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.”
- 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 ….