At the moment, I am planning to use Blurb, the Print on Demand (POD) self-publishing book company, as my book out put for my 2008 SoFoBoMo project. And I just read Gordon McGregor’s recent Blurb trial run experiment that I think is going to help me be successful: think Color Management.
Like Gordon, I have not heard good things about LuLu POD, but the reviews for Blurb have been mixed. I had recently talked with Miguel Garcia-Guzman about his experience and it was kind of encouraging, and perhaps the color management points that Gordon makes might have made a difference for Miguel.
But I did have a chance to look at a bed-load of Blurb books at the Palm Springs Photo Festival, also realizing that they were going to put out their best work. The soft cover perfect-bound books were about what I anticipated, printing okay but the glued binding left you wondering about the longevity of the book. The hard cover books looked like that they had really substantial glued and sewn binding with nice printed dust covers. They got my attention as a strong potential.
My book image layout question for Blurb was resolved yesterday afternoon. The first time that I started to layout my images in the Blurb Booksmart software, I did not like the format option for my photographs. The page had a fixed ‘cutout’ that you loaded your image into and then could move it around for the final presentation and seemed like you had to live with the fixed ‘cropping’ of that template.
In Palm Springs, the Blurb rep gave me some pointers and what were some other template and picture bucket (container) options that I had not recognized. These options were in a pull down menu in the upper left corner of the page layout. Essentially you can choose a wide variety of templates including a full page container which can give you a full bleed of the image off the page, depending on you image size. The actual image layouts are indicated by a gray area on the page. A lot more options than I first thought. hmmm, very interesting and I think that Blurb has overcome my initial concerns.
So I am going to do a test run also with Blurb this month to get some experience before the start of May. I have my book dummy of my series Bad Trip – Sad Trip (In Passing), so I have a layout, Introduction to work with, now fine tune the color management issues and proper sizing and I just might have this book out by the end of this month.
Which takes me to another quandry, the whole ‘photography art’ press thing. I have yet to see a Blurb book get a book review in any photography magazine, unless they are writing an article about the Blurb POD process. Also, is this a matter I really care about? Since I am writing about this aspect, I must care or I would just ignore the whole thing, eh?
The large hardcover Blurb books do look good. But for the ‘photo-art’ market, and the option of a limited edition book with accomping loose signed print, Blurb does not have a slip cover available. A slip cover will probably need to be customized due to the thickness of the book related to the number of pages. Thus the idea of producing a limited number of the Blurb books with a slip cover to hold a loose, signed print still needs to be developed. The idea of limiting the amount of Blurb books is easy, when a certain amount has sold, pull the book off the Blurb listings or if self-selling, limit how many books to be printed.
So at least I have an idea of my book output, the Blurb large horizontal hardbound book. The final details to be worked out over the next month and a half. Anyone know where I can get some nice book slip covers (custom?) made?? I am considering making a small Limited Edition run of my book to be sold with a signed, loose Edition print.
And hopefully I will have at least one Singular Image that will be the key photograph from this series and book!
Best regards, Doug
Updates: Per Gordon’s suggestion, I did download the current Blurb Booksmart software (three days after I downloaded the first version, what a difference a day makes!), and I just joined the Blurb B3 program (Blurb Business to Business), that includes their color management ICC profiles for their ‘premium’ printing option, which they describe as follows:
B3 Custom Workflow is a color managed process designed for creative professionals using books as part of their business. Or, more simply put, it’s an easy way for pros to get truer contrast, more accurate color, more neutral black and whites, and printing consistency across book orders. B3 Members can select the Custom Workflow option and pay a premium to print their books with professional-level color control and printing consistency. Standard Workflow is a streamlined bookmaking process that enables anyone to produce bookstore-quality books. It meets most customers’ needs without requiring extra technical steps such as monitor calibration, soft proofing, and image adjustment.
Whats not to like about this B3 process, other than the increased cost? (Sorry, I don’t know the cost difference yet) Also, I had an opportunity to become a B3 charter member as a result of attending the Palm Springs Photo Festival and spending a lot of time at the Blurb booth. nice.