Blurb: Making Self-Publishing Books and Promotion Easy

February 13, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media

Blurb-beta Web 2.0 is changing the way that people publish, access, and spread news.  Newspaper subscriptions are down, and the number of bloggers is up.  Blurb is changing that.

Blurb is capitalizing on the rising interest in on-line self-publishing (e.g. blogs) and the continuing popularity of books.  In their beta release, they’ve made it simple and inexpensive for people and businesses to self-publish hardback and paperback books in both small and large quantities.  Blurb allows people to self-publish all types of quality books up to 440 pages– blog books, photo books, text and picture books, cookbooks, poetry books (coming soon), personal portfolios, novels and dissertations (coming soon), and more.

My favorite Blurb concept is the “Blog Book“.  Bloggers, who use TypePad and WordPress (and soon Blogger, LiveJournal, and Moveable Type), will find Blurb’s “Blog Slurper” technology particularly useful.   Blog Slurper imports and maps blog text, comments, images, and links into a draft book, which can then be customized. I sent a note to Blurb yesterday asking whether VOX will be a supported platform for their Blog Slurper, and I’ll update this entry if/when I hear back.
and other companies are making it easy for everyday people to self-publish on-line “blogs”.  Gone are the days when journalists and authors were the only ones who could voice their opinion.  Now, anyone can do it.  At the same time that conventional newspapers are struggling to keep up subscriptions and bloggers are growing in numbers, the book market remains stable.  There’s something special about books beyond the words printed on their pages and the stories they tell.  For me, it’s the way that they look together on a shelf, their unique smell, their simplicity and tangibility. Laptops and Sony Readers haven’t replaced coffee table books.  Bookshelves still sell well, and bookstores are still profitable.  The problem with books is that until now, it has been difficult and expensive to self-publish books.  San Francisco-based start-up

I also like how easy it is for everyday people (non-bloggers) to easily create books with full-color pictures using Blurb’s BookSmart application (compatible on both Mac an PC).  Blurb offers templates for a variety of different types of “ready made” books – baby, dog, cat, and more.  Imagine what the ease of self-publishing means for families, friends, students, professors, small businesses, and more!

The best part about Blurb from a Social Media perspective is that it offers users the ability to promote and sell their books to others via Blurb’s on-line bookstore. Blurb is making it possible for aspiring authors to leverage the Internet to start their own publishing empires – just like musicians Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and others did on MySpace.   I wish there was more of a community aspect to Blurb, where users could join “groups” like Vox and Gather and talk about their favorite “blurb” books written on specific topics.  Who knows, since the current version of Blurb is a beta, that functioanlity may come in time. In the meantime, I like how easy Blurb makes it for everyday people almost anywhere in the world to self-publish books, inexpensively.  Pricing starts as follows, with 10% discounts for 25-199 books, 15% discount for 200-400 books and larger discounts for even bigger quantities:

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  • [this is good]
    Blurb was one of the few dead-tree-world technologies that grabbed my attention at MacWorld this year. I think there is a huge untapped market here with Gen Y bloggers looking to push their words from one media format to the next. Also, they gave out free candy at MacWorld and it was yummy.

  • [this is good]
    What a great tip! Thanks for posting it!

  • Jake V.

    Unfortunately it doesn't really look like it's a very good option for any self publishing author to get their work out. The reason is the high price tag. Those kind of prices seem to be gearing this towards the vanity publishers, the folks who want a few copies to show their friends or give out as gifts.

    The big draw is the simplicity. The down side is the hefty price. Good luck getting your novel into bookstores or even selling them yourself for $40 a pop.

    Good info though. =)

  • For me, it’s the way that they look together on a shelf, their unique smell, their simplicity and tangibility.

    Here, here!

  • Tim

    [this is good]
    Thanks, sent this on to my writer friend looking for ways to self-publish his book he wrote.

  • Just ran a couple of tests. Ordered a hard- and soft-back copy. Great quality! have also ordered from lulu. Will let you know how it goes.

    Other thing you can do is order a large batch via sourcing companies such as imago. More hand-cranked, you need to sort shipping (from china) etc. but you can get a beautiful hardback kids book for 50p.

    Choices, choices!!!

  • [this is good]
    wow. a blog book, that would be the perfect present to give to someone.

  • Blurb assumes you want full-color, which is always pricier than black and white. Fine for photographers and bloggers; not so great for writers who simply want to publish text. I've been quite pleased with Lulu.

  • Blurb doesn't remove the cost-risk if you want to publish a large number of books and don't know who you're going to sell them to, but it does make it easier for both “vanity” publishers and serious authors who want to self-publish and are willing to pre-purchase a large number of books…. If you're a “non-vanity” author and think you can sell a larger number of books, Blurb does offer discounts – 10% discounts for 25-199 books, 15% discount for 200-400 books and larger discounts for even bigger quantities.

  • Very cool, Jens! Thanks for the tips on Lulu and Imago. I'm looking forward to hearing how the Blurb books turn out in comparison!

  • Blurb it is.

    Lulu quality just wasn't even close.

    Imago is more custom so you can get whatever quality you want.






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