MILK Tailor Made Books is a New Zealand based company, founded in 2012 by PQ Blackwell, a publisher of art and photography books for the past 15 years. I was contacted by the company to give their service and books a try and I’m excited to be able to offer a book like mine to giveaway to TWO lucky Photo Book Girl readers! The total prize value is over $400.00!
Photo Book Products
There are several photo book products offered by MILK. The three main categories are: Photo Books, Photo Albums and Moleskine Photo Books. For purposes of this post, I will review a Milk Photo Album which is on the higher end of MILK’s offerings. If you’d like info on MILK’s other photo products check them out here.
This book is a landscape oriented book, with a choice of 7 linen colors. The base price includes 60 pages and it can go up to 200 pages which is a higher page count than many companies allow. Also make note of the base page count when comparing prices as most companies start with a base of only 20 pages. Page counts vary with book product.
Here’s the stats on my MILK Photo Album:
|Book size:||13×11″ landscape (width x height)|
|Paper Type:||157gsm (106 lb. approx.) white matt art paper, acid-free|
|Binding:||hand bound, glued|
|Price:||$195.00 + 66.00 (extra pages) + $9.99 (disc) + $19.99 (standard shipping to US) = $290.98 (less $214.99 complimentary credit for purposes of review)|
|Ordered/Shipped/Received:||Aug 9 / Aug 15 (printed and shipped from CA) / Aug 23|
The MILK Photo Album is quite a hefty one. According to the FedEx shipping info the package weighs 6.4 lbs. So, minus the box and packaging, it’s probably about 6 lbs. It comes packaged in bubble wrap with a protective paper wrapping and sealed with MILK’s signature button.
Included in the price is an impressive matching linen presentation box with an actual button and white cord fastener. The presentation box is also personalized to match the book. (Please note for privacy I removed the name printed below the title on the presentation box and in the book itself.) The box lends a feel of importance to the book presented inside. The bottom corner of the box got a bit dinged in transport however. I think additional padding to keep the box from shifting within the cardboard box would help. The box actually protected the book itself from being dinged, so it was definitely a good thing. The box also includes a grey silk ribbon which helps you lift the book out of the box. These touches make the MILK album ideal for gifting. (UPDATE 9/1/2014: The company offered to send a replacement box so no worries there!)
The cover is printed on a matte cover that appears coated. The coating gives it a soft velvety feel. The printed image is adhered to the linen cover. The corners of the image appear well secured and it the photograph itself reproduced very nicely.
The first page (and last page) is a pale ivory textured endsheet, which is a definite must in this type of book. It adds polish. The second page is my title page. The book also includes a white ribbon to use as a bookmark – another nice touch.
I used the next page as an intro page for the book, which features a quote that perfectly captures the theme of the book – The Sea. Being that this book is more of a high-end book, I decided to make a coffee table type book with my photos. The ocean and anything to do with water is one of my favorite subjects.
MILK’s photo books, like its website, feature clean lines and a simple design. It’s not geared towards digital scrapbooking – this is a more sleek and streamlined look. When I pick a photo book company for a project, I choose the company based on what type of project I plan to do (and of course taking into consideration any deals and promotions) In this case, I think this type of portfolio project suits this product. The paper is called “white matt art paper”. I found it to be more similar to the satin type finish of other photo books like MyPublisher and Mixbook. It has a slight sheen to it. Definitely not glossy, but not quite matte either – at least in the way that I think of matte. Regardless, I found the paper to be of good weight and well-matched to the book. It feels substantial which is what you want when making a photo book.
Overall I was very impressed with the print quality. The tones were even and the print quality sharp. The individual dots that make up the digitally printed photo were not visible which is a good thing. The colors were true to my originals and reproduced very well.
In keeping with the clean, simple look, I didn’t want to caption each page. I just decided to make the last page a summary of locations where the photos were taken.
MILK’s software is intended to be more streamlined than some other book making processes. The software resides completely online rather than being downloaded so you will have to be connected to the Internet to be able to work on your book. The layouts are fixed and cannot be altered, but there are about 50 different page layouts to choose from. There are 5 fonts and 8 color palettes available. If you’re used to full customization, then you may find the software limiting, but if you’re someone who may be overwhelmed with too many choices or you’re someone who likes to have some guidance then this software may be more user friendly for you. I liked the clean, simplicity of the layouts. For stylistic reasons I chose to only put images on the right side of the page as I felt it allowed each photo to stand on its own.
In building the book, I actually found it easier to use the autofill function, but not actually use the autofill tool itself. I used the “Autofill Toolbox” as more of a storyboard to choose the layouts for the book and to drag and drop the images onto the pages as you see from the screenshot below. Then I would save and exit out of the toolbox and then do my tweaks in the main editing mode. I found this to be a faster way to make the book as I didn’t have to flip from page to page to make placements and layout selections.
