BLURB INC., ANNOUNCES PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF POPULIST PUBLISHING SERVICE
Blurb Inc., a recently launched company bringing book publishing to the masses, announced the general availability of the beta version of its populist publishing platform today. Blurb’s BookSmart software makes it possible for anyone to drag and drop pictures and text into professionally designed books with customizable backgrounds, page layouts, and color palettes. Individuals, friends, non-profits, schools, religious and charitable organizations can now use BookSmart to create all kinds of books for sharing, for profit and fundraising, including cookbooks, blog books, baby books, portfolios, and special event books. Books can include hundreds of pages of text, photography and illustrations with prices starting at $29.95 for a single copy of a 40-page hardcover coffee-table book with a custom dust jacket.
“Everyone should be able to make well designed, bookstore-quality books simply and affordably, and have the chance to showcase those books in your own private or public bookstore,” said Eileen Gittins, CEO and founder, Blurb. “This really democratizes publishing. Unlike photo albums or copy-shop efforts, these are professional-quality books that present a real opportunity to make money from your creative efforts, whether to raise funds for a good cause or to put a few extra dollars in your pocket.”
Traditional publishing is a demanding process that takes time, technical skills, personal connections, and a sizeable bank account. Blurb provides a fast, affordable alternative so that anyone can create books to share, sell, and use as fundraising vehicles or promotional tools. Each Blurb book is printed on demand, in any quantity – whether that’s one for a gift, a couple dozen for family, or several thousand to reach a wide audience.
“I knew I’d be exhibiting my photographs in a prestigious group show, so on a recent Saturday I used Blurb to make a coffee-table book of my work to help set my presentation apart from the rest,” said Blurb beta tester Bruce Burtch, an award-winning photographer and marketing director with the Red Cross. “I was blown away by the ease of designing my book, and the exceptional quality of the printing and binding – my book really does look like something I’d buy at a bookstore. Now I can see all kinds of ways to use Blurb in my professional life too, from fund raising to collaborative design projects.”
Blurb’s BookSmart demo won accolades at the 2006 DEMO consumer technology conference, where the company premiered in February. Due to advance praise for Blurb, nearly 10,000 individuals signed up to receive BookSmart while the software was still in its beta-testing phase. BookSmart is now available to the general public to download for free at www.blurb.com – users pay only when they publish a book.
“Our beta testers have already created the most remarkable range of books. One of my favorites is a wedding storybook that captured all the vows, toasts and roasts, family histories, and candid photos of pre-wedding parties and the wedding,” said Gittins. “We also saw lots of travel journals, family cookbooks, a Pub Crawler’s Guide to Portland, and an eleven-year-old’s book about her two pugs. It’s inspiring to see what kind of creativity and passions are unleashed with a service like Blurb.”
For new parents and people with pets, Blurb is also offering readymade themed storybooks, including a Dog Book, Baby Book, and Cat Book &ndahs; all designed to make it easy to showcase their pride and joy. Each of these Instant Classic books includes customizable stories, a selection of winsome illustrations, and splashy coffee-table photo layouts. For an introductory period, there is no additional charge for Instant Classics (a $2.95/per book value).
Blurb is a company and a community that believes passionately in the power of designed books — in both print and ebook form. Blurb’s indie publishing platform is simple yet flexible enough to make everyone an author — every blogger, cook, designer, photographer, entrepreneur, poet, everyone. Founded by Eileen Gittins in 2005 and funded by Canaan Partners and Anthem Venture Partners, the Blurb platform enables everyone to independently publish, share, market, and distribute their work. Blurb’s portfolio of free software tools include Blurb’s BookWright, BookSmart, and Bookify in addition to a plug-in for Adobe InDesign® plus full integration into Adobe Lightroom®. With over one million book creators and more than 2.8 million unique titles published to date, Blurb is re-imagining what books can and should be in the 21st century — and who gets to create them.