September 30, 2011

Free Blurb Book Contest

Micah's First Month Book
During Micah's first month, we took lots of pictures of him, sleeping, yawning, on his tummy... you name it. Soon we had more pictures than we knew what to do with. Then came the idea of making a book using these pictures that's similar to a story book! We thought it would be fun for us to keep and to show it to him when he gets older; it turned out that it's a hit with the grandparents too! Click here to preview the book!

We had a good experience with using Blurb for our wedding guest book (filled with our engagement pictures), we also made a book of pictures from our wedding day. Now I need to disclose upfront that we are an Blurb affiliate, and that we did receive a free book as part of a promotion. But honestly, even there wasn't a free book offer, we would have used Blurb to create our book anyway. Keep reading to find out how you can win a FREE Blurb book ($75 value)!

First, here's a summary of my experience with Blurb's book creation process: 

Software/Interface

Blurb offers three different ways to make books, 1.) Bookify TM (online) 2.) BookSmart (free download) and 3.) PDF to book. All three services are free until you decide to purchase a hardcopy of your book, that means you can share your book online with family and friends for free! Bookify TM is an online interface which allows you to upload content and create your book without downloading any software. This is the easiest option for the casual creator, but also has limitation as only 20 fonts to choose from and preset templates that can't be modified. Another advantage of Bookify TM is that it saves your work online which allows you to work on your book from any computer. Bookify TM  is great for simple albums that doesn't need much customization.

BookSmart, on the other hand, is a 44MB free download. It's the way to go if for folks who want to go a little beyond the basics. BookSmart will allow you to edit templates and use any font that's available on your computer. It did take me a couple hours to get used to the interface and figure out how to use all the advanced options, but the design is intuitive once you get the hang of it. In my opinion, it's well with the small amount of time spent to learn to software to design a beautiful book. Here's a screen shot of BookSmart from my computer when we were making Micah's book.



Now if you are professional enough to have your own book making software, you can also upload a PDF file and have Blurb print from PDF. This is definitely the most versatile option, but also the most time consuming. Blurb offers a plug-in for your favorite layout software that generates blank templates that fit their book sizes.

Book Quality

We love all of our books that we made with Blurb. The cover style and paper looks professional, color and images are sharp. For covers, there are three basic options: 1.) Image Wrap 2.) Hardcover with Dust Jacket, and 3.) Soft Cover. We chose Image Wrap for Micah's book, which is durable and looks great too.

Blurb's paper is also FSC certified, and you can choose from Standard (80#), Premium Matte (100#), or Premium Lustre (100#). All three paper choices are made by NewPage, but the two premium paper adds additional cost to your book.

Blurb also started offering ProLine which adds more options for book enthusiasts who want their book to stand out among the rest. ProLine options are only available for books less than 160 pages and adds 4 more options for end sheets, 2 more paper types and 2 types of linen for hardcovers.

Book Pricing

Standard book sizes start at 7 by 7 inches and go up to 12 by 12 inches. Here's a break down of book prices by size for books of 20 pages or less with standard paper and soft cover. Of course prices will change for books with more pages and if you choose premium options for covers, end sheets, and paper. Volume discounts also apply starting at 7 copies or more.
Once you place your order, your book will arrive within 7 to 11 business days depending on the shipping option you choose. The shipping cost depends on your shipping location, how fast you want your book, and whether you want to track the package.

Win a Free Blurb Book!

Now that you know a bit more about Blurb, it's time to make your own book! All you have to do is post a comment with your idea for a Blurb book. The best idea submitted by midnight October 31st 2011 will win a free Blurb book ($75 value)! Ideas will be judged on originality and practicality. Tell us why you idea should win, the more detail the better! We will update the post with the winner's first name, last name initial, and location (city, state or country), along with the winning idea by midnight November 4th 2011. May the best idea win!

3 comments:

  1. My grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer's and living in an assisted living facility. My aunt puts all of her time and effort into making sure my grandmother is as happy, healthy and satisfied as possible, but it is a very tiring feat. I would love to make her a Blurb book of the good times my aunt has had with my grandmother and the rest of our family over the past 5 long years that my grandmother has been suffering, so that my aunt can pull out the book and laugh along with my grandmother when they are having a bad day.

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  2. Congrats Amy! You won the Blurb book! I hope this book will bring joy to your grandmother and the rest of your family. I'll be sending you details via email. Enjoy!

    The rest of you must have really wanted Amy to win the book. =) Check back for more chances to win great prizes!

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  3. Wow. That was a great ideea. Thank you for sharing this and for the tips on how to make one.

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