Eileen Gittins on Blurb’s New ProLine Book Options

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blog proline Eileen Gittins on Blurbs New ProLine Book OptionsLate last summer I was in NYC and had the great fortune to spend some time with Phil Block, the Deputy Director of Programs and Director of Education at the International Center of Photography (ICP). He showed me some beautifully designed books, printed on a lovely uncoated paper stock.

“You should do this,” he said.

He was right. The book’s paper completely changed the character of the book, and was particularly lovely when the photographs were editorially supported with some text. The impression was clean, organic, toothy. “Could you send me a sample book?” I asked.

Ten days later a complete set of these books arrived at Blurb. That was the day we initiated a search for the best, uncoated paper stock we could source. The books Phil sent were great, but I knew we could do even better. And as long as we were scouting for new papers, we decided to see if we would find an additional one that would rival true photographic print paper. We wanted the result to feel like a gift of custom prints. As a former darkroom printer, I had experimented with nearly everything – from glossy, to pearl, to warm tone, to matte papers – and I figured we would know it when we saw it.

Oh happy day! Turned out that both quests brought us to Mohawk Fine Paper’s door. The graphic designers out there will recognize Mohawk’s Superfine white eggshell paper, which we have re-named ProLine Uncoated. And the darkroom printers out there will recognize the ProLine Pearl Photo paper as the same pearl paper we used to make custom prints, except now formulated for digital print technology.

But the papers were really just the start, because we knew that Blurb bookmakers wanted to distinguish their books not only through their unique content, but also through their choice of materials. So then we went to town with end sheets and new linen cases…. And there will be more, folks. Lots more. This is just the beginning.

When we first started Blurb, we had one book size and one paper. With the addition of ProLine, there are now hundreds more unique combinations for you to make your book your own.

It’s a proud and happy day for us here at Blurb. We hope you enjoy.

All Best,

Founder and CEO

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  1. congrats, Eileen! Looking forward to trying it out.

    By Leigh Haber
      May 4, 2011 – 3:43 pm   Permalink
  2. The description seems to be something everyone would want! Do you know if these options will only be available to everyone that orders books (single, individual for example) or just a pro subset of your customers. I hope the former as I am looking forward to trying them out!

      May 5, 2011 – 8:50 am   Permalink
  3. Marco,
    The ProLine options are available to all across all of our color books and our ProLine papers are available in books of 160 pages or fewer. You can mix and match the options as you please. ProLine really makes for a gorgeous book. Give these options a try and let us know what you think.
    Eileen H.

      May 5, 2011 – 9:44 am   Permalink
  4. Thank you! I can’t wait to order with these new options.

    I know more changes are in the works….would you consider a 10×10? I think it would be a nice option in between the 8×10 and 12×12.

    Still Blurbing……thanks!

      May 5, 2011 – 2:28 pm   Permalink
  5. This is SUCH great news! I have been waiting for this for FOREVER and can’t wait to try it out! I cannot even tell you how many book companies I have spoken to about this and none of them will do single-book runs… I am so, so thankful. :) Hopefully some day soon there will be this option for more than 160 pages so I don’t have to split my albums into two books!

      May 5, 2011 – 2:46 pm   Permalink
  6. Robyn,
    So glad you’re happy and would love to hear what you think when you give ProLine a try. We’re never done at Blurb so we’ll keep working on bringing you options for your books.
    Eileen H.

      May 5, 2011 – 8:04 pm   Permalink
  7. Lauren,
    Thanks for your suggestion. I’ll pass it on to the team. Keep feedback coming!
    Eileen H.

      May 5, 2011 – 8:04 pm   Permalink
  8. Hello Blurb
    Your new paper sounds really interesting. As a professional photographer I am always looking for the very best to present my work. I look forward to trying Proline for my pictures.
    Best regards to all blurbians.
    Jon Grainge

    The European Photo-Book collection

      May 6, 2011 – 1:02 am   Permalink
  9. Loving the new Pro options. Can I ask… the oatmeal linen material looks beautiful. If possible I’d like to use the same material to cover the boxes that I have specifically made for my Blurb books. Could someone email me with details of where I could source it from so that it matches.


