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Author Topic: Blurb Books  (Read 590 times)

Alan Klein

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Blurb Books
« on: August 27, 2020, 05:31:15 pm »

I just got in Blurb sample sheets for making magazines and photobooks.   Anyone worked with Blurb?  Recommendations etc.

langier

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2020, 05:43:57 pm »

I've used them through the years but now mainly go with their subsidiary, Magcloud which is less expensive and fits what I do a bit better.

Blurb has lots of options for paper, binding, sizes. You can also use their book assembly software, but with limited typefaces and, when I used it last, no way to magnify the pages for tweaking and no way to fine-tune the text, I simply downloaded the templates and did things in InDesign which has much more robust tools. Magcloud offers fewer options for paper, sizes, binding, but the price is better. However, you'll need your own software to assemble your package and then generate a PDF for uploading.

Both have had discounts the past few months and I've used them to print a couple of short-run books for my own amusement and to prototype for later upload to Amazon's KDP. KDP is pretty cheap, but paper and binding choices is very basic, almost one-size-fits-all.

Of the three, Blurb seems the best, followed by Magcloud and finally KDP. IMO, they all meet the mark of adequacy though if you are picky, play around with Blurb. It's not offset and the ultimate quality, but IMO does a good job and in my 40 years dabbling in the printing trades, each year seems to get better, faster, easier and cheaper. Compared to direct digital printing I did in the 1990s with similar technology, even KDF is pretty good today and Blurb/Magcloud is more than fine.

If you have any experience with InDesign or other page composition programs, that's a plus when it comes to preparing your work for direct digital output. If you agonize over the slightest variation in color, this may not be for you. It's pleasing color and reasonably priced, rather than high-end and calibrated to the n-th degree.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2020, 05:47:37 pm »

Larry,  Thanks good input.

Which paper is recommended for Landscapes in color? __________
LAndscapes BW _?

People and street Color ____________?
BW___________________?

digitaldog

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2020, 06:46:46 pm »

I've had a few Blurb books printed and let's just say, compared to the color quality I used to get from Apple out of Aperture, it's hardly close to best in class.
And yes, there was a time I had the identical images, some made for image quality analysis, printed from both at the same time.
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Andrew Rodney
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2020, 10:04:17 pm »

I'm on my fifth Blurb book, each of them 100 pages or more at the maximum landscape size, presented on the premium luster stock and using the hardcover binding with a dust cover.

Each book has been a delight to review.  Independent reviewers (none of them colour management experts) have expressed unanimous and vociferous approval.

The most critical judge, me, has been similarly satisfied.  Creating my own coffee table books with Blurb has been both intensely challenging and satisfying on all levels.
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Asael

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2020, 10:42:19 pm »

Their color inconsistency is the biggest issue for me. Since they use different printers/process for different orders, you can’t even adjust the colors to their printers/process because it may be different on your next order. At least they admit the problem, which I respect. So, if you can tolerate their color variations this may work for you -- it does not work for me. However, I have and may continue to use them for “prototypes” due to their fast turnaround times, but I would not use them for actual production.
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deanwork

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2020, 08:52:24 am »

After all these years there is still no division of Blurb, or anyone one else that I’m aware of, who specializes in black and white, like tritone or duotone book printing. For someone who specializes in monochrome this is sad. There is no one to use for even a decent exhibition catalogue. This is 2020 and we’re still not there. You still have to go expensive offset.

John






Their color inconsistency is the biggest issue for me. Since they use different printers/process for different orders, you can’t even adjust the colors to their printers/process because it may be different on your next order. At least they admit the problem, which I respect. So, if you can tolerate their color variations this may work for you -- it does not work for me. However, I have and may continue to use them for “prototypes” due to their fast turnaround times, but I would not use them for actual production.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2020, 10:53:41 am »

After all these years there is still no division of Blurb, or anyone one else that I’m aware of, who specializes in black and white, like tritone or duotone book printing. For someone who specializes in monochrome this is sad. There is no one to use for even a decent exhibition catalogue. This is 2020 and we’re still not there. You still have to go expensive offset.

John






I wanted to do a "Street" photography book in BW.  Any recommendations?

Alan Klein

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2020, 11:00:09 am »

I've used them through the years but now mainly go with their subsidiary, Magcloud which is less expensive and fits what I do a bit better.

Blurb has lots of options for paper, binding, sizes. You can also use their book assembly software, but with limited typefaces and, when I used it last, no way to magnify the pages for tweaking and no way to fine-tune the text, I simply downloaded the templates and did things in InDesign which has much more robust tools. Magcloud offers fewer options for paper, sizes, binding, but the price is better. However, you'll need your own software to assemble your package and then generate a PDF for uploading.

Both have had discounts the past few months and I've used them to print a couple of short-run books for my own amusement and to prototype for later upload to Amazon's KDP. KDP is pretty cheap, but paper and binding choices is very basic, almost one-size-fits-all.

