Wanted: Your Brilliant Suggestions

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Here at Blurb, we’re all about you. Your books, your ideas, your requests, and even your criticisms are not only welcome here, but necessary to make Blurb the best it can be. So when one of you recently suggested that we add a Suggestion Box to this blog, we got right to work. And here it is!

Is there a feature you’d like to see in future releases of BookSmart? A great idea for our Web site? A frustrating experience you’d like to avoid in the future? A word of praise for things we’re doing right? Or something we can’t even start to imagine? Bring it on.

More specifically, bring it here. Simply click on the comments link below and tell us what you think. Not comfortable posting your thoughts in such a public forum? That’s OK. You can also send us your thoughts privately by filling out our online suggestion form. We’ll do our best to answer all your questions in a timely manner.

Thanks to Brian for the great suggestion. We’re also looking into your other excellent idea: gift cards. As for the rest of you, don’t be shy. We’re listening.

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109 Comments

  1. It would be nice to have “favorite layouts” or something like that. For example, when I did my first book, I think I only used 3 or 4 different page layouts, yet I was constantly scrolling up and down through the layouts to select one of them. It would be nice to have a place where I would only see my collection of favorite layouts, or most frequently used (by me) filter to the top. :)

    By Todd
      August 29, 2006 – 5:31 pm   Permalink
  2. Um, any chance you guys will be adding Blogger.com (or Blogspot) to BookSmart’s capabilities? That’s where my blog is, and your nifty-looking software is much less useful to me if my blog is off-limits. Thanks!

    Tom

    By Tom
      November 19, 2006 – 4:34 pm   Permalink
  3. I sure would love to be able to create my own template. Your selection is admirable, but the program would be greatly enhanced if I could modify the page layouts.

    By Ann
      December 8, 2006 – 1:59 pm   Permalink
  4. Hi Ann – We are constantly working on features that will provide new ways to modify and customize the BookSmart page layouts and themes. Of course, you can always design your own layouts in InDesign or another program, and then import that file into BookSmart.

    By Kathy
      December 8, 2006 – 5:18 pm   Permalink
  5. Hi! I just started on my first book last night and I think I’m going to be using this service a LOT.

    My suggestion/question is: is there a way to get a two-page full bleed layout? Would I have to design that myself? Where are the detailed instructions on designing a custom layout?

    Thank you for this great product,
    Max

      December 15, 2006 – 11:10 am   Permalink
  6. Hi Max- You just need to dig a little deeper in our blog for the popular post “Create a full-bleed spread across 2 pages.” You can find it by clicking on the Handy Reference category or searching on the title. Have fun!

    By Kathy
      December 18, 2006 – 2:18 pm   Permalink
  7. In #5, Kathy said that we could import our own page layout from InDesgn. I tried that early on, before I made my first book, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Could you explain how?

    Thanks,
    Barbara

      December 19, 2006 – 2:44 pm   Permalink
  8. Hi Barbara – Our FAQ page is a good place to get help. You’ll find the FAQ Can I import my own design into BookSmart? can help.

    By Kathy
      December 19, 2006 – 2:55 pm   Permalink
  9. I love the new BookSmart Beta 1.6 and the Flickr.com import! It is great! I like it so much, I would love to see some of the features from it supported for regular imports from my computer. Sorting by tags is a great way to sift through the images in your “library” and I love how you can do this when you slurp photos from Flickr.com. It would be great if there was a way to do this with images you import from your computer by reading the IPTC keywords. I use Photoshop Elements Organizer to organize my photos and when you export photos out of it, it embeds the tags you have assigned to each image into the EXIF IPTC keyword fields. Being able to use these like you can with the Flickr.com tags would be a welcome and useful addition to the great BookSmart software and really help keep images organized in the “library”.

    Once again, I love the new features in beta 1.6! Keep up the good work and I look forward to putting together my next book!!! Thanks for the great resources and toolsets (everyone loves my book when I show it off and I’ve had several either express extreme interest for an upcoming project or go right home and create a book of their own)!!!

      December 19, 2006 – 7:20 pm   Permalink
  10. Great feedback, Jonah! I’ll pass along your comments to our BookSmart team. Thanks.

    By Kathy
      December 19, 2006 – 7:26 pm   Permalink
  11. Hmm, maybe I can’t export a file from InDesign in a format recognizable to BookSmart becasue I have an older version of InDesign. I read “Can I import my own design…” again and looked at InDesign and I can’t save or export in a file into JPG or PNG format.

    Too bad BookSmart can’t import PDF files. Is that something that could happen in a latter version?

      December 19, 2006 – 8:35 pm   Permalink
  12. Barbara – Importing PDFs into BookSmart is a feature that’s on our long list of items we’ll be looking at in 2007. Keep those suggestions coming.

    By Kathy
      December 20, 2006 – 6:18 pm   Permalink
  13. I\’m about to upload a 60 page photo book … and I have 2 ideas that I think will further improve what is already a beautiful program:-

    1) It would be really nice to be able to delete/add picture/text boxes. I\’ve use one other online book program that does this and is so nice to be able to do this.

    2) Also to have the ability to alter the sizes/location of the text/picture boxes – perhaps \’snap\’ onto invisible margin/anchor points. That way, everything aligns and will still look neat.

    By Des
      January 5, 2007 – 11:48 am   Permalink
  14. Hey Des – You’re not the first one to suggest dynamic picture and text boxes, so we’re definitely thinking about them. I’d say it’s a goal for sometime in 2007. Thanks for the suggestion!

    By Kathy
      January 5, 2007 – 6:57 pm   Permalink
  15. I found that the shipping costs to my country (South Africa) is prohibitively expensive at $110.
    Could an option for normal postage (not express) be added? I am not too concerned about the time aspect.

