Meet the new BookSmart

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Same as the old BookSmart? Hardly. While some earlier releases were built around new features, layouts, and design options, this time we focused on performance. Basically, we souped up the engine. There are some new design options in this version too, but what you’ll notice most is that BookSmart rocks harder. We’ve highlighted some of the specifics below.

We improved our text engine:
• When you copy and paste text into BookSmart from another application, your text will retain its formatting.
• Text handling across multiple containers and pages flows better. In fact, the entire text experience is significantly improved.
• We’ve improved the page layout handling. Selecting layouts and switching things around handles better.
• Books created in older versions of BookSmart can now access all layouts in the new version, not just those that were available when the book was created. Remember: Any layouts that have been removed in the newest version of BookSmart can still be used in old books by selecting the desired page and using Duplicate Layout.
• The font menu now features every font’s plain-text name and WYSIWYG styling that shows what each font looks like.
• The font color menu now remembers your recent font colors.

We added some new creative elements too:
• The baby, cat, and dog themes have been gone for a while, but we brought back their backgrounds, borders, and ornaments.
• We added four new collage layouts.

Most importantly, we debugged, debugged, and debugged some more. We’ve been testing it hard and have eliminated the top 5 bugs reported by our customers. The result is that BookSmart 1.9.4 performs better than anything we’ve released to date. Of course you can expect further improvements and innovations later this year, but we hope you’ll download this latest version and let us know what you think. We think you’re going to feel the difference right away.


Goods news: Everybody is excited to download BookSmart.

Bad news: Everybody is doing it at once.

If you encounter any hiccups, try it again in a few minutes. No need to panic.

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  1. Awesome. Maybe the new text changes mean I have a better shot of making a book of my one act plays without massive text re-formatting. Sadly, I’ll have to wait until the weekend to give it a go.

    By Scott Rogers
      April 8, 2008 – 12:03 pm   Permalink
  2. Awesome. Love the software, but the bugs were… well bugging me. Now all thats left is to add some more dynamic layouts that lets you put pictures at angles. Then it’ll be perfect.

    By Z
      April 8, 2008 – 12:36 pm   Permalink
  3. when will you do the double page spread?

    By eric
      April 8, 2008 – 12:47 pm   Permalink
  4. I recommend you incorporate the ability to set a given image as a page backgroung image with a transparency tool and place the image either on one page or spread over two opened pages..then allowing more images to be placed over the new page background. Most higer end GUI album creators have this feature.

      April 8, 2008 – 12:52 pm   Permalink
  5. I can’t seem to install this version, it comes with an error right at the end and shuts down, is anyone else having this problem?

    By Vicki
      April 8, 2008 – 12:57 pm   Permalink
  6. Hi Vicki,

    Technical questions – especially around new releases – are best answered by our Customer Support team and not the blog. Please contact them by filling out this form. Someone should get back to you soon.

    Thanks for your patience

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      April 8, 2008 – 1:05 pm   Permalink
  7. Please make new sizes available!

    By Gary
      April 8, 2008 – 1:13 pm   Permalink
  8. Unfortunately, when I tried to install this upgrade, it gave me an error message, and in the process, erased my previous version. I’m not convinced that this upgrade was released prior to being fully tested.

      April 8, 2008 – 1:23 pm   Permalink
  9. Hi Jeff,

    You bet 1.9.4 was fully tested. We’ve been testing it with the help of our Forums community for weeks now.

    I suggest you contact our Customer Support team. We can help.



    By Kathy
      April 8, 2008 – 1:26 pm   Permalink
  10. I am having the same install problems as Vicki and Jeff, and will be sure to contact customer service/technical support. I’m looking forward to using the new version on the 2 books I’m in the process of making, but it’s a good thing I backed-up my books and saved the exe file from the last version, because the newest version install crashes right before it is completed.

    By Heather
      April 8, 2008 – 1:36 pm   Permalink
  11. This just in everyone. We are experiencing a huge crush of BookSmart 1.9.4 downloads right now. If you get any error messages, it’s not you or your computer or BookSmart. It’s the high number of downloads clogging up our pipes. Try again in a while and all should be fine.

