- Super-simple online editor
- More advanced, downloadable software
- eBook, PDF conversion
- Selling your self-made books
- Good value for money
- Quick printing and worldwide shipping
- Primitive online customization options
- Unusual/insufficient templates and book sizes
- Bulk order discount only
Although Blurb is a photo book editing and printing solution provider, this California-based company is also a perfect place for those who want to create trade books, magazines and eBooks. Whether you use the simple online editor Bookify with its straightforward customization tools, safe zones, auto-save feature and PDF import, or the BookWright software with the advanced features of the online editor and even more – you can be sure that your (photo) book is in good hands. There are various themes, photo papers, covers and book sizes at your disposal in the software, which is available in 7 different languages. No matter which part of the world you live in; the company lets you create your book with ease, whether you use the obligatory 20 pages or go for all 440 pages. And to make things even better, the final product is printed and delivered within a short period of time for very cost-friendly prices.
Before creating a photo book, you have to decide whether you want to use the online editor or download BookWright, Blurb’s software. And before you ask, mobile versions are not available at all. In fact, when you open the site from a mobile device, it warns you to use a PC or Mac instead.
A Photo Book Made with Blurb
Online Editor Bookify
The online editor called Bookify is simple, but very basic at the same time. First of all, books cannot be created from your dashboard, as you are constantly directed to the page where you have to pick your editor. Unfortunately, there are not too many sizes and templates to work with, but at least the templates and the covers can be changed later. As for pictures, they cannot be stored on your account, and you can’t adjust them in a convenient manner: they can only be added to the page where you can rearrange them according to the many layout options (2-page spread is out of question), fit them to their frames, or rotate them. Despite these limitations and the editor’s primitive nature, creating a minimum 20-page long book is easy, especially due to such crucial features like the auto-save and the safe-zones. After you’re done, you can share or download your book in PDF, turn it into an eBook, and order or even sell it in Blurb’s shop or Amazon.
Downloadable Software BookWright
The desktop software, BookWright, is quite different as it is not only developed to create photo books, but magazines and self-published professional books too. Here you have all features of the online editor like PDF import, auto-filling, the safe zone (trim area) etc., but in a more advanced form. Moreover, you can import existing Bookify projects, add real text boxes and you have professional templates and additional layouts. Moreover, it includes containers for 2-page spread photos and even videos (available for eBooks only), a price estimator, a spell-checker and the option to choose the book’s paper in advance. However, we only recommend using this software if you want to spend more time creating your book, as most features can be found readily in the online editor, too.
Choosing a design for your Blurb photo book is only easy if you use the BookWright software: in the software you have 11 templates for photo books in 5 categories, one blank template and 4 templates for magazines. This gives a better variety than the online editor, but unlike that version, you cannot change the style later unless you create a completely new project.
The online editor is where choosing a template becomes confusing. If you start a book from scratch, the site offers you four templates to work with. However, you actually have 8 more options which can only be fetched from Blurb’s website: a template built from your Instagram photos, a template using your Facebook photos and 6 so-called designer photo book templates. The problem is that, if you use any of the 8 additional templates, you can only create a book in the smallest available size, 7×7.
Thus you have to choose between less, more common templates with all sizes and more unique templates with just one available size.
Unlike the design templates, the sizes and available covers with Blurb are pretty straightforward. You can choose from 5, albeit quite unusual sizes, in 3 shapes: square in 7×7 and 12×12, landscape in 10×8 and 13×11 and portrait in 8×10. Blurb also lets you choose from 5 different paper types of which the Standard is the default product, while the Proline Pearl Photo is the best quality the company can offer.
As for covers: you can pick a soft cover, a hard cover with your chosen image printed thereon and another hard cover made of black linen equipped with a dust jacket that you can customize to your own liking. If you choose the latter option, you can replace the black color of the linen with two different colors. In the case of both hard covers you can choose different, more professional end pages instead of the default one. However, these options are all extras meaning you have to pay additional fees to apply the modifications.
The cheapest and smallest book is the 7×7, which has a base price of $14.99 with a soft cover and the obligatory minimum 20 pages printed on Standard paper. Additional pages, the maximum number of which is 440 with 200 being the upper limit of the premium photo paper, cost $0.20 per page, while hard covers have an extra fee of $12.00–$18.00, which increases by another $1.00 if you want to get your photos printed directly onto the cover. If you want to replace the default black color of the linen hard cover with a dust jacket, you have to pay an additional $6.00, changing the default end sheet costs to $3.00, while removing the Blurb logo is 25% of the price.
The printing process only takes approximately 4–5 days and shipping is not slower than 7 days. Furthermore, shipping prices are ridiculously low, especially if you choose the economy shipping: it is only $5.99 for one book within the U.S. and an additional $2.00 for the rest of the world. Unfortunately Blurb only offers a bulk order discount to its customers: if you order more then 10, 20 or 50 books, you get a 10%, 20% or 25% discount respectively.
Support & Shipping
With Blurb you have two regular contact methods: phone assistance and a contact module which is provided for technical questions. Aside from that you can read articles in the FAQ and the forums, watch tutorials and how-to videos, attend free webinars which are later uploaded to YouTube and hire an expert to help you with editing, writing, printing etc.
Like all photo book editing and printing solution providers, Blurb also has a refund policy; however, it is only 14 days and it only allows the customer to replace the faulty product with a new one if the product is damaged due to unforeseen circumstances. However, if your product will be printed in a physical format, you have the option to cancel your order within 1 hour from purchase and get your money fully refunded.
Like we mentioned before, shipping has relatively good prices and if we take into consideration the printing process you can get your book within one or two weeks from ordering, no matter which part of the world you reside in.
If you prefer nothing but simplicity, then you will love Blurb even with its defaults. The online editor is primitive, but effective with not too many templates, layout options and oversimplified customization tools. The option to print, download, share and sell your books comprising of up to 440 pages in physical or online/eBook format is much welcomed. The downloadable editor is a professional tool with both useful and unnecessary features ideal for creating outstanding photo books, either from professional templates, PDF files or even from projects created in the online editor. Probably the biggest deciding point for choosing Blurb’s services – despite the rather unusual book sizes, average customer support and far from enough cover options – is its modest pricing and shipping policy. This way you can be sure that you will get the photo book of your dreams processed and delivered quickly for very cost-friendly prices.