Blurb Facebook Photo Book Review + Win a $25 Gift Card
Today, I’m excited to tell you a little bit about a new Facebook book making option available from our friends at Blurb. As many of you know, I love making photo books from my Disney pictures and Blurb is my book publisher of choice due to their high quality printing and reasonable prices. So, when Blurb contacted The Disney Photography Blog and asked if we’d like to review their new Facebook Book Application, I jumped at the chance to try it out. In the interest of full disclosure- Blurb provided us with a coupon code to purchase the book I created here in exchange for our review but we were not compensated in any other manner.
Win a $25 Blurb Gift Card & Save 15%
As part of this review, Blurb has offered to award a free $25 gift card to one of our readers! See the end of this article on how to enter.
About the Blurb Facebook book
The purpose of this new application is to allow you to make a photo book by importing photos directly from Facebook. It is a simple, straightforward application that interfaces with your facebook page and allows you to produce a small square (7×7 inch) photo book.
Step 1 is to link Blurb with your facebook account. Once you are logged in, you have the option to select photos from your albums, your friends’ albums or from photos in which you are tagged. You simply select the photos that you want and the application imports them and autofills them into a book with one photo per page. The photo appears in a small square photo box. If you don’t want it to be square, you can switch the option from fill to fit but this will increase the empty space on the page. In addition to importing the photos, the application also imports the caption and comments with the photos. The caption appears underneath the photo and the first comment on the photo appears above the photo in a “thought bubble”. All subsequent comments are listed to the right of the photo. It does not import “likes” or tags.
After the initial import and autofill, there are several simple options available for customization. The pages can be reordered if you do not like the order of the autofill. The page background color can be changed and this change can be applied to the entire book with one click. There was also an option on this page to select photo borders but this option was not functional. Each separate text area can be edited for font, font size and style (bold, underline, italics), font color and justification. As far as I can tell, each editable area must be adjusted separately; these changes cannot be applied to the entire book. You also have the option to turn off the comments and/or the caption. If the comments are turned off, the photo will then appear in a slightly larger square. The options for layout are otherwise pretty limited. You are allowed to drag additional photos onto a page so that there are two or three photos per page but if you do this, you lose the text boxes for captions and comments.
If you would like further control over the page layouts, there is an option to transition your book from the facebook application into Blurb’s web-based Bookify application. As far as I can tell, once you choose this option, you cannot return to the Facebook-based software. In Bookify, you lose the ability to easily turn the comments on and off. You do gain additional page layout options but again, if you chose these layouts, your comments will no longer appear on the new pages. I ended up cutting and pasting some captions and comments into the text boxes of the additional layout pages just to add some variety to the book.
Thoughts on Blurb’s Facebook book creation
I thought that Blurb’s facebook book making option was an interesting application. I see this as being a useful option for the casual picture-taker, someone who stores a lot of their pictures on facebook and is looking to capture memories or tell the quick story of an event. It has the benefit of easily pulling in your friends’ photos so if several people uploaded photos of the same event, you could easily put together a book with all these photos. The real advantage is being able to pull in the photos’ captions and comments, capturing more of the story and emotion surrounding the photos.
That being said, it’s not an option I would likely choose for myself. While it is convenient to import photos from Facebook, keep in mind that you are importing an already compressed image. The photo quality was fairly good in the finished product but this is still a deal-breaker for me; I want to start with the highest quality image. Also, I found the layouts limiting. The square crop, while trendy, is not typically how I crop my photos so I was forced either to use a layout with an awkward crop or to chose the “fit” option which brought with it a lot of dead space. Also, I thought the layout with the comments and captions was awkward. The caption appeared under the photo and the first comment appeared above the photo in a thought bubble. If the first comment is in response to the caption, it appears out of order and is a little confusing. Here again was a place I used cut and paste, changing a caption into the first comment to force it to make more sense. In addition, the pages really look best when there are a lot of comments on the photos. If there are only one or two comments, you are again left with a lot of unused space.
In conclusion, Blurb’s application to make a book with your Facebook photos is a fun, easy option to make a quick, small book and it definitely has a niche among photo books. However, if you prefer to maintain a large amount of creative control over your book, I highly recommend sticking with Blurb’s other book-making options.
Blurb’s customer service
I’d also like to make a quick comment about Blurb’s customer service, which has always been excellent. When I received the book that I created with the Facebook software, I was quite disappointed. The page cropping was awkward; more had been trimmed from the top of the page than the bottom. I immediately went back to the Facebook application and saw that they recommended keeping important details away from rather large margins around the edges of the page. Recognizing that this may have been my error, I sent Blurb an email with a few photos, simply asking whether there had been an error in page trimming or if this was an expected variation in printing. Very quickly, I received an email in return stating that they had reissued a printing of my book. When this new book arrived, I was pleased to note that the pages were symmetrically trimmed and the book looked great!
Win a $25 Blurb Gift Card
Thanks to our friends at Blurb for allowing us to review this new book making option and to also supply a $25 gift card to one of our readers. To enter, all you need to do use the option below to post this article on your Twitter or Facebook stream, Like us on Facebook or leave a comment on this post. The more options you use to enter, the better chance you have of winning.
The contest will be open until 11:59pm eastern on Wednesday September 19th. Good luck!