Creative: First Blurb Layflat Sample

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Fellow Passengers,

Blurb now has layflat. You asked for it. Here it is. Now go forth and prosper, or better yet, do a test book and see how this new format fits your visual, tangible world. That’s what I did. Those of you who know me know I make a lot of test books, so what you are looking at here is a comparison between my Wyoming book in both standard-style and layflat.

Technical notes:

20-110 pages
100#, double thick, 148 GSM paper

Layflat is another arrow in your book quiver. That’s it. Is it for everything? No. It’s a unique little offering that makes me think marketing collateral, portfolio or the perfect way of showcasing panoramic images. Or, if you are like me and are known to purposely put key elements of your images dead center in the gutter then this format is calling you. Layflat is more costly, but again, this isn’t designed for all encompassing, self-publishing style projects and sales but rather a specialty product that fits a very specific bill. It lays flat and it looks GOOOOD. Mission accomplished.

As you will see, one image has both the standard book and the layflat open to the same page and you will see the difference in how the book handles. Plus, you can hold this book with one hand and easily read the entire spread, something to consider when most humans have their phone in their hand the bulk of their waking hours. (Yes, I’ve seen people try to look at book while on IG.) There is also a significant difference in thickness. The cover is a slightly different texture as well. You lose nothing in the gutter.

I really like what Blurb is doing. That might sound strange. I work for Blurb, full time, so yes, I SHOULD like what Blurb is doing, but because I’m so awesome I often think of myself as another person, someone pure and stoic who tames animals for a living and ALWAYS does the right thing. When I’m this person I see layflat, magazine, trade, photo, Amazon, Ingram, custom books, bespoke options, offset runs, etc. and I just wonder would I could do given the right amount of time. The tools are there. The good version of me thinks about a book of Fuji, digital files because he hasn’t done a book like that. He thinks about continuing his magazine series ESSAY and he thinks about a collaborative, custom offset book run with some of his equally stoic friends. And then he finds 128 episodes of Miami Vice online and he knows he will stop everything and attend to this magical find.

On a serious note, layflat is a good option and the perfect fit for specific projects. I would start small, like a 7×7, and test out what works best for you. Any questions hit me up in the comments below.

Comments 10

  1. How does it actually work? Is it a sewn binding with a very flexible spine? Maybe some magical stuff with the case to let things move more freely? (I’ve heard tell of things where the mull isn’t glued on one side, but slides in a pocket, roughly).

    Looks like at least some of the spreads above are in the middle of a signature, so it’s the same piece of paper recto and verso, with just a crease down the middle? But not every spread can do that, most spreads are gonna be two different sheets.

    I assume the alignment is spot on, blurb’s been doing this for a while?

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      No pockets. No sliding. Will email you a photo to better explain. Alignment is spot on, but in terms of Blurb doing this for a long while….this was the launch of the product, so no it hasn’t been long. I’ll send some snaps.

    2. I just meant that blurb’s been making photo books a long time, so we can rely on stuff like “no, the alignment has to be right, damn it, these aren’t cookbooks, people!” before the product goes live.

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  2. Also, I am currently deeply in love with trades. Starting to figure out how to get the appearance of a rich black. Stealing stuff from your ESSAYs as fast as I can. Layflat is gonna have to wait a little bit.

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      For what you and I do, Trade is a more flexible format. Layflat would be great for those portfolios or biz books.

  3. Hey – thanks for this thorough review.
    What are you thoughts on using the Blurb Layflat for wedding album?

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      I love that idea, as the “main, fancy” book. However, in addition I would utilize the small trade formats and make a super fat, softcover, chronological overview of the entire event, and I would offer both. The smaller, less formal book takes pressure off the main book but is also affordable enough for attendees or family members to buy. I used to do this all the time.

  4. Hi,

    I’m about to print my first book on Blurb and ordered the swatch kit to see what type of paper would best fit my needs. Layflat appeals to me but the glued pages in the sample kit are getting loose in one corner. Considering the fact that virtually nobody actually handled these pages, I wonder how a layflat book will survive many page flips? Are these pages delicate?

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      They handle the process really well. The reason why Blurb waited so long to bring layflat to market was that the standard issue with this format is longevity. Historically that is. I’ve had one for over a year and it’s fine. The cover is entirely beaten up but that’s because I’ve been carting it around with me for months. Most of my samples get beat up. My needs for layflat would be portfolio only. For everything else I prefer a standard book.

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