Thursday, January 20, 2011

Self Publishing ~~ What Should You Know??

My purpose was to upload from one file of favorite photos from the year 2010...

These include art creations as well as photos.
I want to make an Easy Book.
I see everyone advertising how ‘Easy’ their self publishing company is.

So I decided to do a comparison.
Simple right?

Easy book.
Go to Website, click on download their ‘easy’ book and arrange.

Hardcover for each Website visited.
8” ½ X 11” or as close as possible for a table top book.

File 309mb Here is what I found…

Blurb Bookify
Clean and Simple no text.

Project time: 2.5 hrs from start to finish.
Upload time is told to you when you click on the icon.
89 photos were estimated at 1 hr 16 minutes.

You can watch it upload or as they suggest in funky little messages,
*Go read your email* or in my house
*Go clean the bathroom*.

That is better than staring at a screen.

You can actually watch the progress if you are inclined to.

Pages: 90 [All Images are one page spread]
Cost: Hardcover Image Wrap $56 [You can change your cover at any time and get a different price.
[I stuck to all Hardcover format for these comparisons.]

Shipping: $6.99 [UPS Ground]
Total cost including shipping = $62.99

Turn around time: Approx 10-15 days

Note: Once loaded you have 15 days to order it or it is deleted.

[I am including Walmart because it is cost effect and very simple to use, these books are meant to be a family 'memory' book or a photo album type book, I am purely looking for ease of use and cost effectiveness.]

Walmart has you preload your photos to their site.
All photos loaded within about 15 minutes.
89 photos.

Cover Layout ~ Not bad.
I wanted a full page layout for the cover, but this was not an option. Chose hard cover and was satisfied with the look.

Page layouts ~ Pretty fair and easy to use. Can use with small text or none at all.
Full page spreads are an option and do look rather nice.

Auto fill, with some re-arranging. Project time: 45 minutes

Pages of book with their layout: 56 COST: $58 Shipping: Free Site to Store shipping is free Turn around time: published on 1/19/2011 delivery at store between 1/25/11 & 1/31/11.
Quick Book

Upload directly from your computer.

Page layouts ~ Easy to use but a lag time as you browse through your photos.

They are not all available at once.

Some choices of layouts didn’t fit what I wished to do, small disappointment.
Areas for small text or you can use none at all.

Note: Lulu does let you know that they do not except files over 10mb.

Lulu~time for upload and auto fill, with some re-arranging.
Project time: ???? [see note at bottom of the Lulu review]

Cover Layout ~ Not too bad.
I wanted a full page layout for the cover, not an option in the quick book mode.

Pages of book with their layout: 51

Cons: Previewing the book took more than one try and a lengthy wait while staring at my computer screen for the photos to appear in the pages.
Very annoying.
When I hit publish, I walked away and came back 45 minutes later, the little ‘clock’ thing was still moving slowly around and around.

Driving my good humor factor and patience quickly out the door.

Two hours 15 minutes…
Still the little clock.
I stopped the upload.
Perhaps there is a better way?

I decide to try Lulu another day.
Perhaps I was doing something wrong.

2nd Lulu try.
Open up Lulu.
Pick the book.
Grab the photos to upload [same as last time and with Blurb and Walmart] .
The screen looks different this time, and I decide to wait this out and see what happens.

Time for original upload: 1 hr 12 minutes.

Creating and rearranging the book: Approximately 1hr.

Push the Publish Button again: I ended the ‘publish’ after 2.5 hrs.

I just could not take it any more.

My Adobe Flash player was updated.
I don’t know why this would not work for me.

I did however read that Lulu was extremely slow and there were a lot of complaints on the board about it.


Other considerations:

Comparable book formats to Walmart, I don’t know about the quality.
Pricing is much higher.
Quality? Unknown.

8X11 Express Photo ~ Custom Hardcover
Base price: $24.99 for 20 pages; $1.99 per each additional set of 2 pages
Shipping: $6.99

Bookstore-quality Photo Books
Here is a surprise!
SmugMug uses Blurb and MyCanvas.

Cover: Custom
Colors: None
Binding: Side stitch/Perfect
Base price: $39.95 for 20 pages Add'l pages: $0.49 per page Max pages: 80
Shipping: No information available
Turn around time: No information available

No Easy Book upload.
Pricing out of range of those I was looking at.
8x10” Photo Book, 26 pages = $43.95
Same book 50 pages = $74.95
Shipping estimate: ?

No Easy Book upload.
Custom Hardcover:
Pricing out of range of those I was looking at.
8.5x11" 20 pages: $50.00
Shipping estimate: Not available

Custom Hardcover:
8X11” 20 pages begins at $34.99, additional pages $1.00
Shipping estimate: Not available.
This is the top company for Photo Books according to the Website
Ten Top Reviews ~Photo Book Review 2011.

I would highly recommend checking the Ten Top Review for self publishing.

So what was my conclusion after this?
Walmart has okay books, I've made them and given them as gifts.
Blurb has astounding books and costs just a bit more when you add in shipping.

For the average person just looking for a nice uncomplicated Easy Photobook to share memories with?

Well, that is going to have to be up to you to decide.


Anonymous said...

Nice simple write up, thanks for the links.

Cygnus said...

Really cool story, thanks for sharing it.