My Publisher Cons: although I did have lots of photos the uploading took longer than I expected, the price

General consensus: I felt like both programs were up to par. But when it came to pricing, Blurb takes the cake. My father’s large and 200 page book came to a total of 147. After a coupon I had saved [they usually send 20-30% off coupons every now and then] $45. After shipping it came to a total of $111.56. I thought that was a great price for what I got.

My Publisher’s book was only 45 pages. It came to 110. Yes, they send out 50-70% coupons [which I took advantage of] but after 11 shipping and my coupon it still cost me $71.02. In comparison, Blurb had the best prices for comparable quality. I would give Blurb a 10. Everything arrived perfectly without a flaw and the process was smooth. My Publisher gets an 8 mostly due to the price difference and timely upload.

I hope that helps and am willing to answer any questions to my best ability.!

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