      May 6, 2011 – 1:58 am   Permalink
  10. Looks Great BU T

    The but is what is that binding? From the illustration it looks suspiciously like a clip binding. Is it?

    By Robin Cecil-Wright
      May 6, 2011 – 2:09 am   Permalink
  11. I am very much looking forward to trying out the ProLine option.
    I am very impressed with the Blurb books I have received in the past. However, the packaging is very disappointing. The Apple books come with a protective sleeve for storage of the book. This not only protects the book but makes it more impressive when displaying examples to clients.

      May 6, 2011 – 2:20 am   Permalink
  12. This is just what I have been wanting for my book Blossoms of Life. thanks Blurb You made me one happy Photographer

      May 6, 2011 – 4:16 am   Permalink
  13. Thanks for upgrading your book papers. Will give it a try next time I need a book. Karen

      May 6, 2011 – 4:57 am   Permalink
  14. This sounds fabulous. I’ve been wanting to do a “high end” portfolio book for quite some time, and I look the matte finish that gives it that sort of rustic/organic feel. Now I just better go design it!!

    I don’t suppose you offer samples or know where I can see a sample of this Mohawk paper?

      May 6, 2011 – 5:52 am   Permalink
  15. Hi Jen,
    We’re working on swatch books. Keep your eye on the blog and we’ll announce when they’re ready.
    Eileen H.

      May 6, 2011 – 6:06 am   Permalink
  16. One question: it mentions that you can take your book to get embossed… does blurb offer that service? Is that something that might be available in the near future?


      May 6, 2011 – 8:13 am   Permalink
  17. These are beautiful…. being a Paper Freak (and calligrapher and graphics maker) I could touch them all day !

    Love the linens too.

    BUT…. bad timing… i just ordered my heartsong book of my trip home. Too late.. and simply cannot afford to re order the book. This paper would have made it even more special.

    Beautiful papers… and like the Swatch book idea alot. !

    By Pam
      May 6, 2011 – 12:00 pm   Permalink
  18. Pam,
    Wish we could’ve made this happen sooner for your book but hope you can take advantage of ProLine for your next book.
    Eileen H.

      May 6, 2011 – 12:45 pm   Permalink
  19. Hi Robyn,
    At the moment we don’t offer embossing. Sorry! We are working on all sorts of new developments but until we can find a way to do embossing with our print-on-demand technology, we can’t offer it. However, you should always feel free to email our Customer Support team with your wish list. It’s feedback from Blurbarians like you that help us prioritize our development schedule.
    Eileen H.

      May 6, 2011 – 12:49 pm   Permalink
  20. I second the motion for a protective sleeve! We do so many of your books for our customers that we had some custom made to fit your books. Love the ease of making your product. Would love to see more focus on print quality with black and white images!

      May 6, 2011 – 1:13 pm   Permalink
  21. Hi Robin,
    Thanks – and have no fear, it’s not a clip binding. Whether you choose ProLine options or not, you’ll still get our high-quality professional binding.

      May 6, 2011 – 2:46 pm   Permalink
  22. I have ordered Blurb books in the past with poor results, especially in the binding. It looks as if a lot of improvements have been made in the past year. With the addition of the proline, I might have to give Blurb another chance someday. Glad to see changes being made!

    By Kiran
      May 6, 2011 – 6:19 pm   Permalink
  23. I am a little confused over the pricing of these books….i.e. you say 20-40 pages (say) $22.00 does that mean that you can have anything from 20 to 40 pages for the same amount of money….I need to know this urgently so that I can work out the cost of what a book is going to cost me……thanks.

    By Lyn McDonald
      May 6, 2011 – 8:01 pm   Permalink
  24. Kiran,
    We hope you do give us another try – and please know that if you’re ever unhappy with the quality of your book, just contact us and we’ll do what we can to make it right.
    Eileen H.

