A Blurb Wishlist

how Blurb can make their experience better for the self-publisher and book buyer

Blurb, you have something real special going on. With your print on demand books, software that makes creating them simple, and even a store front for self-publishers to sell from. It is a great process… as long as you don’t look to close. That is where things start to get frustrating.

Software

Most self-publishers will start with your Bookwright software. It is free and packed with licensed font and templates for both photos and text. It handles double trucks well, is intuitive, etc. But as I go deeper into making books with the program I am finding it lacking some basic things that I have become used to.

  • Resizing my photo box to the aspect ratio of the photo I place in it.
  • A dialog box that lets me enter the exact size of the photo or text box.
  • The text editor box is not necessary when working with small amounts of text. And is often too small when working with large amounts.
  • Why can’t I expand an object from its center by holding down cntrl?
  • When I have text on top of a photo it becomes very difficult to adjust the placement of said photo in its box. I end up pushing the text behind the photo, adjusting the photo, then pushing the photo back to get the text above.

You also have worked with Lightroom and it is encouraging to see your templates there. If you could please keep working on that I know it would get more use. Working in one software to organize, edit, and layout a book is ideal. But again the lack of customization is a killer for most of my books.

Collaboration

Thank you for allowing me to create PDF proofs inside Bookwright. Back when I was making prints of gig magazine this wasn’t an option and it made it difficult to work with collaborators. Now I can make a bad quality PDF and share it for comments.

It would be great if there was a way to collaborate with an editor or artist or whom ever via a cloud based solution. I tried Bookify a little bit. But it is even more basic than Bookwright and it was painfully obvious that it would not work for me.

Sometimes it takes a village. Especially when you misspell as bad as I do.

Proofs

Speaking of proofs, digital proofs are okay but a physical proof is still king. I am always ordering one copy of my book and then finding things to change. When I looked into traditional offset print publishing I loved the fact that the process includes one or two rounds of physical proofs.

Self-publishing should have that same option. Offering one (or two) proof print(s) at a discount would round out the workflow.

Softcover option

I have printed a few softcover trade books and although I like the feel and weight of the glossy cover I would love the option to have an uncoated heavy matte cover. Another idea would be the option of foil letters.

Some books need this feeling when the reader picks it up.

My Blurb Bookstore

Having a built in bookstore that allows me to sell my books with no overhead is what makes self-publishing so attractive. I get to set my markup and then all I have to do is hustle the link.

It is nice of you to offer discount codes across your platform but it would help if I could set my own discount codes. Either on a single book or all of my books or both. This would help me entice my audience directly and reward loyal readers. I envision these discounts would come out of my markup of course.

Also, while I am talking about the bookstore, the overall look and feel of the bookstore needs a refresh. I’d love to be able to have template options that make it look more like a page of my website and add a back to site button (like my big cartel page).That way people viewing my work on my website can go right to the store, but a book, then head back to my site and view more.

Shipping

This one might be hard to swallow. Your shipping is way too expensive. For a single copy of a book the only option that make sense is economy but with UPS/USPS it is so slow. My last order took 2 weeks to get to Albuquerque. I placed my current order with the standard shipping and I am hoping that is better. [update: the standard shipping is a lot better in terms of speed. but the cost will make me second guess it every time.]

You should apply the shipping that MagCloud uses because they it figured out. With them I can get my book in 3 or 4 days few dollars. And now that you own them it just makes sense. But maybe it is different with your products. Maybe it is different with large orders from your facility and how people buy with you versus with MagCloud. Either way, when I use it it is just frustrating.

A husband, father, son, civil designer, photographer, and writer. Living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.