Blurb Announces Improved Fulfillment and Print Options

DIY self-publishing platform Blurb yesterday announced improved fulfillment and print options for authors, publishers and businesses using its services. In a press release sent to TIPM, Blurb announced the introduction of ‘lower cost’ offset print runs for book orders of more than 750 units and Blurb authors can also opt into its Agile Fulfillment Program (AFP). The program will allow authors to hold a minimum of 300 book units at one of its warehouses for a period of up to six months for a ‘nominal fee’ per unit. Authors can then call off quantities of books as they need them for direct selling purposes.

While the new services from Blurb are an improvement, I’m somewhat disappointed that it still leaves Blurb far short of the distribution programs offered by other self-publishing platforms. I’m also a little concerned at the turnaround time for processing bulk offset orders—running at anything from 4 to 10 weeks depending on which method of shipping is chosen and whether the printing is carried out within a customer’s region or offshore.
Blurb is also expanding its offerings on book customisation, including end sheets, embossing and foil stamping.
You can read the full press release below.
BLURB ANNOUNCES A SUITE OF NEW TOOLS TO HELP BUDDING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS
o   BLURB WILL ENABLE LOWER COST OFFSET PRINTING, AGILE FULFILLMENT AND NEW BOOK CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS MAKING SELF-PUBLISHING MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN EVER
o   SELF-PUBLISHERS NOW SEE GREATER PROFITS/LOWER COSTS WHILE HAVING EVEN MORE CONTROL OVER THEIR INDIVIDUAL BOOKS

1st April 2014 — Blurb, a market leading self-publishing platform for illustrated books, today announced a suite of new tools including offset book printing, short term book warehousing and delivery fulfillment – giving budding authors the ability to create and sell large volumes of books. The company will also be offering a host of new customization options, giving more choice and control than ever to self-publishers.

Blurb was founded on the premise that everyone should be able to publish beautifully designed books with first class production values. By creating a business model that supports a minimum of one copy per title, Blurb has opened up the world of publishing to everyone who has access to a computer plus a story to tell or work to share.

These latest offerings expand Blurb’s position as the leading platform for self publishers to create and sell beautiful illustrated books. To date the company has seen more than 1.1 million self-publishers produce 2.8 million unique titles ranging from architecture, children’s books, photography, travel, how-to books, and food books, to every kind of design book you can imagine.

Offset printing
“The number one request from self publishers is to increase profits from book sales, while businesses want reduce book costs so the project comes in within budget,” said Eileen Gittins, Blurb’s founder and CEO. “Our new offset print capability can reduce unit costs by as much as 40% or more over single copy print on demand.”

Offset runs begin at 750 units or more with print locations in Europe, Hong Kong and the US. Customers are invited to get information at www.blurb.com/offset-printing as well as custom quotes by contacting Blurb directly at customquote@blurb.com for all other geographies.

Agile fulfillment program (AFP)
“Self-publishers come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing’s for sure: most do not have their own warehousing and fulfillment capability,” said Gittins. “In the past this meant that the apartment dweller could not get best pricing via volume orders as they had no way to manage the warehousing and fulfillment. That’s all changed as a result of our new AFP (agile fulfillment) program.”

Any Blurb print order of at least 300 units is eligible for AFP for up to six months at a nominal fee per unit.  When orders arrive at blurb.com, instead of being printed on demand the orders are routed to the warehouse where they are picked, packed and shipped directly to the customer.

“The combination of offset printing plus agile fulfillment is leveling the playing field for those who want to independently publish,” said Gittins.

Customization Options
The expanding menu of book customizations is a result of customer demand for different ways to showcase their creativity, as well as create professional-quality products to market and promote their businesses. These customizations are available for orders of 300 or more and include:

  • Embossed and debossed text or patterns on the cover and spine
  • Foil stamping on the cover and spine
  • Page marker ribbons
  • Personalizable end sheets – with a photo or other graphic
  • Headbands and footbands
“In a world where self publishers can now choose between ebooks and print books, when they take their books to print, they want them to be even more special. These new customization options from Blurb ensure that every book is highly individual and memorable,” said Gittins.

-ENDS-
Notes to Editors

About Blurb
Blurb is a company and a community that believes passionately in the power of books – in both print and ebook form. Blurb’s indie publishing platform is simple yet flexible enough to make everyone an author — every blogger, cook, designer, photographer, entrepreneur, poet, everyone. Founded by Eileen Gittins in 2005 and funded by Canaan Partners and Anthem Venture Partners, the Blurb platform enables everyone to independently publish, share, market and distribute their work. Blurb’s portfolio of free software tools include Blurb’s BookWright, BookSmart and Bookify in addition to a plugin for Adobe InDesign plus full integration into Adobe Lightroom. With over 1 million book creators and more than 2.8 million unique titles published to date, Blurb is re-imagining not only who gets to be an author but also what books can and should be in the 21st century.

Mick Rooney – Publishing Consultant

If you found this review or article helpful, but you’re still looking for a suitable self-publishing provider to fit your needs as an author, then I’m sure I can help. As a publishing consultant and editor of this magazine, I’ve reviewed and examined in detail more than 150 providers throughout the world like the one above. As a self-published and traditionally published author of nine books, I understand your needs on the path to publication and beyond. So, before you spend hundreds or thousands, and a great deal of your time, why not book one of my personally tailored and affordable consultation sessions today? Click here for more details.
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