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~Christy 8:09am, 2 December 2008
What can I do? I ordered a bunch of books so that they would arrive a week before my book signing. The event is Wednesday and at midnight on Monday I have no idea if the books will arrive in time.

Last Wednesday, we received a notice that "your book experienced a small production delay during its construction" and "We're working on getting your order to you as soon as possible and expect your order to ship within the next 1 to 2 business days." Okay, but they were due to ship that Tuesday at the latest, and then we're notified late in the day before Thanksgiving. This made me a little concerned.

So my partner emailed customer service that we had a deadline, and could they please ensure that they would indeed be shipping Monday overnight. We got an auto-response saying current response time is one business day and they would have staff on Friday and over the weekend to respond.

Still no response, no word, and our order history isn't showing shipment had been made. Now I'm extremely concerned, frustrated, and various other unprintable adjectives. It's too late to cancel the event. We ordered early and have done everything we could to communicate with Blurb. What else can I do?
~Christy 13 years ago
But while I was typing the above, this was forwarded to me . . .

"Thank you for contacting Blurb.

Your publication is still with the printers. I am sorry that this order did not meet our estimated ship date! We know that each of our authors is anxious to see his creation in print, so we do our best to provide a best guess of when books will arrive. Those estimates are just that, though: an estimate based on averages of what we've previously experienced.

I understand that I can't assuage the frustration you must be feeling and I do apologize. I personally hope to exceed the expectations of each of our authors, and I am truly disappointed to have not been able to do so for you.

Your book is in the final stages of production, so it should be leaving the printers soon, but I can not, unfortunately, tell you exactly when that might be. I hope that ultimately you will be delighted by the end result.

Best Wishes,

Megan
Customer Support
www.blurb.com"

With no mention of our specific situation in Burb's response, that we expressly mentioned we had a pending event, the reply sounds like a form letter. And still no confirmation on when it will ship. Help!
image freak Posted 13 years ago. Edited by image freak (member) 13 years ago
Poor you! Deadlines are those little things that give hospital cardiac units the most work these days. And what would we do without them ? (Cardiac units I mean). Deadlines are the curse of the modern world I'm sorry to say and should be banished from everyone's life. My experience is not to make plans until you have all the elements at hand. That way you remain in control and won't be tearing your hair out at the last minute trying to organise things. Hope you get your book on time, but likely as not you won't. So best to put off your book signing until you have them safe in your hands.
~Christy 13 years ago
Thanks, but the venue is booked, promotions posted, too late to cancel.

Yes, I abhor the stress of deadlines, which is why I ordered the books to be delivered a full week prior to the event. Sigh.

I just hope I can get a response better than Megan's "I hope that ultimately you will be delighted by the end result." The only thing that will delight me is to have those little books in my little hands by Wednesday.
Violentz 13 years ago
Well...it's a shame that your books didn't arrive for your event. Was the event solely to sell the book? If so, that's even worse.

This is a good learning lession though for everyone. You can't expect a company like Blurb to deliver on your own personal deadlines. Their production time table and shipping are just estimates and you never know what's going to go wrong on the printer's end....which would be totally out of Blurb's control.

On top of that, if you read these threads in depth...you can see that there are occasonal quality issues that would make your book usuitable for sale that can occur. Of course Blurb usually does everything they can to fix those mistakes, but that also can take time before you get a new book to replace a defect, so in cases such as Chrissy where she needs the book by a strict deadline should always be ordered well in advance of a deadline.

You also have to take into account the time of the year. This is a time when everyone and anyone is ordering books which makes the printers much more busy which can increase production problems.

I know this doesn't help you out now, Chrissy, but your example experience can help others out in the future.

Blurb is still the best quality self-publishing book of it's kind that I know of....and hopefully they will keep getting better and better.
~Christy 13 years ago
The books were shipped this morning.

Yes, it was a tight timeline. Yes, I gave a week's cushion because of the holiday. Yes, I have stock on hand in case of a delay. Yes, I have plenty of experience ordering supplies and whatnot for events. Yes, a customer's first and best option when a snag occurs is to contact customer service for assistance.

The issue was that Blurb was not responding to requests for information about the order.

