So last Christmas, my gift to my family (moi included!) was a photo book from Blurb. I have used Blurb in the past to create photo books as gifts for my parents with photos taken during their visit with us as a bon voyage gift; to my in-laws with favorite photos of their grandkids; and to my sons’ teachers as year-end gifts. And I have to say, they are always a hit!
So last Christmas, my gift to my family (moi included!) was a photo book from Blurb!! This is not a typo – Yes, I repeated myself. Tedious to read, I know, but worth repeating since it quickly became the most loved book in the next few weeks after it arrived home. You can make and order photo books starting from $14.99 at Blurb. Check out the options available here.
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Here are our thoughts on the book first before I head on to the how-tos for the book.
Type of book ordered: Photo Book, Softcover, Standard Landscape, 10×8 in, 25×20 cm, 62 Pages Standard Paper
Photo clarity: Blurb did not fail in this aspect at all. All the photos, whether it was one photo on the page or many tiny ones, turned out sharp and clear and true to the original.
Page quality: I selected the standard paper with a matte finish since this was a gift for us and I knew I was going to go overboard with the number of pages, but standard paper is still pretty good. I am now tempted to go for premium paper for my next project (which will most likely be a gift for others or maybe a self-published book)
Durability: It is almost six months since the book arrived, and it has currently found a new home in India with my parents so they can look at it and share with visiting family as well. This means the book has been handled many a time and has withstood the not-so-gentle handling pretty well.
Binding: I picked the softcover option and it is like any softcover book we have. Again, next time I am tempted to go for the hard cover with dust jacket option. Not because this is not good, but just because that is tempting…
Overall: In my opinion, a winner.
Pros: Quality and flexibility and more to read in some last thoughts below.
Cons: The price might turn out to be high sometimes but depending on what you are using/making the book for, you can still get a good price. In my case, the 62 pages standard paper softcover 10*8 inch book costed a total of $39. And I had literally tons of pictures fitted into the book 🙂 OK, easily 500+ pictures (with some pages having no more than three pictures while others had upto 16). The end result is still beautiful and aww-worthy, even if I say so myself! And look out for coupons Blurb offers regularly – you can check my blog itself (and for really cool offers, I will be sure to email you – and if you are not subscribing already, you can do so now – just enter your email and click on that little subscribe option on the right side bar at the very top – right there a little after the Search text box!).
Some last thoughts:
I debated about doing lesser photos with more text and in the end, just decided on photos only, lots and lots of them. A couple of reasons for that, one I could not choose which photos I should not use in my book, and two, adding relevant text to photos would have meant I needed more time and I was short of that this time around. I used different layouts for different pages based on the photos chosen so they would fit well in their space. Blurb offers many choices for layouts and that is truly wonderful.
When I read other reviews of Blurb, it mentions that this might be confusing to people new to photo books. While I admit that it does take time and effort to get your photo book just right, it was not truly confusing for me. Frustrating at times because just when you think you got the right layout, you notice that a photo is not displayed fully – and Blurb’s software points it out for you.
I think that frustration will be the same for any photo-book software we use. I have used Snapfish in the past and no matter which option we pick, getting your photo book the way you want it will take some time and some effort. But it is all worth it in the end.
How To Create a Photo Book with Blurb
You can choose one of two options to create a book with Blurb. One option is to create your own pdf file and upload it; the other is to use the free desktop tool provided by blurb (BookWright) and create the book. The steps below are for using BookWright. And before you start, make sure you have all the photos you want in your book organized and ready to use! That will save you a ton of time (trust me on this!! I learned the hard way).
- Download BookWright and launch it
- Create new book
- Once you click on Create, you will be asked to choose your book format – the type of book you want (photo books/magazine/trade book/layflat) and the size available for each type of book.
- Make your choices and click on Next
- Next up – choosing the paper type and the cover type – make your choices – Blurb will give you an estimate of the price for the minimum number of pages – 20 in this case based on your choices. You have several paper options
- Click on Next – move on to step 3
- Enter a title for the book and click on Start a New Book
- The book itself:
- Layout: Select the layout you want for each (or all pages) page. Or you can pick different layouts for each page of the book as you need or want. Note you need to select the pages option on the left hand top of the tool and then pick the layout for the selected page(s).
- Photos and text: Add the photos and text you want to the photos
- You can click on the Add Photos button to browse for photos and add them
- Add the photo to the page by dragging it down; you can see that the book layout is shown on the left
- You can click on the photo/text box to make updates for each one as needed.
- You can ensure that photo and text stay within the printable margin by choosing to display the safe margin (highlighted in pink)
- Don’t forget to add photos/text to the cover pages – front and back.
- Preview, review, and repeat till satisfied with the end result
- check for preview, fix, book info and make any updates you need; you can check for corrupt images in your book to ensure nothing is messed up later by clicking on File -> check corrupt images
- you can export a pdf proof of the book and save it for sharing /review with family/friends who can give their pointers
- Upload the book; order as many as you want for friends and family; share for others to order as well.. You can sell your book in the Blurb Bookstore – Blurb provides a way to get your own free ISBNs, fundraise with Blurb custom books, and well, the options are endless.
- On the upload complete BookWright page, when you click on the Finished Uploading button, it will take you back to the initial BookWright page to begin a new book or edit any existing books..
- Once upload is complete, it launches the browser automatically and opens your blurb account page
- Click on my dashboard on blurb.com – you will see a list of all your books with your most recent one at the top; a message to indicate you have 15 days to order the book you have uploaded
- Note that you have already selected the type of book you want during the creation and upload process (softcover, page quality, size of book) and you cannot update those while ordering the book..
Hope you find this quick tutorial useful! Feel free to check with me in case you have any questions about the process 🙂