For the past couple of years I have been creating books and calendars as gifts for the family. Ancestry.com has a tie in with mycanvas.com that allows you to import your genealogy content into books and calendars. It took me about 3 years to finish a 28 page genealogy book for my in-laws as a Christmas present. It was a lot of fun and greatly appreciated, not to mention the exceptional quality of the book.
I haven’t just created that book, but did calendars for family members that contained birthdays and anniversaries right on the calendar, along with the number of years of age or married. For the grandkids I made picture books, these little books have pictures that I have taken of them throughout the year. You can see them grow from the first page of the book to the last.
Yesterday I noticed another book making web site, blurb.com. I have tried snapfish.com for picture books, although their product was ok, there wasn’t anything they offered that was different from what mycanvas.com offered and they didn’t have the hooks into my genealogy data. Blurb was offering something I had not seen before, hooks into my wordpress.com blog site to create a book of all or some of my entries, along with many other features that most book making sites offer.
I thought I would give it a try and downloaded their “BookSmart” software. The application is simple. There is a brief video tutorial to watch if you chose to, that gives the user a quick overview of how the software works. I pointed it my blog, let it select all the entries and auto load to pages. There was a small wait because of the amount of information and 90 photos it was loading. It filled over 400 pages including photos. It looks for the highest resolution photos to put in the book. Mine were all low resolution and would have to be swapped out if I wanted to print the book.
Every blog article got its own page; this tends to waste a good deal of space in my opinion. It would be nice to be able to select an auto flow option, although you can copy and paste to rearrange information and delete the now empty pages, for 400 pages, that is a lot of hand work. The layout can also be change, so far I haven’t found a way to do it besides one page at a time, also time consuming.
An interesting feature is the ability to sell your book from their web site. You set the price and all of the profit is your, over the cost per book. A unique way to get a book published.