Over the past few years I’ve used Shutterfly.com and Blurb.com to create photo albums. Both were easy to use, both were about the same price, with similar options for how the finished product looked. After seeing the final printed versions of books, I decided to stick with Blurb. Not for any particular reason other than the Blurb book had a sewn binding, and the Shutterfly was glued. I made up a book of family photos with Shutterfly, which promptly fell apart at a family reunion after being passed around, and open and shut, and held up with “Look at this!” far more roughly than the average book probably would be treated. The Blurb bound books have stood up well over time.
One more plus for Blurb, your book resides on your own computer instead of residing in cyberspace. You can save and back up your own projects, instead of having a time limit on another company’s server. I know that once Shutterfly deletes your project, it’s gone forever. Also, Blurb allows you to sell your finished projects at their bookstore, which works out well for multiple copies of things, such as for family reunions.
I’ve tired of gluing and cutting and buying acid free materials for scrapbooks. Of course, I still do this for old photos and other ephemera, but for things already scanned, new photos from vacations, or other items already residing on my hard drive it’s hard to beat the easy to use software at these publish your own websites. The drag and drop options make it simple to easily put a book together, so simple your kids can help out. Groups can even collaborate together over the internet to put pages together or share photos.
I’ve made Mother’s Day books with generations of photos of the ladies; family tree books with charts, photos and documents; vacation books; graduation books; and a book of 30 years of photos for the Simmons College Crew Team. Then I saw recently that the Blurb software, which is called “BookSmart” can slurp your blog into a book. I was curious, so I slurped several months of posts into a book, just to see how it looked. It looked GREAT! I was so excited, and there was very little editing to do. I played a little bit with increasing the font size, and I moved around some photos, removed a few posts that I thought were boring, but otherwise the book was done! Just in time for Mother’s Day, since my mom was my first fan, and she is still my biggest fan. (Sorry, Mom, no surprises this year!)
Blurb also has a widget to put on your blog, in case you want to sell your book. I’ve placed a widget on my blog; just to see what would happen if I left it there a few weeks. Personally, I think the books are expensive, but at an OK price for a gift for someone special.
Check out my book by clicking on the image in the right column, and you can turn the pages to see the first fifteen pages. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to do your own book, or at least investigate the possible choices on line for producing a project like this. I can only comment on Shutterfly and Blurb, but some other companies you can try online are Lulu.com, Apple, Picaboo.com, and Mpix.com.
(I was not compensated in any way by Blurb.com or Shutterfly.com for my comments, but if they would like to pass along a coupon or two I wouldn’t object!)
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo