Explosive Print On Demand Adoption Is Re-Defining What It Means To Be Published

Blurb leverages online communities, print-on-demand technology, and shifts in consumer behavior to drive changes in the traditional publishing industry

San Francisco, Calif.
January 17, 2008

Blurb, the creative book publishing service, is reporting explosive growth in 2007. People have more digital images and online content to feature in books, and are more engaged in communities in which they can share this content. These trends in consumer behavior, coupled with the economics of print-on-demand technology, are driving industry-wide growth in self-publishing. Companies like Blurb are changing traditional publishing by providing the tools to help people create and publish books on their own terms.

Blurb makes it possible for anyone to become a published author and share, market, or sell those books to a wider audience. Blurb produced nearly 80,000 unique titles in 2007. To put this in perspective, Simon & Schuster publishes approximately 1,800 titles annually, and Random House, with more than 100 editorially independent imprints worldwide, published 9,000 new titles in 2006. Blurb's title output is nearly 8x the combined number of titles released by these traditional publishing houses, and as a result, the company doubled in size every three months in 2007. Compared to traditional publishing, custom print-on-demand books are more personal, economical, green, and profitable for the "everyday" authors who make them.

The self-publishing explosion is being driven by a dramatic increase in digital camera sales, which in 2007 grew twice as fast as the industry expected. 2.1 million DSLR units shipped in the U.S. last year - up 37% over 2006. (Source: InfoTrends). As a result, creative professionals and consumers have enormous libraries of digital images ready for bookmaking.

Flickr, the popular photo sharing website, just celebrated its two-billionth uploaded photo in November of 2007, and according to Technorati, 120,000 new blogs are being created worldwide each day. People are writing and photographing like never before and this fosters an increased desire to create real, tangible things like books.

"Although consumers are still new to the opportunities of self publishing, the tools are now in place to help them create high quality books using their own content," said InfoTrends' analyst Mette Eriksen. "InfoTrends estimates that the photo book market grew by 166% in 2007. This market will continue to grow as more consumers become aware of the opportunities that companies like Blurb offer. Blurb's end-to-end platform that offers consumers ease of use combined with a high quality finished product is one of the drivers for market adoption."

"Blurb is redefining how success is measured in publishing," said Eileen Gittins, Blurb's founder and CEO. "For some, success is creating a book that helps raise money for a foundation, for others it might be selling 25 copies of one's own book, and for still others it might be a marketing piece like an event book or portfolio. Unlike traditional publishers whose economics drive a focus on the best-seller, Blurb is expanding the book market to include books for millions of very small, niche markets."

To create and publish a Blurb book, users start by downloading Blurb BookSmart® software from the Blurb Web site. Blurb's BookSmart software is free, runs on a Mac or PC, and offers a wide variety of book layouts created by professional book designers. The software enables anyone to affordably make, share, and market beautiful, bookstore-quality books. Prices start at $12.95 and authors can order only one book or many.

About Blurb®

Blurb® was founded on the premise that everyone – not just the talented few – should be able to publish, share, and distribute beautifully realized digital and print books with first class production values. Whether creating books for friends and family, for business colleagues and prospects, or for global audiences who may wish to buy your book, Blurb’s platform is built for you. By creating a business model that enables the company to profit on a unit of one, Blurb has opened up the world of publishing to everyone who has access to a computer and a story to tell.

Blurb’s independent publishing platform offers the ability to design, publish, share, market, distribute, and sell both digital and print books. Further, Blurb puts book creators in full control by providing a comprehensive publishing toolkit: a suite of free book design tools including Blurb BookWright™, an Adobe InDesign® plugin and Adobe Lightroom® integration, a variety of print and distribution options, book format and paper choices, and online selling and social sharing tools.

Launched in 2006 by CEO Eileen Gittins, Blurb now enjoys global scale via more than one million book authors, resulting in nearly three million unique book titles so far.