PROS / Blurb gives you more creative control than most with the option of uploading your own PDF.
CONS / The service does not offer many of the standard photo book sizes.
VERDICT / We got a good quality book from Blurb, but the online interface is less intuitive than others and offers only a small selection of backgrounds and cover options.
Blurb offers unique designs and features with its online photo book service. Unlike other services, Blurb gives you free rein over the design of your book. You can upload a PDF with an InDesign plugin, or upload Word and Google Docs to get started. You can also use the Blurb Bookify interface to make custom designs and layouts. The size and cover options are limited, though, and we found this online photo book maker harder to use than most others.
All of the books we made for testing had hard covers, but the book we made with Blurb got high marks for its extra-sturdy cover. We ordered only the default, standard pages from each service, and Blurb's pages were noticeably thicker and nicer than some other samples we got. Some of the photo reproduction seemed a little off, though, with a pinkish hue, and the pages didn't lie very flat.
If you use the online photo book editor, you can change the backgrounds and layouts of the pages. The autofill feature places all of your photos for you. Blurb also creates custom photo books out of your Facebook, Instagram and other photo-sharing sites. Instead of uploading photos from them, it makes a book only of those photos and the captions you had with them.
Blurb not only offers unique features, but also atypical sizing options. The books do not come in standard sizes. For instance, the portrait book is 10 x 8 inches instead of the standard 11 x 8.5 inches. On the other hand, the cover options are standard and limited. There are no lay-flat, leather or fabric cover options. Instead, you can choose from a soft cover, a hard cover with a dust jacket or an image wrapped around a cover.
While cover options are limited, you can choose from five types of high-quality paper for your photo books: standard, premium matte, premium luster, uncoated and pearl-finish photo paper. Standard books have semi-matte pages that don't show fingerprints, a protective front and back page, and a sturdy cover. The quality of the images is sharp and vivid if you used high-resolution photos, but if you use lower-quality photos for your book, it is noticeable in the final product.
The average time to process and ship your book is four to five days. When you need your book fast, Blurb offers overnight shipping. The company's website features a FAQs page as well as email and live chat options in case you have problems while using the service.
Blurb is not the best photo book site for an average user, but the level of customization available will appeal to photographers and other pro users. You can make custom photo books from your social media sites and design the entire book with Blurb's interface. While the books do not come in standard sizes and offer few cover options, the finished product is of high quality.