    Thanks for your patience.


    By Kathy
      April 8, 2008 – 1:46 pm   Permalink
  12. Well people, all my downloads BookSmart-1.9.4.dmg wouldn’t unpack. (failed to mount) Looks like it’s on the desktop, but I get an error message, “tyoe not recognized”
    Check it out, Blurb, something buggy today!

      April 8, 2008 – 2:10 pm   Permalink
  13. As I understand, if I have a book half way done, I can download the new version, with out affecting my half way done book, and then I will be working in the new version?

    ps I just love blurb.

      April 8, 2008 – 2:26 pm   Permalink
  14. Unfortunately, the BookSmart software is still unavailable for Linux and other UNIX systems. Why not open the BookSmart system, let other people do the work for you. It’s book printing that you make money on, right? Why not be as open as possible, and let as many people as possible use your services?

      April 8, 2008 – 2:34 pm   Permalink
  15. Such great news… I’ve been so slow to build my book since June because the software keeps crashing on me. Excited to download and get faster editing done.

    By Gina
      April 8, 2008 – 2:53 pm   Permalink
  16. Any update is a welcome update. Thanks!

    By sam
      April 8, 2008 – 3:03 pm   Permalink
  17. Thanks for the update! I am excited to play around with the new version. Is there a way in the future to make it so I can put text where I want on the page? This has been my biggest problem.

    By Bethany
      April 8, 2008 – 3:53 pm   Permalink
  18. Happy with the update that seems to work faster, but I am disappointed that you still apparently cannot make text left-right-justified as in any professional book. Did I miss something? The spin above says when copying and pasting, text will retain original formatting, but that isn’t the case with justifying as far as I can tell.

    By Tom Wieckowski
      April 8, 2008 – 3:56 pm   Permalink
  19. Like everyone, I’ve been trying to download the new version from a mac. But it’s been constantly timing out. Is it just because of the amt of people downloading it?

    By Christina
      April 8, 2008 – 5:00 pm   Permalink
  20. Christina,

    Yep, you are correct. You’re just not alone in downloading BookSmart right now. Try again, though. A lot of people are getting through on their second try.

    We’ll try to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      April 8, 2008 – 5:04 pm   Permalink
  21. Great news! It’s good to see a company put out fixes for software instead of being only feature driven. Good way to keep us happy and fix the corner cases.

    As for features, there are two things I would love to see.
    1. Multipage layouts: I have panorama shots I would like to put down without using Photo editing software to create two separate images.
    2. Crop view with 1/8″ markers on the page so I know what Booksmart will cut off (hard to estimate and worse if you cut something you wanted off).

    By PS
      April 8, 2008 – 6:40 pm   Permalink
  22. Very exciting!
    Does the new version have the same auto-save function the old version did, where the file in use is constantly being replaced by the newly saved file? I’m just asking because the old version caused me to lose my project when the file was corrupted during a crash during autosave… Has that been changed?
    Great job on the program ladies and gents – despite the bugs with the first version I was blown out of the water by the quality of the book!

    By Petra
      April 8, 2008 – 7:19 pm   Permalink
  23. Is the file saving format proprietary or open?

    By jsdey
      April 8, 2008 – 8:05 pm   Permalink
  24. I did a back-up file of my book, as suggested,and sent it to My Documents. I then went to the back-up file and tried to open it ,to confirm that all the content was there.I got a message saying that Windows could not open the file–I’m on Windows XP–If I download this new version of Booksmart and loose my existing book how do I retreive the data which is in that file.The message said that Windows did not know the program which created the file.

    By Bill
      April 8, 2008 – 8:23 pm   Permalink
  25. I just downloaded the update and it went very smoothly. I was in the process of working on a new book and all of my work transferred over without losing anything. I’ve already incorporated some of the new collage views! Thanks, Blurb!

    By Stacey
      April 8, 2008 – 8:27 pm   Permalink
  26. I am excited to get started with the new improved Booksmart. I was wondering if you ever plan on doing a full page photo page with a page number. I didn’t see this in the new version. Something I have been hoping to see. Thanks for again for a great site!

