First Experiences with Blurb Books

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Jim Cassatt
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First Experiences with Blurb Books
9 months ago

In the grand tradition of photographers like Eugene Atget, Berenice Abbot, Walker Evans and others, I have been going around documenting my 'Little City" of Falls Church, VA, before all of the old buildings are all bulldozed for the sake of development. My idea was to publish the photographs in the form of a Blurb Book, send a copy to the local library and advertise the book to the locals in hopes of making a few bucks.

Stage one is complete. The book has been uploaded, and I have received my copies. So I thought I would relate my experiences.

First I chose Blurb because of its integration with Lightroom. A Youtube video by Julianna Kost was very valuable (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=blurb+book+lightroom+kost&sm=3) Since each picture needed a brief caption, I learned to make that the title in LR. That meant that whenever I wanted to edit it, editing had to be done in LR, not on the book itself.

The layout process was fairly uneventful. Getting all of the appropriate images appropriately grouped was a bit of a challenge. Hence some pages had one image, some two, just to keep things in register. I even went back to shoot some more pictures to add as fillers to make the pages come out right.

I decided to do a draft copy using standard paper since I have problems getting things right the first time. I did export the book to a PDF. Uploading turned out to be more difficult than expected. We are talking about 140 pages with about 250 images. Not only does it take quite a bit of time, but if your computer goes to sleep, the process is aborted and you have to start all over again.

Blurb Books is located on the West Coast. That means one week for shipping to the Washington DC area. The book finally arrives. Immediately I saw some improvements that needed to be made, made the necessary changes and uploaded a second book. Note that you cannot edit the previous edition on line.

I also decided to see if using photo paper (Proline Pearl Photo) improved the quality of the images so I ordered two books, one standard one photopaper. Unfortunately you cannot simply check a box on the Blurb website for choice of paper. You have to upload another copy.

A week later the books arrived. In comparing the two copies, I noticed that the images done on the Proline Pearl paper had a slight yellow cast to them. This was not noticeable on the color image, but did show up on the black and white. The color rendition on the standard paper was better.

I did make a few more minor changes. (Another long upload process) and have ordered three more copies to distribute to the local library, Chamber of Commerce and the local paper.

Anyone interested can see the images on my Pbase site, http://www.pbase.com/jcassatt/falls_church or preview the book at http://blur.by/1mdSPyq

BTW When I tried to get into the Blurb site to check something, I noticed it was very slow, something I have experienced at other times.

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