If you think Blurb is just for photo books, think again. However, the fact that Blurb is focused on photos makes it a great platform for family history publishing projects. It supports the written stories and it shows off the photos and family ephemera to best advantage. Blurb doesn’t provide the editorial services you’ll find at other publishing platforms, but it offers unmatched layout tools and support.
Blurb’s free BookWright software will help you create a gorgeous print book but it is also probably the easiest way to create your own ebook. BookWright supports both reflowable and fixed-length ebooks. Reflowable ebooks are the “text heavy” ebooks you read on Kindle and iPad devices and in most reader apps. The fixed-length ebook can only be read on iPads. Reflowable ebooks support images, but only within the flow of the text. If you want more control over each page’s layout and design you will need to create a fixed-length book. The conversion cost for a fixed-length book is $9.99. Currently the reflowable conversion is still in beta and is free to use.
BookWright is a layout program. While you can enter and edit text within the app, it does not have the writing tools you will find in word-processing apps or writing platforms. Once your manuscript is ready, BookWright takes over the layout effort – page layout, font styles, image placement and such. There are a number of design templates to make the layout process as easy as possible, but you can also develop your own custom templates if you wish.
Getting started is easy. Download and install the BookWright software on your desktop. There is a very nice user guide at the site. A good way to start is to create a “test” project and use it to try out BookWright’s features as you work your way through the guide.
This chart provides a quick overview of the BookWright desktop. From here you can import photos and text files (in RTF format) so they are easily accessible when you’re ready to include them on a page. You can choose to use a pre-designed page template or create your own. BookWright offers 50 ebook-compatible fonts that have been licensed for use with ebooks. You’ll find them in BookWright’s font-picker.
Blurb provides a tremendous amount of support including webinars, an impressive knowledgebase, user forums and a blog full of great ideas. If you aren’t familiar with book layout/design, you might find Robin Williams’ book, The Non-Designer’s Design Book [Print – $14.42] quite interesting.
If you want a family history book full of stories, charts, photos and ephemera, Blurb and BookWright offer you the best options for designing and publishing both print and electronic editions.