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Creating Photo Books with Blurb presents three separate workflows for creating and publishing books that showcase photographs using the Blurb self-publishing service. The course starts with an exploration of photo bookmaking in BookSmart, Blurb's free desktop software, then shows how to make a simple photo book in Bookify, Blurb's online bookmaking service. The course also covers Blurb's PDF to Book plug-in for use with custom books created in Adobe InDesign, as well as information on ordering copies of photo books and selling them in the Blurb online bookstore.
It's a good idea to plan some of the technical details before you start creating a book. I'll show you how to implement these technical choices in Blurb software in the chapters that follow. For now, I want to make the point that these are things to think about in advance, so you don't get stuck changing your mind about the technical issues halfway through your bookmaking process. One of the first things to think about is the size of the book you're going to make. Blurb offers a number of different sizes and shapes for photo books, from large coffee-table books to small square-shaped books and sizes in between.
The size that you choose depends in part on your photos. If you shoot mostly horizontal photos, then choose one of the landscape formats rather than a portrait format or a square format that will require you to crop your photos. But if you're showing off, say, iPhone or Instagram photos, then you might like the Small Square format. You'll also want to think about your book materials in advance. There are three cover types to choose from at Blurb. A hardcover book is a traditional book with an unprinted linen case surrounded by a printed dust jacket with flaps.
ImageWrap is another kind of hardcover book that features a photo printed directly on the front and back covers of the book. And then there's the Softcover book, which has a slightly glossy printed softcover and no dust jacket. You'll also have a choice of paper in different weights and finishes. Blurb books are professionally printed on these papers with a 4-color commercial printing process. There is a Standard paper with a semimatte finish, a thicker Premium paper with either a Matte or Lustre finish, and then the upgraded ProLine photo paper with a Coated or Uncoated finish.
You'll want to consider what the page layouts of your book will look like in advance. Think about how many images you want to put on a page and how those images will be arranged. Do you prefer the uncluttered look of one large image to a page, or is your story best told with multiple images on a page? When you're considering layouts, again, page through other books in the Blurb Bookstore and give the bookmaking software that you're going to use a run-through in advance of making your book so that you can scope out the various layouts available in each. Another thing to think about in advance is the approximate page count of your book.
Will your book have many pages or do you believe that less is more? Blurb requires that each book have a minimum of 20 pages. Bookify, which is designed for short, quick books, allows a maximum of 160 pages. If your book is going to be longer than that, then choose BookSmart, which allows a maximum of 440 pages, or the PDF to Book workflow. And of course, price is always an issue and one you'll want to think about in advance. You'll pay a base price to buy each printed copy of your book from Blurb.
And if you sell your book in the Blurb Bookstore, you'll probably want to add to that base price a little so that you can make a profit. Pricing depends on the size and materials you choose for your book. You can get the details on the Pricing page on the Blurb site. Once you've thought about all of those issues, you're ready to make the big decision about which bookmaking method you're going to use. The rest of this course will give you lots of information about each of the three Blurb bookmaking methods so that you can choose the one that's right for you and for your current book project. To summarize those methods in a nutshell, the online web app called Bookify is the quickest, easiest method.
It's designed for making simple streamlined photo books that don't have much text. There's nothing to download or install when you use Bookify to create your book online. BookSmart is the next step up. It gives you more opportunity to customize your book, and it's popular with both pros and amateurs. BookSmart is desktop book design software for Mac or PC that you'll download for free from the Blurb site and install on your computer. And then there's the PDF to Book process, which is aimed at book design professionals who want the most complete control over making a book from scratch in a page layout program like Adobe InDesign.
The chapter in this course on PDF to Book assumes that you already know InDesign and that you have some bookmaking experience in that program. So in this course, PDF to Book focuses on a special Blurb plug-in for InDesign users. The planning process is important to making a creative book that tells a compelling, cohesive story through photographs. So, no matter how excited you are to start making a book, I hope you'll give some thought in advance to the factors that I mentioned here.
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