Blurb customer support

I received a slightly delayed response to my question to Blurb regarding lack of quality on my second blurb book. They kindly offered a coupon for $10 off my next book, and then explained that 300 dpi was the best to use:

We recommend 300 dpi. 180 dpi should still print well, but 300 is better. You will get a warning symbol if you place a picture in a container that is under 150dpi. … DPI is about the pixels per inch – the more pixels the better. For example, say you want a full bleed page (10×8 book), then the image needs to be 2888 x 2475 pixels at 300 DPI. This is derived by the formula of 9.625-inches x 300 dots per inch = 2888 pixels in the horizontal; and, 8.250-inches x 300 dots per inch = 2475 pixels.

I wasn’t able to find a recommended DPI on their website; perhaps I missed it.

It does however, makes sense to me, even though the MyPublisher response was essentially “180 is the most we can do.” So… I shall print a blurb book one more time, and (again) hope for the best. As I’ve noted, their books sizes are better than Apples (i.e. more then one) and their prices are superior as well (20-40 pages for one price).

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13 Responses to Blurb customer support

  1. Andrew says:

    So after this next 300 dpi reprint how many photo books will that be?

  2. Mike Franklin says:

    twelve thousand eight hundred seventy two.

    1 x apple + 2 x blurb + 2 x mypublisher + 1 x viovio … + 1 x blurb = 7 😀

    the cost of finding perfection is mounting! but they gave me a $10-off coupon, so it’s not too bad. really.

  3. Anthony says:

    I’ve enjoyed your comparison of the photobook services and have found it very helpful as I explore the options. I’ll be curious to read if the Blurb book at 300 dpi can match Apple’s quality. I’ve been doing alot of research on these things.

    I’ve got my first iPhoto book almost ready to print, and I think I’m going to go with Apple, but it does make me a bit jealous when I think about having more pages for less dough with another service.

  4. Mike Franklin says:

    thanks! It’s been a bit of a hassle, but also sort of interesting to see how the different services compare and the effort required to get a decent book.

    Viovio looks really to be the best (assuming the quality issue is resolved), but only if you want to completly design a PDF yourself, e.g. with InDesign. Blurb would be a decent tie for second, except for lack of flexibility with layout (i.e. theirs, theirs or theirs).

  5. Samtherocker says:

    Hmmm… I’m not sure that boosting the DPI output will help at all really. The color reproduction on a 300 dpi file would be the same as the color reproduction on the same file at 180 dpi.

  6. Anthony says:

    I have seen other complaints about the muddy images in Viovio books, so you’re not the only one.
    I think I may end up doing what you’ve done and trying them all… I would like to try Blurb. I downloaded the app and started playing but I have been spoiled by the ease and polish of iPhoto.

    Since iPhoto can generate PDFs of the books as well. I’d also like to use the same PDFs of iPhoto-themed books at some of these publishers and see what happens. And do the same with custom page designs created in Photoshop or whatever.

    Searching Flickr for “photobooks” and the different publishers is how I came across your site, and lots of other opinions and examples.

  7. Matt says:

    I’ve had the same trouble with I started using them a few years ago when they seemed like the only real option in town. I’ve gone back to them over the years because of the promotions they’re running, and I’m sort of used to their software now.

    However, I just received my last one and the quality was still not great. I had chalked up the fuzzy-ness of images in past books to my lack of a great camera, but these images were taken on a very nice camera, which produces excellent pictures.

    So, please keep up your quest to find a service that is worthy of the 300 dpi images that we submit.

  8. Anthony says:

    I agree Matt, mypublisher’s deals are really tempting. They have 50% off of $100 right now… AND an iphoto plug-in which is nice. I can get 2 leather bound copies of the iphoto book I’m about to print for just a few bucks more than the one linen copy from Apple. Soooo tempting, but they say that 300 dpi images are too high to look good, and want them all below 200.

    After spending the time to put together the book, I’m thinking I’d rather spend more to not be punished for providing 300 dpi images.

    I think MyPublisher used to print the Apple books. I’d bet these concerns are one of the reasons why Apple switched to the Kodak system the use now.

  9. Mike Franklin says:

    and that’s what I find perplexing: how is that mypublisher says that 180 DPI is the best, but blurb says 300 dpi is the best … and Sam above notes that the dpi isn’t going to help the posterization problem anyway!

    I’ve inquired about printer color profile with Blurb, so … maybe I’ll get more info.

  10. Pingback: technical support - blurb, viovio, soon apple « Cheeky Grin

  11. David Gross says:

    Folks, there’s a big difference between 180 dpi and 300 dpi. DPI (dots per inch) tells how much detail is in a picture. So, a 300 dpi picture could have a texture of fine dots, say a cloth texture, which 180 dpi picture wouldn’t get at all. Now, smooth areas of graduated color, like skies, are essentially fine textures, with the little dots subtly changing from one shade of blue to another. Few dots? Rougher texture.

    This difference is also very pronounced with hard edges, like text (in a sign, t-shirt, etc.,). 180 dpi is 1/2 a conventional laser printer…not so smooth. Pixelated, in fact.

    The argument over DPI makes less sense when comparing offset printing. We were all told to use twice the line-screen of the printing, which was usually 150 lines per inch, meaning prepress wanted a 300 dpi image. Don’t ask why, it’s complicated.

    Anyway, we tested 180 dpi pictures, and they were pretty good for most offset printing, because of looseness in the printing presses, sloppiness, etc., and the fact that for most catalog work, there were no interesting fine textures to keep.

    However, these kinds of books aren’t printed OFFSET, which essentially translated dpi into something totally different, lpi. These books are printed in a way that each pixel, each dot, is printed! No intermediate to fix your lower resolution (180dpi) image.

    So, yes, 300 dpi is a superior picture. It will not always matter…if it’s not a sharp image, or there are no fine textures or edges, you’ll never really notice. When it does matter…it really shows.

    A printing service will prefer 180 dpi to save money: much smaller files, processing time, upload time. Since the speed with which books can be printed might be the limiting factor on profits, more books means more money. Could be…it was the case with some other services.

  12. John B says:

    If you print a book with Apple , go for the soft cover. Whoever or whatever they use for the hard cover vooks gives you less than stellar photo quality but i couldn’t fault the softie

  13. How much will a 56 page catalogue cost is I order over 10. thanks.

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