I'm pretty sure that I'm repeating myself but just in case you didn't get the message.... I LOVE BLURB! So much. I can't even begin to say. And, no, they aren't paying me to tell you this.
Here are the reasons why I love them so:
1. Ease of use. I am not a computer person. I can type, click/drag but have never spent any time on Photoshop or any other computer/design program. After you download their software, you take your time on your own computer to create your book, then upload it to them for printing at the end. There are zillions of layout options and you basically just drag your photos into place. It is not without glitches (I tend to crash the software when I am cutting and pasting large blocks of text or working with as many photos as I do) but on the whole, I've found it quite handy.
2. Sheer volume of photos that can fit in a book. Seriously. The book I made for my trip to Italy had about 1300 photos in it. I couldn't print 1300 photos for the price that I paid, let alone wind up with them in a bound book.
3. They keep making improvements. I know, in the computer world it seems like people are constantly coming up with changes that are just aggravating, but it seems like each upgraded version has specifically addressed issues that I was having trouble with - just in the time that I've been using Blurb, they have added calendar pages, new layouts, the ability to make your own layout...
4. Quality. I've been making 7x7 books with their somewhat glossy paper. For real durability, a person would probably want to make a hardcover book - their image wrap books are really nice. The quality of pictures, the color and sharpness, is all great as far as I'm concerned. There are even options for finer paper if a person should want to go that route.
5. Variety. I mentioned the variety of layouts, but they also keep coming out with new shapes and papers. I just received the 2012 calendar that I made myself and yes, I'm pretty happy. Their new trade & notebook books are even more reasonably priced and are my new addiction since you can write on the paper. I have ideas for several journal/notebooks for the shop.
5. Having paper copies of digital stuff. I am definitely a fan of the digital camera, but I find that I'm generating more pictures and printing less. It's great that I can be more selective and less wasteful about what I put to paper, but what to do with all those pixels that are piling up on my computer? As a librarian's daughter, a part of me feels that we are losing our history to this digital age. All these little tweets and texts that are traded back and forth - what will remain of them as evidence of how we've spent our time? And perhaps a photo by itself isn't that great or interesting, but as a collective record of a year, it's worth at least 1/16th of a page. I'm starting in on my fourth book of pictures & projects, which I make every year. There's so much in the course of a year that I forget; being a visual person, having a book to look back on is perfect. Recently, I read a blog about making a ta-da list, looking back on the accomplishments of the year; my pictures & projects book functions more or less that way. I can't wait to have a whole shelf of books to look back on, and I think every artist/writer should have a book for every year to document what they've been up to. What a great collection that would be!
Well, I could go on and on but I think that covers the main points. Like most projects in my life, I am quickly approaching the point where I have more works in progress than works completed...
Completed books: ideas & inspirations creations & celebrations, 2x2: collection of small books made by the Madison Bonefolders' Guild and Milwaukee Book Arts Salon, Year One of Lily (also year two, year three, year four), Pictures & Projects 2008 (also 2009, 2010), 2012 calendar notebook journal, Laura notebook, Here & There travel journal, For the record (travels in France & Italy).
I am particularly happy about my calendar because it always seems like the pictures on my birthday month are not the ones I would have selected. This way I could pick whatever I wanted for my birthday month, as is proper.
in progress: imaginary French travels (art book), French & Italian travel photos for the shop (minus the family souvenir pics), Pictures & Projects 2011, cyanotype notebook / story of blue, and zillions of ideas for project notebooks - everyone would have gotten one as a Christmas present if only I'd gotten my act together sooner.
I completed one commissioned book of someone's artwork and writings and am working on a commissioned recipe book and a family-history/grandmother-tribute book, as well as my mom's (belated) birthday book. And I'm helping Mom with her photos and writings from our French/Italian trip, and she's thinking about a book of her personal history.
Most recently - now, okay, maybe this is a little morbid but you don't have to worry about me, I'm fine - I've been thinking how cool it would be to have a Blurb book as a funeral "favor." It seems like it would be great to have a book of a person's thoughts/images/wisdoms/photographs/artworks to take into the rest of the days. Because doesn't it seem like the speakers at a funeral are never enough? I mean, how do you convey the entirety of a life? And fine, maybe a Blurb book still wouldn't do it, but I do think that would be an awesome thing to create.