Pros / Blurb gives you more creative control than most with the option of uploading your own PDF.
Cons / The options for multiple image layouts aren’t very good.
Verdict / Blurb’s image quality and binding are decent, but the layout limitations and the lack of premade customization features make this a service best left for professional book making.
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.
Blurb’s 8 x 8 hardcover photo books cost $30.39 before factoring in shipping and tax. That makes this the 5th most expensive service we tested. The price for additional pages depends on the size and cover type of your book. The most it can cost is $1.50 per page. Blurb does charge shipping and tax so the total price for one book will likely go up an additional $10 or so.
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. Our expert testers said that 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 some graininess. It also bothered our panel that the pages didn't lie very flat.
Many of our testers noted that the image layout didn’t show the photos off to their best advantage. That’s because Blurb doesn’t offer a lot of multiple image layouts and the ones they have aren’t very good. This service’s best layouts only allow you to add one image per page. If you want a service that offers better collage-centered photo layouts, consider Walgreens Photo.
Blurb focuses more on creating professional books for publication. So unless you are a professional photographer or want to sell your books, this isn’t a great service to use. If you use the online photo book editor, you can change the background color and layouts of the pages. The autofill feature places all of your photos for you.
Blurb offers atypical sizing options. 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. While the books do not come in standard sizes and offer few cover options, the binding and paper are high quality. However, some of the images in our book didn’t print true to color.
- Price for 20-Page 8 x 8 Hardcover
- Print Quality
- Book Quality
- Ease of Use