Photographer Jonathan Saunders found out like most people (I know we’ve covered this ground before) that Blurb Books are completely hit-or-miss in the quality of the final product. Much of this can be chalked up to blurb trying to find the point where acceptable cost meets acceptable quality. I had an interesting conversation last week with the Modern Postcard dudes where they said that the business started because they couldn’t find any reliable printers for their high end photo heavy real estate brochures, so they built their own printing facility and suddenly discovered the immense challenge of gang printing photographs and working with photographers who have an eye for detail and color. They told me the majority of their employees work in customer service.
So apparently after he saw some extremely high quality books at the Photography Book Now party in the fall of 2008 Jonathan decided to give Blurb another shot even though he had tried their service previously and been disappointed with the results. Then “Blurb banned me when I pointed out to Blurb the books at the Photography Book Now party in the fall of 2008 are of a higher quality then I was able to receive when placing an actual order with Blurb. So instead of helping me achieve that quality, Blurb “disabled” my account for me without my permission since Blurb could not achieve the quality Blurb advertises or actually support the B3 system I paid for.”
You can read the full story (here), but it looks like Jonathan did everything within his power to get a book that matched his expectations including paying for a higher quality product, contacting customer service and complaining and submitting frequent lengthy emails. I was thinking that I might say to him “too bad buddy” you got advertised to. It happens all the time where the marketing pushes your expectations beyond what the product can deliver but I think in this case it’s blurb that’s making the mistake by pushing very hard to be a print on demand book company for professional photographers and failing to meet the bare minimum of consistency and quality. A photo book that’s printed right is only as good as the photography on the pages and if Blurb would like to use professional photographers as their marketing vehicle they need to step up to the plate and meet their expectations. Banning someone from ever using your service again is headed the wrong direction.