    By Erik
      January 27, 2007 – 10:49 pm   Permalink
  16. Erik – As we’ve mentioned before, our international shipping program is still fairly new and UPS is currently our only other provider. Are there any overseas carriers you’d like to recommend?

    By Kathy
      January 29, 2007 – 3:48 pm   Permalink
  17. I shipped a 160 page hardcover blurb book to Germany last week using USPS Global Priority Mail flat rate envelope for just $9.50. I wrapped a single layer of bubble wrap around the book and slipped it into the 9.5″x12.5″cardboard envelope. The $9.50 flat rate covers mailing to any country in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand or Africa. For Canada or Mexico the rate is $8.50. It’s an air mail service with delivery in a few days.

    See http://www.usps.com/global/globalprioritymail.htm

      January 30, 2007 – 10:57 pm   Permalink
  18. Yes! USPS Global Priority Mail is a very good option. I also can’t understand why Blurb wouldn’t already know about this. It’s probably THE only other “excellent” alternative out there over the current expensive Blurb option and Federal Express. This is an obvious choice in my opinion and one that most international residents are well aware of.

    By Jim Atwood
      January 30, 2007 – 11:39 pm   Permalink
  19. …whereas, I paid $65 for Blurb’s standard UPS 3-5 day shipping on 3 x 20-page books. They took 10 days to arrive, spanning 2 weekends when UPS’s vans apparently don’t deign to leave their depot.

    I know I keep niggling you about postage Kathy, but the answer to your comment #17 as Nicholas says, is US mail, as used by Lulu.com.

    By Marc
      January 31, 2007 – 7:05 am   Permalink
  20. Nothing says ‘quality’ in book layout quite like leading (the amount of white space between lines of text) so would really be a good feature to be able to increase leading in the next version of Booksmart. Meanwhile, I found that the best typeface to use for generous leading is Palatino Linotype.

    By Marc
      January 31, 2007 – 7:12 am   Permalink
  21. Shipping alternatives are getting posted so quickly I can barely keep up with the answers. I’ll make sure the folks in charge of our shipping decisions see the great suggestions and examples everyone has posted. And if there are more suggestions, keep them coming. Thanks, everyone!

    By Kathy
      January 31, 2007 – 9:52 am   Permalink
  22. Marc – I’ve passed your BookSmart suggestions on to the product team. You just mind find answers in our upcoming new release.

    By Kathy
      January 31, 2007 – 9:53 am   Permalink
  23. I think improvement number one should be to have a PDF import (like someone else asked for) but also a PDF export (at low res) for advertising reasons would be very nice.
    As you pointed out in another post some of use are building pages to promote our books and the low res PDF file would be an enormous help to preview the book before buying. It might be nice even to have the possibilty to add some image or text as a watermark over each page. …

      February 2, 2007 – 8:55 pm   Permalink
  24. Forgot another idea… :-)
    What about an extra option for gold leaf title on the hardcover (both spine and cover)? I have no idea how much could that cost to add but I am sure many would love to have that…
    And… it would be REALLY nice to have square sized photobooks!

      February 2, 2007 – 9:27 pm   Permalink
  25. Francesco – You’re not the only one asking for more cover options. We’ve got a long list that we carefuly consider when we plan new releases. That said, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll be able to make a square Blurb book. Stay tuned!

    By Kathy
      February 4, 2007 – 5:26 pm   Permalink
  26. Hi again – PDF imports are something that we are looking at closely. No promises yet, but it is on our radar. Thanks.

    By Kathy
      February 5, 2007 – 11:35 am   Permalink
  27. Hi Kathy,

    You suggested in a post elsewhere that I add my views on shipping to this post. To be honest, I don’t know what the best option is for shipping, though the ideas raised earlier in this thread sound pretty good to me.

    You could also investigate who Amazon uses. Their rates seem reasonable to me.

    In addition, I’d just like to add that I’d be happy to wait it out with slower shipping if it were more affordable. Up around $US100 quite frankly is just ridiculous.

    Shipping books from Amazon costs more in the order of $US10. To save $90 I’m quite happy to wait an extra week – or even two.

    As I said in the other post, I won’t use Blurb again until there’s a change to the shipping, simply because it’s too expensive. And now that I see mention (above) of Lulu using different shipping, I’m going to check them out.

    By Matt
      February 5, 2007 – 9:17 pm   Permalink
  28. Sorry for cross-posting, but for me as well an affordable shipping option for international would be greatly appreciated. I don’t mind if it takes longer, but shipping cost shouldn’t be more expensive than the book itself.

    On my own experience, amazon.com, provides great and costless shipping, I’ve also bought many big objects (far bigger and heavier than books) to US ebay sellers, the shipping cost has never been a problem (they usually used US Mail, and for France it has never took more than 4 days to come on standard rates it seems…)

    My books are waiting, my web site to sell them as well, everything is ok for me with you, blurb has a great great service, except for that question of shipping cost.

      February 5, 2007 – 10:26 pm   Permalink
  29. More great info. As you all know, Amazon has a few years on us, and our international shipping program is but a few months old. As noted, we’ll be reviewing shipping prices and if we make changes, Blurbarians will be the first to know.

    By Kathy
      February 6, 2007 – 10:28 am   Permalink
  30. Hello Kathy;

    When will we be able to work on different size books? I would love to work on 10×10 and pocket size portfolio books.

    Thanks

      February 6, 2007 – 1:09 pm   Permalink
  31. New sizes are coming soon. Stay tuned!

