After a few years to really trying to push my photography, I though it was time to document this and put together a book. Mainly for self gratification, but also as an excise to see how easy it was going to be.
Who to use?
I had come across of variety of online companies and services that allowed me to do this. I looked in to several options. Snap Fish, because it linked in to my Flickr, meaning I didn’t need to re upload any of my images. Then there was Kodak, I have printed thousand of my images, mainly everyday snaps, but their quality was good. Of course, being an Apple user, I can do it through iPhoto, but wasn’t really enamoured but their (or any other services) set templates, plus I would need to upgrade my software to get the latest templates and workflow options, so of course an additional cost.
Having settled on Blurb, the reasons were simple, firstly, I could download an InDesign an template and create any layout that took my fancy, giving me complete flexibility. Of cousre if you dont have Indesign there are loads of set design templates to choose from. Secondly, there is the option to sell your book, always a handy feature to make extra money. Finally the finishing options, with different paper qualities, I had more control over the finished article.
So how did it go?
Luckily I work in advertising and have used indesign for years, so putting together my page layouts was easy enough using the downloaded Indesign blank templates. How ever it took forever as I couldn’t decide on a final layout. Then it was a simple case of downloading their PDF export setting, saving the PDFs, one for the cover and one for the pages. Then upload. This took a while, as I had opted for the largest book size possible, a 12 inch square coffee table book, which created a huge 15oMb file size. But once it was uploaded, the Blurb website flight checked my artwork, and it was ready to print. Via my account I can see a great preview of my book, allowing me to make a final check before I press print.
I did encounter a few problems after that point. Firstly, I got an e-mail the day my book was due to be shipped saying there was a delay. Then when it was finally with Fed Ex, Blurb had substituted my companies office name for theirs on the deliver label, meaning Fed Ex wouldn’t deliver. So after a painful 20 minutes on the phone, the address problem was sorted, but it couldn’t be re-delivered until the following working day (it was Friday, so that meant Monday).
And it was wonderful. Seeing my images all laid out exactly as I wanted them, full bleed, full colour and big. It was great.
Then I spotted it, a problem with the print quality. There had been a blocked print head that had left a very fine white line on every page. Nooooooooooooooooooo. But the lovely guys at Blurb, replied to my e-mail complaint within an hour, and are shipping me another at no extra cost. Happy days.
Would I use them again?
Yes, the service and website are easy to use, the finished article is great (once they reprint it). And their customer services was excellent.
So give it a go and produce your own book. Its easy.