So I just heard about this amazing site called Blurb.com. I guess they have been around since 2005 and sold 300,000 titles in 2008 alone. Who knew….Well I guess 300,000 people did and now there is 300,001 that think it’s cool. It is a site and software that lets anyone publish a book with little to no experience in book publishing. All you need is a computer, Blurb’s BookSmart software and some great content. Although the great part is not a necessity from what I have seen. Basically you download either the BookSmart software or the InDesign templates for more experienced designers and add photos and words to suit. There are templates in the software to help the more inexperienced book designers get going quickly. The site and software is really geared towards photography books but you are not limited to that and there are no approvals to go through for your book to get published to the site. Once published the thing that is really unique about blurb is the fact that you can add your book to the bookstore and make money selling your book. You can even get an ISBN number and sell your book elsewhere too.
Kodak and Apple iPhoto offer similar products but really are geared to the entry level and don’t let you push the boundaries of the templates much and always have an “out of the box” look to them. The BookSmart software is available for both the Mac and a PC and apparently there are very similar in functionality. I used the Mac version and it was pretty straight forward to use from the get go. The software is pretty dumbed down so it does not take too long to get a grasp on what to do to start compiling your book. I recommend watching the 37min video tutorial before starting for those that are not total software pros as it really does explain the process well. The BookSmart software lets you place images from your computer or any number of photosharing sites that you may have your photos stored at like Flickr and Photobucket. I downloaded mine into the book from my Flickr account and it really was a breeze and had no connection issues at all.
I was not actally planning to make a book to be honest but rather was just going to test the software and return at a later date to do a book. Well one hour later I had finished, uploaded and purchased my book on my iPhone photography entitled “iPhone therefor iam”. I was so excited and the app was so easy to use that I just kept on going until the book was finished. I ordered a hard cover and a soft cover to get a sense of what the quality would be like before investing too much time on a book. Once my book was finished I added the markup and placed it in the bookstore for sale to the general public. Within just a couple of hours I had already sold my first book! I can see that this might get more that just a little addictive…The books are in transit and I will update this post with a report on the quality of the paper stock, printing quality and binding etc.
I just noticed that the book has made the staff pics as well. I better start working on my next one…..
On another note I just received my hard cover book in the mail. It is very impressive I’ll admit. There are only slight traces that it is a digital printed book. I ordered the hard cover and the cheaper soft cover. The soft cover one I upgraded the paper quality though and that made up for the lack of a hard cover. I can recommend the service now end to end.