If on Friday or Monday, someone from Blurb would have said, "Hey, I'll look into it for you . . . Okay, here's what we can/cannot do . . ," it would have alright. The lesson I learned is to only expect an auto-responses from this company.
stale frame [deleted] Posted 13 years ago. Edited by stale frame (member) 13 years ago
mine was shipped the 28 nov from san francisco cali to here yesterday, montreal canada on dec 2, actually that was super fast for US postal office. 5 days for a parcel - wow !

are yours still gonna make it ? hope it does.
cngodles 13 years ago
Weird, Mine was shipped from Rochester, NY, (On it's way to Pittsburgh, PA) and actually went out a day early. I wonder why San Francisco to Montreal. It was a landscape book as well.
~Christy 13 years ago
Got 'em!
Kat White 13 years ago
Did you get them in time Chrissy?
~Christy 13 years ago
Yep! Thanks. Looked them over too, and they're good.
opposite carpenter [deleted] 13 years ago
Blurb's customer support sucks. That is why I will never make a book with them again. If you did your book anywhere else and this happened they would offer you something free or cupon or SOMETHING since it's their fault. But all blurb ever does it say "sorry, we hope its okay, bye"

Serioulsy wtf ?!?! I can deal with bad books if they fix the problem, but not this stuff. It's not professional.
Anna Merritt 13 years ago
glad you got them Chrissy!!! How did the signing go?
cngodles 13 years ago
My Book That was Scheduled to ship on December 8th just went to FedEx Today in Washington State. Wow!
Violentz 13 years ago
"Blurb's customer support sucks"

I'd have to disagree unless they really went down hill since earlier this year. I had a repeated problem with a defect in a book and subsequent reprints, and Blurb wrote me back immediately each time and apologized and did all they could to fix the problem. Ultimately it was fixed and they even gave me a free book.
LoFiKen 13 years ago
Had an incident with blurb shipping me an older version of my book instead of a newer one. Since I deleted copies of my books from their system they blamed it on me saying there's no way for them to track what books were ordered and that I should just order a new set. It was really a disappointment and I've had over 10 email exchanges with them but they would not do anything for me. They basically say that their system is perfect and could not have made an error whatsoever.
opposite carpenter [deleted] 13 years ago
Violentz, they've always been bad. If you had a good experience you are one of the rare people to have a good experience. Even on their own website there is forums filled with people talking about their own bad experience. Or google "blurb complaints" .... or "blurb book review" It's not rare. I've googled every print on demand book I could find to know the good and the bad. And I got the same thing over and over. Blurb's customer support is really bad.

I've never gotten any help from them until I threatened to report them to the better buisness beuro for ripping me off. Well I wouldn't call it a threat, I was serious.
image freak Posted 13 years ago. Edited by image freak (member) 13 years ago
Glad it all worked out OK. Good luck with the signing.
~Christy 13 years ago
@ MistyPinePhotography
It went well! Autographing stuff is kinda fun. And people stayed around and drank a bit, so the bar was happy, too.

After reading some of the other comments here, I should add that all the books I've ordered myself have looked great. But one of the books my mom ordered came with random blank pages and one that my brother ordered wasn't even my book. They're both going to exchange, but it makes me wonder what the people who I don't know are getting when they order my book. Got my fingers crossed that those goofs are rare instances.
image freak Posted 13 years ago. Edited by image freak (member) 13 years ago
I'm sure it will all be sorted swiftly. I have always found Blurb's support good, if not excellent for an Internet company.

Jodanyo, try getting hold of yor ISP or Cellphone outfit when things go wrong and you will know what bad customer service is. Here in the UK, as probably almost everywhere in the world, all we get is an electronic voice sending us to various numbered departments for more of the same. Finally we end up in Bombay trying to work out what the poor sop on the end of the line is trying to say to us. No, Blurb's customer service is a million miles from being bad.