Of the three, Blurb seems the best, followed by Magcloud and finally KDP. IMO, they all meet the mark of adequacy though if you are picky, play around with Blurb. It's not offset and the ultimate quality, but IMO does a good job and in my 40 years dabbling in the printing trades, each year seems to get better, faster, easier and cheaper. Compared to direct digital printing I did in the 1990s with similar technology, even KDF is pretty good today and Blurb/Magcloud is more than fine.

If you have any experience with InDesign or other page composition programs, that's a plus when it comes to preparing your work for direct digital output. If you agonize over the slightest variation in color, this may not be for you. It's pleasing color and reasonably priced, rather than high-end and calibrated to the n-th degree.
I just got in the Blurb sample kit.  Frankly I didn't see that great a difference between the samples.  Also shadows seem very dark.  But that could be the shot they selected which is the same on all sample sheets.  Their rep on YouTube recommends trying a sample book with all the different sheets to get a better perspective.  I might try that.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2020, 11:50:52 am »

I used Blurb for my B&W book Captured by Light in 2016, and I was quite pleased with the results. I chose to do B&W only for my first book, as I didn't want to get into the cesspool of potential color problems. I created the source file using LightRoom 6.1's Book module, plain black-and-white with no toning or duotone or anything like that. It took a half-dozen sample books before I was satisfied and ordered a bunch. In every case, the errors that needed fixing were typos that I had missed in the previous version.

I do hope to do a color book soon, and I will probably stick with Blurb and hope that the colors are not too bad.

You can read some of the comments I received from readers and purchasers of the B&W book on my website at http://myrvaagnes.com/ecomments.htm .
« Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 11:55:31 am by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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digitaldog

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2020, 12:09:27 pm »

Blurb and all book publishers using HP Indigo's for output pretty much suck at B&W because the screening technology used produces very uneven, neutral output across the press sheet.
All you have to do is output a solid gray page (ideally one larger enough for the entire press sheet to see the repeating pattern).
That said, of all the digital presses I've color managed (Indigo, Nexpress, Xeikon), Indigo is the best of the bunch for color overall.
The other issue is, many book publishers and this includes Blurb, often use differing press technologies for the cover versus the inside book so another good test is to output the same image at the same size more or less, on a cover and inside the book. The differences can be striking and a real wakeup call.
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Andrew Rodney
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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2020, 12:24:08 pm »

Their rep on YouTube recommends trying a sample book with all the different sheets to get a better perspective.  I might try that.

Good idea.  Tests valuable.  Hearsay worthless.

I had a few tech issues with Blurb, mainly due to both Blurb and I updating software mid-project.  In each case, Blurb's email help was excellent, solving the problems quickly and satisfactorily.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2020, 01:34:48 pm »

Blurb and all book publishers using HP Indigo's for output pretty much suck at B&W because the screening technology used produces very uneven, neutral output across the press sheet.
All you have to do is output a solid gray page (ideally one larger enough for the entire press sheet to see the repeating pattern).
That said, of all the digital presses I've color managed (Indigo, Nexpress, Xeikon), Indigo is the best of the bunch for color overall.
The other issue is, many book publishers and this includes Blurb, often use differing press technologies for the cover versus the inside book so another good test is to output the same image at the same size more or less, on a cover and inside the book. The differences can be striking and a real wakeup call.
Am I understanding you correctly that you're describing black in Indigo process is part of a color photograph print?  If so, is there a process, paper, book, etc that works best when you're printing BW only?

JeanMichel

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2020, 02:07:50 pm »

Am I understanding you correctly that you're describing black in Indigo process is part of a color photograph print?  If so, is there a process, paper, book, etc that works best when you're printing BW only?

All so called digital presses are essentially photocopiers on steroids. They do a really good job given the limitations of the processs. Duotome ot trigone can only be done on offer or letterpress presses and that gets to be talent demanding and expensive if the run is under 1000 books.

I have printed books by Pikto.com in Canada. For colour work I always specify their 7 inks option. For just b&w books, they do not recommend spending the extra for the 7 inks. They do a really good job. They provide ICC profiles. They have their own layout program, or you can use their InDesign templates, or PS. The b&w pages in the books they printed for me looks very good and show no weird artefact. The slightly toned b&w pages look even better.
Their customer service is second to none. Real people reply to you in incredibly short time with proper answers.
Take a look at their website.
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deanwork

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2020, 04:40:25 pm »

The Indigo presses have the capability to print with gray and black inks only, but no company does it commercially.



Am I understanding you correctly that you're describing black in Indigo process is part of a color photograph print?  If so, is there a process, paper, book, etc that works best when you're printing BW only?
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PeterAit

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Re: Blurb Books
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2020, 04:48:28 pm »

I had a vanity book done recently by Bookmobile. I could not possibly be happier. They did an astounding job getting the colors spot-on. More or less in the middle, price-wise.
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Peter

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