    By Kathy
      February 6, 2007 – 2:46 pm   Permalink
  32. As things stand at moment would it make any difference embedding ICC profile with image to improve consistancy between my monitor and final printed version? If not do you plan to facilitate this in future to overcome that old conundrum of how to get what you see? Thanks, Dermot

      February 8, 2007 – 5:32 am   Permalink
  33. Hi Dermot – Embedding a profile will only help if it is sRGB. We replace any profile with sRGB on the server. Refer back to the original post on how best to handle color management. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      February 9, 2007 – 11:12 am   Permalink
  34. I was just thinking….
    when the “text only” books come out, it would be neat if we could import .fdp (Final Draft Pro) format into them. It is a scripting software, so if you just copy and paste the formating gets messy.
    Thanks

    By Zoe
      February 10, 2007 – 9:01 am   Permalink
  35. Hi Zoe – That’s the first time I’ve heard of .fdp. I’ll pass your suggestion on to the product development team. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      February 10, 2007 – 3:53 pm   Permalink
  36. I was intrigued when I found blurb.com and continue to have much fun making my photo books for customers, including a recent nationally promoted Cal Ripken, Jr. photo book.

    When I first worked with Blurb, emails were returned raplidly, often within 1-2 days. Now, to be honest, some emails are never returned at all and they are requests made through tbe Blurb.com Web site only. One question that I would love to have answered is what the bar code on the reverse side of the book is (or could be) used for? There is no info on this topic on the FAQ pages.

    Thanks!

    Scott W

      February 21, 2007 – 1:51 am   Permalink
  37. Hi Scott,

    Let’s see if I can help with some of your questions. Nice Ripken book, btw. The barcode is an internal tracking code, which is helpful to keep those hardcover covers and inside pages all together.

    Also, in regards to customer service, we’re experiencing a post-holiday surge that has exceeded expectations. We’re in the process of growing our support team to make sure our service offering continues to be top-notch. So, we ask for your patience as the customer service team ramps up.

    Thanks,

    Kathy

    By Kathy
      February 22, 2007 – 12:08 pm   Permalink
  38. My suggestion would be making the book store selling available to users outside the U.S. I recently published a book which I’m buying in bulk and selling via my website, but wouldn’t mind having the capacity to sell via blurb to U.S. and Canadian customers… it would make like a lot easier.

      February 28, 2007 – 11:22 am   Permalink
  39. Hi Tanja – Great suggestion. It’s definitely something we’re talking about. We’ll keep you posted.

    By Kathy
      February 28, 2007 – 3:40 pm   Permalink
  40. Hi Kathy,

    well, first of all thanks a lot to have lowered the shipping cost, it can still be a lot improved, it’s still expensive but affordable. I finally started to sell books thanks to you, it’s so great.

    I’d as well as Tanja-Tiziana love to be able to sell my book on the blurb bookstore even if I’m not living in the USA. I’ve opened today an account on cafepress.com and they are offering a shop for anybody (US citizen or not)… it must be possible for you as well

    And last, I’ve thought of something that would be very cool : the ability to have a dedication printed on the first page of our book when buying one of our books.

    I’m not certain to be clear so I’ll explain a little more : I want to send one of my book to some relative as a present. I’d like to ship this book directly to this relative’s home for it’s easier, cheaper, faster. But in this case, I never can see the book and never can write a few word inside of it. What would be sooo cool would be to send a jpg while buying a book that we’ve made, and printing this jpg in first or last page of the book.

      March 14, 2007 – 2:54 am   Permalink
  41. ghismo – Good stuff. I’ll make sure the appropriate parties get your feedback on our Set Your Price program. For your custom book shipped directly to a relative, I would think you’d want to add that dedication yourself. You’d just need to upload a new version of the book for each relative.

    By Kathy
      March 14, 2007 – 11:13 am   Permalink
  42. Thanks Kathy,

    Well, that’s true, but it would takes hours to do so. Instead of that – and yes, I agree it must be a difficult task for your developpers – if we should just upload the first page…

    If a dedication inside the book is too complicated and it surely is, then just a textbox on the order form to send a few words on a simple letter sized paper (on cafepress, sorry to insist, they call this field “Gift Message”).

    I’d really like to say “thank you” to my customers, and do it by myself, with my own words :)

      March 15, 2007 – 7:55 am   Permalink
  43. I’m writing a novel. When will the novel book size be out? I think that there are alot of writers out there writing novels but need the page layout size for it.

    By Tony
      March 30, 2007 – 1:51 pm   Permalink
  44. Hi Tony – a smaller, more novel-friendly book size is on our radar. When it becomes a reality, we’ll let everyone know. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      April 3, 2007 – 1:27 pm   Permalink
  45. I often find myself wishing I could place more than one photo into a desired photo space and drag text boxes around. I think it would be interesting to have one layout option be completely under your control.

    By Zoe
      April 5, 2007 – 8:56 am   Permalink
  46. A clarification, please….you say “you can always design your own layouts in InDesign or another program, and then import that file into BookSmart.”

    I’m wondering if your use of the term “layout” might be a bit misleading here. From InDesign, you can export a page as a JPG, and then you can import that into BookSmart….but you are then just importing a single *image* (like any other photo), you’re not really importing a “layout”…or am I missing something? I have the latest version of InDesign (and just about every other bit of design software available). and don’t see any way to import a layout.

    In my way of thinking, there are some important differences between importing an image and importing a “layout”. An image is going to come in at a fixed resolution, of course, so any type or line drawings that you have included in Indesign would be rasterized when you generate the JPG from InDesign (and the quality of the type and other vector objects would probably suffer). Also, you would have to go through this entire process (composing the page in InDesign, exporting the JPG, then importing that into BookSmart) for every page in your book.

    What would be soooooooo much better would be if one could create a custom layout and import that (once) and then use all the text and picture formatting that’s baked in to the program. Short of that, it would also be useful to be able to “unlock” the text and photo containers, move them around and resize them freely. THAT would allow a lot of creative freedom, and save us from spending a lot of time in Photoshop composing text.