Hope you sell many books, Chrissy.
RealityBoy 13 years ago
I have ordered a lot of books from 5 or 6 different companies including Blurb.Their price is by far the lowest for large books with a lot of pages. Were it not for that I would NEVER deal with this company. To say that their customer service is terrible is somewhat misleading because it implies that they have customer service. Regardless of what the problem is you get a standard answer from someone who knows nothing about your order in particular or print-on-demand publishing in general. They have a list of canned answers and send you back the one that most closely matches your problem.
I ordered two books, one on Nov 24 and one on Nov 27. The first book expected to ship on Dec 4 but didn't happened. That's a wedding book for proofing before order another copy for my friend before Christmas. But I think this is not going to happen cause Blurb shipped the book on Dec 8, it is by economy, will take 1-2 weeks. Anyway, I emailed them, they apologize and gave me $10 credit for my next purchase. But that's just for the first book. My second order on Nov 27 also delayed too.
Violentz 13 years ago
I just got a book today (100 page 8x10 portrait). It shipped and arrived on time.
discreet act [deleted] 13 years ago
@~Chrissy Let me just say I had a recent experience with them that wasn't ideal. Since I called ahead of time to make sure ordering 200 books could be guaranteed delivery and they couldn't by a specific date (for our launch party) we had to change plans. Luckily we didn't have the date set in stone but I was anticipating the stress just as you did a couple of weeks ago so we opted to pass on the book launch party and come up with a Plan B.

I can only imagine how stressed we would have been had we ordered 200 books at that cost and then not having them delivered. Gives me nausea.

Even with Plan B, our book was delayed. Compensation: 10% off our next book order. Well, we ordered a volume and the 10% didn't apply because we already had a 10% volume discount.

Now, with our volume order, we're now almost a week delayed. Compensation: $10.

Producing a book for or near the holidays is just bad news when it comes to Blurb. They cannot meet volume demands and to think that we gave everyone Blurb's holiday shipping deadlines so they can get a book by Christmas makes me nervous.

So not cool.

I have a blog post about Lessons Learned and my wish list for features for Blurb.

Glad to hear it worked out for some and sorry to hear deliveries didn't for others. Blurb really needs to resolve this problem especially for their B3 customers.
MaryRC 12 years ago
Blurb has no quality control. The second time I ordered from them, my three books were bound together wrong. They had attached the wrong half of each book, so that they were mixed up — all three books. I explained the problem, but Blurb would not believe me and demanded that I send a scan of the problem.

I explained that I did not have access to a scanner and gave a detailed description of the error they made. They replied that they would not accept my word for it and that I would have to prove there was an error by either giving them a scan or by returning the books.

Since I didn't trust Blurb with my only proof of their error, I decided it wasn't wise to return the books. So I borrowed a scanner and spent nearly two hours scanning in three 30-page books which had been put together wrong.

I did not want Blurb to say my scans weren't good enough, so I made high-quality ones. After a long and difficult upload, I e-mailed the 300 dpi PDF files to Blurb proving that I am not lying about their error. But despite all my efforts, I have no confidence that Blurb will admit their error and send replacements. They have no respect for their customers' word, their customers' money, their customers' time, or their customers' satisfaction.

By the way, the binding is already falling apart. So much for the quality of their work in that respect as well. Besides all this, Blurb never admitted any possibility of their having made an error. Their e-mails said they were sorry that I HAD A PROBLEM with the quality. They placed the blame entirely on my not liking the results and would take no responsibility for having bound the books completely wrong.

Until this happened, I had planned to complete several more projects with Blurb. I had also told several of my friends about Burb and was helping one of them complete a wedding book for her son. Now, however, I am sorry I ever did business with Blurb. I hope my friends, once they have heard what Blurb put me through, will decide not to do business with that company, either.
kathybad 12 years ago
Hi Mary,

Looks like you jumped into a nearly two-year-old discussion and I'd like to help.

First of all, thank you for contacting customer support, they will certainly take care of you. Manufacturing defects like the ones you describe above happen and are unfortunately a very real part of any custom, touched-by-humans process. Fortunately we are currently seeing a 1% defect rate, of which your books are part of. We totally make good on any defects like these. And we need pictures not because we don't trust you, but simply because we need to report back to our printers with specifics so they are held accountable for errors like these.

Based on feedback from customers like you, coupled with images or sometimes returned books, we've been able to make improvements to our quality control. And we will be the first to admit, that things get through quality control to our dismay. So, we've improved the process where we can, hence the low defect rate.

Please continue to work with customer support until we deliver to you the high-quality books you expect.

– Kathy
Blurb Customer Support
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