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My experiences printing a small batch of books

A comparison of four online printing services: Blurb, BookBaby, Lulu, and Nook Press

Printing services I compared

Price

Options

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A few of the Lulu options. A lot of graying out happens as you switch between them.
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A few of Nook Press options

Print sharpness

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Print quality: Blurb and BookBaby
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Print quality: Lulu and Nook Press

Paper quality

Cover and dust jacket

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Blurb: Dust jacket and cover
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BookBaby: Dust jacket and cover
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Lulu: Dust jacket and cover
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Lulu cover spine text embossing (lowercase is also available)
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Nook Press cover and all the covers (sans dust jackets) together: Nook Press (bottom), BookBaby, Lulu, and Blurb (top)

Barcode

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Barcode in Blurb on the last page (identical as in Nook Press), on Blurb’s cover, on Nook Press’s cover

Craft

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Blurb and BookBaby misalignment
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Lulu and Nook Press misalignment
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BookBaby misaligned glue + crease on the cover

Creation and uploading experience

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Blurb Mac app (Bookwright), and its InDesign plug-in UI
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BookBaby user interface
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Lulu user interface
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Nook Press user interface

Customer support

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BookBaby customer support email. I followed the instructions to “Complete Project” unsuccessfully a few times. I then replied to an email saying I don’t know what to do. Only then, I was told what the problem was. That could’ve been said in the above email, sparing us both a week.

What did I choose?

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Available cover colours at Lulu
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The books without dust jackets

Addendum: My dreams and suggestions for each service

Written by

Designer/typographer · Writing a book on the history of keyboards: https://aresluna.org/shift-happens

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