    Thanks for considering this, and I will look forward to future upgrades for BookSmart. Even with the current limitations, it’s still quite cool (we just want everything, of course).

    By David
      April 12, 2007 – 8:46 pm   Permalink
  47. Hi David – Great stuff! And you’re right. Some of our nomenclature can be a bit clearer. Your suggestion is one we’ve heard before, and we hear you. More flexible layout options are being worked on, so stay tuned.

    Thanks,

    Kathy

    By Kathy
      April 13, 2007 – 2:34 pm   Permalink
  48. I know everyone is asking for total layout customization. Until that happens… I am designing a photo book in the 7×7 format and would like to have one big photo per page, with a text box beneath the photo to add two- or three- line captions. This seems like it would be one of the most sought-after layouts. But surprisingly – unless I’m missing something – none of the template pages seem designed for this! Is there a work-around that doesn’t involve using InDesign etc.?

    By Konstantin
      April 26, 2007 – 11:21 pm   Permalink
  49. Hi Konstantin – All of our book sizes have options for big photos and room for captions. Just locate the layout you like, click on the text container on the bottom, and add your caption.

    By Kathy
      May 1, 2007 – 12:53 pm   Permalink
  50. Hey Kathy,

    I don’t know what is involved in production of the actual book but I’d like a rush option available, for a small additional fee of course!

    I just finished a job that had a six day turn around window. I like your product better but I went with another printer because they could guarantee the turn around time.

    Also, as many others have asked for totally user definable templates. Saying that I can design my book in other software and import it to BookSmart defeats the purpose of using Blurb for me. I need to be able to assemble a custom product, quickly without additional software or design chores. If I could do all of this in Photoshop already I wouldn’t need to use your service.

      May 17, 2007 – 7:25 pm   Permalink
  51. Hi Scott – We get a lot of suggestions to offer different levels of service – a rush option is definitely one of them – and we consider all of them. I’ll make sure to pass this on to the printing team. Thanks.

    By Kathy
      May 20, 2007 – 6:57 am   Permalink
  52. I would like the ability to modify or create your own templates!

      June 16, 2007 – 12:26 pm   Permalink
  53. I create photo books for sports teams showing the action photos over an entire season. With my photography, I have been able to take business from my two biggest competitors. However, I have had several customers comment that they preferred the book quality of the previous companies who used Apple/iLife production. The key part was the glossy look/feel rather than the matte look of the Blurb books. Any chance you will offer glossy pages in the future that can compete 1-for-1 with iLife books?

    -Mike
    Fairfield Photography

    By Mike
      June 16, 2007 – 4:00 pm   Permalink
  54. Hi,

    * having page-numbers even on full-bleed photos (for example i have my own design but need to put pagenumbers myself because they don’t exist on full page images)

    *what i did not get yet..what does it depend on which color the inside of the hardcover has (the unprinted hard-cover-insides),
    because i want a white dust-jacket but a black inside and black linen. How do I do that? Maybe one should add an option to see that.

    *a huge square-book would be great, like 12×12 or the like! That would be absolutely awesome!

    * 80$s shipping for 1 book to Malta……………….I think that is a BIT too much…I had to awkwardly send it to a friend in Austria who sends it to me all in all maybe 40$, still much, but better than 80$. :-(

    In general, I love your service, so glad I found you! Thanks so much, really!
    Thanks so much.

    By redsea
      June 17, 2007 – 3:10 am   Permalink
  55. I’d like to suggest better protective packing for the books for shipping. I have had the corners of two large format books damaged when I received them. Please improve this. Thanks.

    By Sigurdur Jonsson
      June 17, 2007 – 3:23 am   Permalink
  56. It would be great to be able to set preferences for an entire book, such as a default page including the layout and font type and size. Currently the default typeset in the program is not what I’m using (Geneve 9 is the default and I’m using Arial 10), and unless the text automatically flows into another box I have to reset it for every page. Cheers

      June 17, 2007 – 2:07 pm   Permalink
  57. Hi Sigurdur – We want you to be completely happy with your Blurb books. If your books were damaged in transit, please let us know. Fill out an order support form in the Help section and someone will be in touch.

    By Kathy
      June 17, 2007 – 4:24 pm   Permalink
  58. Mike – Offering different choices of paper is an option we are looking into. Thanks for the suggestion!

    By Kathy
      June 17, 2007 – 4:27 pm   Permalink
  59. Dana – Thanks for the suggestions. Because of suggestions from you and your fellow Blurbarians, new features are added to BookSmart with every release. Keep the ideas coming!

    By Kathy
      June 17, 2007 – 4:34 pm   Permalink
  60. Would be nice to be able to create a blog book from a wordpress powered site.

    By Ben
      June 17, 2007 – 8:11 pm   Permalink
  61. Hi Kathy,

    Some things I would love Blurb to offer:

    It would be great if you could drag and drop a number of photos to a page and Blurb give a number of options for laying out those photos- you could then choose the best layout. See http://www.momento.com.au who offers this.

    Blurb doesn’t have many layouts that give you the ability to have both landscape and portrait images on the one page. You can obviously crop a landscape image into a portrait and vice versa but sometimes it just isn’t possible. I am finding that I have to create two pages when I have both landscape and portrait images ie. landscape images on one page and the portrait on the other page. Perhaps some layouts where the photos are on an angle and overlap would be good.

    I found iPhoto books layouts good from the point of view if you dragged a photo into a portrait box the photo would still stay landscape and vice versa for portrait. Blurb offers far more flexibility than iPhotobooks in terms of the amount of text you can write which is why I have switched.