    By John
      April 8, 2008 – 9:42 pm   Permalink
  27. Most competitive & best update would be the ability to use TIFF format for higher quality photo reproductions, especially in 11 x 13 bks. JPEG is not professional-looking & lacks good reproduction quality & detail. Looking forward to your making the higher quality format a priority. 2-page spread in largest bk is aalso a good idea.

    By jw
      April 8, 2008 – 10:25 pm   Permalink
  28. amen to that
    recommend you incorporate the ability to set a given image as a page backgroung image with a transparency tool and place the image either on one page or spread over two opened pages..then allowing more images to be placed over the new page background. Most higer end GUI album creators have this feature.

    By Khaisy
      April 8, 2008 – 10:52 pm   Permalink
  29. I think I was a bit to eager, submitted my book on 6th, should have waited for 2 more days to check out the new features

      April 8, 2008 – 11:19 pm   Permalink
  30. An me I’m hoping for the double-page spread…

    By Laurent
      April 9, 2008 – 1:02 am   Permalink
  31. Shouldn’t it read “Basically we suped..” as in superior, not “Basically, we souped up the engine.” as in Chicken Soup for the Blurbing Soul….

    By Jeff
      April 9, 2008 – 1:16 am   Permalink
  32. Good work Blurb!

    I know this isn’t the place for it but one feature I would really love to see in the future is the ability to have a thin (1/4 inch) white border all around the outside of a page – look at National Geographic – it looks really effective.
    (I know it could be done in PS first but it would save hassle if it was built into the Booksmart software – any chance of that happening?)

      April 9, 2008 – 1:16 am   Permalink
  33. If I’m half way done with my book in the old BookSmart can I download the new version without loosing or affecting my book in the old version, and then I will be working in the new version?

    By Camilla
      April 9, 2008 – 1:19 am   Permalink
  34. For al those who have problems with the installation proces, e.g. a crash. Downloading the installation file again did the trick for me.

      April 9, 2008 – 1:50 am   Permalink
  35. Just downloaded the 1.9.4 version for my Mac and installed it without a problem. At a glance it seems to have some great new features. I think some prior downloaders just ran into traffic trying to get the file. It’s 2am PST and only took about 3.5min to download and install. Happy installing Blurbians!

      April 9, 2008 – 2:04 am   Permalink
  36. Hi,

    I just downloaded and installed the new version.

    Why can’t I move text where I want it? Why cant I get rid of the subtitles?

    Can someone please tell me why you don’t have these simple features?

    I understand you’ve probably been working very hard on this latest version but it still isn’t at a point where I would order a book using this software.

    By JON
      April 9, 2008 – 3:05 am   Permalink
  37. Are you working in a Linux version? Are you thinking about open your system to spread your company posibilities?

      April 9, 2008 – 3:14 am   Permalink
  38. Hi – same problem as others with mac download. Keeps saying “failed to mount”. Something we should be doing?

    By Craig
      April 9, 2008 – 4:20 am   Permalink
  39. Yippie…Love the software, However, It made me relize I really need to take better pictures. haha But seriously how about a move to front/back button.Or maybe a little more complex photo layout(kinda like old photo albums )And for my wish list how about a blank page that you can add several photos and arrange however. Just tossing that out there. Again the software ROCKS,

    By datattitude
      April 9, 2008 – 4:58 am   Permalink
  40. Downloaded and upgraded with no problems, my current work was still there

    I was wondering about some of the features that people are requesting/sugesting, such as:
    1. Picture tilting
    2. Text placement
    3. Picture page spread

    Are there any plans for these enhancements? Time frame?

    Not that I’m putting my project(s) on hold, but it would be nice to have an idea if this is comming down the pipe

    By Pancho
      April 9, 2008 – 5:27 am   Permalink
  41. i just downloaded the new software and it is a good thing i backed up my previous work, because it wasn’t there when i opened up the new booksmart. but it did import from my documents without a problem.

