Monday, 17 December 2012

Blurb photo book - a review

I was offered the chance to create a photo book to review with Blurb.

Blurb describe themselves as

We're photographers, designers and book-lovers too – obsessed with quality and sticklers for top-notch binding, gorgeous paper and professional printing.
So, we're not kidding when we say Blurb self-published books are bookshop-quality – you'll want to share and show them off for years to come.
But don't take our word for it, publish a book and see Blurb quality for yourself.

They offer different types of books, from blog books to cook books, wedding books and planners to name but a few.

So I went onto the site to create a book. I actually decided to go with two books and pay the difference, one with my pictures and one with hubby's.

First off you have to download their software called booksmart to use. You then select and upload the pictures you want, and drag and drop the onto the pages to put them in the order you want.

Unfortunately it was not quite that simple, I found the whole process quite complex, and if I had been buying these books I would have given up and found one of the quicker and easier sites to use.

Choosing the size of book and the amount of pages was quick and easy, adding the pictures was not too bad, but having complete control seemed impossible. I could not find anyway to change the size of the pictures I had uploaded, a few needed to be slightly bigger or marginally smaller but could find no way of doing it.

You have an option to add a theme, but this appears to run through the whole book, I could not find any way of having a different theme on different pages.
organising your book, 

After spending quite a lot of time selecting good photographs and even more time sorting out the order they would be put into both of our books it was a real disappointment when we received them.

The main problem was that for the majority of the photographs the colours were no where near the same as those uploaded to the site, generally they were much darker than the originals, the blues and reds were mostly affected but it was very noticeable on all the colours.

the covers of the finished books
I am not sure what caused this but at an educated guess I would say the company printing software uses an automatic contrast setting in other words the machine decides what is correct and in this instance was badly mistaken.

The other main problem was the sharpness and definition of a number of the photographs this can be put down to some of my photographs for my book being a bit older and not always taken with the best camera at the highest resolution however the same cannot be said for my husbands photographs he uploaded for his book, he takes great care and pride in his photography therefore he was seriously disappointed with the end result.

Their delivery service was very quick considering it comes from The Netherlands and they do keep you updated with an e-mail that has a link to the delivery company so you can track your book.

To summarise the whole experience of using Blurb was not pleasant from the fairly awkward process of sorting out the position, background colours and trying to make them fit on the pages to the disappointing end result I would certainly not recommend this site for the making of Photo Books.


  1. It's odd - I used blurb to make a book earlier in the year and found the process quick, simple and really easy to get the pictures how I wanted them when it came to changing sizes, cropping etc.

    My Dad asked me to make a photo book for my Mum for Christmas of their holidays this year so of course I went back to Blurb as I loved the process and out come.

    And found it a nightmare! I couldn't even upload 1/2 the pictures I wanted to include. After nearly an hour of messing about I did go off to another provider and got excited what I wanted done in a fraction of the time.

    Such a shame :(

    1. thats odd, I guess they have changed their system somewhere along the line. Glad it was not just me.

  2. I am also reviewing one and have had no problem changing the size of photos or having different layouts on different pages. I can't comment on the quality as I haven't finished it yet.

    1. thanks for that, will need to go back and look, but certainly spent ages looking

  3. Thanks for the honest review. We are looking for books for Harry's pics atm so this makes for interesting reading

    1. your welcome, it is why I made it so honest, so that people were not disappointed with what they may go on and purchase had they read a glowing review here.

  4. I had the same experience with Mini Box - they don't always print at the same quality as the photo you've taken. That's not me saying 'I'm better than the work they produce' - jut that my own home printer printed them of much better as well as how they appeared on screen and in my camera!!!!!

    Thank you for an 'honest' review

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. thanks for that honiebuk, that is handy for my readers to know as well.

  5. So many of these sites don't deliver the quality that we pay for, a very good and honest review.

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