Welcome. This blog is my little home on the web. It's mostly about my favorite hobby, digital scrapbooking. You might also find some recipes, home decor projects, or parenting woes. But mostly digital scrapbooking.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blurb Book Review - all of my 2010 layouts in print!

I'm finally here with pictures (and a review) of my Blurb book.  Here is a quick-run down of my book:
  • I made a 12 x 12 hardcover book with image wrap cover and premium paper.
  • I used the online book creation tool, Bookify, which has a 160 page limit.
  • Instead of doing full-bleed pages, I chose to use the large square layout that is within their software, and I chose the border to be black.  I didn't want to worry about trimming for full bleed, and I also had several two-page spreads.  I thought the border (which actually measures at 9/16 inch wide) would be a good fit for my needs.  See photos below.
  • I chose a white spine to match my front and back covers, which also had a white background.
  • All of the jpgs I uploaded were 3600 x 3600 pixels, saved at a quality of 10 in photoshop, except for the front and back covers which were 3702 x 3675 pixels (this was the size of the cover images that I made last year, and I just did the same.)
  • Shipping was really fast. I received the book 6 days after placing the order, several days earlier than their estimate.
  • I love my book.  The quality is great, although there were two issues that I saw:  warping of the cover, and print quality of thin text.  See photos below.
Let's get to some pictures. Here is the cover.  The white background actually has a very subtle texture, which is barely visible in the finished product.  I had actually anticipated this, and almost decided to go back and make the background completely white, but out of laziness I didn't bother.

My title page

Some colorful pages

Some black and white (mostly) pages

Some more pages

Some more mostly black and white pages

My last page, which I call my Time Capsule

The binding

The spine

I had estimated that the 1/2 inch border all the way around would allow two page spreads to be visible without any part of them being hidden in the binding.  I was pretty close, but some of the black border does show in the middle.  It doesn't bother me.  I wasn't expecting perfection.

These next two photos show the two quality issues I have with my book.  First, the front cover has some warping.  My book was delivered on a rainy day, and I've wondered if the humidity was a factor.  This photo was taken about a month ago, and today the warping is not as pronounced.  Perhaps it will continue to flatten.  The Blurb book that I printed last year had no warping.

Finally,  there is a slight issue with some of the text.  I often chose hand-written fonts with very thin lines, and the printing process created text with uneven or jagged edges.  It was difficult to photo and is more pronounced in life.  But I think this photo shows the effect fairly well.  It does not bother me immensely, but I do notice it when I look at the pages.  It was only noticeable on really thin fonts.

Overall, I LOVE my book.  I am happy with the black borders, although I was a little worried about that when I ordered the book.  I had seen a few other books printed with black borders and thought it looked fun and dramatic.  You can also pick a white border, and I believe they have several colors to choose from.   In fact, I changed the border to white for my calendar pages at the end of my book:

I think I actually like the black border better than the white border!

I will continue to use Blurb for all of my book printing.  The biggest beef I have with them is that they occasionally run promotions (like 20% off), which supposedly they send out in their newsletter to let people know about them.  I am signed up for their newsletter and have never received notice of these promotions.  I missed the Valentines Day 20% promotion, but I was able to use the NEWBLURB coupon code for 20% off.  I had placed a previous order, but I think the NEWBLURB code can be used once per customer.  So if you place an order, I'd say give that code a try.  It saved me about 25 bucks.

Next Friday I will be in Las Vegas for Digiscrap-apalooza!  It will be the first time I have been away from my son for more than a couple hours.  And he has slept in the same bed as me from birth, so this is some serious separation that's coming up.  He's four and I'm thirty-five, so I think we can handle it, right? Yeah, right.


  1. I have three books almost ready to go...and you have given me some great ideas.
    Howdy neighbor!!

  2. Oh my Tiff - you have totally inspired me with this. I'm going to give it a try! Great idea with the 1/2" border around to avoid the bleed issue. The black does look dramatic!

  3. Thank you for the review ...
    There are so many printing option out there it's nice to have feedback so we can then make a better more informed decision on who to pick ...
    Sincerely, fdgtgrl

  4. How do you get your layouts into your blurb book?

  5. Thank you so much for the information. My Blurb book should be shipping very soon and I'm glad to know that you had a good experience. whew!

    I love handwritten fonts, too, so I'm a little worried about that aspect. When you created your pages, did you actually create them in Bookify or did you create them in something else (like PS or PSE) and drag and drop them into Bookify? I was just wondering because I know my PS has an option to select 'crisp,' 'sharp,' 'strong,' 'smooth.' I wondered if that would make a difference in the print quality??

  6. Gayle, I used Photoshop to create my pages and saved them as jpg files - at Quality 10 setting. Then in Bookify I dragged each jpg file into a page.

    I've never paid much attention to the crisp/sharp/etc options on my Character Palette. So I don't know if that would help. They look like they make the edges of the letters a little more smooth. But I believe the artifact I saw was made my the ink nozzles sweeping back and forth on the page - so I don't think that tweaking the font in Photoshop will make a big difference.

    But the "rough" printing did not ruin my pages. I hope you blog about your book so we can all see it.