    By Terry
      April 9, 2008 – 6:36 am   Permalink
  42. Dear Blurb – Thanks for the new version. I will download it carefully (considering all the comments above) and hope to open an old book I started two versions ago (the last version before this one wasn’t backward compatible, so i stopped working). It sounds like this version will open it and allow me to upgrade to new layouts as necessary.

    1. How about heavier paper printing options?
    2. Send to Front/Back is an awesome idea (page by page).
    3. Is header/footer capability improved with this version? It never seemed to work properly before (apply to all pages vs. apply to this page only).

    Can’t wait to try it out! I agree with the others when they say it’s good to focus on performance and bugs moreso than bells and whistles. The software rocks, so don’t overdo it with features we don’t need, just get it tuned – and that’s what you say you did. Bravo!

    By Rich
      April 9, 2008 – 6:57 am   Permalink
  43. Now the only thing you need is the ability to switch between book sizes and maintain all of your contents…

      April 9, 2008 – 7:00 am   Permalink
  44. Glad to see some of the bugs have been worked out, now we need formats that allow for barcode placement, and actual copyrights…….perhaps distribution options?? Keep up the good work!!

    By Randi Hull
      April 9, 2008 – 7:27 am   Permalink
  45. One more thing……

    Could we possibly have more book sizes to choose from? Would be wonderful!!

    By Randi Hull
      April 9, 2008 – 7:31 am   Permalink
  46. I, too, would love to see more book sizes, like 12x12s. There is a HUGE scrapbooking community you are missing out on by not offering this size. I would also like the ability to import my blog AS IS without having to individually place the pictures into your oddly-sized spaces. How about having standard sized slots for pictures? 4×6, 5×7, etc. It would be great if I could keep the same layout of my blog when importing.

      April 9, 2008 – 8:24 am   Permalink
  47. WOULD LOVE IT IF I could use full (left and right) justification for text … can you squeeze that in the nest version?

      April 9, 2008 – 8:26 am   Permalink
  48. For the person that said they wanted TIFF in addition to JPG:

    While it is true that at larger sizes JPG may not stand up, that line of demarkation is waaay up there. For book sizes, JPG holds up fantastically, if you push the compression down to the lowest, i.e., the highest quality number (12) in photoshop. You really shouldn’t have a problem. I’ve printed HUGE images on photo paper with JPGs and they come out fantastic. You shouldn’t notice any artifacts in a book size page.

    However, color correction, is a whole ‘nother issue, as they say, and that is something Blurb could really work on in perhaps the next iteration. If you want professional quality reproducible color, there needs to be some kind of color calibration ability.

    Lastly, I haven’t yet tried the new version, but can’t wait. I will reserve judgment till later, but if text handling isn’t as powerful as it should be, then again, I’ll be half-way through a book and stop. Text handling needs to be on point.

      April 9, 2008 – 8:58 am   Permalink
  49. I have been trying to order a blurb book produced for a class assignment for the past two days, but every time I try, I get an error message. The two different messages I’ve gotten are:
    1. An internet connection cannot be established -and-
    2. Hmm, we’re having problems uploading your book
    I have filled out the form on the tech support page, but have not yet received a response. I have also tried every suggestion in the frequently asked questions section with no results. I have also tried uploading it onto six different computers, and each time I received an error notice.

    This book was supposed to be ordered on Monday, April 7 to get it in time for our due date. Because I am unable to upload the book, I am now in danger of getting a failing grade in the course in addition to having to pay a huge amount of money for next-day shipping when I finally can upload the book.

    My questions are, is anyone else having this problem and is this problem related to the release of the new update? Additionally, what can be done so that I can successfully upload this book and have it by my course’s due date in a little less than two weeks?

    By Laura
      April 9, 2008 – 11:11 am   Permalink
  50. I hate the new software. It offers no new features I want and loading of images is 4 times as slow as the old software. I thought the purpose of this was to speed things up. I can’t manage the book I have already finished in this version of booksmart.I understand that this version does not handle large files as well as the old version did but I am not going to resize all my old book photos to make future changes and versions of this book Glad I saved the old software and backed up my books as I am going back to it immediately.

