Review: Creating a good looking photobook with Blurb

Hard- and Softcover book made with the provider Blurb

Hard- and Softcover book made with the provider Blurb

With a good provider, nearly anybody can create a photobook these days. And – believe me - there are a lot of book printing providers out there.

The trick is to find the one that is right for you. The right style, layout, price and quality of the end-product are important points, as well the ability to create the book in an easy way.

As a first provider, I reviewed the service and quality of Blurb.com. Here is my opinion.


Creating a photobook with Blurb

I have to say that creating these books was really fun! It’s easy and quick as well – as long as you already know which pictures you want to use.

You have to choose between using the online version or downloading the blurb-booksmart-creator. Both are easy to use, so do as you prefer. In both cases, you can choose if you want to upload the pictures from your computer, Facebook or Instagram. 

 

Criterions & Comments                               

Editor in general: Drag and drop

Ease of use of the online tool: 

Intuitive and easy to use. The online version has a better looking interface, but the functions are the same. The online version is good, as long as you want to create a single book. If you want to create more books or reorder one, then use the Booksmart version.

Ease of use of the Booksmart-Tool:

The download-version is as intuitive as the online tool. But it is for users who want to create more than one book, or need the reorder functions. You can always reorder an already created book – without making changes to them.  

Reordering: 

For reordering simply click on the book you want. But be aware that you can’t make any changes to these. If you want changes, you have to recreate the book – that’s an area Blurb could work on.

Special tools for pros

You can also create your book with Adobe InDesign or Lightroom.

Layouts

The Booksmart version offers you a pre-selection option. First you’ll decide what kind of book you would like to create. A portfolio, a wedding, a cook book? Or do you want to create a diary or textbook?

When you have decided, you’ll find concrete layouts for your purpose, so pick one. Even if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, you can change the design of every single page to your specifications!

With the online version you don’t have a pre-selection option – so if you want to create a portfolio, you have to go through all the other layouts if you want to change the design of one page. In both cases you have the possibility of changing the backgrounds of the pages and adding ”ornaments.“

Texteditor

Nothing special but does the job. 

Book sizes

Small Square (7x7in/18x18 cm)

Standard Portrait (8x10 in/20x25 cm)

Standard Landscape (10x8 in/25x20 cm)

Large Landscape (13x11 in/33x28 cm)

Large square (12x12 in/30x30 cm)

Covers

Softcover

Hardcover with dust-jacket

Hardcover with image wrap

Paper

Standard Paper

Premium Paper, Luster or Matte

Proline Uncoated

Proline Pearl Photo

Prices

Depending on size, paper and cover.

Starting at $12.99 (8.99 £) up to $79.49 (54.01£)


Screenshots of interfaces of the Booksmart and online version

Booksmart

Online version


Quality of my orders

Softcover

(Standard landscape, premium luster paper, 20 Pages, $22.94 + shipping)

This was my first order from Blurb. I was actually a bit nervous about the result. Did my pictures have the right resolution? Did I do everything correct?

So as I opened the packet – this was delivered very fast – I was very happy to see the result! Everything looked great. You can feel the quality of the print as well as the book in general, and the pictures had the right quality. So – I was happy. 


Hardcover with dust-jacket hardcover

(Standard portrait, hardcover image wrap, premium matte paper, 20 Pages, $37.21 + shipping)

After being very happy with the softcover, I thought that I also should test the hardcover version. So again I sat down and created another book. This time with coloured pictures. As the soft cover was only black and white, I had to test the color quality of Blurb.
So again, they delivered very quickly! And the result, again, was perfect. The luster of the pictures and the colors satisfied me.

The hardcover looks great, and the reprocessing is very good in my eyes. My only concern is that it’s a very thin book. I don’t know what it would look like if you had more than 20 pages. But I am sure that Blurb has a good solution for this as well.

I also tested the PDF version with this order: you can create it for $4.99. It’s up to you to make the decision of whether or not you need something like that. You can also create an eBook for $9.99.


Conclusion

I am very happy with both results. Blurb is specialized in making books. They offer nothing else – not like other providers who are selling posters, cups as well as books. Blurb has tutorials helping you create your own book. You can sell your books on their website, and they are also very stylish. Their website and layouts were great to work with.

But I have to say: that was my first book-printing experience! In the future I will also review a few other providers. So let’s see how they will come out!