    I know you are probably tired of hearing it, but it would be great to have cheaper shipping to Australia. I plan to create my photo books and will wait until they are cheaper. Is shopping likely to change in a matter of months or will I be waiting a bit longer than that??

    Thanks

    By Gen
      June 18, 2007 – 2:51 am   Permalink
  62. I am happy with the quality and service, and I like the software and book formats available. However, I would like to see more care in packaging books for shipping. I ordered a 7×7″ book that arrived damaged with only the clear poly bag and a padded envelope for protection. Your support people made it easy to get another, but I am a week or more behing in having the book to show. I am just hoping that the next copy arrives in good shape.

    Thanks,

      June 18, 2007 – 2:51 pm   Permalink
  63. Hi !
    Are you planning to offer non-us members (Europe) to sell their books too?

    thanks,
    seb

    By Seb
      June 25, 2007 – 3:31 am   Permalink
  64. Hi seb – Opening up our Set Your Price program to non-U.S. folks is definitely in the plans.

    By Kathy
      June 25, 2007 – 9:32 am   Permalink
  65. I would like for the software to support working with dual screens. I stretch it out over the two screens, but waste a lot of time getting the center of the book exactly between the two screens–then when I preveiw, it moves the center of the book.

    Other than that no suggestions…I make the pages in Photoshop, so with the full page bleed, it works perfect for me.

    By Brenda
      June 25, 2007 – 2:13 pm   Permalink
  66. Hi there,

    Few suggestions from me:

    - user generated templates. Open up a section on blurb.com where user generated templates can be shared. Users can upload their own templates from booksmart 2.0 ;-). I am seeing unlimited amounts of templates in the future.

    - When you switch to preview mode it would be nice if booksmart remembers in which size I previewed the last time. It is quite annoying to keep resizing over and over in order to get a full view.

    - On my PC booksmart (with 154 pages) got really slow after using it for a while.

    - little bug: one layout in the 10×8 book switches pictures when it is moved from a left to a right page. It is the template with one portret picture and three landscape pictures, no borders.

    I am now starting my second photo book, really looking forward to receiving my first book in a few weeks. It’s great fun to work with booksmart, so thanks for that!

    Cheers,
    Esther

    By Esther
      June 30, 2007 – 9:01 am   Permalink
  67. Great feedback, Esther! Thanks. I’ll pass it along to the appropriate people.

    By Kathy
      June 30, 2007 – 4:39 pm   Permalink
  68. Hi again,

    Some new suggestions while working on my second:

    - I use custom made colours in fonts with RGB colours. Would be great if Booksmart would keep them memorized like it does with the background colours.

    - Would be nice to change the background colour of text blocks too.

    - Would be nice to be able to import background images.

    - Would be nice to be able to make images a little transparent.

    Enjoy!

    Esther

    By Esther
      July 6, 2007 – 1:23 pm   Permalink
  69. Hello,

    I just completed my first book using Booksmart. So glad I have the opportunity to leave some comments.

    Here’s what I liked about the process:

    It was easy to import photos from flickr and then simply drag them on to pages. I was pleased with many of the page template options.

    Nice variety in the book size choices.

    Uploading the book and then ordering a copy was a piece of cake.

    And now, here’s what drove me nuts about creating this book:

    Working with typography and large amounts of text (i.e., a blog) on these pages was a NIGHTMARE. What’s up with the funky linebreaks and single-word-per-line issues? (An example of a strange linebreak that happened frequently: in words that had contractions, oftentimes the last letter of the word at the end of a line would drop down to the next line below it. When I tried to fix these one at a time, something else in the text below that would suddenly change. Working with this was SO labor intensive.

    I also tried laying out the pages in InDesign and then exporting them as jpgs, but the text was simply too jagged (even at 300 dpi). I tried a number of different things to remedy this, but no dice. Like many who have posted here, I’d love it if I could place PDFs on the Booksmart pages. Also, I think it’d be great if I could cut my already-edited text in Microsoft Word and paste it directly into the Booksmart text blocks — and have the text remain as it was edited (with no weird linebreaks).

    When I selected all the text (that ran across mutliple pages), then tried to cut it all, I’d only be able to cut what was in the first box (even though all the text turned orange when I selected it). It’d be great if all the text could be cut at one time (and then pasted somewhere else, for example).

    Is it possible to use typographer’s quotes in Booksmart? All those little rabbit-ear quotation marks look really unprofessional.

    Not being able to move text boxes around was frustrating. Sometimes there’s simply too much space between different elements of text (on the book cover, for example).

    I have yet to receive my printed book (I uploaded and ordered it today). Am looking forward to seeing it — but I know that the back end of it (the blog part) is riddled with spacing and hyphenation errors. It was all just too cumbersome to fix. I let it go for this one book (it’s for mom, and she’s really just interested in the pictures), but for future books I’ll have to make lots of changes. Not sure I can massage the text in Booksmart the way I’d like to. Any changes in the near future that’ll make it easier to work with typography in Booksmart?

    Thanks for “listening!”
    Julie

    By Julie
      July 9, 2007 – 1:48 am   Permalink
  70. Hi Julie – Thanks for posting! Lots of good feedback here. First of all, you are hereby declared a text power user and we thank you for that. Our text engine has gone through many updates since we released BookSmart over a year ago, and we know it can always improve. In fact, every BookSmart release comes out with improvements to the text engine.

    That said, a lot of functions (or lack thereof) are items on our priority list and we will get to them. However, some are already built into BookSmart. For instance, re: your comment about typographer’s quotes, try this on for size: after you type in or copy and paste text into a BookSmart page, go to Format > Font > Insert Smart Quote and take your pick from open/close single/double quotes. Better?

    And you’re definitely on the right track with importing your InDesign pages as .jpgs. Your hi-res files that look jagged in BookSmart are actually a bit of a bug, but the printed books come up fine. Needless to say we are working on this.

