Photo Book Publisher Blurb Gobbles Up Its Biggest Competitor, HP’s MagCloud

The photo book self-publishing landscape has gotten a little bit smaller. Do-it-yourself book publisher Blurb announced yesterday it had purchased its biggest competitor: HP’s MagCloud web-based publishing platform.

BlurbMagCloud differs slightly form Blurb in that it is more of a soft-cover, magazine-style self-publishing platform than than a photo book publisher.

According to a press release from Blurb, MagCloud will become a part of Blurb under a new licensing agreement.

Current MagCloud customers will see no changes to their service for three months. Current and new photo magazine layouts will remain on MagCloud for photographers seeking to print, sell or distribute them. Once that period ends, Blurb expects to move MagCloud users to the Blurb platform.

“Indie magazines are experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and we’re thrilled to welcome MagCloud customers to the Blurb fold,” said Eileen Gittins, Blurb’s founder and CEO.

We’re wondering what readers feel about this news? I reviewed Blurb a few years ago and found it to be very easy to use and reasonably priced service that produced good if somewhat unspectacular results. I’m less familiar with HP’s MagCloud service and I’m wondering whether those users have any trepidations about this merger.

Please leave your thoughts on this self-publishing development in the comments below.

You can read more details about the MagCloud and Blurb merger here.

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5 Responses to “Photo Book Publisher Blurb Gobbles Up Its Biggest Competitor, HP’s MagCloud”

  1. Hasi Says:

    This Sucks big time. Blurb software is quirky and sucks a hairy bone. I’m outta here!

  2. Joseph Holmes Says:

    I tried Blurb many times over the years but I always found the books too expensive, and I didn’t like using the layout software. I also found the print quality to be inconsistent from order to order. Magcloud’s biggest drawbacks are that it offers no layout software at all and requires all books to be uploaded as pdfs, and its layouts are limited to just a few sizes of books or soft-cover magazines. But Magcloud is less expensive and the printed results are terrific. I’ve used Magcloud exclusively for the past couple years.

    I’m a little worried about this merger — will we still be able to buy inexpensive books? Will the printing be consistent?

  3. Bentley Nelson Says:

    I am extremely concerned about Blurb taking over MagCloud. I’ve been using MagCloud to print books and posters for years and found their quality and service to be exceptional. I abhor Blurb’s insistence on putting their logo on an author’s work, then charging to take that logo off. I attended a recent Blurb event in San Francisco and looked at a variety of their books in many different formats. It is obvious that there are many inconsistencies in binding and print quality among Blurb’s many suppliers. If Blurb wants this merger to succeed it will behoove them to take MagCloud’s best practices and adopt them as their own, including MagCloud’s industry-leading pricing, printing, binding and customer service standards.

  4. Barry Goyette Says:

    If your description of the merger is correct, this is truly sad. Blurb’s product line is great, but their quality has always been low given that they are printing on the same presses as MagCloud. The Indigo presses are quite capable of brilliant offset quality, but blurb’s suppliers must, by protocol, be running at a higher speed, lower quality than what is optimum.

    MagCloud has traditionally produced the highest quality of any of the mainstream online publishers, although their product range limitations have always been a bit frustrating. Their flexibility in page count and pricing have always been plusses as well.

    If magcloud is simply taking over the customer base and essentially ending MagCloud’s services. They are paying a whole bunch of money for nothing. MagCloud’s customers had already run from blurb and the others. This merger offers them no reason to come back.

    My guess is that MagCloud has been unprofitable. But a better solution would be to establish MagCloud as a premium quality product. Add products, and yes, charge more, to bring the company to profitibility.

  5. Ben Says:

    As someone who prints photo books for a living, this merger does not suprise me. The two product ranges Blurb and Magcloud offer are different and complimentary. However, the problems they each have with color quality and consistency will likely be compounded – it is tough to control that stuff when you are outsourcing production.

    The fear should be that even fewer options out there for artists and photographers will take an already very limited product range and make it even worse.

    - Ben