    By Blaine Dixon
      April 9, 2008 – 11:39 am   Permalink
  51. Does anyone know if the page info bugs have been fixed. The last versions required you to go in and select No Page Number (all pages), and No Title (all pages) for every single page. and then if you added a page, it would re-format the book and re-write it on each page. Also, if you inserted more page (for example 3 pages) it would put the title in on each page 3 times, run out of room, and give the yellow triangle error on each page and then crash….

    By Val
      April 9, 2008 – 11:50 am   Permalink
  52. Friends at Blurb.

    Is it remotely possible that you’ll be offering customers the ability to create their own pages in a page layout program like InDesign so that we can simply submit high quality PDF files that will be printed into the page exactly like we design it?

    Some of us really would like a printer to refine their capabilities such that REALLY HIGH QUALITY photographic images and clean, crisp type can be reproduced into a limited edition hard bound book format.

    As a workaround, one of our designer friends created a book that you folks printed (he downloaded into your software a series of big ol’ JPEGs created in Photoshop with the fonts imbedded into the white space).

    His comment was that the quality was “quite acceptable . . . but not 100% professional.”

    What’s the projected time frame for this kind of high quality service?

    Thanks in advance for working on this!

    By Lorran
      April 9, 2008 – 12:18 pm   Permalink
  53. I know downloading can be slow but it’s taking around an hour and a half to download, I’ve tried three times already and each time it gets as close as 95% and then just stops!! This is very frustrating, it’s not dial up either!! Shouldn’t it be quicker than this?

    By katz4catx
      April 9, 2008 – 12:19 pm   Permalink
  54. Hi,
    I just downloaded the new software onto a back up computer and opened it up. Smooth install. I then imported a book I’m working on with the previous 1.9.1 software. The thumbnails all loaded as well as the film strip at the bottom but the large preview will not load the images the correct size. The page layout is there but the images that show in the layout filmstrip at the bottom will not load full size images into the layout. Second problem is that none of the controls below the view window will work with the mouse except the page scroll right to left. I can not resize the pages in the main window. So far I am not impressed. This version seems very clunky. Another problem seems to be the resolution size of the page. When I go full screen the icons and buttons are very, very small. I’m glad I stayed with the previous version and its quirks on my main computer because I have a new book to upload tonight.
    Help blurb !! You guys deserve better and we deserve better.
    Thanks for listening.
    Best Regards,

    By RonR
      April 9, 2008 – 12:43 pm   Permalink
  55. Wow. Great feedback everyone. A lot of your feature requests are on our list of items to consider for future releases, so please keep your suggestions coming.

    As for those of you experiencing problems, it sounds like installation issues we’re seeing due to the massive numbers of people downloading. May I suggest you try again or please contact us at Customer Support.

    We cannot address individual technical questions in the blog.


    By Kathy
      April 9, 2008 – 1:47 pm   Permalink
  56. Not much luck with importing (cut and paste) text from Microsoft Word; there is much reformatting to be done, which is not that hard, since it’s just a couple of fonts n sizes throughout. The bad thing is that the program crashes every time I am in the middle of this. Cheers!

    By Ralf
      April 9, 2008 – 1:57 pm   Permalink
  57. This “NEW” version takes one minute per page on a small 40 pages picture album, what will it do with my 240 pages book?
    As soon as one has been “touched” with the new version, the old software can’t open it, it requires the new one.
    What can I do to get back to the old one and keep the changes I have made to my existing books?
    You said this ione is faster? With the old one, pictures were coming must faster… It is in the text part that it was slow… Now, it is so slow when changing pages that I will probably have to give up with Blurb.
    Is there a solution?

      April 9, 2008 – 7:59 pm   Permalink
  58. Strongly suggest that no one use the new upgrade until major bugs are cleared. Crashes are very frequent without saving changes; and cannot Save nor Quit without crashing and losing all changes. Can lose all prior work. Tech support suggestions are yet to solve these major bugs. Re-downloaded and re-installed to no avail.

    This “update” seems to have been released very prematurely. I like the software and books but these problems with the “new” version are intolerable.

