Book creation entirely online – we review Blurb’s web-based publisher
As much as it’s about the finished product, it’s also important how you get there. Blurb aims to make this journey easier with its web-based service, Bookify. It’s an alternative to downloading the company’s BookSmart software, as Bookify has been designed for speeding up the layout process by simplifying the interface. Books can be designed automatically, leaving the program to arrange images into a standard template. To start you off, if you plan to upload a large batch such as 200 or more, Bookify recommends a fast connection to the web. If you choose to go ahead, Bookify then, after many thumb-rolling minutes, loads all the images into a separate interface for you to drag, drop and swap from page to page. However, you’re limited to a maximum page count of 160, so going the ‘auto-create’ route may leave you with some stragglers that have to be added back in later. If you’re comfortably under the 160-image mark, then you’ll benefit from the speediness of Bookify.
The more images you have, the slower the process is in all aspects of the program. This includes manipulating page layouts and swapping images; a fast web connection makes all the difference. If you have only a handful of images – maybe for a portfolio – then you’ll reap all the benefits of Bookify and its fast interface. A book’s layout can be viewed multiple spreads at a time, and extra ones can be added quickly too. Pages are deleted one at a time, so removing 100 pages or more will take a while. Page layouts are similar to those in Blurb’s BookSmart, giving you enough variety for most styles. However, layouts aren’t as customisable in Bookify and it can be fiddly to get the look you desire. After choosing a template, you can control the position of each image, but on a slow web connection Bookify responds slowly.
Books are printed in Blurb’s ‘standard’ sizes (8 x 10 inches), and prices vary on the number of pages used. Cover options include giving your book a dust jacket with fold-over tabs, or you can go for the plain and simple softcover. The finished product is worth the wait, with excellent image quality and binding to complement – even on the company’s standard paper.
For quickly producing your own coffee-table book, Bookify hits the spot.
Photobooks take between 7-21 working days to turn up at your door, which includes printing times. To the UK it’s £3.99 extra, and to the USA it’s $6.99. For Europe it’s €5.99.
Blurb has a couple of options for paper type in Bookify. Premium is the step up from standard, and is 35 per cent heavier. Standard is 135gsm and comes in a matte finish. Premium can be lustre or matte, however.
Bookify or BookSmart?
Bookify is ideal for simple book layouts for a small group of images. BookSmart has more options and is better suited for dealing with large batches.
Publish your book
Once your book is ordered, you can publish it to Blurb’s online community for others to view and purchase. Check out the top-selling books, or the ones selected by the Blurb team.