More on pricing from the CEO

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Many thanks to the thousands of you who have already ordered our new ImageWrap books! We’ve seen the first ones come off the line and they look spectacular; we hope you like them, too.

Since there have been several comments on my last post, I want to weigh in on our recent price increase. By the way, I have yet to meet a person who likes price increases, all of us at Blurb included. Here’s a bit more background …

As mentioned previously, costs have gone up across our entire print network. In addition, until a few weeks ago we were managing 110 unique price points. The introduction of ImageWrap, Custom Logo Upgrade, and Custom Workflow has exploded our pricing table to more than 600 combinations. Clearly we needed a more systematic way to calculate price combinations in real-time, and this system had to be designed to scale. Thus the new pricing table was born.

We looked at actual historical bookmaking data to make sure that we were spreading the increases as evenly and fairly as possible. That said, it’s still imperfect. Here are a few data points behind the numbers:

The average weighted price increase across all book sizes and types is 3.7%

The average weighted price increase across 8×10 Hardcover books is 5.58%

The vast majority of 8×10 Hardcover volume falls into brackets that increased 3% or less

We did an analysis of all the book types and sizes produced last year and 48% were not impacted at all by the new pricing

There was only one real oddity out of the 600+ combinations, and naturally this single price point has driven most comments. This price point increased by 25% as a result of its low price in the previous pricing model. In the previous model, our 8×10 Hardcover book increased only $1.00 between the 80-120pp and 120-160pp tiers, where all other price tiers typically increased by $4.00 – $5.00 in these ranges. So our 8×10 books have been priced unusually low for the past two-plus years. When the new pricing system took effect, this price point was finally brought in line with the others.

In the interest of transparency and full disclosure there were only four other price points that increased by greater than 15%.

We work very hard to create a high-quality offering at very competitive prices, and to be an open and honest company. I realize that information is not a panacea for the increases themselves – but I want to make sure that you know these decisions are made very, very carefully. As with so many things in life, some will be unhappy, some will be neutral, and some others will be delighted. (Many customers have thanked us for new lower prices – especially with Custom Logo Upgrade.)

Thanks for your continued business – and watch this space for additional great stuff later this summer.

All best,

Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb

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13 Comments

  1. For what it’s worth… I had just created my first photobook… a 10×8 layout hardcover with, you guessed it, 160 pages. I ordered my proof copy and was reviewing it when I got the email on Tuesday morning referencing the price increase effective Thursday.

    I was a bit hot… I’ll admit that. I had to rush to get my edits in and do another order at the old price before that 25% price increase hit…

    In the short term – I had promised customers locally a certain price that I would have been unable to deliver at the new pricing – but when I step back and look at it, the new pricing really IS very competitive.

    My only REAL complaint over it was the amount of notice given – I suppose had I been watching the blog I might have caught it a day or two prior – but as it was I had only a two day notice to react to the price increase.

    Now THAT is bad business (IMHO). A two week – one month notice might have been more appropriate. (But then again, business is business and it would have given people like me more time to grouse and complain, I suppose… )

    However, all in all, I must say I was very pleased with the quality of the product and look forward to continuing to publish through blurb.

    Thanks,
    James Wheeler aka Arkansawyer

      May 14, 2008 – 9:00 pm   Permalink
  2. Rip off Britain strikes again….

    Can you comment upon why (the cheapest) book created + printed costs $12.95 if I were to sell it in the US, but £12.95 if I do the same in the UK ? Surely I (and anyone who purchases from me / us) would be better off going via a proxy who could then charge the USD price?

    By Richard Green
      May 15, 2008 – 2:11 am   Permalink
  3. Thanks again for the information. Always a good sign to see such clarity from up high.

    One thing though. There were several good ideas put forward on the last entry, especially additional sizes, adding dust wrapper to ImageWrap, thicker paper and if I might be so bold to add another – different colours for the linen for dust wrapped books. Is there any possibility of a point by point response to those ideas – yes we can do them, but later, no we’ve decided that we’re not going to look at that etc?

    Regards
    Graham

      May 15, 2008 – 3:13 am   Permalink
  4. James,

    A fair comment. We have heard from some folks who agree with the timing of our announcements. We will certainly take this feedback into consideration the next time we have news of this sort.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      May 15, 2008 – 9:44 am   Permalink
  5. Hi Richard,

    Actually, the least expensive book for the UK is £6.95. So, the $12.95 price you are referring to is reflected correctly as £6.95 on our pricing page once you select GBP as your currency.

    Hope that helps.

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      May 15, 2008 – 10:32 am   Permalink
  6. Hi Graham,

    Thanks for your comment. I think we have some answers for you. We don’t usually talk about new products until they are either being released or within moments of being released. However, several of the items referenced, specifically premium paper, additional book sizes, and dust jackets for ImageWrap are things that we are actively investigating.

    There’s a fair amount of complexity involved with any new addition to our book products lineup since we are now producing books across a global print network and with increasing scale. So, these things take a bit of time to research, build, test, and rollout across the network. Stay tuned over the next few months for lots of exciting new developments from Blurb ….

    By Kathy
      May 15, 2008 – 10:36 am   Permalink
  7. Thanks Kathy, appreciate the confidentiality angle and you getting back so swiftly.

    First ImageWrap order on it’s way tomorrow to tie in with my upcoming show, so fingers crossed! Will be interesting to see if people levitate towards one or the other on the opening night.

    Regards
    Graham

      May 15, 2008 – 1:21 pm   Permalink
  8. Graham,

    Depending on which book your fans gravitate toward, you might want to enter your book in our Photography Book Now competition. The deadline is July 14, so you have plenty of time.

    Good luck on the opening night!

    – Kathy

    By Kathy
      May 16, 2008 – 10:48 am   Permalink
  9. Kathy,

    Thanks for the feedback… I do think the pricing – the new pricing – is very reasonable when compared to anything else out there. I was very pleased with my initial shipment of books – from the packaging to the book itself… You folks do a great job.

    James

      May 21, 2008 – 7:02 am   Permalink
  10. Hi Kathy

    Can I ask what’s happened to the shipping methods? I ordered the ImageWrap books using Express, assuming that was the same as UPS Express that I’d used on the previous order but now that the books have shipped I can’t track them because it’s a non-trackable order and I’m guessing it’s not UPS.
    I’m guessing that means that I’m now going to miss my opening night on Thursday.

    Graham

      May 26, 2008 – 8:50 am   Permalink
  11. Hi Kathy

    Well they arrived on time and for that I’m thankful.

    As to the quality, I’m not so sure.

    I’ve posed a fuller description in the Flickr discussion group but to be honest I was disappointed and I do wonder if I’ll order them again until there’s some evidence that the quality has improved.

    Take care
    Graham

      June 1, 2008 – 2:35 pm   Permalink
  12. Hey all!
    I just got my 9 month photo project finished, really stoked. I wished I had finished before the price increases. Before It looked like Blurb only charged a few dollars a head which isn’t bad at all, now with this base price… it’s a good idea, but marking it up that much over a pricey price… and shipping… and tax… that’s a lot for people to pay on “unknown authors” and artists. Still a very cool site with rad people, I’ll try it for a while… my first copy arrives next week, hope it comes out smooth. Goodluck to everyone!

    By Phil
      September 5, 2008 – 2:44 pm   Permalink
  13. That leaves little room for profit is what I was getting at :)

    By Phil
      September 5, 2008 – 2:45 pm   Permalink

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