    Again, great feedback. Thanks!

    By Kathy
      July 9, 2007 – 3:26 pm   Permalink
  71. I read through the comments and I don’t believe this one has been said yet or maybe the answer might be in here somewhere. I would to have the option to rotate pictures on angles not just the flipping around in set positions. Also, overlapping. And possibly effects to add to the photos such as drop shadow. This would also be nice for the text to have effects. I also agree with being able to place and move text boxes. I’ve not finished creating a book just yet but I live in Nebraska, USA, so I’m hoping the shipping won’t be too terribly expensive.

    By AfterImage Photography
      July 9, 2007 – 8:22 pm   Permalink
  72. With regard to the comments about rotating images, image drop shadows and text effects, there is a workaround. When I wanted to go beyond the layouts of BookSmart, I created a page in Adobe Photoshop and used all of its text and image capabilities and then posted that image as a full bleed page in Booksmart. It worked great.

      July 10, 2007 – 6:16 am   Permalink
  73. It would be great to be able to have borders on all type of page-layout in the templates.

    Indeed, at the moment some types of available page-layout for photo do not allow borders, while others do. While I understand that it would look nicer not to have/allow borders on full-bleed page layouts, I would very much like to have it allowed, as sometime I use this layout and then reduce+center the photo in it (thus not taking advantage of the full-bleed characteristic). Such a feature (borders optional on full-bleed layouts) would really help me (and maybe other users?) to get a uniform look within my books.

    Regards.
    Terry.

    By Terry
      July 11, 2007 – 11:15 pm   Permalink
  74. The selection of photo borders could use some improvement. On several of the black borders there appear to be small brown or orange decorations, but they are so tiny that I can’t really see what they are even when zooming. Even the simple black and white borders seem to have small grey “corners” added. I’m reluctant to try any of these. Why not have plain black or white borders in a choice of point sizes? Check Shutterfly…that’s one thing they do nicely. Otherwise Booksmart is a lot of fun to work with and I’m looking forward to where you take it!

    By Ned
      July 22, 2007 – 1:17 pm   Permalink
  75. Hi there,
    I just ordered my first book yesterday. Everything about making the book has been an extremly pleasant experience. I used to make photo books on Shutterfly, and now I think I’m hooked on Blurb. So much so I have been telling everyone I know about it. One thing I was wondering though, is it possible to collaborate on the same book with several people across different geographies? I understand you have integration with Flickr and Picasa and this has some collaborative qualities, but what about the actual book itself? The pages, the layouts, the text? I would like to collaborate with my two sister-in-laws on a book capturing all the years memories for our Mother and Father-in-law. Is there any way to do this currently? Are there any plans to enable better collaboration in the making?

    By Jessica
      July 23, 2007 – 8:11 am   Permalink
  76. Hi All,

    Since the pages will be trimmed a little which is fine, could you just show real (approximate) output area in the edit view? It’s a bit hard to guess how much 1/8″ really is.

    Cheers

    By Shyha
      July 29, 2007 – 7:35 am   Permalink
  77. Hi you all,

    Just read the comments, but did not see the one that helped me. I would like the following extra’s:

    - Some pagelayaouts are only available in a specific book layout, but I just wanna decide myself which layouts I want, couldn’t there be a custom set of pagelayouts for the user in which I can “save”my favourite layouts, and then use these layouts in every type of book (photobook or blogbook or whatever)I make?

    By Rolandgm
      August 10, 2007 – 4:22 am   Permalink
  78. Hi Rolandgm – Nice suggestion. I’ll be sure to pass it along to the BookSmart team. Thanks.

    By Kathy
      August 10, 2007 – 9:09 am   Permalink
  79. How ’bout a true typographic em dash instead of having to use a double-hyphen?

    By Kate
      August 23, 2007 – 9:00 am   Permalink
  80. One little suggestion concerning the slurp option. I’ve tried many time to create a book from my blog with the slurp option of booksmart and always abandonned. It works fine except for photos that are downloaded in the size they are shown in the blog and that are then too small to be printed. Almost all of the picture I publish on my blog are on flickr (and some other blogs are doing so as well).

    It’d be so cool if booksmart when downloading a picture stored on an online service (flickr, photobucket, ..) could download the full sized image instead of the thumbnail. I’d love that sooo much ! :)

      August 23, 2007 – 8:19 pm   Permalink
  81. I just received 2 out of my 5 books yesterday that I ordered. The books look good but I’m just wondering why the photos don’t look as hi-res as they should be. I made to sure to include only photos that would be suitable for printing…

    The other thing is that i had the packages sent to a family member’s home to ensure that it be delivered properly. It was, but it had the titles of the books on the mailing receipt which was clearly visible to the person that received it. That would be fine if she weren’t one of the recipients of the books. (The 5 books were meant to be xmas presents…) It would be great if you could include this listing either folded up like most companies do w/ packaging or if the mailing receipt were actually IN the box. It’s hard to surprise someone w/ a book when they can actually read what they’re getting when the box is delivered.

    By n from ny
      December 21, 2007 – 1:19 pm   Permalink
  82. I think it would be great, (and I’m sure a lot of others would think so too) if background papers had a variety of infant, toddler and young kids theme’s. Like It’s a girl or It’s a boy, teddy bears or train sets. As i think this would be great for all the new parents (and some old time parents) to create wonderful books for their children and grandparents. I used to do a lot of scrap booking, and this is the ultimate scrapbook. I will never go back to normal scrap booking ever again.

    By Lisa-Jane
      January 1, 2008 – 3:46 pm   Permalink
  83. A lot of digital scrapbookers work with 12×12. Would love to be able to upload my digital scrapbook pages and print a larger square book than is currently offered. Any chance 10×10 or 12×12 will be offered soon?

