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Author Topic: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?  (Read 18308 times)

Gellman

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Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« on: November 28, 2014, 01:57:49 am »

I need to self publish a small run of a soft cover, 60 page, black and white photo book for a mid-December event. Getting the thing put together is no problem. Deciding who to use to print it is what I need help with. Between Blurb and Lulu, which one offers the highest quality reproduction? There is not enough time for me to get sample copies printed to evaluate. I've also heard about another printer called Artifact Uprising. Has anyone here used any of these printers? They offer different paper options. Which one has worked well for anyone? Thanks in advance to anyone who can share any insight.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 09:09:19 am »

Have a look at Pikto Very high quality.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 10:27:42 am »

I've used Blurb for colour work here in the UK from their European presses and been very happy with the results.

However if you back read through the forum you'll find many other opinions.

Black and white seems a particular difficult output for these presses as the slightest colour shift is really noticeable. I'd strongly suggest taking some time to read through the support forums and FAQ pages to check what's recommended for the best output on the company you settle with.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 10:30:34 am »

You might check with some photo dealers and  stores who put together sales brochures and small booklets of photos they intend to display for sale.  They could steer you to some printers.

digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 02:44:52 pm »

If you’re on a Mac and have Aperture, my experience printing now three books through it and Blurb, the Apple books have been significantly better color than Blurb. They can’t even get close to matching the cover and inside book if you use the same image (useful for testing color QC).
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Gellman

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 05:54:22 pm »

Andrew - forgive me but I am unclear about what you are recommending. I am on a Mac in a color calibrated environment, but I use Lightroom and Photoshop, not Aperture. I am unsure what alternative you are suggesting. Do you mean some workflow other than the Blurb BookWright application, or some other publisher? Hopefully, color accuracy will not be a concern as all the photos are black and white.

Mark - I was unaware of Pitko. I'll add them to my bag of tricks. They do look to offer very high quality but would not be feasible within my client's budget.

Thanks to everyone for responding. Since more and more photographers are beginning to use print on demand self publishers such as Blurb and Lulu, it would be nice if there were some reviews of the various publishers and their software, articles that address color management for this purpose, and what might be the best workflows for black and white or color, paper options, etc. I know Blurb offers proprietary software as well as an Adobe InDesign plugin, and Lulu offers an online app, but have no idea which are the easiest to use or produce the best results. These publishers do offer tutorials but they are limited in scope.

John
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2014, 06:24:40 pm »

Andrew - forgive me but I am unclear about what you are recommending.
Build the book in Aperture, have it sent to Apple for printing. They do a much better job than Blurb. That’s the only functionality I actually use Aperture for, printing books and such.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 06:29:16 pm »

I seem to recall reading that Apple is discontinuing Aperture. I wonder what implications that will have for the future of their book publishing through legacy copies of Aperture.
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2014, 06:31:12 pm »

I seem to recall reading that Apple is discontinuing Aperture. I wonder what implications that will have for the future of their book publishing through legacy copies of Aperture.
Just had a book printed this month, the replacement for Aperture is still not here. So far, so good.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 06:48:21 pm »

Is it really Apple printing (I doubt) or they just outsource it? If the latter, then one can use a different program (i.e, Lightroom instead of the discontinued Aperture) and still get the "Apple" quality. That is, if we know which lab Apple uses.

digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 06:51:15 pm »

Is it really Apple printing (I doubt) or they just outsource it? If the latter, then one can use a different program (i.e, Lightroom instead of the discontinued Aperture) and still get the "Apple" quality. That is, if we know which lab Apple uses.
If I told you, they’d have to kill us both. But the facts are, Apple controls this process like everything else they touch and that’s one reason the quality of output is so good. And yes, I know quite well which ‘labs’ all over the world are used. It’s a major operation to do this kind of work worldwide. And no, you can’t use another program and get these ‘labs’ to do the same work, even if you were told where they were.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 06:56:59 pm »

