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Publishing startup Blurb enters global marketplace using HP Indigo digital presses


“Our decision to
standardize on the
HP Indigo has been one
of the best decisions
we’ve ever made.”

— Eileen Gittins
Chief executive officer

Eileen Gittins’ story is a page-turner. In 2003, she set out to publish her own photo essay book. She needed only 40 copies, but she wanted them to look as if they belonged on a bookstore shelf. To her disappointment, Gittins soon realized there was no cost-effective way to produce a small number of professional-quality books.

Inspired, Gittins founded Blurb, a creative publishing platform that lets anyone design any kind of book—complete with a dust jacket, library bindery and superior image quality—using simple drag-and-drop software.

Quick Facts

  • Blurb relies on HP Indigo digital presses to help customers create bookstore-quality books.
  • HP Indigo delivers offset quality that impresses even professional photographers.
  • Print-on-demand technology offers a cost-effective way for Blurb’s customers to order small numbers of books.


»Learn more about what HP offers publishing and transactional printers
Highlighted Products
»HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press
»HP Indigo W7200 Digital Press
»All HP Indigo digital presses
»View the PDF version of this story (EN only)

For her start-up to succeed, Gittins needed a cost-effective way to produce books that would impress even professional photographers. After evaluating different options, she chose the print-on-demand capabilities—and consistent offset and photo quality—of the HP Indigo press 5500, the HP Indigo 7000 Digital Press and the HP Indigo W7200 Digital Press.

“You can’t do this type of business with today’s offset technology,” says Gittins, now Blurb’s CEO. “The economics don’t work for an order of one, ten or even 100 books.”

“The quality and economics are
only possible because of the HP Indigo’s
print-on-demand technology.”

From startup to global business

Soon, Blurb was serving a global market and needed international printing and fulfillment capabilities. The company forged partnerships with independent digital print service providers worldwide, and in many cases HP helped make the introduction.

“HP has been instrumental in our search to find experienced print vendors around the world,” Gittins says. Today, Blurb’s customers can receive their books in a matter of days, thanks to a network of print service providers in more than 60 countries, operating more than 80 HP Indigo digital presses.

And because the HP Indigo digital press is designed for customized jobs, Blurb can offer customers more control over their books—from the number of pages to the number of copies ordered. Blurb’s unique platform also helps its customers save money. Anyone, from small businesses to individuals, can make personalized books and order only a few copies, avoiding large, expensive print runs.

Quality within reach

Initially, Blurb used both the HP Indigo press 5500 and a non-HP press for color books, but customers quickly noticed. Side by side, the HP Indigo’s output won Blurb’s customers over, offering a broader spectrum of colors, including more neutral black-and-white prints and a wider range for skin tones. Blurb now prints every color book on an HP Indigo digital press.

“Our decision to standardize on the HP Indigo has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. The HP Indigo really drives a different level of image quality,” Gittins says.

The HP Indigo W7200 Digital Press prints with up to seven colors, providing the widest digital color gamut with 4-, 6- or 7-color PANTONE® emulation, including PANTONE® Goe™. The HP Indigo Ink Mixing System offers a consistent, accurate match for custom color requirements, matching up to 97 percent of PANTONE colors. Plus, the HP Indigo W7200 offers 4-color printing up to 240 ppm, the widest range of compatible media, long-format printing up to 980 mm and in-line finishing.

A new chapter in publishing

Compared with the same time in 2008, Blurb’s 2009 year-to-date revenue is up 185 percent. And with help from HP Indigo digital presses, the company can continue to grow its business while providing customers with creative control and outstanding quality. Gittins explains:

“The caliber of work showcased in Blurb books
demonstrates the quality that anyone can achieve using
Blurb and HP Indigo technology.”

“There is nothing better than showcasing first-quality work using first-quality printing,” she adds.