Waiting for an artefact

I’ve just had an email come through to say that my photo book about Guatemala that I wrote about here is shipping. I’m surprisingly excited to be receiving this. Something tangible.

I’m aware it’s not the same as having a real book publish and in ten years real books won’t even probably exist in the same way that they do now. But I’m still excited. It’s an artefact from my existence. 

It will be an experience to actually touch something that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for me. And also the power of the internet. 

You can have a look at it here: http://www.blurb.com/b/4163958-guatemala. Yes this is shameless self-promotion.



I’m currently standing outside the house after having locked myself out. We’ve all done it. It’s so easy to walk out without your keys, close the door and realise what’s missing.

In the past, it hasn’t been much of a problem. I’m usually either walking to work or on public transport. At the moment I’m driving to work so I can’t even leave the house. I’m standing on the steps waiting to be let back into the house.

Can’t go back. Can’t go forwards.

A bit of a metaphor for life at times.

Photo Book with Blurb

I finally got a photo book created through Blurb. It has been a good experience, with a few ups and downs along the way.

I started using the tools provided by Apple’s Aperture product. It’s a good product that I use to store all my photos. The options for photo books are much less limited than in iPhoto but still a little constrained. It’s fine if you want to use the built-in themes but much less flexible if you want to move beyond that.

I finished the book after spending quite a lot of time arranging things and putting in finishing touches. I had something that was almost ready quite a few times but always found something else to change.

Once it was finished, I priced it up using Aperture. One hundred and seventy two dollars. And twenty six cents I needed to spell that out in words since the number was so big! NZ$172.26. Plus shipping, I expect.

That was a little too pricey. Way too pricey, even.

I’d looked at a few other options over the past few months. There are lots of companies that do this sort of thing. However, most of them that I found only let you design a book using a web application. I didn’t really like the thought of that. All a bit too fiddly.

Blurb was a bit different. They offered a native application on the Mac and PDF upload. I started using the BookSmart app bit I found it a little limiting for a photo book. Seemed pretty good for a proper book but not so good for a photo book.

So, I went back to using Aperture. There was a template that I downloaded for Aperture and I started with that. It wasn’t quite as easy as it had been with the Apple template but it was a good start. I got a 62 page book created in a few hours, using the design that I had previously used as a starting point.

Uploading the book to Blurb was a bit of a slow process. ADSL might be ok for downloading from the internet but it’s not so good for uploading. It took a few minutes to upload the cover (12MB) but over an hour to upload the contents of the book (260MB). Once uploaded everything was pretty smooth. I order a couple of copies and also put the book on sale. With a discount code that I found on the internet, I got the 2 books for US$128, including postage, which is about NZ$153. Not cheap but nowhere near as expensive as with Apple.

I’m still waiting for the books to turn up. Should be at the end of next week. That’s about two weeks from ordering. Not that quick but not that slow either. I’m expecting it might be a little quicker than that. Hopefully I’m not disappointed.

Maybe next time I would create a smaller book to keep the cost down a little. The hardcover 13″x11″ book is probably going to be pretty large when it turns up!

If you want to see what I’ve designed, have a look here: http://www.blurb.com/b/4163958-guatemala.

I think it’s pretty good. You should even buy a copy! Yes, you!

Guatemala is a very beautiful country and I’m trying to share the experience with as many people as I can. I’m guessing the price tag will put almost everyone off though—hence my desire to create a smaller book and keep the price down.

The full preview is available on the site. Enjoy.