© 2011 photobookgirl

Blurb Review of Softcover Photo Book & GIVEAWAY Ends 9/1/2011! (ENDED)



***GIVEAWAY! One Week Only!***
BLURB GIVEAWAY! See below for details.
Ends 9/1/11 11:59pm CST

Skip directly to enter Giveaway

Thanks to everyone for the lovely congratulatory messages I’ve been receiving since becoming a mom just two weeks ago!  It’s been hard to get the chance to post, but I have so much to talk about with you all! I’ve been hard at work planning all my baby book projects and yes, I’ve taken tons of photos of my PhotoBookBaby and will have lots to share in the near future.  Thanks for sticking around despite my less frequent posting and for those of you who haven’t checked out my Facebook page yet, I do manage to get on that to interact with folks briefly throughout the day in between feedings, so please consider fanning my Photobookgirl page if you haven’t yet!  What better way to kick things off post labor than with a GIVEAWAY!  Read on for my review and details on how to create and win your own Blurb photo book!

Here’s the stats:

Book size: 8 x 10 (width x height) Standard Portrait
Cover: Imagewrap Softcover
Pages: 50 (double-sided); ProLine Pearl (upgrade)
Binding: Perfect Bound
Price: $40.42 + $7.99 (Standard Shipping)Total book cost = $48.41 (less $50.00 trial credit) = Complimentary for purposes of review
Ordered/Shipped/Delivered June 30 / July 5  / July 11

Blurb Software Review

Since this isn’t my first Blurb review, I won’t go into long detail here, but what’s nice about Blurb’s BookSmart software is the ability to completely customize your book.  Of course just like other companies, you can choose to automate the book building process, which at Blurb is called Bookify.  As you may already know about me, I love customization.  After making several photo books you get bored of standard layouts and you want to inject your own creativity. Other things I like about Blurb’s software:

  • You can save your custom made templates for future use;
  • You can use your own photo as a background for layouts;
  • You can do an instant two-page spread (but note that you can’t put other photos on top of the two-page spread – the layout is locked);

You can find more details about Blurb’s software on my main Blurb Reviews page.  Be sure to scroll down to “Blurb Reviews from the Blog” for a complete list of all my Blurb related reviews.

Blurb Softcover Book

This book was a free trial for purposes of review.  I decided to make my baby shower photo book with the credit.  We were lucky our awesome wedding photographer Albert Yau of SecondPrint Productions happened to have that particular Saturday open before being booked nonstop for wedding season.  I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear I hired a professional to take photos of my baby shower.  I highly recommend it if it’s in your budget to do so, since it allows your friends and family to enjoy the event rather than have to take photos, and given that I’m photo obsessed I knew all the important memories would be captured.  We also worked in a short baby bump/parents-to-be photo session before our guests arrived.  Can you tell I loved being pregnant???

Baby Bump Photo Shoot

Here’s a shot from our “baby bump” photo shoot.

Baby shower photo book

I like doing an overview page with smaller thumbnail size photos to give a sneak preview of what’s to come.

So, I will admit that I thought I ordered a hardcover book…but somehow I must have clicked softcover. Oops! Can I attribute that to “pregnancy brain”?  But no matter, it gives me a chance to review it since I’ve never ordered a softcover with Blurb before.

perfect binding

This is a side view of the softcover book. This is known as “perfect binding” – the pages are glued to the cover.

The softcover is glossy and printed on a thick cardstock.  In terms of comparing it to other softcovers I’ve ordered I this is one of the better ones, though I would have preferred if it printed out a little bit brighter.  If you’re ever in doubt when post processing your photos, opt for making them brighter as I’ve typically found that most photo books print a little darker than what you see on your screen.  I ordered a softcover from MyPublisher some years back and it didn’t print too clearly (which is in big contrast to its hardcover books which I think have great print quality).  In general, I don’t order too many softcover books, as I always prefer hardcover and I know I can find a promo or deal that will make the hardcover books reasonably priced.  I opted for the ProLine Pearl paper upgrade for this book as it’s become my paper of choice when ordering from Blurb.  I love the slight pearlescent sheen the paper gives off.  From what I can tell, there’s no difference in the interior paper or print quality between the softcover and hardcover books.  Check out this post for a full review of Blurb’s ProLine and standard papers.

baby shower games

My guests had a lot of fun playing the shower games – even the guys! Everyone was so focused! Here’s an example of using your own photo as a background to your other photos.

