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!).

52 Create – Craftvent Calendar, Day 9

52 Create, my weekly creative output for 2011.  Continuing along with my “Craftvent” calendar for my 2 year old daughter.  Simply put, it’s an advent calendar filled with crafts, all home made, many will be joint projects so she gets some fun of making stuff as well.

 

Day 9 – Another book? Yep.  She liked the yesterday’s book so much, I thought I would make her another one.  One of the grocery stores in Paris gives out packs of sticker to kids when you’re at the checkout.  They also give you a special book to put the stickers in, but it’s too big and busy for my 2 year old and she gets distracted with all the various pages.  So I got her a small book that we then spent most of the afternoon ripping open the sticker packages and filling up the book.  Pretty simple but fun.  It’s also a great size to throw in my jacket pocket or bag in order to entertain her while out and about.

My other Craftvent Calendar Crafts

 

52 Create – Craftvent Calendar, Day 8

52 Create, my weekly creative output for 2011.  Continuing along with my “Craftvent” calendar for my 2 year old daughter.  Simply put, it’s an advent calendar filled with crafts, all home made, many will be joint projects so she gets some fun of making stuff as well.

Day 8 – Today I gave my daughter a personalized ABC book.  It spent a few nights filling out the pages, I’m not much of an artist, so finding words that begin with each letter of the alphabet that I am also able to draw is a bit of a challenge.  I got to Y and decided I couldn’t draw a yak, so the Boat from letter B became a baseball, and Y became a yacht.  We read the book together today and I was impressed that she new what most of the pictures were, so either I’m a better artist than I think, or my kid is a genius.  A win either way.  I alternated one page of capital/small letter and one page of drawing.

My other Craftvent Calendar Crafts

52 Create – Wooden Kids Book

52 Create, my weekly creative outlet for 2011…  My little (and only) niece is celebrating her first Easter, too young for chocolate, so how about her very own personalized book?  I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for about a year, and I even cut the wooden blanks out for the pages at least a month ago, but it wasn’t until the last couple of days that I designed the page in illustrator and printed them out on t-shirt transfer paper.  The wood is 1/8″ plywood and the designs are simply ironed on and covered with a thin coat of spray on lacquer (food safe of course!).
I think these could be a real hit on Etsy as once the design is done, it’s fairly quick to assemble, and I could put a personalized name on each book.  The only issue is I don’t feel the t-shirt transfer will be very durable.  I’ll be keeping an eye on this book to see how well it holds up.

My other 52 Create Projects

My Etsy Store.

Creative Inc.

Previously on Craft Collective I reviewed Craft Inc., a fantastic book about turning your creative hobby into a successful  business.  I’m pretty excited to see that Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho have followed up Meg’s first book with Creative Inc. This book is similar to Craft Inc. except that it is designed for photographers, graphic designers, freelance artists, etc.

Get your copy from Chronicle Books

Meg Mateo Ilasco

Joy Deangdeelert Cho

The Xpan Book

It’s published!  Matthew Joseph got a bunch of us Xpan owners together through flickr and put together a book of 32 Xpan pictures (colour and black and white) to be published and sold on Blurb.  All the photographers donated their images, and any proceeds will go towards a charity.  It was quite the undertaking for Matthew Joseph, lots of haranguing to get photos and text from everyone, but he did a great job pulling it all together.  Due to the wonders of alphabetical order, I got the first shot in the book!

To view/buy the book

My picture.

Book Review: Indie Publishing

After two books through Lulu.com, I’ve become very interested in Publishing on Demand printing.  But while these services offer printing (and some editing), there isn’t much towards style or even just making your book look cohesive and not just a jumble of multiple fonts and layouts.

I saw “Indie Publishing: How to Design and Produce Your Own Book” on the shelf at Upper Case and I decided I had to buy it.  I read the book in an afternoon, it was that exciting!  The book, edited by Ellen Lupton, goes over everything you need to know for self publishing.

The book starts off covering all the various types of book designs, from novels to zines to portfolios.  From there it branches off into book design and layouts. How to pick fonts, the best way to set up your pages, etc.  While the first part of the book is directed at the Publish on Demand crow, the book does have a long section on fabricating your own books as well.  There are excellent pictures and descriptions that guide you through making hard cover, soft cover, stab binding, single signature, and accordion style books.  Many of these designs are actually quite simple to do once you see the directions.

The book wraps up with an excellent section on Indie Inspiration, showing all sorts of different book designs and styles. I found by the time I got to the last section, I was already raring to go, but these indie books certainly gave me some extra guidance.

While Blurb wasn’t rated the top photo book, and Lulu wasn’t even reviewed, the other photo books that were reviewed aren’t really set up for desktop publishing, more for photos only.  I’ve heard many good things about Blurb so our next book will likely be through them.