The Story Of Us
As many of you know, this past summer I got married. As a surprise for my husband, I pulled together a beautiful photobook of our wedding photos – something that now has a place of honour on our coffee table. How did I pull together this wonderful creation you ask? I used Blurb.ca, a brand I briefly mentioned back over the holidays but felt deserved a little more attention as we head toward Valentine’s Day.
To summarize, Blurb is a print-on-demand book creation site that is extremely, almost insanely versatile. You start by choosing what ‘type’ of book you’d like to create – perhaps you’d like to commemorate the first year of your child’s life, or you’d like to create a custom guestbook for your pending nuptials or anniversary celebration, or maybe you’d like to relive a memorable holiday in photos. Heck, you can even create more off the beaten path choices, like a recipe book (a cool pick for the at-home chef in your life that scrawls down their own concoctions) or a blog book (that gobbles up content from the likes of LiveJournal, Blogger, and WordPress – which is what this blog is built on).
From there, it’s really about customizing your book to your heart’s content – and it couldn’t be easier. If you’re a newbie or want to whip something up fast as can be, use their free online tool. Alternatively, they also offer a free downloadable program called BookSmart that is filled with useful templates, tools, layouts and more to help you take almost total creative control over the book from start to finish. Seasoned design pros will love the fact Blurb can actually tie right into Adobe’s InDesign or Lightbox, for complete and total customization. Whatever option you choose, you’ll have the chance to tweak, fiddle with and preview the book to your heart’s endless content.
Blurb is even compatible with the likes of Instagram. You can look into your Instagram account through their site and have your feed automatically uploaded, for super simple integration. Given the petite size of Instagram photos, I’d recommend the uber affordable $18.99 option with 60 pages to lay out your favourite moments from the past year. With a variety of sizes, paper types and upgrades available, it’s easy to get carried away – but even the simplest books have a pretty huge design appeal, so don’t worry about busting your budget if you’re in a situation where you want to make a bunch of books at once (and trust me, after seeing one, you will).
I really can’t say enough good things about this site. There are so many other little features I’ve discovered in revisiting the site and planning out additional books. For example, I can convert my photobook into an iPad-friendly book to send worldwide for just $9.99. Or I can sell my book in Blurb’s online marketplace (which would be weird in my case, but still – cool concept). If you’ve crafted a recipe book or a stunning book of landscapes, this is a great way to share your work with the world and maybe make a little cash toward your next camera upgrade.
Beyond that, I still believe in print as a medium. I think I’ve mostly moved away from the idea of printing off a million 4×6′s that I’ll never look at (or at least, not often), but I love, love, LOVE the idea of gathering some truly special (and flattering) shots into a tome you will continually want to hold in your hands and reflect on. It’s just a new, more interesting way to look at and preserve our memories – as a companion to all the digital sharing we tend to do these days. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’m sure your loved ones would adore a special memory book of their own. Books start at just $4.95 with affordable and fast Canadian shipping rates, so do some browsing today to find the perfect style for your sweetheart.
With that, I’m psyched to be giving away 2x $50 gift codes to Blurb.ca – enough for you to craft a pretty freaking gorgeous photobook for whatever occasion you’d like. Here’s how to enter:
1) Leave me a comment below by February 2nd and tell me – what kind of book would you make on Blurb if you were chosen as the winner?
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around February 3rd, 2014 to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Follow Blurb on Twitter and / or Like them on Facebook. Tweet @ em (and me @cdngiftguide) and / or leave a comment on their FB Wall about the kind of book you’d like to make. Leave links back to your activities below to earn up to two bonus entries.