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!).


Paris Day Planner 2012 – Buy me!

With some of my many Paris photos, I’ve made a 2012 Daily Planner (Calendar).  It features pictures taken with my xpan, voigtlander rangefinder, Holga, and Sony Nex 3.  I wanted to stick with only film cameras, but the cover shot was just too good to omit.

There are 14 pictures including the cover, and the last 20 or so pages are lined for notes.  It’s 5×8″ or “pocket book” sized and is available on Blurb for only $9.95  Click Here to see the book and purchase if you are interested.

52 Create – Craftvent Calendar, Day 1

52 Create, my “weekly” creative output for 2011.  Seeing as I missed a few weeks over the summer and fall, I”m making my daughter a “Craftvent” calendar (ie. an advent calendar filled with crafts).  One craft a day from December 1st till the 24th.

I figured I should start it off with something to give a bit of decor to our Parisian apartment.  We don’t have a lot of decorations back home, but here we don’t have any at all.  A 1 metre Christmas tree will set you back $50 in Paris, so we aren’t in a hurry to buy one of those…  So for December 1st I made my daughter a simple garland.  The irony is I used a toy catalogue for the paper as it was full of colour and looked nice.  It’s now hanging in our not very well insulated window.

My other 52 Create Projects

DIY CD Case Calendar

Well, Christmas rolled around and being one who hates consumerism and wasteful gifts that people won’t even use, I had to think of a present for some close friends.  While I make books for my family members, this gets costly so I was more interested in a lower cost item that still involved some DIY and photography of course.

I stumbled across Shutter Sisters and their super cool CD case calendars.  I loved the idea and I had a box of old CD jewel cases lying around so it was right up my alley as the cases were likely headed to the recycling depot.  The one thing I didn’t like about their calendars is that although they fit perfectly in the jewel cases, you could only print one month per page on a 8.5×11 sheet of photo paper, what an enormous waste of paper!!!  I rejigged it to fit 4 months on each sheet which still wasted some paper but only a marginal amount.  They end up being the correct width but slightly shorter than the case (a small trade-off for a huge paper savings!)

To create the calendars, I imported pictures into InDesign and typed in the dates underneath each month.  I kept them very plain and denoted holidays/weekends by using red instead of black text.  To make the cases stand up on their own you need to file off a small part of the case by the hinge. This was very easy to do with a small nail file or an exacto knife.

The calendars were very well received and will hopefully be adorning the receiver’s desks this year!