      May 7, 2011 – 10:09 am   Permalink
  25. Hi Lyn,
    Take a look at our pricing page for more information. You can go up to 40 pages for the same base price and then you can choose – a la carte – your paper, end sheets, and cover options. What you choose will determine your product total. Hope this helps.
    Eileen H.

      May 7, 2011 – 10:13 am   Permalink
  26. Hi,

    Just wanting to get a bit of advice on which paper to go for. I used premium matte last time and was happy with it and that was the same sort of thing. Its a book of photos from a 3 week safari/sightseeing trip to South Africa 160 pages, standard landscape size. I’m either thinking of the premium lustre, premium matt or the proline uncoated or proline pearl. Ideally I’d like to get a lustre/eggshell finish that’s not too reflective, so the prints look professional but so that you can still see them well in the light. Not sure if I’m making sense. LOL. :) I need to buy two copies and I have access to the voucher code for 15% off for proline. What option would you recommend?

    I’m in the UK so they will be printed in Europe.



    By Jo
      May 7, 2011 – 12:05 pm   Permalink
  27. Jo,
    The paper you choose is an entirely personal decision so it’s hard to advise. The ProLine paper with a pearl finish has a light sheen and is gorgeous. The ProLine paper with the uncoated finish has a subtle eggshell texture. So, I think you can’t go wrong with either. Again, it’s really up to you.

    We’ll be offering swatch books soon to make the decision easier. Keep tuned into the blog and we’ll announce it as soon as the swatch books are available.
    Eileen H.

      May 8, 2011 – 4:34 pm   Permalink
  28. Thanks Eileen,

    How soon do you expect the swatch book to be out? Will the type of paper affect the print quality? I.e. will the proline paper give me a more photographic print quality? In my last book, If I look closely I can see little tiny dots in the picture and the results are slightly muddy looking and not quite pin sharp, compared with when I use my canon photo printer or a professional photo lab where you can’t see any trace of the printing. Will using Proline resolve this, or is it an issue with the printing method? It would be lovely to get true photographic quality in my book, but you’re still streaks ahead of the other company I used before.



    By Jo
      May 9, 2011 – 5:40 am   Permalink
  29. Jo,
    Our ProLine papers are professional grade and typically used in high-end photography and design books, so yes, the printing quality is excellent. The paper is also designed to work with our HP Indigo printers, the printers we use with our print-on-demand technology. It’s really beautiful paper and the quality is excellent.

    By the way, all books with ProLine options are printed at one facility in the U.S. to ensure consistency and quality.

    Hope this information helps. Thanks for chiming in on the blog. Your questions are great and help inform everyone in the Blurb community.

    Eileen H.

      May 9, 2011 – 7:20 am   Permalink
  30. will the europeans get access to the pro line aswell ?

    By Gino
      May 10, 2011 – 2:33 am   Permalink
  31. Hi Gino,
    Absolutely. ProLine is available to all Blurbarians everywhere.
    Eileen H.

      May 10, 2011 – 10:34 am   Permalink
  32. Look awesome….Can’t wait to try it out…
    But I’d like to ask a quick question, If I’m going Proline, specially the Linen paper.. Does that mean their wont be an image wrap on it?
    Will love some clarification on that. Thanks


      May 12, 2011 – 3:42 am   Permalink
  33. Hi,
    The new cover linens are only available for Hardcover, Dust Jacket books. You will get a dust jacket with it but that’s a different thing than our ImageWrap books. For a full explanation of the different cover types you can choose from, go here.
    Eileen H.

      May 12, 2011 – 4:43 pm   Permalink
  34. While it’s nice to introduce a higher quality paper, I’d prefer that you concentrate on producing improved image quality in your books. If I wanted streaks throughout my images I’d put them there myself instead of opening my book and seeing that your printer had done it for me.

      May 13, 2011 – 5:07 am   Permalink
  35. I am so excited about the proline books options. I am a wedding photographer and have been using Blurb books for a while. I was getting ready to switch because I was not happy with the paper options, but now I am really excited! I was also wondering if you would ever consider having the option to engrave or emboss words on the front or spine for the linen covers, or have a photo cut out like the do in MyPublisher (the only reason I would maybe choose them over blurb). This would be very beneficial to many wedding photographers who use blurb. Thank you!

