Competition: Win a Blurb photo book!

by Forager on December 7, 2010

Throngs of people amble listlessly and aimlessly, glazed over eyes wandering and scanning the landscape; irritation and rage lies dormant but festering just beneath the surface ready to be unleashed with the mere hint of a competitive tussle for a prized find – all whilst infuriating blood-boiling cheer loops on in the background.  You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s the set of a D-grade budget zombie movie, but it’s Christmas people, and with only weeks left till Christmas, the countdown is on to get all your Christmas shopping done.

Every year we’re expected to navigate beyond the lazy comfort zone of gift vouchers, bottles of wine or worse yet, the same thing you bought them last year. We’re expected to be tapped into the conscious and subconscious utterings of all our loved ones, to filter through a year’s worth of conversations and sort the genuine lust-after gift wishes from the passing fancies – all this to attain a unique gift that will elicit that look of dawning surprise and joy once the wrapping paper is torn away on Christmas Day. That elusive look that both shows your familiarity with and understanding of the recipient and speaks volumes about your perception and sensitivity.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find buying Christmas presents a constant challenge? It’s when I’m scouring my beleaguered brain for clever new Christmas gifts for friends and family that I understand why my parents persist with their tried and trusted method of giving a cash present regardless of the occasion, the age or the gift desires of the recipient. Perhaps there is some method in their madness after all..

But before you give in and start giving generic presents (or worse, just cash) consider getting a customised Blurb book! Blurb was established in San Francisco by Eileen Gittens in 2004 after she attempted to get a photo book published only to be told that a minimum of 40 copies were required to make the order. Eileen found the options available at the time too expensive and time consuming and started her own book publishing company. With 35,000 books published by Australians this year, it appears Aussies have already discovered this company and now Blurb has launched locally too.

Whether it’s a photo book recounting nostalgic travel adventures; special occasions like weddings, birthdays or memoirs; inspirational art, photography or family recipes; or even a customised children’s book – they’re sure to elicit more emotion from a recipient than a generic I-had-no-idea-what-to-get-you voucher.

Or if you’re feeling self indulgent, you can treat yourself to a photo book. Personally, I’d love to make a book of our travels through South America last year – showcasing the vibrancy of Buenos Aires – my new favourite buzz destination; the delirium at 5000m+ on Uyuni salt flats; the insanity we experienced on Death Road; the menagerie of animals in the Amazon; the majesty of Machu Picchu; the thunderous energy at Iguazu Falls and of course all the food along the way.


Sample Blurb book: "South America" by Rachel Hart - This image was from her travels in Ecuador. Whilst we didn't make it to Ecuador, it's good to see that inefficient roads were the norm in South America..


Sample Blurb book: "Around Cuba", by Onno Vandelaak - pictures to inspire future travel plans..

Or perhaps I should create a personal keepsake book recording my mushroom foraging findings? Clearly, I’m far from alone in my mushroom foraging passions as there are already plenty of photo books on fungi!

Blurb Mushrooms Book

Sample Blurb book: "Mushrooms! A class by David Lebo Photography" by Dasja Dolan - looks like the type of foraging trip I'd want to join!

The Co-pilot has long suggested that I should release a book titled “Mysteries of the universe” as I often start on one topic of conversation, make a few leaping associations in the quiet of my mind, come to a mental barrier, then utter out loud something like: “I wonder whether oysters feel variations in temperature?”. These “mysteries of the universe” statements are often met with silence and the metaphorical tumbleweeds and crickets, followed by ridicule, then are clinically stamped with a random number, à la mysteries of the universe, number 167.

Whilst my musings may not be of even mild interest to anyone except the Co-pilot and friends keen on ridiculing me, it may be a great avenue for you to publish your own creative content, recipes or even launch your career as a published author! You can sell your books on the Blurb website, set your own price and keep 100% of the profits!

Cupcakes a NYC tale

Sample Blurb book: "Cupcakes: A NYC Tale", by Kandice Keimig. I like the way this book is nicely arranged by bakery and provides a taste test of signature cupcakes. The tourists' cupcake guide!

Feeling inspired? To help you along, you can win a customised book thanks to Blurb! The prize is worth up to $114.95 in value. The winner has the choice of creating a customised photo book that is:

  • square; standard portrait or standard landscape size
  • your option of page quantity
  • your option of cover type
  • See Blurb’s pricing options for more details

To win – all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, tell me what sort of book you’d like to create and don’t forget to include your email address for contact purposes. Creativity is the key here! And to ensure the winner has enough time to create their books in time for Christmas this competition will close very soon – specifically midnight this Friday 10th of December 2010 (AEST). The winners has up to a year to claim their prize, but to make sure your book gets delivered in time for Christmas, your orders must be submitted by the 12th of December. So hop to it!