One thing to note is the software requires you to add or remove 4 pages at a time because of the way the book is printed, so I had to keep that in mind when building my book. Also, reordering the pages was not possible, so I had to replace the photos if I wanted to change the order. Luckily there wasn’t a strict order to the photos so I didn’t have to do that too often. (In speaking with the company there is a way to reorder pages. They are in the process of updating this feature to make it more user friendly.)
Photo Book Girl Tip: If you want to create a blank page like I did on the left side of each page, choose the last layout which is just a bunch of text on white. If you don’t type in any text, it will be blank when printed.
In the MILK photo album, the MILK logo appears on the front button of the presentation box, on a sticker in the inside back cover and on the back of the book itself embossed in silver. There is also a small button adhered to the spine of the book (without any writing). I don’t recall an option to remove any of the logos, but I find MILK’s logo and button branding to be tasteful and appropriately sized. Professional photographers should check out MILK + CREAM which offers unbranded books and exclusive discounts.
You can also add on a DVD for $9.99. It gives you a video flip book of your printed book. There is a free version you can share on Facebook etc. but that’s only a shorter preview version.
This book coming out of the box is certainly impressive in size and weight. The presentation box and other nice touches such as the place marker ribbon and real button closure give it a high quality look. As mentioned this book is a higher end book – it’s probably not for your everyday photos – this would be more appropriate for a wedding book, milestone birthday, anniversary, engagement photos and the like. If you like upgraded paper options and super thick pages, you could look into the CREAM album which is the highest priced product the company offers starting at $595.00. However, there are plenty of other options for more affordable books from MILK as well, such as their open-flat (lay-flat) photo books which begin at $45.00, and for those who are big fans of Moleskine notebooks, there is a photo book product (pictured below) that pairs the look of a sleek urban Moleskine notebook with your photos. I think a travel journal would be cool to make with that product.
The software offers various clean and streamlined layout options, but for those who want to have more control over page layouts, you probably already have your own design software. You can easily create your pages and then upload the finished jpegs just as you would normal photos. What stands out about MILK Books are its unique product offerings. Their products are quite different from those I’ve seen before and they often run promotions such as buy one get one free and even 60% off. Be sure to check our deals page for the latest MILK Book exclusives and other great deals!
Now for the best deal I can think of – how about the chance to win one of two MILK Photo Albums like mine!
Enter for a chance to win one (1) 13 x 11 MILK Photo Album with 60 pages and presentation box, plus FREE shipping worth over $200.00! Two prizes available for a total of over $400.00!
You have 6 possible ways to enter, but you must do the REQUIRED ENTRY for the others to count. For EACH entry, you have to COMMENT ON THIS POST below with a separate comment for EACH entry, telling me what type of entry you did.
- Check out MILK’s photo books and come back here to comment below – IF YOU WON THIS PRIZE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TOPIC OF YOUR BOOK? Wedding, baby, travel etc…
- Subscribe to my newsletter (look for light blue box at top right) AND tell me in the comment below that you subscribed and the name you subscribed under (first name is fine). If you already subscribe to my newsletter, tell me in your comment and give me your name. (Please remember for it to count, you must confirm the subscription. Sorry RSS doesn’t count);
- “Like” me on Facebook (if you are already a fan, or become a new fan, tell me your Facebook name in the comment form);
- “Like” MILK Books on Facebook (if you are already a fan, or become a fan, tell me your Facebook name in the comment form);
- Give your review of any photo book/canvas company you’ve tried on the company’s main reviews page. (Click here to give a canvas print review). Click on the “Read Review” button. Scroll down towards the middle of the page after the Quick Specs Chart and you’ll see a place to add your review for that company. Let me know which company you commented on by telling me in a comment in this post below. (Limit to two (2) entries using this method. Reviews given prior to the start of this Giveaway don’t count – they must be new ones please!);
- Blog about this giveaway on your blog. Be sure to comment on this post with a link to your blog post (Counts as 3 entries!)
Make sure to do the REQUIRED ENTRY!
This giveaway is open to anyone 18 or older. No country restrictions (so it’s international but please check if MILK ships to your country if you have any doubts). Void where prohibited. Void in Quebec. Entries must be received by Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 11:59pm CT and any entries not in accordance with the rules will be disqualified at our sole discretion and at the discretion of the sponsor. Winning entry or entries will be chosen using Random.org. After compiling the results, I will announce the winner(s) thereafter and will email the winner(s) and post the name(s) on my site. The winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw another entry. A Canadian winner(s) may be asked to answer a skill question to be eligible, to comply with Canadian laws. Winner(s) will be issued a gift code or voucher. Shipping varies by location – see MILK’s site for details. Winner(s) may pay for additional extras such as extra pages. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of the company. The links on these pages go to the company’s sites. If you click on a link to MILK Book’s site and make a purchase, I may receive a referral fee from the company. This giveaway is sponsored by MILK Books. Regardless of affiliation my opinions are always my own and I always give my honest opinion.
BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE!
This post and giveaway is sponsored by MILK Tailor Made Books and I received a complimentary book in order to review the service and a fee to administer the giveaway. I give my honest opinion of the service and product regardless of sponsorship. The above post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure.