updated 02:00 am EDT, Wed October 19, 2011
Previously-created books can now be e-books also
Both customers who have previous made books using Blurb's digital tools, and new clients who have always wanted to create a physical photo-book as a keepsake now also have the option of turning their works into full-fledged e-books, from the same file as was used to create the physical book. New authors have the option of choosing either format, and the resulting e-books work with the iBooks application for iOS, including two-page spreads and pinch/zoom capabilities.
Authors can use Blurb's existing tools for making conventional digitally-based books, Bookify and BookSmart, or convert a previous book made with those tools to an e-book. The company is also planning to add the ability to make e-books from the "PDF-to-book" workflow, and the conversion process only takes a few minutes. The resulting e-Book is optimized for iOS devices but adheres to the standard ePub convention, making it viewable on all other computer and mobile device platforms.
The books can be bought for a base price of just $2 per download, and can also be offered for general sale through the Blurb Bookstore (with the company hinting that other outlets may be available in the future). Beyond the $2 per download cost, the author can set their own value and keep the difference.
The books are predominately visual in nature, but also have room for text, similar to what Apple offers through its iPhoto and Aperture programs -- but with different styles, templates and options. Authors can utilize several tools to help them create the book, which requires no technical knowledge and can use pre-set templates or be completely designed from scratch. The company even offers to create books based on a user's Instagram photos.
The company offers some black-and-white text-only options for physical books, starting at $4 per copy, with the four-color photo-based books starting at $12 per copy (discounts apply for bulk orders at various quantities). The book-making software is free.