I promised some specifics about my POD experiences. Here we go.
I have produced books using both MyPublisher and Blurb, running both of the downloadable page layout aps on Vista. Some of my experiences, especially regarding fonts, may not apply to the Mac OSs.
MyPublisher has a few advantages over Blurb:
- The big books are bigger, measuring 11.5 by 15 inches overall, compared to 11 by 13 for Blurb.
- The paper is thicker. It’s thick enough that you can’t see any trace of the image on the other side of the page, which is a problem for Blurb’s books. This means that you can put pictures on both sides of the page with no worries about distracting “shadows”. This translates to fewer pages. The Blurb bleed-through is not bad, but for the highest quality, if the images are different sizes, you’ll want to reserve the left-hand pages for captions.
- The sheet of paper that goes before the first and after the last user-created page of the book is a truly elegant piece of delicately-lined translucent paper. Blurb uses a thick uncoated white paper in the same place; it’s perfectly adequate, but doesn’t have the “Wow!” factor that a MyPublisher book generates when you first open it.
- The MyPublisher page layout program doesn’t save a book until you tell it to. The Blurb program automatically saves all your work as you do it, which may be a good thing for neophytes, but is a big pain when you want to go back a few steps. The workaround is to create a copy of your book for every place to which you may want to revert.
However, MyPublisher has disadvantages that, taken together, make it a less-desirable choice for me.
- Delivery times are longer, both in my personal experience and by ‘Net reputation. Blurb is fast. I recently ordered 100 books from Blurb, and received them in a week, with overnight delivery specified.
- Long books are more expensive. This is a little tricky to quantify, since you will probably need fewer pages for the same content in a MyPublisher book, since you can freely use both sides of every page. MyPublisher also offers special discounts that may or may not apply to you when you go to order your book.
- MyPublisher can’t seem to get the dustcover folded in the right place, with the result that your title may not be centered on the spine.
- BookMaker, My Publisher’s page layout application, allows only a very small group of fonts. BookSmart, Blurb’s page layout program, won’t use the PostScript fonts on my computer, but will use all the TrueType fonts.
- BookMaker doesn’t support changing the text color. I like to use grey text for captions sometimes, so this is a problem for me.
- MyPublisher’s color management isn’t as accurate as Blurb’s. The difference isn’t great, and MyPublisher’s color is still pretty good.
I’m not saying that Blurb is better for everyone. You may decide to use InDesign to layout your book, importing the pages as full-bleed images into BookMaker, so the font issues won’t be relevant to you. In that case, the extra size and paper quality may swing you to MyPublisher.
I found that I was able to use the BookSmart templates for all but a handful of pages in two of the books I’ve done, and for all the pages in one. For the pages that demanded more flexibility than I could get with BookSmart, I created full-bleed images in Photoshop. If the pages had been more complex, I would have used InDesign.
If you want to see what I’ve done, go to www.blurb.com and search for “kasson”. I’d give you URLs for each book, but Blurb calls every upload of a revision a different book. If you find an error and want to re-upload and reprint, there will be two books on their site where there was one before. If the books are public, everybody will see them both and not know why there are two, so you’ll have to delete the down-rev version. If you’ve linked to that version from a web page or blog, the link will now be broken, and you’ll have to edit the page to replace the old link with a link to the new book.