Nesting Storks & A Blurb Book
I made a photobook with the photos from our trip to Spain last summer and this image really came out great in print. It's interesting how some images I didn't pay too much attention to before became favorites once I saw them in the book.
I started working on my book when the Lightroom 4 beta was released and submitted it for printing to blurb.com with the final version of Lightroom 4.0. I chose the large landscape format with the Proline Pearl premium paper option.
I was excited to receive the book but was immediately disappointed by how the prints turned out. All the photos in the book had crushed shadows with no detail and overall looked muddy. It's as if someone had applied a large gamma correction. My monitor was calibrated to a brightness of 120cd/m^2 so I knew nuclear monitor brightness wasn't the cause.
Needless to say I sent a complaint to blurb's customer service. I felt I had paid for a premium product (more expensive paper) and gotten a subpar result. They responded promptly with a mostly canned response about bright monitors and that proline paper tends to print darker (gee thanks, that would have been great info to put on your website) -- but most importantly they included a coupon code allowing me to reprint the book for free. That's fair.
I finally got around to resubmitting the book after making some changes to content (mixing up the page background colors a bit, replacing one image) and photos. For the new version of the book I set my monitor to its minimum brightness and brightened the images to where they looked a bit too bright on my screen -- not very scientific. I resubmitted using Lightroom 4.1 and the revised book came out beautiful. I love looking at it.
Overall I'm disappointed with the painful process I had to go through to get a good-looking book. I think it would be reasonable for Lightroom to convert the book pages to a color space that makes them print reasonably right out the gate instead of forcing users into a trial and error process.
That being said, the second book came out great and I'd be willing to print additional books through blurb and Lightroom now that I know what to pay attention to. I put a number of photos of the books in the comments so you can get an idea about how it came out.