One Line Pitch
Instead of using Blurb publishing tools create the book using HTML and CSS
It has a few problems, such as a cost for producing a PDF proof, no ability to update the entire document styles such as border size of color, text styles, image styles, etc…
I have looked into other publishing tools such as Affinity publisher. More powerful and full featured then BookWright. For $70 you get a real license, none of that subscription BS. I want to support companies that do this more, happy to pay for software with real licenses. But I found that the learning curve on this tool was too great for me.
Recently Blurb added the feature to create books from PDFs.
I have a good understanding of HTML and CSS. I can use these tools to create print layouts for a photo book. Then use a headless browser to convert the HTML and CSS into a PDF that can be printed by Blurb. This allows me to create a webpage that also mimics the photo book and I get a PDF version for free.
There is a lot of prior art, and tutorials on how to do this style of publishing.
- Laying Out a Print Book With CSS - Some tips and tricks on laying out a book using CSS. Hacker News comments
- CSS Paged Media Module - W3C specification.
- PrintCSS and CSS Paged Media - Generating High-quality PDF documents from HTML and CSS
- Weasyprint - solution helping web developers to create PDF documents. It’s free and open source software that can be easily plugged to your applications and websites and turns simple HTML pages into gorgeous PDFs