Taking photos are a brilliant way of remembering the good times in life and if you're like me then you'll take tons of photos of your family. It's great but a problem arises when you have to print out the photos. It's such a tedious process and once you receive your photos you have to sort them into some kind of order and put them into a photo album. All of this seems to take forever and some people don't even get round to printing off the beautiful photos they've taken because it takes so long. And lets be honest, we're all very busy people.
So when Blurb asked me to make and review one of their photo books I was delighted. Since I have quite a few photo books of my son I decided I would make a lovely photo book for my mum for Mother's Day. "Blurb is a company and a community that believes passionately in the joy of books – reading them, making them, sharing them, and selling them. Holding a finished book with your name on the cover is a truly amazing feeling; it’s one of those experiences everyone should have. As software people, designers, and publishing professionals at the top of our game, we realized something both incredible and obvious: there’s no good reason why it should take tons of time, technical skills, big bucks, or friends in high places to publish a book. Or a zillion books, for that matter. So we put our minds together, and developed a creative publishing service simple and smart enough to make anyone an author – every blogger, cook, photographer, parent, traveller, poet, pet owner, marketer, everyone. (This means you.)"
Now some photo book sites really irritate me with their slowness or their plug-ins not working properly however I was glad to see that none of this applied to Blurb. It was simple to register on their website and it was even easier to upload my photos and select the settings I wanted. To start you have to download the BookSmart software which means you can work on your book whilst you're offline and not just online which is great and it means all your settings will be saved. No fear of losing hours of work here, hurray! So many times I've been frustrated at losing books I've made with some companies and in the end I've given up because it just wasted my time.
Once you've downloaded your BookSmart software you can choose which book you want to create. There's so many different sizes to choose from and Blurb also have different themes such as; Wedding, Photobook, Yearbook, Cookbook and there's even a very cool 'Blog to Book' option which I think is fab and something I'll definitely be trying out in future. For this particular book though I choose Photobook as I wanted to make my mum something special. When uploading your photos you can either upload from your computer or you can use Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa and/or Smugmug and once uploaded Blurb gives you the choice to let you decide which photos should go where or the BookSmart software will place the photos for you. They will be placed oldest to newest if you let the software arrange them.
If you really want to you also get a tutorial to help you through setting up your book. I choose to do it on my own and for a photo book it was very easy and straight forward. Maybe if you were doing something a bit more complicated like a YearBook or Blog to Book then following the tutorial would be advised.
Now, you can spend as much or as little time on your Photobook as you wish. For something simple, like what I was doing, it only took me 2 hours as I just had photos and no text however if you're putting in text and building up your book I could see it taking a good 12 hours or more. The good thing with the BookSmart software though is you can always go back to it and work on it offline which I previously mentioned. So everything is quite safe.
I chose a large square 30x30cm hardcover book with 20 pages for my mum with premium paper in matte finish and what a gorgeous book it is. It took a little while to arrive though. I ordered on 28th February and it had been promised to arrive by 14th March at the latest. Luckily it turned up on the 6th/7th March so only took around 7 business days. It does say it can take 7-10 days to print and then there's delivery time on top so order in plenty of time. The book was well packaged when delivered too with a poly sleeve to keep the dirt and dust off and a thick cardboard coat to protect from bashes. The book I ordered cost £44.49 and then there was £4.99 delivery on top so £49.48 altogether. Every book will range in price due to the different options of size, hardcover, paper finish etc but do check out Blurbs pricing guide for a rough estimate.
Overall Blurb is very easy to use and it can take you as little or as long as you like to create your masterpiece. Pricing will vary a lot but they're definitely in line with other high end photo book companies. From what I've seen their books are of excellent quality and my mum was thrilled with hers to say the least. She's been showing everyone who'll look! The only issue for me would be the delivery times.
Mummie's rating - 9/10
Grannies's rating - 10/10
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