For readers who can’t wait to start creating their own book, Blurb is offering all Gourmet Forager readers free priority shipping on photo book orders (up to 3 books) until the 6th of January 2011. Simply enter the promo code “FORAGERSHIP”  at checkout to save up to $9.95! Click here to browse their site.


Good luck!


The fine print: The competition is open to Australian residents only and closes midnight Friday 10th of December 2010 (AEST). The winner will be judged on the creativity of their submission, contacted on Saturday 11th of December 2010 via email and will have 12 months to create their book.  To ensure orders are delivered in time for Christmas please ensure the finalised photo book is submitted by Sunday 12th of December 2010. From submission, the photo book will take about 1 week to 10 days to arrive.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracey@Tangled Noodle December 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I had to laugh at your ‘Mysteries of the Universe’: we are, apparently, kindred cosmonauts, although my husband describes having to hear my out-loud stream-of-consciousness chatter as akin to being trapped in my brain. Although I’m ineligible (drat!) for this contest, I would love to do a customized book such as the ones offered by Blurb. Perhaps it’s rather self-indulgent to say that it would be a hardcopy of my blog posts/recipes, but I don’t have any other material that’s close to book-worthy – yet. 😎

This is a marvelous prize and early congratulations to the lucky winner!
Tracey@Tangled Noodle recently posted..Use It or Lose It- Cooking on the MoveMy Profile

2 Adam December 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Hi Trina! I have always wanted to do a book on my time in Japan.

I attempted to chronicle my year in Osaka (2006-7) in my first blog:
On subsequent trips (twice in 2010), I’ve leaked a bunch of photos on Facebook and on my new blog:
On these trips, I went to fifteen prefectures, each with a different regional culture and cuisine. I think if I could collate everything into one book, I could have chapters that show the differences between each in a structured way.

While I have been blogging, I’ve done it all \on the run,\ without much time to reflect on it. These days especially, I keep explanations to a minimum. I think if I had the opportunity to publish a book, I would be able to \revisit\ it all, going into a lot more detail and displaying photos that I haven’t released before. (Not to mention, I am going back there in 2011 for my wedding).

What appeals to me is the freedom you have with a book – I think you have a lot more control over layout and typography. When you blog, you have to think about platform compatibility and speed — and most of the time, people resort to using existing products. The most control you have is choosing the \skin\ you want. A book is much more of a \finished product.\

Good luck to everyone for the competition!

3 Christine@Christine's Recipes December 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

Up to now, I’m just a consumer who buys all cookbooks that I love to keep. Hmmm…it’s still a long way to publish my own. But I think my first book would definitely cover all my family’s favourite dishes, keeping it as a heritage for my daughter or as a sentimental memory in print. It’s a cross-culture kind of cookbook, incorporated both Aussie and Hong Kong popular dishes, with illustrations of some vintage HK scenes that match with the dish I cooked.
Christine@Christine’s Recipes recently posted..Pineapple with Ice Cream &amp Chilli SyrupMy Profile

4 Cynthia Corpuz December 8, 2010 at 11:29 am

I read the fine print and am sad to see that this contest is only for Australian residents. Surely I was hoping it be open to all, especially us who live in San Francisco since it is based here. :-)

Thanks for the heads up anyway. I am already looking into creating my own fun keepsake cooking books on Blurb as well. Cheers!
Cynthia Corpuz recently posted..Test Kitchen Tuesday- How to Make Potato SpiralsMy Profile

5 penny aka jeroxie December 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I have been thinking about this for a long time… just need to get myself into gear

6 Trissa December 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I would love to create a book just of my dog’s pictures. They are so cute and funny – they have so many antics that I am sure it would be a best seller (that is, if I can convince anyone to mass publish it of course!). I’d call in Baci & Bizou Take Over.
Great competition by the way!

7 the ninja December 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I would do a book on ways in which to avoid giving Christmas presents…oh wait…

In all seriousness, I would love to do a photo-recount of an epic ninja adventure, combining the sensory appeal of food and travel shots with blisteringly-intense action photography and a moody noir atmosphere. My shooter’s going to hate me for suggesting this

8 DCJ December 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

My flatmate and I always wonder how come there aren’t any cook books out there about home-style Korean food. There are heaps of cook books out there about family recipes or home-cooking from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnames, Italian, Greek… cultures; but there don’t seem to be any about Korean food. I love going to my Korean friends’ places and tasting all their mums’ and aunts’ cooking, especially the side-dishes… yummmmy!

