Blurb Color Pocket and Trade Books

Okay folks, a fun announcement here. Blurb just released their trade and pocket books in color. What are trade and pocket books you ask? Well, they are the, until now, black and white only, small books used mostly for text. Now, photographers being the crafty people they are, quickly adopted this format for a variety of things including small zine’s and art books. My “On Approach” book is an example of such book. The first thing I thought when I saw the black and white trade sizes was, “I wish I could get that in color.” Well, now we can. These books are by no means a replacement for anything. These books are not heavyweight art paper or designed for the monograph. They are affordable, approachable and born to be positioned in new ways. They are made with a white, uncoated stock that actually works really well for your scribbly handwriting in addition to your photographs! For those of you Leica users, this entire book was done with two M6’s and a 35mm and 50mm lens. Panama was slightly different for me in terms of my approach. I had no story, no idea, no plan, no theme or project. I just went. I went to just look and make snapshots. I hadn’t done this in many, many years, and I have to say…it was fantastic and something that had an impact on my current project. TRI-X and Portra 400 were the films used.

39 responses to “Blurb Color Pocket and Trade Books”

  1. Mick Buston says:

    Love these, can’t wait to start experimenting with this format.

    Also great as a street shooter in this heightened security age to be able to carry a small portfolio / project book like this in a jacket pocket if any wants to know what you are doing roaming the streets with camera in hand.

  2. Very very nice. I’m making one…just as soon as my present Proline book is done 🙂

  3. Aaron says:

    how do you find it working with two different films, two different lenses? Are you often grabbing the 35mm with the colour wishing you had that lens on the body with B&W….etc. etc.
    Never having had the luxury of two bodies (hey, I’m not pro, what can I say?) I like the idea of working that way but I can’t help but wonder how it works in reality.
    Thanks for the tasty little morsel of seeing your work in this new Blurb offering. Looks awesome.

    • Smogranch says:

      Well, it normally can be a bit too much. I’m used to it now but I don’t recommend it for most folks. You just have to commit to one or the other, depending on the situation. I also change the lenses every few days, swap from color to black and white. As for two bodies…if you are going to make a trip somewhere you HAVE to have two options. You can take a risk but anything goes wrong and you are out of commission. Film gear is cheap now, super cheap.

  4. Charlene says:

    I’d made a couple of books with the black and white trade/pocket books for journals, and the paper texture is perfect for writing in imo. Because a lot of my work is in colour though, I haven’t made any more of them for any other purposes. I have been wishing they came in colour as I’ve been browsing mags that come in similar paper stock but colour, and have been dying to make similar. Got my wish now! Can’t wait to get started.

  5. Very nice. What’s the bleed-thru like with this paper stock? Maybe you could put in a word about using the ProLine paper as an optional choice.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Paul,

      Bleed-thru isn’t bad, but I haven’t seen it with my fountain pen as of yet. I’m not sure ProLine is an option, and it would also shift that price structure a fair amount. I also think they are not looking to replace anything in the overall line. These are just an addition of sorts. I’m excited, can see a variety of ways of incorporating these into the mess that is my life.

    • I’m more interested in image bleed-thru and overall print quality. The heavier paper stock would be beneficial here. Interested in this size book primarily from a conceptual perspective rather than a pricing one. Size is intimate and personal. I’ll give this a shot though and see if it works for what I’m thinking about.

    • Smogranch says:

      Overall print quality is very good. The feeback I’ve received was surprisingly high. There is bleed through but I find it somewhat minimal. You’ve seen a lot of books, so not sure how you will feel, but let me know if you are up here. Swing by and take a look!

  6. Larry says:

    Looking forward to receiving my trade book hopefully this week.

  7. Sean says:

    The Peru book looks good. Are you going to be selling it?

    • Smogranch says:


      Panama or Peru? Peru book, which isn’t a book, is for sale, but Panama isn’t.

    • Sean says:

      Panama. I love the colour version.

      I made one of these books last night to carry around. Some of the subjects I’m photographing think I’m working for Japanese Immigration so I want to use it to gain trust and show them what I’m trying to do.

  8. Tom says:

    Wow that’s great! I was wondering about that. Thanks for the update. I’ve got a few projects that would be perfect for that format and rougher quality. Cheers

  9. Michael Erb says:

    I am so excited about these. I have ideas for making personalized gifts for my family, products for my clients, etc. These books are exactly what I need. And they are cheap enough that I can make tons of them and build my ID chops.

  10. Dan W says:

    Great photos. Any advice on making a blurb book? I’ve been considering doing a few for promo purposes and because it would be easier than dropping off a portfolio.

    • Smogranch says:

      Hey Dan,

      Wow, advice on making a Blurb book. I think I need to make a specific post on that, there is A LOT to suggest, offer, etc. I”ll work on that.

  11. Jim Casper says:

    Dan, This is REALLY exciting news. I’m eager to see how photographers start to break the “rules” of photobooks and create some stunning new works of art. Cool!

    • Smogranch says:

      Jim Casper checking in here on Smogranch….things are looking UP! I miss you! I’m laying out another color trade right now and will be using that format for issue 2 of the magazine, if I can ever find time to get it done!

  12. Thanks for this article and the very well-positioned photos of the book. I’m dipping my toe in the water with one of these; producing little books before a big book I have in the works that I will never start otherwise!

    • Smogranch says:


      Just break the ice and get the first book in and done. Use it as a teaching tool. I think you will feel a sense of relief more than anything else, allowing you to refocus and then make some touch decisions.

    • Thanks! The first twenty-page book, a set of photographs of musicians’ feet while they are performing — yes really! — hopefully arrives tomorrow. (Because once it was done I couldn’t resist express shipping).

      I’m hopeful that the quality will be just good enough that people want to buy them, and I am treating them as (fitting their subject matter) EPs before the full album release, as it were. Part of a strategy!

    • And indeed it’s pretty good! How exciting. Now I need to seriously think about how I’m going to use them.

  13. david says:

    Hi Daniel, I’m just wondering how you did spread the photo on both the front and back covers, using InDesign plugin? BookSmart has the option, but just for inner pages.

    • Smogranch says:


      I used Booksmart. Just use the same image twice….line it up how you see fit. You can also do this on inside pages if you don’t want to use the double page spread option.

  14. RaySnaps says:

    It turned out really beautiful.

  15. TAID says:

    What are the backs of the book like? Do they have an isbn and a barcode? Definitely want to experiment with these as yours looks great!

  16. chris says:

    The book looks beautiful. May you please let me know what colour quality of this books is? Is it Standard Color or Economy Color? Your reply is great appreciated.

  17. Liam Walls says:


    I am about to publish through blurb, but can’t find anything on their website that shows what Economy Colour looks like when compared to Standard Colour. Can you clarify whether your book above is Economy or Standard for me?

    Thanks so much!


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