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Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

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Old 12-08-2009, 08:29 PM
DannyRaphael's Avatar
DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Location: Near Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,300
Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Originally Posted by skydog View Post's been almost a year, but you did inspire me! Last year at this time, after reading your post, I decided that I would make a book.. I took my son to Scotland in the Spring and that ended up being my book (son's Christmas present). I didn't go with Whcc, no particular reason, but did go with Blurb and used their professional paper. The book came out great and can't wait to do it again. Thanks for the idea.
Congrats on your achievement. Feels pretty good to see your work in book form doesn't it? I'm very glad you're happy with quality.

Perfect timing on your post. I'm expecting my first published book (using professional paper) to be delivered December 9 (assuming FedEx tracking information is correct).

For preview see:

It will be interesting to compare the quality of Blurb vs. WHCC, which is simply outstanding. As I understand it WHCC has two "in house" print facilities (a lot of quality control), whereas Blurb apparently farms out printing/binding to various "non-Blurb" print partners throughout the country (less quality control).

Here's a quick highlight/comparison of Blurb vs. WHCC while I'm in the mood...

No doubt Blurb is easier to use than WHCC, especially for a first timer. After download/install of Blurb's local application Booksmart (PC or Mac application) it's pretty much watch a couple intro u-Tube like videos, let a Wizard walk you through the basics.

Then it's an exercuse of dragging/dropping images (typing and/or copying/pasting text) into one's choice of > 150 provided page layout templates. From full bleed (edge to edge) to side-by-side, square, 2-up, 3-up, 4-up, 8-up, 9-up, 16-up, landscape or portrait orientation to multiple collage template options, plus numerous template choices for cover pages with horizontal and/or vertical text, chapter headings, index, table of contents, etc. AND one can edit/customize any template or build one from scratch, then save for reuse. Almost too many options.See attached image for a look at the interface. There are dozens more for covers, text, recipes, etc. See attachment below.

Lots of font choices. Copy/paste from MS Word and most formatting is preserved.

Changing page order, image location (on a page) is a drag/drop. Changing an already populated template for a different one takes one mouse-click; the replacement template is auto populated with text and images from the original. Change your mind? Ctrl + Z to undo. Like the replacement better? Edit > Redo.

No need to remember to frequently File > Save to preserve changes. Built-in Auto-save does that for you as each change is applied = no loss of work in case of power failure or Windows crash/freeze, etc. There are many levels of undo, which I used often!

Images can come from your machine and/or online services such as Flickr, Smugmug, PhotoBucket, Picassa. One can collaborate with friends/colleagues on a "team" project, too.

Want to sell your book? Blurb enables others to login and order your publication. Blurb does NOT take a cut profit above production/shipping costs. (Not all self-publishing sites do it this way). I'm planning on putting out a couple books in the future for the purpose of raising funds for our church.

The total scope of options and flexibility folded into a fairly intuitive and easy to use interface is nothing short of amazing IMO.

WHCC on the other hand is "design and populate your own pages soup-to-nuts" yourself " or purchase page templates from people who do this sort of thing. I'm glad (now) I did WHCC first. Not only was the end-to-end experience valuable, doing-it-all-myself gave me an appreciation for Blurb's Booksmart application.

WHCC cost is ~ twice as much as Blurb and WHCC time to deliver (using same 2-day shipping) is about 5 calendar days faster than Blurb.

Stay tuned...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RP Booksmart screengrab 1.jpg (141.7 KB, 14 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 12-08-2009 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:06 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Location: Near Seattle, Washington, USA
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Blurb vs. WHCC

My Blurb published book arrived...

First impressions: I was surprised at the flimsy packing. If you have ever received a book ordered online and it came "wrapped" (not boxed) in fairly thin cardboard, you get the idea. Inside the book was encased in the equivalent of very thick food wrap. It would protect from scratches, but not much else. Now I understand why complaints about books damaged in transit on Blurb forums are not infrequent.

The plastic wrap was too thick to tear off bare handed and hugged the book in all directions. I was concerned that the knife I used would damage the cover if not used carefully. There was not much room for error.

WHCC books are hand-wrapped in thick, taped bubble wrap (which is taped to cardboard backing) and boxed with "pillow packing" to prevent bouncing around. It's a challenge (in a good way) to get WHCC books unwrapped.

The quality of WHCC dust covers and paper is better than Blurb. It just "feels richer." Not by a whole lot, but enough that I noticed it.

Production time:
...Sunday - upload
...Monday - they print it
...Tuesday - shipped
...Friday - it arrives (no additional cost for 2-dayshipping)

* Blurb
...December 1: Upload
...December 8: shipped
...December 10: delivered (optional FedEx 2-day delivery), otherwise it would have shipped UPS ground and taken several days longer to arrive

Hard to tell how books will fare "wear / use-wise" over time, but it appears the WHCC binding is a little stouter.

Aside from paper "feel" Blurb and WHCC are very close in terms of output appearence. I was very pleased with Blurb in this regard.

Cost (Here's where it gets interesting): [prices as of December 2009]

* 90 pages (45 physical pages)
* hard cover, dust cover, ~13"x11" premium paper
* $205
* Real people for tech support

* 80 pages
* hard cover, dust cover, ~13"x11" premium paper, extra cost 2-day shipping
* ~ $100 less
* Tech support by user forum or e-mail

Bottom line:
* If WHCC offered the equivalent of Blurb's Booksmart layout software, I would be thrilled. I would not be surprised if they get onto this bandwagon.
* Blurb is considerably less expensive.
* If WHCC quality, service, support is a 10 stars, then I would give Blurb 7 stars.
* I will continue to use Blurb for "non-critical" photo books, for example gifts for friends, relatives.
* I will definitely use WHCC for my daughter's wedding albums.

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 12-12-2009 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:33 PM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Thanks for the comparisons Danny. I've been wanting to put our Israel pictures into some kind of book but hadn't found one that was 1) in my price range, 2) the quality matched the price, and 3) had enough pages (translate: room for pictures) to do justice to the trip.

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Old 12-14-2009, 12:46 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

Originally Posted by Janet Petty View Post
...and 3) had enough pages (translate: room for pictures) to do justice to the trip.
Max pages:
* WHCC: at this time 90 for 13"x11"
* Blurb: 440

As far as I know 440 pages applies to all page sizes, not just 13"x11". That ought to cover Israel ...and Burbank and Disneyland and Phoenix and Tacoma and ...

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Old 12-14-2009, 04:30 PM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Re: Publishing your own hard copy book of photos

I submitted book 2 yesterday to Blurb...hope it comes out as good as the first.
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