What Is Your Experience With The Quality Of Blurb Books Made With Lightroom

February 9th, 2015

BlurbBooksHamish posed the following question about Blurb books made with Lightroom:

I was wondering if the PFRE community has any advice about getting photo books printed. We are occasionally asked to supply stills as a printed book and in the past I have used iPhoto and Blurb via Lightroom.

iPhoto was easy and had great colour reproduction but the print quality itself was poorer than hoped – a little too ‘digital’. The Blurb book looked amazing in terms of the print but the colour was a long way off what I saw in Lightroom. There was a distinct purple cast to the images. I know there are RGB / CYMK issues at play and I’ve Googled around the Blurb / LR issues but found not easy / common solution so I was wondering if the PFRE community had the answer.

I’ve printed books with Aperture which uses the same print service as iPhoto and was generally pleased with the results, but I’ve not used Blurb to create books. My guess is that your disappointment with the color is probably due to the conversion to CMYK. Blurb uses HP Indigo printers and they say that you are supposed to submit files in sRGB color space and the Indigo printer automatically converts to CMYK. I’m always disappointed by conversion to CMYK! On the Blurb page on Color Management they give instructions on how to setup a Blurb color managed workflow which will give you the most control over the color.

Has anyone out there getting great results in their Blurb books or books made with another on demand print vendors?

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10 Responses to “What Is Your Experience With The Quality Of Blurb Books Made With Lightroom”

  • I printed one Blurb book via LR and was underwhelmed.

    Crazy as this sounds, while I have not printed a photo book, I did print a large calendar which was on 100lb glossy stock, images I sent were 3000px long side and sRGB color space and the results were stunning! Where? ….Costco. If their photo books are similar, then by all means give that a try. Not too expensive for a quick test.

  • I haven’t had any printing done by Blurb although I’ve seen a couple of their books that were beautifully printed. I have had books printed by H&H Photo Lab, $50, that were outstanding. I had another by MyPublisher that was very good but not outstanding. I’ve had one printed by Costco that looks nearly identical to the one I had from MyPublisher and probably printed by them. For twenty bucks, the Costco book are very hard to beat!

  • I use blurb for many books to agents as gifts. I use Blurb’s “book write” software with the pearl paper upgrade and have had great results. I have also used adaramapix and they have a seamless page with actual photo paper. The cost is higher (sign up to their email list for discounts) but the quality is very good.

  • We have printed a number of books using Mixbook. We have published just for our own use. One on Iceland, one Europe and one on Italy. We also do Christmas books for our family from the year before. They provide the software and it does have a few frustrations. Mainly re-positioning the photos in the order you want. The quality has been impressive. We watch for their sales and usually get a great discount. Turn around time is very reasonable as well. I have friends that have used Costco and were pleased as well.

  • My daughter (not a pro) and I have used Adorama Print for photo books. We’re very happy with the quality, value and ease of design.

  • Going back to nearly the beginning of blurb.com, then known as BlurbBeta, I have been a steady customer creating portfolio books for architects, interior designers and building contractors. In the years since the beginning the quality has continually improved and we have spent nearly $15,000 in orders. I am very satisfied with the quality when using the premium luster paper option. I did not experience a jump in quality from luster to their pearl paper. We have printed both hard cover with dusk jackets as well as soft cover books for clients. I do not like the image cover books. The finish on the image cover books is like a matte coating that wears poorly. I would not use the image cover option on hard cover books. I also enjoy pretty quick turnaround time as they have been beating their posted delivery times by up to five days on ground delivery. For layout and design we use a software called FotoFusion from a Canadian company and output as high res 300 dpi JPEG files.

  • The quality at Blurb is great, especially if you order the better paper. I’m not sure why you’d use LR to create the book – their stand-alone software works just fine.

  • I ordered a book from Blurb and was amazed about the quality in terms of haptics as well as print quality. Although I had a software issue which was a pain. Whenever I uploaded the book to blurb, at least one of the pages was flipped vertically. I turned to the help desks. Adobe’s even did not react. And Blurb’s was not sure what to do. But they suggested to go a different route. Thus I exported the book into a pdf and imported page by page into Blurb’s Indesign template, re-flipped the wrong pages, exported the book into a pdf with Blurb’s settings again and uploaded this version. The result was more than acceptable.

  • Hello all, I’ve created a magazine in Blurb to send to high end realtors, architects and homebuilders. It contains both interior and exterior shots, a portrait of me with a bio, a few double trucks and one with headshots and executive portraits too and a client list on the last page. The turn around time was great, about 3 days, the colors very close, images sharp and the price was reasonable for a 30 page magazine….about $5.50 or so. I used the BookWright app on my Mac and laid text down in Adobe CS5 b/c I didn’t want to take the time to learn InDesign. Then imported the images as Jpegs into Blurb. It took a bit of work but am very happy with the results. Only ordered one copy as a product quality test run. The magazine looks just like a high end magazine that you’d get off the shelf at a store. I used the matt paper b/c glossy would have driven the price up another $2 per copy. I’ll place me order for fifty today in my first shipment for a test run as a high end magazine mailer.

  • Marc – Sounds like a great idea!

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