On the DIMAcast: Blurb combines photos with multimedia in e-books

blurb Enhanced Ebooks

A book on an iPad or other device can be more than text and pictures: it becomes a metaphor, a method for organizing and presenting a story of any kind. Hardcopy photo book printer Blurb has expanded to e-books — and is now expanding what we mean by books and stories.

CEO and founder Eileen Gittins tells us about the transition on this episode of the DIMAcast.

The full interview is here.





Blurb enables Adobe InDesign users to design ebooks for the iPad

Blurb says it has made “massive improvements” to its ebook platform, allowing creative professionals to now design fixed format ebooks for iPad using the new plug-in for Adobe InDesign, optimize them for the iPad using a brand new online editing tool, and then share and sell their work for a profit in the Blurb Bookstore. For a limited time, Blurb ebooks for the iPad can be created for free.

The updated plug-in for Adobe InDesign is an extension of the company’s current integration with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, which provides the tools directly within Lightroom 4 “Book module” to create professional-quality photography books, coupled with a direct link to Blurb.com for printing, marketing and distribution, Blurb says.



Photo book maker Blurb partners with CGX for B2B

blurb icon

Photo book service Blurb is expanding into more commercial fare: The company is now working with Consolidated Graphics CGX, which it says is one of the largest commercial printing business in the U.S., to deliver “high-quality, low-volume print runs for businesses.”

Blurb says it already does “millions annually in the B2B space, which is now the fastest growing part of the Blurb business.” But the opportunity is in the $1 billion range, “and represents a massive untapped segment of businesses and designers with pent up demand for print runs of this kind, with a quick turnaround time.”

The new service, named Publish, utilizes a free Adobe InDesign plug-in allowing businesses to extend the use of their preferred design software to become an end-to-end print workflow solution for high-quality publications. The plug-in includes templates for four cover formats, five paper types, and eight trim sizes – including Blurb’s 8.5-by-11 size, which is exclusive to Publish. Publish also enables designers to complete their projects up to 75 percent faster using Blurb’s custom proofing tools, automated pre-flight checks, and the ability to order via credit card from within the interface, the company claims.

Blurb and CGX will allow for smaller volume runs, one unit and up, and up to 75 percent faster turnaround, without sacrificing quality, the company claims.


Mediasmith signs new client, Blurb

San Francisco, Calif. digital media agency Mediasmith announced it has signed Blurb Inc. as new client. The agency was also signed by digital music site eMusic. Blurb started as a Social Media and Analytics assignment for Mediasmith in summer of 2011.

Blurb takes Facebook to photo book in 5 minutes

Blurb photo book from Facebook
Blurb photo book from Facebook

Blurb photo book from Facebook

Blurb Inc., San Francisco, Calif., announced a new bookmaking flow enabling Facebook users to “instantly” turn their album photos into professional-quality books. The Blurb photo book flow for Facebook lets anyone turn their Facebook photo albums, along with their captions and comments, into a 7-by-7 inch square format book, with pricing starting less than $11.

“Facebook currently has over 800 million active users and more than 250 million photos are uploaded daily,” says Eileen Gittins, CEO, Blurb. “The new bookmaking flow from Blurb allows those users to take their curated albums from their accounts into a tangible, high-quality book in a few simple steps.”

To create a book, users sign into their Facebook account on the Blurb website. Once the albums are selected they will then autoflow into a Blurb book and a personalized cover will be automatically chosen. Photo comments and captions associated with a picture are also captured and showcased around the relevant image. The finished book can then be purchased or edited using Blurb’s online bookmaking tool, Bookify. The user also has the option to to share and to sell the book from the Blurb.com bookstore, as well as to create an iPad ebook.

Blurb awards $25,000 to Italian photographer

Spada book

Valerio Spada, a professional photographer from Milan, Italy, won the $25,000 grand prize in Blurb’s fourth annual Photography Book Now competition.

The winning book in Blurb's contest tells the story of a woman in the land of the Mafia.

His book, “Gomorrah Girl,” is the story of “adolescence, choices and chance in the land of the Camorrah,” Blurb says. (Camorrah is the name of the Mafia in Naples.)

“The book is simply the sum of a long time spent in the streets of Naples and a short time in the bookmaking phase, but what came after that is pure happiness,” Spada says.

“We were blown away by ‘Gomorrah Girl,’ said Blurb Founder and CEO Eileen Gittins. “You can’t be human and not be moved by this very powerful story that captures in pictures and words what it is like to become a woman in a dangerous, crime ridden area.”