    By Julie
      January 7, 2008 – 10:35 pm   Permalink
  84. I would love to see a trade paperback or half page (8.5×5.5″) size as an option.

    By E. Allen Soard
      February 6, 2008 – 3:39 pm   Permalink
  85. I was just thinking it would be neat if we could send messages to any authors commenting on their books (either public or private)

    By Zoe
      February 25, 2008 – 7:30 pm   Permalink
  86. Well today I discovered how stupid the programmers are at blurb or perhaps its the management or both. Either case customer service is a joke. I’ve made several books with blurb and with Shutterfly. MY EXPERIENCE WITH BLURB HAS BEEN LESS THAN STELLAR.

    First I spent over $100 per book on 3 large format books that clearly had printing problems. The color background had serious banding. What did blurb have to say about this? Redo the book with a different color background and here is $50 toward the new orders. Great solution (NOT). When I had a problem with a cover curling on a book from Shutterfly, they sent me a new book in hand 4 days later, no hassles and no returns. I was impressed.

    Second, I reworked my book into a different format, uploaded it, orderd a copy as a proof and it took 2+ weeks to receive the book. Once I proofed the book, I needed to make a few changes which I did and uploadd to the blurb site. This created a new book and I was unable to delete the old book. Both books had the same title, number of pages, etc. Now I was ready to order 20 copies. Somehow I ordered the old book not the new book. I figured this out as soon as the order was placed because I couldn;t make the book public. I contact blurb through their “help center” to verify that I ordered the right book. Guess what, I ordered the wrong book and they cant stop the order. Well I’ve got to say I’ve never heard of an order processing system that does not have a change and delete order function. Obviously someone in engineering never went to system desigh school or this is management’s way of increasing sales revenue. Either case stupid and unethical business practice!

    Why would I want to continue doing business with a company that can’t get an order right? Why would I order tens, hundreds or even more books from a company that hasn’t a human in customer service with a brain or decisionmaking ability? Why would I want to have my fine art work printed by a company that won’t take full responsibility for poor print quality? Why would I want a printer who can’t accept a ISBN number in the industry standard position on the cover? Why would I want a printer that does not understand color management in a digital world? Why? because I’m either stupid or too lazy to check out other publishers like Aperture, Shutterfly, and Lulu to name a few competitors.

    It is obvious that blurb is for the casual amatuer. Serious bookmakers need a real business with real people and real customer service not a poorly designed order front end for an email system to a bunch of independent print shops.

    And on top of this whole production fiasco, blurb has the audacity to tell people they have such a streamlined process that once you click “GO” the printing process begins. If that were the case it wouldn’t take 3+ weeks to get delivery. BLURB, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED!

    Goodby!

    By Sam
      March 18, 2008 – 10:05 pm   Permalink
  87. Hi there blurb people,

    Just finished another book with Blurb. Although I love the printing at apple/iphoto better, Blub is king in price/quality when it comes to books with over 100 pages.

    Also compliments on the flickr slurpr, that worked like a charm. Better than the blogger slurper which I never got to work. Tried it with different systems and accounts.

    One suggestion for enhancing the flickr slurpr, would it be possible to add title, caption, date, exif data to the slurp functionality?
    That would be awsome.

    Keep up the good work, looking forward to next releases of booksmart!

    Cheers,
    Esther

    By Esther de Boer
      March 20, 2008 – 4:03 am   Permalink
  88. Fervent request here…

    PLEASE consider some sort of Wire-O or comb or spiral binding options. Some kinds of books really need to be able to lie flat or even be folded back on themselves (think road atlas or field guide or anything that is used on-the-go). If you try this with the current binding offerings, it either won’t work at all, or it’ll destroy the binding (or both). I know this can be done since some, um, other publishing-on-demand services offer it…it should actually be easier than the existing binding offered – you just cut, drill/punch then insert the fastening system (wire-O would be my first choice). I’d really love to have this option (with a heavy cover stock) and I bet it would be very popular — please consider adding it! Thanks.

    By David
      April 28, 2008 – 12:16 am   Permalink
  89. how about an 11×13 large format portrait book?
    pleeeease =)

    has no one else requested this size?

    otherwise I had fun making my first book, I can’t wait to get it.

    thanks.

      April 29, 2008 – 12:41 pm   Permalink
  90. Please update BookSmart to have basic support for OpenType fonts.

    C’mon. It’s been around since the 1990s and the Java code has been available and FREELY AVAILABLE for years.

    Basic. Glyph. Support.

    Very tired of Trebuchet, and frustrated that I cannot access the nice fonts that I’ve purchased.

    By John
      May 6, 2008 – 8:47 pm   Permalink
  91. Would love to see an 11×13 Portrait Book – nobody else is doing it and there is a massive market out there……

    Great new product with the ImageWrap !

    Thanks

      May 7, 2008 – 12:40 am   Permalink
  92. I would like to be able to interchange pages from one book to another. I am thinking about combining two smaller books to make one 200 page book.

    By Zoe
      May 9, 2008 – 1:37 am   Permalink
  93. Lately, I’ve been driven a little crazy by everything automatically zooming in when I go between preview & edit. Also, it would be nice if there were a specific thing differentiating moving a picture without a box, and holding onto the whole picture. I keep getting stick in one photo space trying to swap my photos.

    By Zoe
      May 21, 2008 – 9:40 pm   Permalink
  94. I love the quality and look of the books I have made with Blurb, but one thing spoils them: the lack of text justification. The appearance of a page of text that is not aligned both on the right and left is just unprofessional. I dearly hope the techies at Blurb can add a ‘justify text’ tool to their next issue of Booksmart. It would turn me from a 90% into a 100% happy customer.