      May 13, 2011 – 5:30 am   Permalink
  36. The Proline is a nice improvement for aesthetic reasons, but I’m curious about the environmental side. What percentage is recycled vs. virgin fiber?

      May 13, 2011 – 6:58 am   Permalink
  37. Printing on Mohawk Superfine, WOW! This is under exclusive rights to on GF Smith in the UK, one of the finest (if not a little pricey) paper merchants in the world. And 1 of only 2 sheets available here too, so very happy to see we can now order Blurb books on this stock too.

    I may just go and reprint my book to see what its like.

    Well done guys!

      May 13, 2011 – 7:25 am   Permalink
  38. Hey Eileen

    Sounds just amazing and can´t wait to try out the new paper on my current wedding project. A few questions.. How many grams are the 2 kind of paper..? And on the uncoated will the detail be as sharp as on the coated..? And lastly I think we are many who would love to see a booksize that would be the same size as Large Format Landscape but in a vertical version. Thanks Kenny

      May 13, 2011 – 8:40 am   Permalink
  39. Hi Kenny,
    You’ll find all the answers to your questions on the ProLine page on our site. The detail is sharp on the uncoated and the pearl ProLine papers. It’s really a matter of preference as to which one to go with. Thanks for your suggestion on the book size. We’ll be sending out some surveys soon and would love your feedback (as well as feedback from all Blurbarians) on things you’d like to see.
    Eileen H.

      May 13, 2011 – 12:23 pm   Permalink
  40. HI Stewart,
    Sorry to hear you’ve had issues with your books. If you have any concerns at all about quality, please contact Customer Support so they can address your concerns are addressed immediately.

      May 13, 2011 – 1:42 pm   Permalink
  41. I think the larger format Portrait Size would be great. One comment I have is that one version of my book was posted from Seattle, the other from Tennessee. The coloration and the sharpness of the Seattle version was better. Any thoughts?

    By Peter
      May 18, 2011 – 2:49 am   Permalink
  42. Hi Peter,
    There are many different elements that can influence the printing of your book and while we do our absolute best to standardize printing across all our print operations, there may be slight differences. It’s just the nature of print-on-demand technology. That said, if you’re unhappy with the printing of your book, please send it back to us and we will do what we can to make you happy. Peter, thanks so much for your comment and we’d love it if you could take our new survey. Click on this link and let us know what you’d like to see. It’s also a great opportunity to get into our beta testing program.
    All best,
    Eileen H.

      May 18, 2011 – 10:02 am   Permalink
  43. This sounds exciting! Still, I’d like to wait to see reviews .. when the premium paper came out it was really disappointing. Has anybody ordered a book with this new paper? What do you think? Are there photos you can share? I’d like to see more photos of it than just the one this site shows.

    They have a photographer talking about it in a video, but who is that guy? What photography work has he even done? I googled him and couldn’t find anything.

    I’m also wondering when or if a 10 x 10 book will be available. Is this something that is being worked on or may be? It’s the ideal size for me and a lot of people I think.

      May 18, 2011 – 1:16 pm   Permalink
  44. Hi April,
    We will be offering a swatch book of paper samples soon and we’ll announce availability on the Blurb blog, so stay tuned. The photographer featured in the video is Daniel Milnor. He’s made lots of Blurb books and you can read more about him and his work on his blog. .

    Also, please take a moment and take our survey. We really want to know what you’d like to see from Blurb and this is a great opportunity to let us know and get on our beta testing team.
    Many thanks,

      May 18, 2011 – 4:15 pm   Permalink
  45. Thank you for the quick response. I took the survey. =o)

      May 19, 2011 – 4:12 pm   Permalink
  46. So did I! :)

    By Jo
      May 19, 2011 – 11:47 pm   Permalink
  47. I am looking forward to trying a few combinations out. It would be great to be able to order a sample kit of all the different finishes so that we could easily show clients the options.