The contest was decided by an international panel of judges, with more than 2,300 submissions. “Our entrants and winners came from all over the world, and by far, the quality and range of books submitted this year surpassed all previous years,” Gittins adds.

Spada will be honored along with 12 other category winners on September 15 at the Aperture Gallery in New York City.

The Photography Book Now competition and awards event is hosted by Blurb, a service for designing and publishing original photo books. Surprisingly, the company says that, while many of the winning entries were published using the Blurb platform, some, including “Gomorrah Girl,” were not. However, the company says, Spada’s self-published book “is a strong embodiment of the complex criteria the judges used: strong photography, important subject matter, vigorous edit and intelligent sequencing, combined with a thoughtful attention to those elements that are specifically book-centric.”

A full list of the winners is here.


Blurb books Instagram images

blurb instagram

Instagram users can “quickly and easily turn their photos into professional-quality books,” says photo book publisher Blurb, and “capture the fleeting moments commonly shared on mobile phones into tangible objects of great beauty.”

Instagram is a one-year-old free photography service that combines image filters with online sharing. Blurb increases the resolution of Instagram camera phone images to “ensure they will print beautifully,” the company says. The 7-by 7-inch square format books suit Instagram’s square images, and pricing starts at $11.

Instagram has 5 million users who “deserve a quick and simple way to convert their photos into books as beautifully crafted as their images,” Blurb says. To create a book, users simply sign into their Instagram account on the Blurb website. The most popular image, based on the number of Instagram “likes,” is added to the cover. The most recent photos are then autoflowed into a book that can be previewed and purchased or edited using Blurb’s online bookmaking tool.

Blurb and Instagram are based in San Francisco, CA.


Blurb launches bookmaking plug-in for Adobe InDesign

Blurb Inc., San Francisco, Calif., announced the release of their plug-in for Adobe InDesign, compatible with CS3, 4 and 5, will allow users to easily generate any of Blurb’s hundreds of page and cover templates within InDesign.

The key features of the Plug-in for InDesign include Blurb Template Creator interface, which creates blank page and cover templates in InDesign on selection of book size and paper, or cover, type; Blurb PDF export preset, which is automatically installed for higher quality printing; and error reduction in Blurb’s PDF-to-Book upload process.

“The free Blurb plug-in for InDesign CS5.5 is an excellent resource for anyone using InDesign who wants to publish a book with Blurb,” says Kiyo Toma, senior product manager for InDesign at Adobe. “This plug-in lets every InDesign user focus on book design by reducing the complexity inherent in the book production process.”

Blurb’s Plug-in for InDesign is the second in a suite of applications designed to work in conjunction with Adobe products, following the May launch of their Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom Plug-in.

Blurb launches ProLine premium print offerings

Blurb, San Francisco, Calif.,  is offering a new range of premium print offerings designed for professionals and enthusiasts with its ProLine products. ProLine features a selection of two new linen hardcovers in Oatmeal and Charcoal, plus a choice of five heavyweight end sheets in charcoal grey, dove grey, warm grey, black and white, in addition to two new papers from Mohawk Fine Papers. Each ProLine option is offered a la carte to allow the greatest number of combinations, resulting in a truly personalized book.

Blurb launches Blurb Mobile media story app

Blurb, San Francisco, Calif.,  the global creative publishing platform announces its new mobile publishing application, Blurb Mobile. Designed to enable easy and fast story creation using rich media content, including photos, videos and audio, the stories can be shared via the author’s existing social networking channels (including Facebook and Twitter), by email, or via their own Blurb channel.

The Blurb Mobile iPhone app enables easy media editing, including rotating, cropping, scaling, and drag and drop sequencing, plus geotagging, which can link the story to a location on a map. Once the media has been composed, the author can add text and voice captions to each of their images to create a complete and highly personalized narrative. Additional personalization includes the ability to choose from seven unique visual themes.

“Blurb is known for two things: helping people to tell their stories visually and then enabling them to share their work directly with their audience,” said Eileen Gittins, CEO and Founder, Blurb.com. “To date, the medium of choice has been the printed book; but that’s all changing. With the release of Blurb Mobile, people will now be able to capture life’s great moments – large and small, in wonderfully rich story form and then share their stories on the fly, using any media on their phone including voice, video text and image. All in under 90 seconds.”

Currently available on the iPhone, Blurb Mobile is free to download and each customer receives a story channel on Blurb.com/mobile to share their stories. In addition, Blurb Mobile Plus provides an in-app upgrade path for customers seeking additional photo, video and audio capability. All stories can be made public or private.