Blurb vs Shutterfly Comparison

Blurb and Shutterfly are two well-known and well-established photo book companies. Blurb founded in 2004, focuses solely on print-on-demand photo books and other book-type products such as notebooks and planners. Shutterfly has been around since 1999. The company prints photo books, but also offers a broad range of photo gifts such as calendars, mugs, mouse pads, canvas prints, photo enlargements and holiday cards, as well as offering photo sharing and photo storage.

In terms of photo book offerings, Shutterfly offers square and landscape oriented books ranging from 7 x 5 to 12 x 12 inches. Blurb offers portrait oriented books as well. In terms of options, Blurb provides customers with several paper options including the very matte uncoated ProLine paper and the more satiny finish of their pearl ProLine paper. Shutterfly in contrast does not offer any paper upgrades and paper choice is dictated by the type of book selected. The standard paper is 65 lb. glossy paper stock. Shutterfly's layflat photo books are printed on double-thick premium professional grade paper with a satin finish. Blurb full image covers are matte while Shutterfly's are glossy.

In terms of software, Shutterfly more recently upgraded their design tools to allow for full customization of templates. Blurb's had allowed for that for some time now. Many photo book companies have moved towards allowing consumers to change and create new layouts (versus being forced to use fixed layouts). Both companies allow you to fully customize your book. Both offer customizable covers with a full-page bleed on the front cover and back cover, and titling on the spine, printed directly on the hard cover surface. Those who like clip art and embellishments more akin to digital scrapbooking may prefer Shutterfly over Blurb as there is little by way of decoration provided in Blurb's software. Shutterfly also offers more themes and backgrounds (some of which require an additional fee), but they do have a lot of attractive designer pre-made layouts to choose from.

In terms of audience, I'd say Shutterfly is more focused on the average consumer (moms, dads and those making photo books for family and friends) whereas Blurb has a larger pro-photographer following. I see a lot more promotions for Shutterfly on parenting blogs and magazines and even free photo book offers at baby retailers and in diaper boxes. Blurb on the other hand, frequently keeps pace with new technologies, offering special tools to slurp blogs, Instagram feeds and Facebook photos (as well as their comments). They also offer plug-ins that work with pro-focused Adobe InDesign and Lightroom. Blurb also offers conversions to ebooks for iPads as well as a marketplace to sell your books in both print and ebook formats. Regardless of each company's focus, consumers and pros could be happy with either company, though I would think more pros would opt for Blurb to be able to take advantage of its bookstore marketplace as well as integration with professional design software.

As for print quality, both companies have very good print quality and are pretty much on par with each other. I print with both companies on a pretty regular basis and often look for the best photo book deal running at the time. Print quality and color vibrancy can be affected by paper choice, so it's good to review paper options before ordering. Blurb offers an upgraded ProLine of papers, while Shutterfly now has a lay flat upgrade that will give you the option of adding thick coated pages that open up flat for $25.00 more for 8 x 8 books. You'll find numerous in-depth reviews on my site of both companies' papers and view actual books that I've made under their respective review pages.

If price is a factor (when is it not)? Blurb is one of the most affordable printers out there and its per page pricing is one of the lowest available. If just comparing the two companies for a base 20-page landscape hardcover book (10 x 8 for Blurb and 11.25 x 8.75 for Blurb), the base prices of $31.95 and $34.99 respectively don't seem to be that different (prices current as of this writing). Where you'll see the difference is when you add more pages. Blurb prices their books by page range* (21 to 40 and 41 to 60) for example), so you might as well make a 40 page book with Blurb cause it will cost the same as a 21 page book. Be sure to keep that in mind while you're making a book so you don't miss out on those "bonus" pages. In contrast a 40-page book with Blurb will cost $34.95 ($40.19 for premium paper upgrade) while a 40-page book with Shutterfly will cost $54.99 (prices do not take into account discounts or promos and note that photo book deals from both companies are usually readily available). With regard to page count, Blurb is one of the few photo book printers out there printing high-page count books. Blurb offers a page maximum of 440 pages while Shutterfly (and most other photo book companies) tops out at 100 pages.

*Update 10.11.13: Blurb just in the past couple months changed its pricing structure. Price is no longer by page range, but a price per each set of 2 pages added.

If you're trying to make a decision between Shutterfly and Blurb, you have to decide which factor or factors are most important to you. The company you go with may be dictated by the specs of your particular project (such as book type or orientation). Those looking for an affordable, yet bookstore quality book will likely prefer Blurb, while those who would like to make an easy but attractive looking book with pre-made designs and templates may prefer Shutterfly. Those who already use Shutterfly to upload and share photos will find it easier to have everything integrated into a single place.

This is just a general overview of the two companies and their main similarities and differences. I have written extensively about both companies as you'll see at the bottom of this page and print books with both companies on a regular basis. You can also visit Blurb or Shutterfly directly for more information.

