Blurb – Black and White Text Book quality review

I’ve made several books before, but I’ve always been tempted by Blurb’s “Black and White Text” books.  They come in both Trade (6×9″) and Pocket (5×8″), and are significantly cheaper than their other offerings.  You still get a full colour cover, however the inside pages are “cream” and while called “Text only” books, Blurb advises that:

While perfect for text, the textured, low-contrast paper also gives black and white photos and drawings a decidedly edgy and lo-fi feel. 

I’d been reluctant to try as I couldn’t find a single review on the web about printing pictures in this type of book.  So I thought I’d give a quick summary of how it turned out and a few sample pictures side by side with the originals to see how it looks.

Sorry about the thumb, had to hold the book somehow!  Anyways, as you can see, the paper is definitely cream colour, which affects the whites.  Also, the blacks are not that “deep” compared to the original (a scanned black and white negative).  That being said, it still looks fine, not sure if I find it edgy, but lo-fi perhaps.  The type of picture above (contrasty, lots of light and dark but not so much midtones) seems to work best with this format.  It isn’t as good as the original but it’s not bad and not a lot is lost due to the printing.

 

The above picture shows where this format doesn’t work.  The picture has very small differences in shades of dark grey along the fence line.  In the original you can see these differences clearly, in the book however, most of the detail is gone, in fact the one pedestrian is even hard to see.  While this is disappointing, now that I know, I will refrain from using this type of picture.

Finally, this picture shows the quality of the printing up close.  The picture was printed 3.5×3.5″ so it has been blown up significantly.  As you can see, the printing really looks a lot like newsprint.  Good quality newsprint, but newsprint nonetheless.  Again I’m not being critical of this, just pointing out what you can expect from this type of book as examples are hard to find on the web.

Overall I’ve been quite happy with the book.  You can’t beat the price at under $10 for a 150 page 5×8″ book.  So long as you know what types of pictures to include or not to include, you can have an excellent book for a rock bottom price.

If you’re in need of a 5×8″ calendar (day planner) with pictures of Paris, or if you just want to check out the print quality for yourself, click here to see my book (or buy it if you like!).

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5 thoughts on “Blurb – Black and White Text Book quality review

  1. This looks quite good. I was about to try this myself, but wasn’t at all sure how it would turn out. I’m glad I found this post, looks like it will work!

    Could you tell me something about how you prepared your images? I am assuming that you, like I will be doing, created the book in InDesign and uploaded as a PDF. Did you just leave images in RGB with a sRGB profile, or did you convert them to greyscale? If so, what profile (or manual gamma setting) did you use?

    Best regards,

    Magnus,
    Stockholm

    • Most of the pictures were scanned black and white negatives, the few digital ones were converted to black and white using Aperture. The negatives were scanned as colour as this gave a better look to the picture. Make sure to keep your resolution high when converting to PDF.

  2. Thank you! 🙂 This was very helpful as I am creating my own pocket book and was iffy about the quality before purchasing. However, you made it very clear that despite the cheap price, Blurb is a great company with quality.

  3. Pingback: Project #001: Inspraa 12′ | A Frame of Inspiration

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