B&W Blurb book received -- not so happy

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by henry_richardson, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. During the summer I worked on making my first Blurb book using Lightroom 5.6. I finished it and ordered a copy in August and finally received it here in Japan a few days ago. It is B&W standard landscape (10x8 inches, 25x20 centimeters), softcover, 90 pages, printed on premium lustre paper. It cost $44 + $23 for standard shipping, but since it was my first Blurb book through Lightroom I got 25% off the book portion of the price.

    After spending about 4 months working on it and then 5-6 weeks waiting to receive it after ordering it I was hoping for it to be pretty good. Well, what shall I say? For the price I am disappointed. Today I took 3 photos to illustrate what I see. I tried to adjust these photos to be as close to what I see when I look at the book as I could. I took a photo of the cover and a page in the book that has the same photo. You can see how different they look. I would say the cover is much too contrasty with a too high black point and the photo inside the book has too low contrast with no blacks, just dark gray and a bit of a green cast. Then the last photo is a 100% crop of a close-up of a different photo in the book, but all the photos look the same. Even from a normal viewing distance you can see the newspaper-like or CRT-like pattern.
    I don't think I will order anymore. If the price was cheap, maybe $20 with inexpensive shipping then I would feel differently, but this Blurb book is pretty disappointing to me. What has your experience been?
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  2. The off color (non neutral) closeup of the halftone is to be expected with Indigo press. Nothing you can do about that. Dead nuts neutral is really hard to do on these devices, a slight color tone can 'hide it' a bit. Never that impressed with Blurb’s output. If you're on a Mac and have Aperture, or even iPhoto, rebuild the book and send through Apple. Much better QC.
     
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Blurb gave me a credit very quickly when I contacted them about an issue with a book.
     
  4. I wasn't happy with my Blurb book either, they gave me a credit when I complained.
     
  5. Thanks for the responses. Maybe I will give them a call. When you say credit do you mean a credit to your credit card? Or do you mean a credit with Blurb for a later book order? The first would be welcome, but the second would be rather useless, I think, since I can't see ever ordering another photo book from them -- unless they start printing much higher quality photos. To get the credit did you have to return the book? I am in Japan.
     
  6. I got a credit toward my next purchase, which to me is useless because I won't be using Blurb again. I was not asked to return the book. The credit was $50, about 1/2 the cost of my original book.
    <Chas>
     
  7. I didn't expect a very high quality, expensive photo book, but I did expect the photos to be at least as good as what I can see in photo magazines here in Japan and inexpensive photo books I see at the bookstore. The photo quality from Blurb is not much better than a newspaper though (paper is much better though) and yet even with the 25% discount I paid $56. I had planned to buy more after I saw the first one to give as gifts and for those I would have not got the discount so the price would have been $67. For that kind of price I definitely expected much, much better. Anyway, Adobe and Blurb are doing a disservice to photographers, I think.
     
  8. Why don't you just get a hold of Blurb and discuss the situation with them as well as showing them why you are not satisfied. They use different printing companies depending upon your location. They may have a problem with one of their vendors. No matter the case, Blurb can do a great deal more to satisfy you with this problem than we can on this website. Personally I have had no issues with my three books with Blurb although they were all in color.
     
  9. I had a friend in England create a Blurb book, all color photos print on demand. I thought the photos looked quite good in color, but there wasn't any b/w. I have seen some of these photos on line, and it was really quite good. Actually two different books.
     
  10. If you want something to look a certain way, don't send it off to someone you can't talk to. Hire a real printer, go down there and watch them work, help them get what you want out of the process. These things have been commoditized, putting plenty of people out of work, and priced for quick sale. You can't be upset if its not what you want.
     
  11. Different publishers/printers for different needs, Lenny. Blurb is this era's vanity press, but with a huge difference: Blurb's business practice is ethical. The previous era of vanity press publishing was a scam to rope naive writers into buying cartons of books they'd have to scramble to sell. And generally speaking if you weren't happy with the book, tough luck. On demand publishing is entirely different, and while some folks have complained about Blurb's quality, their customer service reputation is generally good. It seems like a reasonable niche between self-published zines and the old vanity press model - the latter of which few of us can afford.
     
  12. To add what Lex says about Blurb. They are printing on primarily big HP Indigo on demand presses which mean CMYK conversions at some point, halftone-like screen, etc. These are like giant color laser printers.
     
  13. Since it seems the poor quality of Blurb's B&W photo printing is because of the inherent characteristics of the HP Indigo printers they use I am wondering if anything has changed to make big improvements to the quality in the last 6 months since I started this thread?
     
  14. I have 4 Blurb books in colors from 4 different photographer friends. The images look pretty good. Why not contact them to discuss the black and white situation? Good luck!
     

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