I also ordered separately two photo books of my shower as gifts for two of my dear girlfriends who co-hosted the event and had planned all the games for the guests.  The books were 20-page hardcover books printed on premium paper with lustre finish at $36.74 each.  Print quality has always been good with Blurb, but there were some print issues with the hardcover books I ordered (softcover book had no printing issues).  One had a red circle on one of the photos and there were faded streaks on several other pages – it looked as though the ink ran out.  I contacted Blurb via their email form on their site and sent them a couple photos of the problems.  The books were promptly reprinted without hassle so I have to give Blurb’s customer service good marks.  While I wish I didn’t have issues in the first place, good customer service is important and as long as a company responds quickly and fairly, I have no problems using their service again.

Overall I was very pleased with how the book came out, especially with the ProLine Pearl paper – but I may need to reorder a hardcover version!

Let’s get to the Giveaway!



Blurb is giving one (1) lucky winner a $75.00 FREE BOOK COUPON!

You have 6 possible ways to enter, but you must do the REQUIRED ENTRY for the others to count. For EACH entry, you have to COMMENT ON THIS POST below with a separate comment for EACH entry, telling me what type of entry you did.


  • Comment below – IF YOU WON, WHAT KIND OF BOOK (vacation, baby, wedding etc.) WOULD YOU MAKE WITH YOUR BLURB PRIZE?


  • Subscribe to my newsletter (look for light blue box at top right) AND tell me in the comment below that you subscribed and the name you subscribed under (first name is fine). If you already subscribe to my newsletter, tell me in your comment and give me your name. (Please remember for it to count, you must confirm the subscription);
  • Give your review of any photo book company you’ve tried on the company’s main reviews page.  Click on the link and then click on the logo of the company you want to review.  You’ll see a place to add your review at the bottom of each company’s page.  Let me know which company you commented on by telling me in a comment in this post below. (Limit to two (2) entries using this method.);
  • Blog about this giveaway on your blog. Be sure to comment on this post with a link to your blog post (Counts as 3 entries!)

Make sure to do the REQUIRED ENTRY!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by Thursday, September 1, 2011, at 11:59pm CST and any entries not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified at our sole discretion and at the discretion of the sponsor. Winning entry will be chosen using Random.org. After compiling the results, I will announce the winner thereafter and will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw another entry. Winners will be issued a unique coupon code by Blurb. Winner pays for shipping. Shipping may vary by location – see Blurb Site for details. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Blurb. If you click on a link to Blurb’s site and make a purchase, I receive a referral fee from the company. Regardless of compensation my opinions are my own.

Thank you to Blurb for its sponsorship of this giveaway!

Check out all the latest “one day deals” on my Groupon/Living Social Tracker!

Check out all the latest Blurb promos here!


Shop CVSPhoto.com for all your photo needs

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Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!


  1. karen
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm | #

    liked blurb on FB. I would make a book for my niece’s Quinceanera. Thanks!

  2. Pia
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | #

    I would definitely do “My baby boy’s first year of life” as we have 1000s (literally) of pictures of him already and he’s only 9 months old.

  3. Monica Santiesteban
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | #

    My name is Monica S. and I subscribed to your newsletter as my contest entry. I don’t have facebook or a blog so I couldn’t enter all of those other entries as you suggested. I have been a follower of yours on twitter and was so glad I found you because I had been researching for a good quality photobook. Your blog was perfectly informative and I was easily convinced with your Blurb reviews. I was very hesitant about entering the contest because I’ve never won anything before, so I’ve waited to the last minute or actually the last day of the entry, to try my luck. This would be my first time making a photobook so if I win this contest, I would create my own photo(story)book of my wedding day. I got married on July 24, 2011. It was something very simple and very intimate. I didn’t have a big reception nor the expensive photographer because I felt the most important part was the ceremony and having my closed ones together. I would love to capture all of my wedding moments with a photobook. Thank you for creating this contest! And congratulations on your newborn! I still remember when my daughter was born, 4 years ago :( time goes by so quickly!

  4. Hang Nguyen
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm | #

    I liked you on fb (Hang Nguyen). I would create a wedding album. Thanks!

  5. Hang Nguyen
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm | #

    Hello i like blurb on fb. I would make a wedding album.

  6. amanda
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm | #

    I already like you on fb. I would make a wedding book!

  7. Osia Strasner
    Posted September 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | #

    Hi PhotoBookGirl, and congratulations on the birth of your child! How exciting…I have already friended you on Facebook, and have been enjoying all your entries, your reviews, and your Groupon findings. I am kind of new to making Photobooks, and despite the inordinate amount of time it takes to make one I have been thoroughly enjoying the process. Usually I make travel scrapbooks, but this has been a busy summer with family weddings, and if I won the Blur book I would make a photo album of the upcoming wedding of my husband’s son. I am looking forward to it, and thanks! (Oh, my FB name is Osia Ora-Strasner, and the email address is osiaora@gmail.com)