Review: Blurb Square Book With ProLine Uncoated Paper

November 16, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

A review of my new Blurb book

As I mentioned in a previous post, creating a photo book in Blurb directly from Adobe® Lightroom works very well. Because it had been a while since I published my Old World Charm and New York, New York books I decided to create another book with some of my Haiku.

This time I wanted to try a small (7x7 inches) square format layout and the ProLine Uncoated paper.

In this review I cover:

The book contents 10 Haiku, previously published on this blog and also accessible on my Haiku page, and it is of  course available for purchase on Blurb.

10HaikuCapture10HaikuCapture


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Creating The Book

As mentioned above, I already covered the details regarding how to create a Blurb photo book in Lightroom in a previous post. Since it had been some time however since I created my first two books, I had to remember all steps in Lightroom again. What I (re-) learned is that it is important to first select the folder or collection that contains the images you want to use for your book. If you don't, there is a change that you lose your book layout settings. Saving your new layout is also important, and will prevent quite some frustrating moments. Bottom line it is an easy process, as long as you think through what you want to accomplish and the steps needed.

For me Haiku are quite intimate expressions of thoughts and feelings and I therefore wanted the book also to be intimate and small. A small (7x7 inch) square book was the best match to these specifications. In addition to the introductory page, the book has ten spreads with the Haiku on the left page and the accompanying image on the right page. Although not all images are in the square format, I wanted to keep the left, right, and top margins to be similar on all pages. [Back to Top]

Purchase and Shipping

The order process is quite easy: select your book in your Blurb dashboard, order and make your shipping selection. That's it. Since you are the author, the price of the book you pay is without the markup you have set that will be applied to other buyers. Because this is a print on demand service, you need to keep in mind that the book will not ship immediately since it first needs to be printed. Blurb will send you an email when the book is being printed, and another email when the book has been shipped.

I ordered 10 Haiku the evening of October 30 and shipment started November 3, so production of this specific book took three to four working days. Shipment with USPS took five days and I received my book in the mail on November 8. As a result, the total time between ordering and having the book in my hands was nine days. In my opinion this is a reasonable time, just keep in mind that you need to order in time and 'next day' delivery is not possible. [Back to Top]

Cover

Blurb offers a flexible, high-gloss laminated thick paper soft cover for books with a limited number of pages. It is very glossy and the pictures on it really shine. Although it has a good feeling and looks nice, I would have preferred a non-glossy cover, that would have better matched the paper used inside. [Back to Top]

Paper

You can select several paper types for photo books, from Standard 118 GSM paper to several high quality photo papers up to 190 GSM. As per the information on the Blurb website:

Blurb paperBlurb paper

I like the Premium Lustre paper I used for Old World Charm and New York, New York. However, based on and intrigued by the review on the Film Photography Blog I wanted to try the ProLine Uncoated paper. And I was not disappointed!

The color of the paper is some type of off-white which really works well with the images (see also below) and for me really helps establish the emotional connection I want to accomplish with Haiku. Although it is uncoated paper it feels like there is some coating, providing a smooth surface with just a bit of a 'touch' to it. This "eggshell" texture works great and really helped me to accomplish the look and feel I wanted to achieve. [Back to Top]

Binding

The soft cover features durable library binding, which is done very well. Although it does not allow for laying the open book flat, I notice that the binding is quite sturdy. I have the other two books I ordered for a couple of months now, and although they have been handled regularly by different people none of the pages have come loose. [Back to Top]

Print quality

The print quality of the cover images and text is good. The images stand out on the glossy paper and even the small text on the back cover is very well printed and readable. The printed text in the book is also very clear and sharp.

And then the images: the print quality is very good, and the ProLine Uncoated paper really helps achieving the image quality and feeling I wanted to create for the Haiku. The color images are clear and crisp, and the colors really shine on this paper. The black and white images, besides also being very clear and crisp, have great tonality. I am really impressed by the paper and the print quality Blurb offers. Proline Uncoated paper definitely will be a choice for me for any future fine-art photo books. I am actually considering re-issueing my other two photo books with this paper. [Back to Top]

Conclusion

Bottom line: creating a Blurb photo book with LightRoom is a great and easy way to have a book published and available for purchase. The only concern I have is that this process will continue with all the changes LightRoom is going through.

The buying and shipping experience is good. However, when purchasing a Blurb book you need to keep in mind that there will be production time involved. Each book is printed 'on demand' and not directly available for shipping. Shipping duration is depending on the selections you make.

The general quality of the cover and binding is good, although it would be great if Blurb would offer a matte cover version in the future.

The ProLine Uncoated paper is just gorgeous: the thickness, the feeling of it, and combined with the print quality I definitely recommend this as a way to share your fine art images: not only to sell as fine art photo books but also to promote in book format the images you have available as individual prints. [Back to Top]


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