While enjoying my first espresso drink this morning, my local television news got my attention with a story about the changing face of book publishing. Recently I've heard good things about the self-publishing company Lulu.com. My friend/client Don Horn will be releasing his autobiography later this month, and writer Kristen Fischer will publish her book Creatively Self-Employed (with yours truly as a contributor), through the resources of iUniverse. I've also seen photo gift books produced by friends through the sites of Apple, Kodak and other sources. However, I'd never heard of the publishing venture Blurb.com until this morning.
The news blurb about Blurb.com piqued my interest and I went to the site. My immediate thought was: What a great portfolio resource for graphic designers. A designer (or design firm) could cost-effectively create a book of their work, with text explanations, and present a concise, professional- looking volume to prospective employers or potential clients. With the quick turn-around in custom publishing, the books could also be used as high-quality, finished project presentations. Softcover prices start at $18.95 for a 40-page, 8x10 4-color book with the same 80# coated, semi-matte paper and professional print quality Blurb delivers in its hardcover books. What I liked most about Blurb was the amount of creative control it gives the individual producing a book.
In flipping through the catalog of recently published books, I didn't see any current examples of graphic design book efforts. I did see many volumes of photography, a published MFA exhibition volume, a book of drawing and ceramics, and an architect's portfolio. Why not graphic design portfolios?
A customer first downloads Blurb.com's BookSmart™ software beta - in PC or Mac format - and the book creation process may begin. Blurb makes it easy to create a professionally designed book, using simple dragging and dropping of photos and auto-flowing text. Features have also been added to help people better market their books in Blurb’s Bookstore. Along with showing larger cover images in the Bookstore, Blurb customers can now elect to show prospective book buyers the first 15 pages of their books via a view-only PDF file with the Book Preview feature. Blurb’s new tagging tools allow users to categorize and tag their books for more exposure. Blurb even offers their own book How to make a book for $14.95 (which includes a $10 off Blurb coupon for future use). The instruction book is also available for PDF download.
Currently Blurb books printed using BookSmart do not have an ISBN number and therefore can’t be sold in bookstores or through other online book selling sites. However, there are plans in the works to offer a service that will help authors obtain their own ISBN numbers in the future.
The easily-navigated Blurb website provides a great deal of information. In fact, I have probably spent a good hour checking out things on the site so far this morning. There is also the Blurberati Blog, which appears to be a valuable additional resource for those considering using the publishing service.
Of course, your own book of photos, art, poetry or writing would make a great holiday gift for others. You had better get your ass in gear - the publishing deadline for delivery by December 22nd is December 11th.
(Note: For a review of Blurb and other self-publishing resources check out Macworld's "Beyond Apple's photo books.")
© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.