Need more info to pick an on-demand photobook publisher
November 8, 2008 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Trying to pick an online photobook publisher to make family Christmas gifts, and am overwhelmed. Who has had recent experience with blurb, lulu, iPhoto, MyPublisher, Picaboo, Smile Books, etc.?

I just want to make a family photobook as economically as possible (softcover, 20 or 40 pages, square or landscape format), and most places have comparable prices, so it seems like the movie is definitely to differentiate on quality. But reading reviews, blogs, etc., I'm getting the impression that the quality of any given publisher's printing process, paper choices, etc., keep changing over time, and so Googling isn't doing a lot to make me able to make a reasonable comparison of what each publisher will deliver in November 2008. Does anyone know of a resource that I'm missing, or have personal experience to share?
posted by blueshammer to Shopping (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also: dotphoto, inkubook, ArtsCow ....
posted by blueshammer at 7:07 AM on November 8, 2008

I recently got an iPhoto photo book and whilst I was quite disappointed with the resulting book, Apple have to be applauded for their no quibble return policy. And you get to keep the book! I just hope people don't abuse this, because it's excellent customer service.

I recommend Blurb (and Apple, kinda).
posted by dance at 7:49 AM on November 8, 2008

I have used Shutterfly to make calendars out of my photos before, and they have many photo options. The quality was very high (good glossy paper, high resolution results) and the price was quite reasonable. They have photo books as well, and I would assume the same quality for their other products.
posted by Gneisskate at 8:13 AM on November 8, 2008

I did a shutterfly book last Christmas and was very pleased!! The quality was high and it was very easy to do. Highly recommended.
posted by pearlybob at 8:37 AM on November 8, 2008

Great results here from viovio
posted by dpcoffin at 10:50 AM on November 8, 2008

3rding Shutterfly.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:57 AM on November 8, 2008

I used iPhoto and had a great experience but it sounds like ymmv based on dance's post. The quality of the pictures was much better than I expected, and I liked how user-friendly the process was. We're talking about doing iPhoto books for our future family vacations and big events.
posted by Mouse Army at 11:00 AM on November 8, 2008

I have used Blurb to make books before, several times, and I highly recommend them. I particularly like the ImageWrap books - they come out really nice. You also have the option to get extra premium paper, even though even the normal paper is fine. I also love the "custom logo" option, which give the books an extra kick.

It can be either really easy, using the Blurb software, or you can do some fancy photoshopping yourself and then use that for the book.
posted by gemmy at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Blurb. I used them for several books and they were all printed in high quality. The only catch is that, from their website, they use different printers across the world. If they are all of the same quality, and it is from what the other comments say, then there is no problem, they are very good.
Their software is also very user-friendly and a pleasure to make books with.
posted by tweemy at 1:35 PM on November 8, 2008

a STRONG vote for blurb - have only had wonderful experience with it and think it has the best options for page layouts, etc.
posted by michpinkston at 9:10 AM on November 9, 2008

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