The following is a dispatch from Bruce Waterman, Blurb’s Senior VP of Print Operations, our go-to guy when it comes to paper and printing:
Exciting times at Blurb. Our panel of judges is in the final review stages for the fourth annual Photography Book Now competition. As always, we’re honored and amazed at the array of talent. We’re also grateful for the opportunity to get insights into how highly creative bookmakers use our offerings.
This year many of the PBN books featured our ProLine book customization options, with the majority tending toward our ProLine Uncoated Paper. As a member of the team who chose this paper for ProLine, I thought I’d offer a little background on what went into our decision and on the differences between uncoated and coated papers.
In general, uncoated papers have a bit more of a “natural” feel to them. A bit toothy. Like what you would expect stationary paper to feel like. Coated papers basically fill in the gaps in the natural fibers with a coating that enhances its ability to hold ink with less dot gain, or, in other words, less ink spread beyond where it’s laid down on the paper.
When we were looking for a more natural look for artsy books, we knew we wanted an uncoated option. But we also wanted to ensure the paper we chose would offer great image quality. The obvious choice for us was the Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite with i-Tone surface treatment. Developed for digital presses, this paper has the feel we wanted and the excellent ink adhesion and durability we require. ProLine Uncoated is a substantial 100# text/148 gsm sheet, perfect for high-end, photo-intensive books.
We also recognized there are times that you want to add a bit of color to more text-heavy books. To that end we recently released our new Color Trade and Pocket choices. These are the same sizes and bindings as our Black and White Trade and Pocket books, but with the addition of four-color printing. The paper used in these books is a white 60# text/89 gsm paper, and prints with a little more dot gain. It creates a lo-fi effect and is great for notebooks, memoirs, travel books, mini portfolios, and novels — and it’s very affordable so you can stock up on copies of your book for gifts, for yourself, or to send to clients.
Whatever paper you choose, we want you to be able to find one that will enhance your vision. Our ProLine and Color Trade and Pocket offerings are just a couple of new ways to make your book your own. The evolution continues — and so does the PBN vote tallying. Stay tuned. We’ll announce the winners soon.