Further to my post about the quality of printing my book on 4th March, the matter has been working its way through the Blurb system. An e-mail from MikeS in Support was received on 16th March. This is reproduced below with my response to his points inserted.
Jessica has transferred your ticket to me. I am sorry to hear that your book came out lighter and cooler than you expected. Was this consistent throughout the whole book, or is it just with specific photos? Would you be able to send a photo of the two books next to each other opened to the same page? I want to make sure we can do something about the printing before blindly sending a reprint through and it coming out the same way.
BH A photograph comparing the two books is attached (opposite 1) – original at the top, later edition below. I’m not equipped to do high quality copying, but I hope this is sufficient to indicate the problem. The change in tone and density occurred throughout the book, though it was a bit more pronounced on some pictures than others.
When you print your book through our (or any other) print-on-demand process there’s always the chance of some slight variation in the printing and production process.
BH I accept that slight variations may occur, but this degree of variation between first copy and subsequent multiple copy order has never been so pronounced with previous books.
That variation could be in the color of your book–it might look slightly warmer (more red) or slightly cooler (more blue) compared to the original image, or compared to the same book printed at different times.
BH I also accept that there may be variations from the original image. In submitting pictures I have always tried to ensure that they have an overall exposure and tonal range that will print well through Blurb. Leaving aside the first printed volume, I don’t think the final printing reflects the quality of the original images (opposite 2) allowing for acceptable variations.
You may see some slight variation in the density (brightness) of the image on the printed page as well, compared to the original image as seen on your monitor or compared to the same book/same image printed at different times.
BH Likewise, I’ve always allowed for how pictures appear on my monitor compared with how they will print.
There may also be slight variations in the trimming, binding and alignment of your book, its pages and its cover.
BH Trimming, binding etc. are fine.
Any variation should be slight but may still be noticeable. (An extreme variation would likely be considered a print defect). But ultimately we have to allow for the slight variation that can occur in our production process.
BH Again accepting some variability, I don’t think it is slight in this case.
This means you won’t necessarily get a 100% perfect match between what’s on your screen and what’s in the printed book, or between different orders of the same book.
BH I wouldn’t like to put a figure on it, but the degree of consistency between the copies is well below 100%.
But your book should still fall within our overall quality standards and that seems to be the case here–your book has some of the slight variation we have to allow for.
BH I don’t agree that the difference falls within the quality standards
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Blurb Customer Support
The Following response has come through today.
Thank you for sending that photo. I checked your submitted book file against the photo of the compared books, and I agree with you that this does fall outside what we would qualify as acceptable variation.
I’ve requested a new print run for the defective books today. You should see an automated e-mail from us confirming that new order, as well.
Your re-order number is ……. Please visit your order history page and double check the reprint, to make sure that everything is in order.
Once your order ships, you’ll receive an automated email plus any applicable tracking information.
Blurb Customer Support
So, subject to seeing the final a version, a good result that gives me the confidence to use Blurb again.
I have posted this in the hope that it may be helpful to those planning to publish books through Blurb and dealing with any issues that may arise. I think the way that Blurb has dealt with my issues reflects well on the company.