#23 Blurb book publishing

I self-published two books with Blurb. The first was a simple uncoated black and white piece with a gloss color cover (perfect-bound paperback.) I ran 10. The turnaround was good (as promised) but there was a small mark on the back cover in the dedicatory text I had there. I gifted these to my children.

I photographed the flaw per their spec and sent it to their customer service department via email attachment. They printed another 10 without the flaw. They let me keep all 20 books. It was a chapter book of children’s stories I had written. I was quite satisfied with their service and how the final product turned out.

I did the page layout and submitted it as a PDF file to their spec. It passed incoming inspection (prepress) without a hitch. I was also glad I had published in October because my deadline was to mail them out at the end of November as Christmas presents. With the reprint, we barely made it.

8-chapter bedtime reader. Trade, 36-pgs, Black and White printing (on cream uncoated paper), children’s stories.

The other book was a romantic fairy tale I wrote for my wife. I only published one edition as a gift for her. It’s full-color throughout and lots of photos and illustrations (hardbound). Turned out great. Again, I submitted a PDF built to their spec. I never used their InDesign software widgets. That may have been easier but I’m not an InDesign user for page layout. So I did it more traditionally (the hard way?) I didn’t calibrate or tweak anything other than the usual photo preparation.

Book: Pearl Girl

Pearl Girl is a 48-page classic fairy tale with photomontage illustration. Very readable with the story text set in large Schoolbook type. Standard Landscape. fairy tale, magic, classic, romance, photomontage.

I was pleased with both books. So I recommend Blurb but caution you to allow time for reprinting should it be necessary.

My brother is presently doing a book called “The Art of Thick Paint” using Blurb. He’s the one who introduced me to their website. He intends to sell his book. Mine were indulgences! Even though they’re for sale on Blurb, I’ve never sold any.

Blurb is an affordable way to do short-run books. But by changing the format, say to a saddle-stitch booklet, you can print more for the same amount of money. The question is one of “feeling”. Obviously, a bound book “feels” like it should be saved. Longer shelf-life.

As usual, I was experimenting. I intend to do something commercial some day. Another alternative is self-publishing on Amazon a Kindle book.

I’ve done this experimentally, also, on three books to learn how it works. As far as I can tell, I’ve only sold to relatives. Poor souls!

One last piece of trivia about bookbinding, according to my “survey/study” of corporate annual report competitions, perfect binding has most credibility, then next spiral wire bound and lastly, saddle-stitch. In annual report competitions “saddle stitch” rarely (never?) got into the finals. Wire binding is not the same as plastic comb binding which is considered “forbidden” for annual reports.

Nonetheless, when you’re hand assembling say a portfolio book with different weight stocks and photographs, comb binding is an excellent method. Not much money but still looks “good-enough” in a run of say 10 pieces.

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