      May 30, 2011 – 9:30 am   Permalink
  48. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for your comment. A swatch book is in the works. Stay tuned.
    Eileen H.

      May 30, 2011 – 2:45 pm   Permalink
  49. I just wanted to repost my question because it never got answered,
    “I am so excited about the proline books options. I am a wedding photographer and have been using Blurb books for a while. I was getting ready to switch because I was not happy with the paper options, but now I am really excited! I was also wondering if you would ever consider having the option to engrave or emboss words on the front or spine for the linen covers, or have a photo cut out like the do in MyPublisher (the only reason I would maybe choose them over blurb). This would be very beneficial to many wedding photographers who use blurb. Thank you!”

      June 2, 2011 – 6:43 am   Permalink
  50. We’re glad you like ProLine. Those papers really are fantastic (I just got my first book done with them yesterday). We really appreciate the feedback on embossing and cut-outs. We’ll forward it on to our book-making masterminds.

    By Kent Hall
      June 3, 2011 – 8:58 am   Permalink
  51. I am very happy you introduced the ProLine. ProLine has the options I need for a book I am currently designing. This book will most surely be more than 160 pages. Any chance you will have this option for 160 pages + by the early August timeframe? Are you looking for beta testers?

    For many projects I use Album Builder. Would you consider providing your book sizes through them?

    I am also putting my vote in for a 10×10 format.

    Thank you for your continued investment in your brand!

    By Joanne Clerk
      June 9, 2011 – 10:00 am   Permalink
  52. Hey, Joanne. We’re glad you like the ProLine book customization options. They are very, very nice. These are all good questions, but unfortunately I don’t have any specifics for you right now. We are working on a lot of great improvements across the board and we’ll keep everyone posted here.

    Thank you for the feedback and for making your book with Blurb.

    By Kent Hall
      June 9, 2011 – 3:38 pm   Permalink
  53. Dear Kent and Eileen,
    I’m sending this message from Holland. I am almost ready with my first wedding book and now i am a bit confused and cannot decide: what shall i do. Order the book in Proline or not.
    Do you think it is recommendable for wedding books. Or just for photography which comes with text ? Can you lead me a bit.
    I know you will say it’s personal, but if you never seen it before, than you cannot decide what is best. I want to order on thursday so not much time left…..

      June 20, 2011 – 12:30 am   Permalink
  54. Eileen,

    congratulation for officially breaking into the fine art market! There is a big wave going cross the fine art photography pond. Everyone talks about the pro-line and everyone is getting excited about it.

    Personally, I was looking forward to a step up in quality. And what a perfect timing on that since I have recently been thinking of making a nice book with my best pictures taken during a cross country trip!

    Two things I’d like to see happening now to the pro-line: protective linen sleeves (kinda like “Venezia” by Michael Kenna — I am sure you must have a copy of this amazing book of his) and possibly I’d like to see the price of an 80 pages pro-line 12×12 book go down a bit more… At this point it’s too expensive for artists to be thinking of selling them.

    James Luckett, on Andy Adams’ Flak Photo Books network, put it nicely “Blurb and other POD providers will only improve in quality over time (as we’ve seen with digital printing in general). the upside with this process is zero risk for the maker… the downside is slightly increased cost to the buyer – and unfortunately, more often than not, its a cost that goes just beyond the “ok why not!” price point for most consumers. i predict this too shall pass. the future is here.” I sincerely hope he is right…

      June 20, 2011 – 3:38 am   Permalink
  55. Hey Nanette,

    The ProLine options are very nice, and I think the End Sheets lend themselves particularly well to a wedding book. As you say, we’ll tell you it’s personal, which is why we recommend ordering the Swatch Kit. It’s a great way to get a sampling of all the options (and the price you pay goes towards the printing of your next book too). You can compare different photos side by side and get a real feel for what will work best for you.



    By Kent
      June 20, 2011 – 9:40 am   Permalink
  56. Great news, I’v only used blurb once but I plan on using blurb only, for my wedding albums as they are just such good quality!

      January 16, 2012 – 8:39 am   Permalink

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