Sunday, June 06, 2010

Blurb Review! And Going Away..

My Blurb book is here! We are so happy to receive it!! Ryan called me at work to tell me it arrived, he knew I've been looking out for it, so sweet of him! To hold it in full 114 pages and in 12x12 size to see the entire trip in one album is just fantastic!!
 As promised, I will review it for you. (Dh is quite amused at how excited I am to do this :) ! ) I've roped him in for his opinions too, to give you as objective views as possible, and since I've only ever printed with Shutterfly, any comparison with be against our books printed with Shutterfly.

Overall, we are pleased with the quality of the book. The pictures and colors are crisp and sharp, paper is thick and not filmsy at all, (I chose the premium matte paper at Blurb) and dh especially is very pleased with the clarity of all details and thinks there is no difference in quality in terms of the printing against Shutterfly!
Here is a close up of an enlarged photo (that took up the whole of the left page) for you to see (a bit of light reflecting) it was perfect in my dh's view
I however felt that the colors of the layouts printed in Blurb appeared somewhat deeper/darker then they did with Shutterfly. Shutterfly colors seem brighter? But this is based on my impression only, since I did not print the same page so can't compare objectively. Here you see a page from my US album (shutterfly) above, and a page from my Japan album (Blurb) below, can't really tell the difference actually..

There are a few areas where Blurb did not fare as well as Shutterfly:
- The spine on the cover cannot be customed with our own background paper using BookSmart (I believe it can be done if you use PDF to Book option, which I did not try). I chose to use white for the spine, thinking it matches the white frames on my photos on the cover
- The corners on the inside front and back covers (as shown below, right is Blurb, left is shutterfly) was not well done, and stuck out somewhat
- The pages appear to be 'wavy' as if the paper did not dry properly after printing? This is not obvious and could be due to the thickness of my book?
- Shutterfly's cover is laminated, but Blurb's is not. There is high risk of my Blurb cover getting dirtied! Do also read Sarah G's review (further down) about Blurb's cover.

There are also other differences, though not necessarily good or bad
- My Blurb book does not open up as flat as my Shutterfly book (I am comparing my 114 page blurb book versus my 101 page shutterfly book). As such, my usual 3/8 inch adjustment for the middle of the double page layout did not work as well as they did with Shutterfly. Of course if I print with Blurb in future I can make a greater adjustment, maybe 5/8 inch, so this is a matter of adjusting.

 - For the same reason, it seems the Blurb book will not have as high a chance of a page falling out. (1 page in my shutterfly soft cover fell out) Only time will tell though :)
- I keep thinking shutterfly pages had more sheen than Blurb's, but dh thinks I'm imagining things! Lol!

To summarise, in view of the price (Blurb is about 30% savings compared to Shutterfly I believe) I would say Blurb is really value for money, good enough, and other than the cover, has indiscernable differences where the printing quality is concerned.  I would however, print with Shutterfly if my book is less than 101 pages in future, mainly because I already got the adjustment for the middle of the double page figured out, and I do much prefer the laminated cover. Just got to take advantage of those discounts! :)

Sarah G had this helpful review of her Blurb book in comments to my last post, I would like you to read her views too: (thanks Sarah!)

I have used Shutterfly exclusively, but last year I had a 115-page annual album (due to my Project 365) and I tried Blurb b/c of the 101-page limit in Shutterfly.

I am not happy with it, after having it on my shelf for a few months. The cover is not a laminate like Shutterfly, it's a heavy piece of cardboard that is printed on. As a result, the cover image will be darker than you'd expect. (My title page and cover are the same, so I could compare.) It looks like the cover absorbs too much ink.

You do a completely custom front and back, but they don't let you upload your image for the spine. I went into Photoshop and grabbed the predominant color in my cover with the color picker, found the hex# and entered that for my spine in Blurb.

It was considerably cheaper than Shutterfly, and my only option in a 12X12 100+ page book.

I am displeased enough with the overall quality that I won't use them again---I will either trim books down to <100 pages, or break projects into pieces.

I hope that you receive a better product! I am, overall, grateful to have the book printed---I should make that clear! It is a great blessing to have all my layouts in a book. But I've been spoiled by Shutterfly. :)

Hope our reviews was helpful!

I have completed 3 layouts of my Hokkaido trip!! Tada!!

Two new templates are in the store and template 204  is now available as a set in the store HERE

And in one day's time we leave for Shanghai, China! I know, we are really blessed, my cousin lives in Shanghai, and invited us for a visit in time to catch the World Expo. The kids are very excited, we have been browsing webpages like this and this to read about it, and of course, Shanghai itself is truly magnificent!! It is our (the boys and I) first trip to China and we will come back with lots of photos and more fodder for layouts!


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