With the successful (and free!) completion of our gnome book I started the incredibly daunting task of creating a photobook to summarize our two years overseas. We have a ton of pictures, and so to start with the photobook, I simply went through the pictures and put all of my favorites into one group in iPhoto. From there I was easily able to edit and rule out some pictures, finally getting the number down to just under 500. That was still an overwhelming number, but how are you supposed to capture 2 huge years in your life with fewer pictures? Even with 500 I felt like so much was left out, that it can only be a snapshot of life.
Choosing a photobook company to go with wasn’t easy. I had used Apple (through iPhoto) before, and was incredibly pleased with it. But, it ends up that Apple is substantially more expansive than several other companies, Shutterfly and Blurb (who I ended up using for this project) included. I now believe that Apple is basically charging you a convenience charge, because it is seriously more convenient to simply make the book through iPhoto than any other software, but this time I let price win out.
What I liked about Blurb (before starting) was that there isn’t a limit in how many pages can be in the book (most companies limit you to 100 and this one is just over 200), additional pages over the initial 20 are substantially less than the $1 charged by Apple, and I’d read good things about them on other blogs.
The good reviews, book size, and price come at a cost I learned. The cost is namely convenience. I installed and used Blurb’s software which is great for working on the book without having to be on the internet. Since our internet is often inconsistent (we had 2 separate repair men out within 24 hours this past weekend to fix it), being able to work on it without the internet was great.
The software is almost 100% customizable which is insanely attractive until you start creating a book. The first 10 pages took me about 10 hours, which was discouraging considering my 500 pictures! But, once I created most of my layouts it went much faster. If you are willing to put the time into it, I think this feature serves you well, but if you aren’t interested in the hours every night that I’ve spent on it this past week, go with something with a few more pre-set options, like Shutterfly.
The main drawback to Blurb I am currently experiencing is an error in uploading the finished book to Blurb.com for completion. With our internet issues, even when the computer is connected directly to the internet cable, we are unable to upload the book, and so it appears we will have to wait until we are back in the States to complete this project. I’m anxious to have it done (mainly so I can stop second-guessing myself!), and so having to wait is killing me. In the end, I am pleased with the book, but to be honest, am not sure that I would use Blurb again. I may want to look more closely into a few more options before starting down that road another time.
And since no post is complete without a picture, here is the shot we decided to use on the front of the book.