I meant to blog about this during Christmas week, but things were so hectic that I just couldn’t get around to doing it. For the last three years now, I’ve been making photo books from Blurb for our kids to give as Christmas gifts to grandparents and great grandparents. It’s an amazingly great gift because for one, you’re updating any far away grandparents on your kids’ progress throughout the past year, giving a very personalized gift, and also capturing those memories for yourself.

The biggest downside can be time. It’s tough to get all of 2011 into a book when you need to place your book order before any Christmas events have happened such as Christmas concerts or Christmas trees and what not.

In 2009 and 2010, I just started the year with the previous Christmas and progressed up to November of the current year, but this wasn’t something I liked doing. This year, out of sheer laziness and procrastination, I found myself rushing to finish my book on December 17 in the hopes of getting it by Christmas Eve.

It took me an entire day to put the book together, which was exhausting, so maybe for this year I’ll just work on the book every few months so that I’m not scrambling in December. In the end, when I placed the order, it was late at night Hawaii time on December 17, well past the December 17 coupon expiration date, which meant I would be paying full price plus express shipping.

The way Blurb works is you download their book making software, which comes with loads of preset backgrounds, borders, and layouts. You can print a softcover, hardcover, or hardcover with dust jacket book and the small square hardcover book with dust jacket is my weapon of choice.

You design the book with your pictures, texts, fonts, or whatever and then upload the book to Blurb’s website. From there you can either put your book up for sale for others to buy or buy them yourself, which is what I do. In past years, I’ve ordered early enough to get free shipping or cheap shipping, but this year, with Christmas 7 days away, I had to just eat it on shipping and I was bracing myself for the worst with express shipping on seven book, even more so when it told me that I’d probably get my books on December 28th.

Amazingly enough, Blurb only charged me $11.99 express shipping for the entire order. And since they said December 28th, I bought an iPad version to send to my aunty so that she could show great grandma at the family party, which cost only $2.

Imagine my surprise when I got a shipment notification saying that my books had shipped on the 22nd via USPS. That meant they’d possibly be here by the 24th! Instead, that Friday I got a notice about a box. My books! I immediately zipped down to the post office, only to see that they were already closed, with the door cracked open to let out the last customer. I begged them to please let me pick it up and after joking that it would cost me an extra 20 bucks, they let me in. Hooray!

Blurb Box

This just goes to show that companies who charge you 60 bucks to send something REGULAR MAIL are just completely full of crap. If I can get this box shipped to me Express Mail for just $12, surely other companies can do better than charging more than your freaking order total for shipping. (still bitter about trying to order foam pumpkins from the mainland)

The books looked great. I wrapped them up and sent them out and many family members were happy. Woo!

Blurb Books

I’ve liked doing business with them in the past, but this year’s order just made me really happy with their service. I know there are tons of photo book places out there now, but Blurb¬†remains my company of choice for the perfect gift to grandma and grandpa.

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