We chose Blurb for a variety of reasons and in no particular order:
Photograph by Tracy O
Upfront costs: Publishing a book is not for the faint-of-cash. Printing a run of say 2500 books with a traditional large offset printer can cost about $30,000 give or take a few thousand dollars. We didn't and do not have that kind of cash lying around nor did any of us want to rack up our credit cards with debt any more than was required to publish our book.
Blurb, in comparison to other print-on-demand photo book publishers offered what seemed the best price per page, options, and of course quality.
Tight Production Schedule: Even though our decision and commitment to create a book occurred sometime in October, we had several more races and events to photograph in order to fully share the experience of the cyclocross season in Portland. (Of course, participating in the races was a priority as well 🙂 So this meant tightening up the production schedule to just 1-1/2 weeks in order to give people a chance to order and have Dirty Pictures delivered by Christmas.
Photography by Leo Reynolds
Blurb's model allowed us to not sweat the details of storage, shipping, accepting payments and/or modifying our website (it does need a design tweak) in order to accomplish all of the previous. All those details equal massive amounts of time; time we didn't have to spare after spending eons of time making pictures, editing and sequencing into the wee hours of the night.
This was on top of our day job responsibilities and more importantly, spending more time away from friends, family and spouses in front of our computers. Not fun.
Marketing Features: Blurb is popular and has a huge community. We definitely wanted to take advantage of their size and visibility. That was a no brainer.
Blurb also helps self publishers by seamlessly integrating sharing on Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon, and Reddit. They make it easy for people to announce and share their book via email and/or add badges to their websites.
Photograph by Luc Legay
Quality and Flexibility: Honestly, I wasn't 150% sure of the quality of Blurb's books but I had seen a few photo portfolio books by photographers and recalled that the quality was better than most. It wasn't a guarantee but I was comfortable moving ahead. Plus, we planned on ordering a few review copies to "proof" the book before going public.
As a Blurb B3 member we were able to use ICC profiles to proof our photographs and had comfort knowing there was a dedicated HP Indigo printer to assure consistent quality for each book.
And while it would have been easier to use BookSmart (Blurb's publishing and design software) I wanted more flexibility so I followed Blurb's thorough documentation at Blurberati and got most of the help I needed to design Dirty Pictures with Indesign.
Coming Soon: Tips and Lessons Learned When Using Blurb.