Exploring the Webby awards was fun. I remember a few sites that I used in the past would send e-mails encouraging me to vote for them in the Webby awards but I never went much further than that. Browsing the webby awards, not knowing what category I wanted to explore, I reached Services and Applications and found http://www.blurb.com as one of the nominees in this category. My niece used this application to create a very high quality book of their son's first year of life in photos, complete with colored dust cover. I was impressed with the book and saw possibilities right away. They created about an 80 page book which they could purchase for about $37 ($25 for softcover) and others can purchase it from the website as well. I told my son about it as a possibility for wedding photos since they have the rights to the digital images. I'm thinking this would be a great way to display my travel photos instead of scrapbooking or traditional photo albums.
The software is free to download and the site has several tutorials to get you started. I watched most of the introductory video. You can use pictures from your computer files, from Flickr and Picasa web albums or a few other sites. If you don't want to use their software, you can use your own software and upload a PDF for printing. Authors can opt to keep their book private or for sale, preview or no preview.
This is something that I will want to explore further by downloading the software at home and playing with it. The software promises to be very flexible as far as making changes in format along the way. The only thing you can't change after you start is the size and shape of the book so the tutorial recommends that you play with a few pictures first to decide if you like the landscape or portrait shape or the 7-inch square book or coffee table-sized book. You can also publish a book with only b/w text for as low as $5. They do offer a flat rate shipping rate of $6.99 for 1-5 books.
Time will tell whether I actually get this done. I have been very guilty of letting lots of pictures sit on my computer where I enjoy them randomly appearing as my screen saver instead of printing very many of them.
For libraries, I could see this as a way to get historic images out for the public or publish a small book about the history of the library.
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