Blurb Revolution

A random seascape for no apparent reason, but that sky is kinda Blurb blue.

Okay, I’m a total Blurb homer, and I work for the company, but I still felt I needed to write this post.

Last week was an especially interesting time in the history of the company, with the arrival of two, three or perhaps even a few more very important things.

First, Pro Line books are now here. Photographers polled over the past few years were asked “What do you want?” There were many responses…as you can imagine. But, what came through loud and clear, “We want more paper choices, end sheet choices and more cover options.” So, in short, they are here. But Dan is there more you ask? Yes, there is. These new additions are not just more options, not in my opinion. They are options that speak directly to photographers who are looking at Blurb as a vehicle for the future. Let me explain.

Four years ago, when I first started using Blurb, and many other POD book makers, I was using these books for a few things, mostly portfolios and promo books. Over the years, as the technology got better, and my understanding of books got better, I began to realize I was selling myself short as well as selling my books short. Soon I began selling books to both clients, shoot specific, but also began selling my books to collectors or people who just wanted to own my work. At the time I did not fully understand the power of the book, nor did I understand how to position a book. Once I saw the look in my client’s eyes when that bright, shiny book was placed before them, the wheels began to turn in my mind.

It’s been said that photography is a story best told in book form. I think we have Gerry Badger to thank for that notion, and I am one hundred percent in agreement with him. The book is a powerful thing that commands a certain respect, both with photographers, but more importantly with the general public.

In the past few years, with the economic downtown, the publishing industry has been impacted. With having said that, the traditional publishing world is still making signature books, and looks to be ready to do so well into the future. For this I’m glad. Behind me, as I write this, is my photo-book library, which is overflowing with books(Including Blurb books!). There are more on the way. But, one of the side effects of the downturn is that photographers who might have been published before are simply not being afforded that opportunity today. That is where Blurb comes into play.

What I’ve seen happening over the past few years is the reality that books are being defined by different ideals. With the advent of companies like Blurb, the book has taken on a different face, one which has allowed for a more wide ranging scale of what is being published. Sure, many of these books are, let’s face it, not good, including many of mine, but many of them are exceptional. New talent, new faces and new opportunities have been merged in this exciting new time. Case in point, Photoeye Books selling my “On Approach” book.

Pro Line takes this one step further. Recently, at the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Blurb was able to offer a sneak peak to festival attendees. I spent four days in a room at a hotel, a room filled with these books, and I have to say, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Now, I know what you are thinking, cause you are a photographer, and I’m a photographer. You are thinking, “Who cares what anyone else says, I gotta see it myself.” I know. I always think the same thing. But, I can’t sum it up any better than a photographer who sat with me and viewed these new books and new materials. He simply said, “These are a good as anything being published today.”
I know, you still want to see them. But let me ask you this? Ever thought of doing an edition? Small run? Tip in print? Feel like maybe you have more options now?

Now, Pro Line, at least to me, was somewhat expected in terms of the future of Blurb. I know, I’m terribly jaded and demanding, but again, did I mention I was a photographer? So, my standard mission statement is “I want everything. I want it now. I want it for free.” So these new books I saw coming.

What I didn’t seem coming was BLURB MOBILE This application is potentially a real game-changer, at least this is how I see it. In essence, BLURB MOBILE is a storytelling tool. Just for a second, imagine you are me. Imagine you love film. Imagine you love working on obscure projects that take unrealistic amounts of time and potentially have very little market, but yet you can’t think about life without these projects being an essential part. imagine that when you are shooting in the field, and blogging, you get constant requests from people who ask, “Where is the new work?” “When are you gonna post your latest shoot.” Imagine that you don’t want to do this because you realize the modern attention span is so short that if you post the work as you go, by the time the story is complete, or the book, the average follower will respond with, “Yep, I’ve already seen that.” And, imagine that you are old school in your thinking that good work needs to marinate and needs time to be lived with BEFORE it is released on the unsuspecting world. But imagine now having a secret weapon that will bridge this gap.

I now have a tool that allows me to have anyone who is interested FOLLOW me as I go. Anyone who is interested in my project can see AND hear what is happening in the field, without me “showing my hand” so to speak when it comes to the final images. Imagine being very happy. Imagine creating an audience for your final project, as you go along, so that when your project is done you have an audience of people who have NOT seen every image, and can relive, relearn and experience the project the way it was intended to be experienced. Imagine this sounding pretty good.

Well, now you have another option.

Oh ya, did I mention the Blurb plug-in for Lightroom? That’s kinda new too. Just to hurl something else at you.

I know what you are thinking. “I want more.” I get it. Did I mention I’m a photographer?

I’m not sure what the future holds, and let’s be real. NONE of these things substitute for time and access in the field. These new items are like arrows in your photographic quiver.

Any questions about these things, just let me know.