There have been many print on demand offerings over the years – the first one with considerable money and resources was IUniverse which has had a relationship with Barnes & Noble for a period of time. IUniverse has been followed by many other full-service publishers such as Authorhouse and lulu to name two who cater to the self-publisher. Recently I came across an intriguing new group of publishing companies which offer to take your photos, blog entries and other content and turn them into a book.
In the case of Blurb.com you download software which turns out to be some limited editing tools and a set of templates. These templates are organized by the type of book you want to create: cookbook, blog, photo album. The thing that got my attention was that you can create a photo book of your photos for less than $30. It did seem to be too good to be true so I decided to try it. The result was beyond my expectation; the book is professional looking, well bound, the images are great and it has a dust jacket. The software was ridiculously easy to use and if I hadn’t decided to add more photos I could have had the book in my hands within five days of downloading the software. My forty image book cost $30 plus shipping. I treated this as an experiment and will do it again and will use more of the functionality which allows text and differing layouts. Blurb offers books up to 440 pages in length ($80). The end product is so well produced that I suggested to my better half that she could provide a book of before and after pictures for her interior design clients by way of a parting gift.
My book is now on their web site as part of the catalog and anyone is able to purchase the title. It doesn’t appear that you can preview the title and I hope they add this functionality. (The software is in beta). Anyone can visit the site and buy my book for $40 – although I get nothing of this amount, but then, that is not why I did it. If someone did want to sell their own titles they can buy them from Blurb.com and then sell them on at a higher price. I have thousands of slide photos and I have been putting off going fully digital; this is now my motivation.
Lastly, this blog entry has been forming in my head since I got my book last week and low and behold Blurb.com just got $12mm in new funding. The other sites I was told about were picaboo and sharedink.com if you want to try them.