I needed to produce a Photobook. I normally use Blurb, especially if I want to sell on the book. However on this occasion I wasn’t really thinking about selling the book. It was specifically going to be a prize for a photo challenge at work. I was going to get 8 copies. I built the book from scratch on Shutterfly, with 34 photographs in it, in a 20 page photobook, hard bound. I was building it in my spare time, and it took over two days of spare time to do. I was pretty pleased with the end result. They folks who were going to be getting it as a prize we’re going to be pretty chuffed. When I was finally happy with it, and I normally check these things over again and again, then spell check, then check it again, because I’m like that, I finally went to my cart and pressed the purchase button. And that’s when it all went wrong. For some reason the cart wouldn’t complete. So, thinking it was a browser issue I went to Chrome. Did it again, to no avail. Same result. Then I got a chat help pop up, so I used it. After about half an hour of chatting and waiting and explaining, I was no further forward, the person on chat simply said I am not authorised to complete your purchase for you so you will have to phone the number below. So I did. After some time I got through to someone in customer service and explained the whole issue again. It seemed that this person knew immediately what the problem was because they had an issue with the system not recognising a UK postcode. So I asked if I left the cart and phoned back tomorrow they would be able to help me. No sir, this problem will take two weeks to fix! TWO WEEKS?
So there we are. Shutterfly, have an outstanding fault on their website which currently doesn’t recognise a UK postcode and therefore cannot take my order for 8 books. The overall total was about £390 but there was a voucher code and it was what I thought an impressive £203 to pay at the end of the day all in. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for a day or so before deciding to take a look at Blurb. I didn’t really fancy reconstructing the book from scratch all over again, particularly since it took two days on SF.
The day I eventually decided to try Blurb, I couldn’t believe it. It was quicker, it was easier, more flexible page design, with more options, plus of course, there’s the additional element of being able to sell the book and set profit etc., which although wasn’t the plan, you never know how things might change. But what really grabbed me when I finally got the blurb version finished. It was £221 with no discounts, so effectively, after all that, Blurb was better value, quicker delivery too.
So in summary, Blurb is cheaper, more vfm, faster, and easier to use. Although I have created with SF in the past and been very happy with the book quality, I will more than likely stick with Blurb as this experience has proved to me that Shutterfly may well be a big name, but definitely not the best in my book (pardon the pun).