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Quick Specs for Blurb vs. ShutterflyNew to photo books? Learn the lingo

 
Book TypeHardcover & SoftcoverHardcover & Softcover
Book ShapePortrait, Landscape & SquareLandscape & Square
Types of CoversFull Photo Cover, Dust JacketFull Photo Cover, Fabric, Leather, Suede, Satin, Cloth, Padded, Glossy and Matte options
Min/Max Pages20 - 440 standard paper; 20 - 160 premium paper20 - 110
Paperstandard - 80 lb. matte; premium - 100 lb. matte or lustre paper; ProLine 100 and 140 lb.65 lb glossy acid free, lignin free, archival paper stock (110 lb acid free softcover covers); photo paper (lay flat)
Bindingprofessional library bindingProfessionally bound (glued) hardcovers / Perfect bound softcovers
Lay FlatNoYes
Fully Customizable LayoutsYesYes
Themes15100+ themes
Layouts/TemplatesFull customization; 300+ colors270+ layouts, unlimited with customization
BackgroundsYesYes
Image as BackgroundYesYes
Full Photo CoverYesYes
Customizable SpineYes - solid color and title only (no image)Yes
Full Photo Back CoverYesYes
Full Page BleedYesYes
Captions/FontsYes30 fonts in 60 colors
EmbellishmentsYesYes
Mac/PCBothBoth
Download or OnlineDownloadOnline
Special Photo ImportingFlickr, Picasa, Photobucket, SmugMug, iPhotoiPhoto
Share OnlineYesYes
Sell OnlineYesYes - friends & family may buy; pro gallery
CollaborationNoYes
LogoYes - removable with feeYes - on last interior page
Photo Editing in ProgramRotate, Size, BordersRotate, Zoom, Red eye, B&W, Color tone, Saturate, Soft focus, Vivid Pics, Fade
Digital Scrapbooking CompatibleYesYes
  See my Blurb review. There are 29 photo books available from Blurb, with sizes ranging from 5x8 to 12x12. See my Shutterfly review. Shutterfly offers 25 photo books, ranging in size from 7x5 to 12x12.


Current deals from Blurb and Shutterfly

Make Your Own Wedding Book!

Publish and Sell Your Book With Blurb

Sign Up & Save 35%

New LAYFLAT Photo Books at Blurb!

Make a yearbook with Blurb!

Make a photo book from your Instagram photos!

Check out my Blurb Instagram photo book review here!

Blurb Facebook Books for $12.99!

Check out my Blurb Facebook Review here!

Check out Blurb's pro paper options with a Blurb Swatch Kit!

Find out which of Blurb's papers are right for your project with this FREE Swatch Kit. The kit costs $7.95 to order, including shipping, but you'll get a promo code to credit the cost of the kit (minus applicable taxes) off your next order! Want to see my comparison review of Blurb's proline and premium papers?

Save up to 25% off your Blurb book with volume discounts!

Discount at checkout.

FREE Custom Envelopes with Grad Card orders!

Coupon Code: ENVELOPES

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

Each promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Each offer code can only be entered once. Offer cannot be combined with other code-based %-off or $-off offers. Taxes, shipping, and handling may apply. Not valid on Tiny Prints products.

Get a Free 8x11 Wall Calendar (NEW customers)

Coupon Code: CALENDARNEW

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

Offer is good for one free 12-month wall calendar (8x11 size) through shutterfly.com, mobile-friendly site. Valid only for new Shutterfly customers (those who have never purchased from Shutterfly). Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Customer may add StorytellingTM styles at additional cost. Not valid on other sizes, other products, prepaid plans, prior purchases and purchases made on the Shutterfly apps.

25% off at Shutterfly with code

Coupon Code: 25OFF2019

Deal Expires: 6/30/2019

25% off qualifying merchandise orders through shutterfly.com, our mobile-friendly site or Shutterfly apps. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply.

40% off Graduation Cards and Stationery

Coupon Code: GRAD50NEW

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

40% off one qualifying regular-priced order of square trim, signature cardstock cards through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. This offer code can only be entered once. Offer cannot be combined with other code-based %-off or $-off offers. Taxes, shipping, and handling may apply. Other trim, paper and envelope options will incur extra fees.

50% off Graduation Cards for NEW customers

Coupon Code: GRAD50NEW

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

50% off one qualifying regular-priced order of square trim, signature cardstock cards through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. This offer code can only be entered once. Offer cannot be combined with other code-based %-off or $-off offers. Taxes, shipping, and handling may apply. Other trim, paper and envelope options will incur extra fees.

New customers! FREE PHOTO BOOK! 8 x 8 Hardcover Book

Coupon Code: BOOKNEW19

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

FREE 20-standard page 8x8 hard photo cover photo book through shutterfly.com, mobile-friendly site, Shutterfly Photo Story for iPad app or Shutterfly app (photo book offer not available on the Android app. Upgrade option not available on the iPhone app). Valid only on your first purchase from Shutterfly. Free photo book offer will be applied to your order before any code-based %-off promos. Free photo book offer can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Other cover types, additional pages, StorytellingTM styles, etc may be added to the current book for an additional fee. Or apply the current price of a 20-standard page 8x8 hard photo cover photo book (after taking into account any current discounts on shutterfly.com) toward the purchase of a larger photo book.