    By John
      April 10, 2008 – 12:23 pm   Permalink
  59. How much would I love saving myself the time by not having to go into PS and do specialized borders and transparancies. having a transparancy slider for a photo is simply and AWSOME idea. By the way, I have researched over 25 photobook companies and you are numero uno by far! Keep up the great work and the down to earth sense of humour. Now if this darn thing would only download for me.

      April 10, 2008 – 3:15 pm   Permalink
  60. I downloaded 1.94 with no problems. BUT the problem I had with earlier versions is still there. It akes ages for any keystroke to operate. i.e. To reduce the image size using the bar at the top takes 2-3secs per button press. To move to the next page in the book takes between 1 and 2 secs. Does anyone else have this problem ? Has anyone else had this problem and cured it ? I use Winows XP on a recent fast computer with fast nvidia card

    By Anthony Brookes
      April 13, 2008 – 5:12 am   Permalink
  61. Wii the program run on Vista Ultimate and a 64bit machine?

    By Marv Fenster
      April 14, 2008 – 9:25 am   Permalink
  62. Please give us text ustification ASAP!!

    By MJ Bouthillier
      April 16, 2008 – 8:09 am   Permalink
  63. Mac folks getting the failed to mount, I suspect you are not waiting long enough for the download to complete, as this is the mistake I just made for the last half hour. Take a look at the size of the .dmg file, is it 0? My advice is to open a console window during the download and watch the size of the file BookSmart_1.9.4.dmg.part grow and grow and eventually you’ll have just BookSmart_1.9.4.dmg at 35913136 bytes.

    By LJ
      April 17, 2008 – 7:23 pm   Permalink
  64. I downloaded the new version of Book Smart 1.9.5. without any problems.
    However, the software keeps crashing on me repeatedly on an existing 180-page book. In addition, it’ so slow I can go for coffee in between uploading another picture. With the frequent (and reliable) crashes, previous work is not saved, so to make things worse, you have to do it all over again.
    Yes, I like the idea of blurb, but the software right now sucks big time. I can understand that we are beta testers, bu with these many bugs, the software is not usable for me. YMMV.
    There is a lot more work to do in terms of debugging. Wish I stayed with the old version.


    By Samureye
      May 3, 2008 – 5:15 am   Permalink
  65. Blurb, I hope you guys are reading these entries and would really appreciate it if you would forward/consider these Booksmart improvements:
    1.. The zoom setting on the page spread that one is working with is ALWAYS resetting itself automatically and is driving me MAD! When you cursor travels over certainly page elements and like, Booksmart seems to want to jump to its own page zoom settings and this is really frustrating; having to reset all the time.

    2.. I would really appreciate a feature to allow someone using Booksmart, after having imported their pictures into the Gallery to be able to easily see/determine the original jpg file name of any photo in the gallery AND and photo incorporated onto any Blurb book page. There should be a way, mouse over, right click, etc… to be able to find out the original file name to allow for easy identification of file for further photo edit/enhancement outside of Booksmart… if this already exists; I certainly could not find it!

    3.. You have tonnes of Page Layouts – thank you! BUT… there are still not enough and even more frustrating (and I know the page sizes differ and thus the layouts need to differ), but I am frustrated that some of my favourite page layouts found authoring a 7×7 book are not found and nothing close for my current 10×8 book. Particularly, more variations on photo insets on larger photos and more text/photo pages.

    4.. Booksmart 1.9.5 is getting better… from my experience, but its ability to handle text, while improving, is still not the greatest. Better flow, better editting and control over font size or identification of font size limits instead of just displaying the cutoff icon would be appreciated.

    5.. Wondering if any further photo enhancement/editor options could exist with booksmart to save us novices from using external applications; like a straighten/degree-rotate option, red-eye removal and light-fill option maybe?

    6.. oh yes, and another little one that I haven’t discovered how to fix. Apparently I typed the subtitle with a spelling error during the first book screen and not I cannot find out where I can edit and correct the spelling. I must correct the problem on every page that the subtitle field was imported into.

    Hope you are reading these blogs and can reply. I LOVE your services!

    By Don Smith
      August 7, 2008 – 10:38 pm   Permalink

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