blurb book – still waiting

I ordered a book from Apple/Aperture and another from Blurb/Booksmart the weekend before last; the one from Apple shipped the next business day, while the one from Blurb is still ‘printing.’ I emailed customer support, and received an automated response which included:

Our Support We [sic] have received your customer support request, and wanted to let you know that you’ll be hearing back from us within two business days. We are thrilled that so many of you are making such fantastic books. The result is that Blurb is growing, we’re hiring some great new people to support you, and we appreciate your patience as we get new folks on board to deliver top-notch service.

Always nice to receive automated excuses. Within a few hours, I received a personal response:

Blurb books take 5-7 business days to print, and then delivery takes another 2 business days via 2nd-day air. It could be that your book is finished being printed, but UPS has not entered the information into their system yet. If you do not receive a notice from UPS with a tracking number by tomorrow, please contact us and we will launch an investigation.

This suggests they don’t really know what’s going on (it’s now been 8 full business days), though an investigation sounds sort of cool.

I think if the quality is the same, then which to use (Apple or Blurb) comes down to three things:

1. cost: they’re both $30 for 20 pages (sides of a sheet), but apple is $1 (hardcover)/$0.69 (softcover) per additional page, while Blurb is a fixed price from 20 to 40 pages.

2. speed: Apple can ship express ($15 additional), so if needed, the book can arrive 2-3 days after upoading. Blurb seems a minimum of two weeks from uploading to receipt.

3. flexibility: Apple has limited book sizes, but complete flexibility in layout; Blurb has a variety of book sizes and backgrounds and colors … but the photo/text layout is fixed to their set of “professionally designed templates.”

So …

  • for a book I’m making this coming weekend and need for the following weekend: I will use Apple because of speed;
  • for a set of vacation photos where I’m not in a hurry, I’ll probably use Blurb (since I may have more then 20 pages, and want a smaller book size)
  • for a special event such as a wedding or whatnot, I’d likely use Apple for the complete layout flexibility and ability to edit photos directly in the app, even if I do go over 20 pages.

but I’m still waiting for that Blurb book ….

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4 Responses to blurb book – still waiting

  1. Denise says:

    The main company I use is Creative Memories for my photobooks since the quality is superb and the pages are sewn, not glued to the spine. The Storybook Creator software is easy and scrapbook papers and elements are beautiful. I haven’t seen that in any other company. Most of the companies are within a few dollars of CM, except for Blurb and Viovio (still waiting for the Viovio album to arrive.)

    I just made a book with Blurb. I wanted to try a small softcover project to test their quality before I put tons of hours into something. I must say I was soooooooo disappointed! I chose to not make my pages in Photoshop, but do them directly in their program to see the “virgin” quality. My images are from a 10MP DSLR with each photo being about 2-3 MB each, so the input quality was fine. Their output was dark, grainy, oversaturated photos. I was floored. I’ve heard such glowing reviews that I couldn’t believe it. I contacted Blurb and they offered to remake the book for me, indicating that they can only keep prices so low by not recalibrating the printer after each book. They figured mine was one of the 3% of books that were toward the end of the run. So, they sent me another book and it was the same. What a disappointment.

    I have a full Excel spreadsheet comparing companies if anyone wants.

    I’ve made 3 gift books from MyPublisher (I got 2 for free–good promo!) where I inserted my Creative Memories Storybook Creator layouts into full bleed pages and they came out beautifully. Since they are in my state, I received them 2 days after placing the order. That was nice!

    So, now I guess I wait to see how the VioVio book comes out for a less expensive alternative for gifts and such. Has anyone on this thread received any books yet from them?

  2. Denise says:

    Update on Blurb and VioVio

    Just received viovio photobook-softcover-20 pages. The cover is glossy and beautiful. BUT 2 small white spots and obvious posterization on one of the faces. Interior pages are not impressive. Lots of posterization making the faces look kind of dirty. Also some yellowish tinge on the faces on a page with a pale yellow background. Ugh. Side by side comparison with the MyPublisher book (same images) and the color is much better with MyPublisher.

    Blurb is raising their prices tomorrow. This is the new rate table http://blurberatiblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/pricesheet_normal_0805_justtable.pdf

    Looks like you get what you pay for. (not considering iPhoto–I’m on a pc) I guess I’m sticking with Creative Memories for quality and ease since they are priced similarly to all the well known companies.

    Hope this helps someone!

  3. Marie says:

    Blurb is completely open to any template/design if you use InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop. 🙂

    • Mike Franklin says:

      that’s great. but if their printing is still bad, it doesn’t really matter how you create your book.

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