Blurb Versus Mixbook

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Blurb started printing photo books in 2004. The company set out to offer something different from what other companies were doing. While most photo book companies want to attract typical consumers, Blurb takes a greater interest in working for professionals who want excellent books that they could possibly resell.

How Do Blurb Photo Books Work?

Before you can make a Blurb photo book, you have to download the company’s graphic design software, named BookWright, to your computer. When you start a new project with BookWright, you need to choose layout option for your page. Simply select a layout and drag it onto the page.

Once you have the layout that you want to use, you create a photo and text tab for your page. You then navigate through your images and insert the photo you want on the page. You can add text if you want, but you don’t have to.

Unlike most web-based graphic design software, BookWright has a ruler and guide that will help you lay out your page elements perfectly. This part of the software makes the end result feel much more professional than the photo books you get from most other companies.

Before finishing your book, you can create front and back covers. You can also add information such as the author’s name and the title.

BookWright has a helpful icon that lets you know when you’ve made a page that may not print properly. If you make any mistakes while making pages, this icon will alert you to the problem.

If you don’t want to use BookWright, you can make your designs with Adobe InDesign, Booksmart or Bookify. You can also upload PDF files made with other software options. Again, professional bookmakers adore these options. Most people, however, just want a simple way to make their photo books look attractive. To beginners, these other options feel just as confusing as BookWright. Professionals who have favorite pieces of software, however, don’t have to learn a new platform to work on their projects.

What Makes Blurb Photo Books Stand Out?

Blurb stands out for its commitment to meeting the needs of professional writers and artists. The company knows that it gets negative reviews for taking this approach. Laymen who choose Blurb by happenstance may find themselves confused by the design and printing processes.

While most people say that this creates a weakness for Blurb, professionals know that they can trust the company to finish their projects well. When you want to make and sell a book, you have different priorities than those of people who want their photo books to sit on their living room tables. Blurb is the kind of company that gives professional and semi-professional publishers the services they need to succeed.

Common Reviews of Blurb Photo Books

Not surprisingly, some people love Blurb, and others don’t like it at all. Fans of the company enjoy using its sophisticated graphic design software instead of a web-based alternative that doesn’t come with as many options. In other words, these people have experience with graphic design, and they like using software that they’re familiar with.

Of course, most people don’t have experience using professional graphic design software. Negative reviews from these users point out that the software isn’t as intuitive as Blurb seems to think. Even after watching online tutorials, many customers struggle to make pages look right. To them, it seems like an arbitrarily difficult task.

Customers give Blurb overwhelmingly positive reviews for its wide range of print and cover options. You won’t find many companies that let you choose among newsstand paper, standard book paper and photo quality paper. In most cases, you can only choose between one or two types of paper. Blurb gives you a more professional edge by offering more options.

Blurb clearly knows that some of its users plan to sell their books to consumers. One of the great things about Blurb is that it lets you sell your book through the Blurb website, or your personal website. You can also set up a pre-sell with Kickstarter to fund your project. Blurb has an entire program dedicated to Kickstarter pre-sells. This makes it a terrific option for authors who need to raise money before printing their books.

Some people feel that Blurb has high prices. That’s true when you compare its products to those made by most photo book printers. Keep in mind that Blurb operates on a professional level. When you compare it to other publishers that offer similar services, you will realize that Blurb has affordable prices.

Are Blurb Photo Books for Me?

For the most part, everyday consumers don’t like Blurb. They find the design software confusing, and they don’t like putting so much work into their projects. These people want an easy way to print the photos that they cherish. They’re not interested in unique printing options or selling their books online. If this sounds like you, then you should probably avoid Blurb. It’s a great company, but it isn’t right for you.

Graphic designers and authors, however, will love the printing and selling services that Blurb offers. You would have to get a publishing deal to find a better printing option.

If you want a high-quality photo book that you could sell to other people, then you should use Blurb. If not, then you should look at other photo book printers before making a decision. Blurb has excellent printing services and high-quality printing, but it’s probably not the company that meets your needs. Let people who are more serious about bookmaking spend their money getting professional books printed by Blurb.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Versus Reviews. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

Mixbook started producing photo books in 2006. While it doesn’t have as much experience as the companies that started making photo books in the 1990s and early 2000s, it has managed to create a wide range of options for customers to choose from.

