When coming home from small or big trips we do so with hands full of baggage, a ton of great memories and a lifetime worth of digital photos. Back in the days, when photography was still mostly analogue, the best part of coming back from a trip was to collect the freshly developed photos from a photo store of our choice and stick them into a photo album. This way we could share all our experiences with our friends and family, whether they wanted or not. I don’t know about you but in my case, after sharing some of my pictures with you guys here on Travelettes, most of my photo memories just waste away somewhere on my harddrive…

So what to do with all those pictures? As a graphic designer I was never a fan of the photo book services available. Even though they would advertise to come as “custom made”, I never felt there was any chance to really do one that is well-designed. To me, these books often looked cheap, with bad print and low paper quality. But when visiting the Hello Etsy conference in September, I got to know Blurb. I am a sucker for good design and photo books so their product caught my eye.

Blurb is a self-publishing service for any kind of books. You can create photo books, creative books, notebooks, calenders and even publish your own novels or poems. With a print on demand system you can sell your photo books or travel stories online or order just one copy (or more) for yourself. The good thing is, once printed, they can look just as great as any other coffee table book you can get in a design bookshop. Just with your name on it.

Here are some examples of kick-ass travel photo books, printed with Blurb:

As we are currently in the making of a rather special photo book for Travelettes (which will be available to buy as an e-book, come January), I can say, the process is very easy. You simply download the Booksmart software (or for advanced designers an InDesign or Lightroom plugin) and get started. Within Booksmart you can choose between different templates, but also customize them, add notebook pages or simple text to your photos.

Another great thing I noticed, is the color profile. This makes sure you can adjust the color settings of your pictures so they turn out saturated and in good quality, once printed. When finished editing your book you upload it to Blurb to order the print or make it available to sell it to other people, or both. After that, you can share your book with a free online slideshow (see below) with your facebook friends or the readers of your blog or make use of the opportunity to publish it as an eBook as well.

You have the choice between different sizes, papers and hard- or softcovers and the prices range from 2,25€ for a softcover book and from 10,95€ for a hardcover book.

If you’re still stretched for ideas on what to give to your loved ones for Christmas this year, this might be your best bet! Who doesn’t love a selfmade gift!

Go ahead, grab some of your best travel shots and get started! Make sure to use the code “TRAVELETTES” when ordering your book, to get a whopping 50% discount* on your order and stay tuned for the Travelettes book to come!

*This offer is good for one-time use and valid through December 3 2011 (23:59 local time). The maximum discount is 30 EUR. It is good for self-authored books only.

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This post was written by Nina Hüpen-Bestendonk, who has a funny name even for Germans; she is a wicked go-getter and creative freelance designer, photographer and blogger.

She has an eye for beauty and even finds it in ugly apartment blogs. Her weekly photo chronicle “My week in pictures” has already become a classic among urban Berliners. Find out more at smaracuja.de.