I had actually started to put together my book with the Blurb Booksmart software first, but had gotten frustrated with it and went across to Lulu to test it out. Having put together and ordered a book successfully from Lulu helped me get over the frustration I had with the Booksmart software and finish my book on Blurb. I also decided to remove about 26 photos to tighten the book up.
I like Blurb's cover options the best, I couldn't find any options to change the cover of the photo book on Lulu, but I am sure there is an option to change it somewhere on the site.
Blurb book on the left, Lulu book on the right
Blurb book on top, Lulu below.
Lulu wins this round, it is a lot bigger. There are size options available on Blurb however, Lulu just had the one option for a photo book.
Apart from the size, there are a couple of differences. Blurb allows you to print with premium paper and I couldn't find a way to do the photo captions with Lulu that I was able to with Blurb.
Pretty much the same as I could see, Lulu only has the one cover option while Blurb has soft cover, hardcover and image wrap (image printed directly on cover)
Only a small thing, but if you order the hard cover option from Blurb, you get to have the traditional dust jacket with flaps. It would depend on whether you would want to put the images and text on them if they are useful to you.
An easy win by Blurb, Lulu only has the one price and when you add the cost of shipping it adds up to a lot more than you would expect. The price can go up and down depending on the number of pages, quality of paper, book seller's profit margin and what version of the book you buy.
I am not sure I am allowed to talk about how the sites pay profits from the books to authors, email me if you want me to add it.
I ordered a book from Lulu the day before I ordered my book from Blurb and it took a week and four days longer for the book to arrive from Lulu. The shipping cost was a higher proportion to the cost of the book on Blurb, but there are different options on shipping depending on where you are ordering the book from.
There wasn't any problem about how either of the books was packaged during shipping and both arrived undamaged.
It depends on what you want from the photo book from each site, Lulu is geared more towards personal photo books with less than the number of pages that I had printed, hence the higher price.
Blurb takes a bit more work to put the book together, but I believe the results are worth it.
Thanks, Tim Chmielewski, 3rd July 2009.