For instance, Mixbook has about 350 themes that you can use to decorate your photo book. When you visit the company’s website, you’ll see that the themes have been divided into four categories: Family, Wedding, Travel and Everyday. This approach makes it simple for you to design your own book without browsing themes that don’t fit your photographs.

Mixbook also has thousands of stickers and backgrounds that you can add to photo books. If you want to personalize your photo book, then you’ll enjoy working with the tools available on Mixbook’s website.

How Does Mixbook Photo Books Work?

Mixbook gives you step-by-step instructions so you can make a personalized photo book that you can’t wait to show friends and relatives. When you start putting together your book, you choose whether you want to make a square, portrait or landscape book.

After you choose the book’s shape, Mixbook will narrow your theme options so you can pick one that you love. The company has about 350 themes, so you will find something that matches the feel of your photographs.

Once you choose the book’s shape and theme, you can start adding photos. Mixbook lets you submit images from several locations. If you have the images saved to your hard drive, then you can upload them to the website. You can also get images from Photobucket, Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug, Facebook and Instagram.

Mixbook’s graphic design software makes it easy for you to add images to your photo book. Just select a photo and drag it to the place you want it to appear in your book. Mixbook’s auto-fill feature will immediately edit your image’s size so it fits the page and theme perfectly.

If you ever need any help with Mixbook’s graphic design software, then a tutorial will guide you through the process. Anyone who has used basic graphic design apps, however, can figure out the software quickly.

Once you’ve finished laying out your book, you can choose its size and cover material. You can also choose lay-flat pages instead of regular pages. As the name suggests, lay-flat pages sit flat against the book. It’s a great option for people who have images that span two pages. Regular pages tend to form an arch near the binding. This arch disrupts the way two-page photos look. Lay-flat pages cost extra, but this option will add to the beauty of your project.

After submitting your photo book, you can expect it to arrive within a week or two.

What Makes Mixbook Photo Books Stand Out?

Mixbook stands out for its easy-to-use graphic design app and its lay-flat pages. It isn’t the only company that offers pages that lay flat, but it is one of few options for amateurs who don’t want to place bulk orders.

Common Reviews of Mixbook Photo Books

For the most part, Mixbook gets positive reviews from its customers. Most people who use the company’s photo book service say that they enjoy using the online graphic design application. Some reviewers state that they find the software easier to use than those offered by other photo book companies.

Mixbook customers also like how many options they have to personalize their photo books. By choosing your book’s size, cover, paper quality, text, stickers and other features, you get a photo book that’s unlike any other. As long as you spend a little time putting your book together, you’ll get a professional item full of your personality.

Happy customers praise the quality of Mixbook’s photo books. Some people, however, complain that Mixbook doesn’t meet their expectations. A handful of unhappy customers describe the paper as “cheap” and the images as “pixelated.” This is a minority opinion, though. The vast majority of people seem happy with the photo books they receive from Mixbook. Still, it’s wise to pay attention to the minority before you spend money on a photo book. If you’re concerned about quality, then you may want to look for a company that offers a guarantee or gives you more control over what type of paper is used.

Is Mixbook Photo Books for Me?

Mixbook has a lot of great features that make it a good service for most people who want to create unique photo books. Mixbook works especially well for people who like variety. If you like projects that let you choose from a lot of features, then you will probably enjoy making your photo book with Mixbook.

Of course, Mixbook isn’t the perfect option for everyone. If you want a cheap photo book without any frills, then you should probably find another company. Mixbook gives you a lot of options, but it stays away from cheap features that could make your photo book look amateurish.

You also need to take a slight risk when you choose Mixbook. Enough people complain about the quality of Mixbook’s printing and paper that you should take the negative reviews seriously. If the reviews make you feel anxious, then try another company. If you think that the reviewers are blowing their complaints out of proportion, then you might as well give Mixbook a try. If you like the results, make sure you post a positive review to counter the negative comments.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Versus Reviews. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.