Andrew, you are so dramatic! :-)
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2014, 07:09:44 pm »

Andrew, you are so dramatic! :-)
NDA’s from some companies are super scary.  ;D
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Schewe

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2014, 07:21:29 pm »

Andrew, you are so dramatic! :-)

When you are a supplier of contract services to Apple, the NDAs are draconian and scary and Apple has a track record of suing for a breech. So, Andrew is not being dramatic, he's being very careful. He has to be...
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2014, 07:36:12 pm »

I’ll just add that I’ve had a number of books printed from both Aperture and Blurb using the identical images and files. The tests where such that I deliberately placed the same image on the cover as inside the book as differing print technologies are used. They should match ideally. I printed both color and “B&W” images. The differences in print quality between the two are dramatic and anyone in the Santa Fe area can come take a look. I will say I found LR’s/Blurb’s templates a bit more interesting in some cases than what’s available in Aperture. So it’s not possible to get a 100% identical looking book from both, but you can get close. I’m not very impressed with the print/color/quality from Blurb but only when comparing it directly to the Apple product hence my suggestion for Aperture. Unlike LR, Aperture does send Adobe RGB (1998) to the service site instead of sRGB, not that this is a major big deal considering the gamut of the presses used. If you are handling B&W work, which is rather difficult to print neutral, Aperture wins hands down.

It’s pretty easy to export your images in Adobe RGB out, import into Aperture just to build a book. Also, the books came back from Apple much faster than Blurb by nearly a week but that could be due to the locations of the various print providers and where I reside.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2014, 07:44:26 pm »

Andrew, you are so dramatic! :-)

I agree Mark, but I am sure you were not referring to the NDA part of it, but to this drama:

"And no, you can’t use another program and get these ‘labs’ to do the same work, even if you were told where they were."

 :)

digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2014, 08:15:36 pm »

I agree Mark, but I am sure you were not referring to the NDA part of it, but to this drama:

"And no, you can’t use another program and get these ‘labs’ to do the same work, even if you were told where they were."

 :)
You look a tad foolish being sure you know what Mark was referring to. Maybe he was, but you’re not inside his head (I hope for Mark’s sake).
Also, there’s no drama in the factual statement And no, you can’t use another program and get these ‘labs’ to do the same work, even if you were told where they were.
You would be lucky to get anywhere inside the facilities. And no, these are not ‘labs’ by a long shot!
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louoates

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2014, 08:44:51 pm »

I've printed two photo books through MagCloud. A 100 pager and a 64 pager. I was very pleased with both, especially with the very low prices. The Covers are high gloss, the interior pages semi-gloss. I'd judge the color reproduction to be very good if your files good. Probably less quality than the much more  costly publishers out there such as the Apple licensee. I'm in the midst of a 64+ page book featuring my Southwest USA images and have no qualms about using MagCloud again. Here's a screenshop of their current pricing:
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2014, 08:45:11 pm »

You look a tad foolish being sure you know what Mark was referring to. Maybe he was, but you’re not inside his head (I hope for Mark’s sake).
Also, there’s no drama in the factual statement And no, you can’t use another program and get these ‘labs’ to do the same work, even if you were told where they were.
You would be lucky to get anywhere inside the facilities. And no, these are not ‘labs’ by a long shot!

There you go! Still on the first page and already resorting to name calling. That was quick. I was about to say "you surely know what rhetorics and hyperbole as a rhetorical tool are" but now I am not so sure you do.

The "drama" is not in the facts about your "undisclosed locations," whether you call them facilities, labs, or "labs." The drama is in the underlying assumption in that statement that no other combination of software and publicly open labs can produce results as good as those in Apple's secret facilities. I've seen a number of comparative tests, across the world, and while Apple might come up high, they are by no means always the best in those tests.

Mark D Segal

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2014, 08:51:45 pm »

Jeff, Andrew and Slobodan: Cummon guys, lighten-up - just some fun! And yes, I know they mean business about the NDAs!
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