One FREE Calendar at Shutterfly.com for new customers!

Coupon Code: CALENDARNEW

Deal Expires: 4/30/2019

One free 12-month wall calendar (8x11 size) through shutterfly.com or mobile-friendly site. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling may apply. StorytellingTM styles will incur extra fees. Not valid on other sizes.

5 FREE Wedding Invitation Samples!

Coupon Code: 5WEDINVITES

NEW Customers: 50 FREE 4 x 6 prints, One FREE Magnet and One FREE set Address Labels!

Coupon Code: Click to sign up!

New Customers Get 50 Free 4x6 Prints, One Free Magnet, and One Free Set of Address Labels! Offer expires 30 calendar days from the time of registration (11:59 P.M. PT). Offer is good for 50 free 4x6 prints, one free magnet and one free set of address labels through shutterfly.com or our mobile-friendly site. Promo can only be redeemed once per account and/or billing address. Taxes, shipping and handling will apply. Not valid on other print sizes, glass and stationery magnets, prepaid plans, other products, prior purchases, orders placed for in-store pick up and orders made on the Shutterfly apps.

50 FREE PRINTS! For new customers!

Coupon Code: At Shutterfly site, click on "sign up" at top right.

50 FREE 4 x 6 prints at Shutterfly! Shipping and handling apply.

Shutterfly Special Offers. Save up to 50% on selected items such as photo books, calendars, wall art, photo gifts, and more.

Offers change frequently, so be sure to check back often!


Reviews from the blog

Six Prizes! Blurb Mother's Day Photo Book Giveaway - Enter By 4/11/16

Blurb Mother's Day GIVEAWAY Winners Announced!

Blurb Mother's Day GIVEAWAY $300 in prizes Ends 4/20/15 Plus Exclusive Blurb Coupon Code!

Year In Review Photo Books - Happy New Year!

Blurb $200 Giveaway Winners Announced

Blurb Photo Book Giveaway! $200 in Prizes + Blurb Coupon Codes

Make Your Own Family, Heritage and Genealogy Photo Book

Blurb 365 Project 2012 Giveaway Winners Announced

Blurb 365 Project Giveaway! $100 Prizes - The Last Push for 2012 (ENDED)

Blurb Coupon Pre-Black Friday 2012 (25% off extended thru 12/3/2012))

Custom Notebooks, Journals and Planners - Day 3 Can't Miss Christmas Gift Ideas (Updated 2014)

FREE Photo Book from Blurb 2012 - Make a Facebook Photo Book in Minutes

Blurb eBooks for the iPad

Blurb Instagram Giveaway 2012 Winners Announced & Blurb Coupon Codes

Exclusive Blurb Coupon Code and Giveaway - Blurb Instagram Book Review 2012 (ENDED)

Blurb Custom Notebook Review

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

How To Sell Your Photo Book Online - An Interview with Photographer Dan Lo

Blurb Review 2011 (UPDATED 2016): ProLine, Premium and Standard Papers Compared

Q&A: How to Create Customizable Layouts in Blurb

Blurb vs Mpix Review - Make Your Own Affordable Wedding Photo Book - A Bride-to-Bride Guide (with Pictures) Part II

A Review of Photo Book Printing Companies that I've Used: Blurb vs. MyPublisher vs. Snapfish vs. Mpix

Deck the Halls with Your Own Photos - Best Custom Photo Ornaments for the Holidays

Photo Book Girl's Annual Holiday Photo Card Guide Best Deals & Tips 2018

Photo Book Girl's Mother's Day and Father's Day Gift Guide 2018

Q&A: MyPublisher is Closed - Where Should I Print My Photo Books? A Comparison of MyPublisher and Shutterfly

PBG Reader Alert: TinyPrints Moving to Shutterfly June 27, 2017

MyPublisher Closing Down - Your Questions Answered and a Farewell Giveaway

The Ultimate Lay Flat Photo Book Comparison Guide - A Book for Every Budget (Updated 2017)

Make Your Own Personalized ABC Book

How Should I Backup My Photos? Photo Sharing Sites - Part II

Shutterfly Deals of the Day For July 2013

Shutterfly Giveaway Winner Announced Plus More Shutterfly Deals

Shutterfly Giveaway for PhotoBookGirl Readers - $100 Value! (International) ENDED

Shutterfly Lay Flat Photo Book Review 2013 - Valentine's Baby Photo Book Gift

Shutterfly Holiday Card Review 2012

Shutterfly Photo Book Review 2012 Custom Path Update

My Shutterfly Photo Book Review - Hardcover 8x8

My Shutterfly Softcover Photo Book Review



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