    By Julia
      May 27, 2008 – 11:54 pm   Permalink
  95. I made my first book with Blurb and my girlfriend in New York purchased it. She has reported that the quality is excellent and that she is very pleased with her purchase. I have a few requests

    1. Can there be a pricing option for B/W only photo books?
    2. Please add Jamaica to your list of countries. Right now I have to ask my friend to receive my mails for me.
    3. Do you register ISBN’s. This will be the first book that I have published without an ISBN. The National Library here in Jamaica issues ISBN’s – Would I be able to insert it on a Title Page?
    4. Would love the idea of sending a Gift Note as with CAfepress

    Thanks

      May 31, 2008 – 4:11 pm   Permalink
  96. After my first book …..I have serious plans to use your services in future too. My only concern is as of now I am in UK for a short while but I am a resident of United Arab Emirates and would thus be grateful if you have my country in your list of shipment too …please what other options do I have to receive my cheques,kindly give me advise suitable for me.
    Keep blurberating,it sure has done wanders in no time.
    Please do consider my suggestion A.S.A.P

    By Ambreen Jamil
      June 1, 2008 – 10:44 am   Permalink
  97. Hi,

    I know that several people have suggested this before, but I just thought I would add my voice.

    An import option for PDFs would be extremely nice. Right now, text based pages that are imported as jpegs look pretty bad (when I print the pages at home–would this look different when printed by you guys?).

    The ability to import high quality pages with your own design would be intensely appreciated by many. Maybe we could get an update on where this feature request is at?

      June 25, 2008 – 4:29 pm   Permalink
  98. Ditto David on having a spiral binding of any sort – I’m making a family recipe book and the only inhibiting factor I’ve found in this great service is that I’m unable to select the appropriate binding I need to for laying a cookbook flat on the counter. Do you have plans to add that to your options?

    By Katrina
      July 1, 2008 – 6:29 am   Permalink
  99. SPIRAL BINDING!
    SPIRAL BINDING!
    SPIRAL BINDING!
    SPIRAL BINDING!
    SPIRAL BINDING!

    Pretty please?

    By the way…does anyone from Blurb actually read this stuff anymore? Seems like they used to, but that appears to have stopped in the summer of 2007. Anyone out there?

    By Simon
      July 5, 2008 – 4:49 pm   Permalink
  100. Hi folks,

    We do get a spiral binding request periodically, particularly from people who are making cookbooks. They’re definitely on the wishlist, but not on the roadmap for 2008.
    Keep those suggestions coming!
    Reese

      July 7, 2008 – 11:14 am   Permalink
  101. I’m new to BookSmart. It seems the answer to my dreams:
    - Delivery anywhere in the world, from wherever I create my stuff – currently New Zealand … land of the Conchords and Kiwis :)
    - Photos … and text.
    - Great knowledge base of FAQs, hints, etc

    BUT what holds back my commitment to using Booksmart:
    - Lack of ability to import and/or upload a pdf produced by eg Aperture or iWork Pages, Keynote.
    - Lack of ease of use with Aperture images (ie iPhoto like operation)
    - The high international freight charges (when lower cost options are available)
    - The fact that these requests for improvements have not been acted upon despite being requested over two years ago by others.

    Hence my hesitation about using BookSmart. In all other respects, the software and service seems very, very attractive…. But not yet a solution to the service I want: print and bind pdfs.

      April 17, 2009 – 6:55 pm   Permalink
  102. Hello
    I have made a 7×7 and a 12×12 bool and when i up lode them there not in the same book page/ I have seen that other people did this so hoe can I ?
    they are in pdfs of my own design. I did not ues book smart.

    By Gary
      August 14, 2009 – 1:55 pm   Permalink
  103. I have published my first book, and would like to know how i can add more tags to my book

    By Debbie Steer
      September 2, 2009 – 8:28 pm   Permalink
  104. Someone has already written about this, but I couldn’t find this feature so I’m asking one more time… Is it possible to rotate pictures (free rotating, not only 90 degree steps)? It would be nice to rotate text as well, at least to have text written vertically.

    By question
      October 2, 2009 – 4:56 am   Permalink
  105. I am currently creating three books (Short Stories /Poetry /Illustrated Prose).

    I would like to be able to create a fourth volume of “Complete Works” by combining the content (Including Title Pages as section “separators”)

    Is there a way to copy the content from one Blurb book to another?

    By Lao Shi
      October 4, 2009 – 7:18 am   Permalink
  106. I had to use BookSmart for a university project but I would never recommend it. The text boxes have randomly locked and those that did lock can’t be unlocked no matter what I do. I can re-size them, I can’t move them. I’m stuck with them. I’ve done a clean re-installment but still have the same problems with text boxes randomly locking. This has been a huge waste of my time because over flow text doesn’t go to the next text box but could be anywhere within the 39 page book. What a waste of my time!

      May 15, 2012 – 4:44 pm   Permalink
  107. Hey Tom, I’m sorry BookSmart hasn’t been working out for you. Have you tried contacting our Support Team? They’re pretty good at sorting things out. You can contact them at this link: http://blurb.custhelp.com/app/ask_decide/

    best

    Kent

    By Kent
      May 15, 2012 – 5:17 pm   Permalink
  108. I have to agree with Tom. I have tried http://www.xbook.com.au, http://www.momento.com.au, Milkbook.com and yourselves. I like your books but I found BookSmart, well, not so smart.

    By Ozzie
      December 3, 2012 – 5:25 am   Permalink
  109. Hey Ozzie,

    Please let us know the things you don’t like, and we’ll take that feedback into account as we look at new version.

    best

    Kent

    By Kent
      December 3, 2012 – 12:34 pm   Permalink

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