So my idea for a blurb book would be to make a cook book of Korean home-style food. I would go to the homes of my Korean friends and ask their mums to cook a few of their top dishes, note down their tips for each dish, and maybe add a story to accompany some of the dishes (e.g. my son’s favourite, or once when all I had was kimchi in the house…, back in Korea we used to… and such anecdotes). Plus take some nice photos et voila!! (not sure how to say that in Korean)

9 Chef Ally December 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

Hello Trina!

First of all Thank You for leaving a comment on my blog! I’m really glad you like it. :) And I like yours a lot too! It’s so bright and cheery and a MASSIVE SHOUT OUT to your Singapore Chili Crab post! Urgh! It’s making me sooooooo homesick right now!

The Blurb book I would create will be a chronicle of my journey of discovery – the discovery of joy: from a depressing office cubicle to my happy place in the kitchens of Le Cordon Bleu! My friends have suggested I write a book about it, but a Blurb picture book seems waaaayy easier and more fun to read! I’ll put tonnes of pictures and recipes for the avid pastry chef to cook along to, it’ll be wicked fun ! :)
Chef Ally recently posted..Croquembouche Part 2- Sugar SyrupMy Profile

10 angie December 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm

What a great idea and a perfect Christmas present too =)
angie recently posted..Willy Wonker Factory aka Georgious Confectionery 25th SeptemberMy Profile

11 jojo December 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I’d like to make a photobook that challenges people. I’m thinking “how to live on $2 a day” would be an interesting idea and it would also raise awareness about people who live in Australia and around the worlds in extreme poverty. There’d be images of normal Aussies trying to live frugally, and ideas on where one could save money, recipes for cheap meals, dumpster diving, second-hand clothes shopping and stuff like that. Poverty porn would be a no no, but some pictures of developing communities going about their daily tasks might add value. If I won, I would donate my profits to a charity that works in reducing poverty.

12 Corinne @ Gourmantic December 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

My idea for a blurb book would be a photobook on Culinary Travel in Paris. It would be a comprehensive and experience-based guide for first time and seasoned travellers. I would include personal tips gathered over the years and little anecdotes that would make the reader want to pack their bags and go!

13 Tina@foodboozeshoes December 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I’d have to do a food and travel one. This is where I went, what I ate and why I love it/found it funny/it moved me etc. People, place and anything that makes me smile :)
Tina@foodboozeshoes recently posted..Pure feasting at Bavarian Bier CaféMy Profile

14 Anna @ Morsels & Musings December 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm

i visited a tiny village medieval in aragon (spain) and over the 3 days i stayed there i took a photo of almost every door in the village. old ones, new ones, doors on balconies and doors on derelict collapsing buildings. i even took photos of the handles.

suffice to say, my husband was not pleased.

so, now that i made him suffer, i have to figure out what to do with all these door photos?
well, now i could make a book of doors . . . . las puertas!

help save my marriage.
Anna @ Morsels & Musings recently posted..porteño- surry hillsMy Profile

15 shaz December 11, 2010 at 12:23 am

Ah! My leaps in logic haven’t been named as such, but I do that “mysteries of the universe” thing ALL the time and hubby just rolls his eyes now.
Oops, just realised I’ve missed the deadline by 20 minutes, sigh, that’s what staying up way too late gets you. Good luck everyone else :) (Just in case you’re feeling charitable, I’d make a book of all the parties we’ve had for the kids, and occasionally ourselves. Our parties are usually themed, so it would be a fun visual diary to track the phases, from fairies to Harry Potter and beyond).
shaz recently posted..Dont go away- Ill be right back!My Profile

16 Forager December 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Thanks to all that entered the Blurb photo book competition over the last few days. The Co-pilot was coaxed into doing the creative judging for me and found it difficult to choose between a final shortlist of 3 stellar comments – in the end he chose…


Jojo! Congratulations! Your photo book idea reminded us of a recent campaign run through the Global Poverty Project and personally I have no idea how to live on less than $2 a day so I’m interested to see your final photo book once completed. A great idea and a noble cause at that! Congrats again and I’ll be in touch on how to claim your prize.

17 Conor @ Hold the Beef December 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I love buying gifts for friends and family, thinking of how happy the perfect gift can make someone :)

Still, there are certain members of my family *ahem* who are bloody impossible to buy for and present a bit too much of a challenge. For these people I am eternally grateful for gift certificates.
Conor @ Hold the Beef recently posted..but our Princess is in another cake!My Profile

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