© 2010 photobookgirl A comparison of My Publisher quality to Blurb's directly below.

A Review of Photo Book Printing Companies that I’ve Used: Blurb vs. MyPublisher vs. Snapfish vs. Mpix

Deals-Banner-PBG3

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday

________________________________________________________________

August 18, 2010 Update

If you’re looking for info on Photobook America, click on this link for more info on the recent coupons and deals plus a mini-review of Photobook America including the latest 70% off Photobook America Groupon.

By the way, I’ve tried several photo book printers since the time I wrote this post.  Check out my growing list of photo book reviews.

_______

June 20, 2010 Update

The comparison chart I mentioned below is now LIVE but even better than expected – it’s an interactive tool!  Do your own match-up of any two photo book companies in our database (26 and counting) and find the right photo book for you! We’re currently updating the comparison tool, but in the meantime…

We have so many NEW tools for you to help you get your photos off your computer and into your hands:

Check out our Home page for links to an easy 3-step photo book wizard, coupons & deals and more!

______________

I am planning to put together a comparison chart of the features offered by various photo book printing companies, but with new printers and new features cropping up everyday, that task is going to take a bit of time.

This post is to summarize my experiences with the companies that I have used personally.  New features get added every day – so I’ll try to update any information and try new companies as time goes on.

Since I’m writing this while the Oscars are on…the nominees for “Best Photo Book Printer That I’ve Used” are: MyPublisher; Blurb; Snapfish and Mpix.  Clicking on any of the above links will take you directly to the company’s site. For an overview of these photo book publishers and a complete list of the photobook products they offer, check out my photo book company reviews.

PROGRAM & CUSTOMIZATION

I’ve been printing photo books about the last 5 years.  I have had the most experience with MyPublisher.  What drew me to MyPublisher was the ease of use of the software and the free book with book purchase offered to all new customers.  With MyPublisher you download the software to your computer, select the photos you want to use and drag and drop the photos into the templates.  When you’re finished you preview the pages of the book and then upload them to the site.  The ease of use however is what may also be its biggest limitation.  Perhaps to keep the program and interface simple, MyPublisher purposely limits customization to the templates they’ve provided.  You cannot customize the templates or change the layouts and the themes are a bit cheesy looking (a common problem with many photo book printers).  Additionally one big criticism is the inability to place a photo as a two-page spread (where a single photo is stretched across two pages), and the inability to use a photo as a background to other photographs layered on top.  The provided layouts therefore can get a bit boring and after doing a number of these books, it’s not long before you look for more flexibility.  One option is to use an outside layout program like Photoshop to do custom layouts, but that process takes more effort and more time.  If you’re laying out 100 pages (which is the maximum allowed by MP), you’re looking at a significant investment of time.  Similarly Snapfish does not allow for customization of templates.  (UPDATE – 4/6/11: MyPublisher has since added the ability to modify templates but only for it’s PC software for now (Mac updates generally lag behind by several months).  The customization allowed is not as flexible as some companies, but does allow for some basic options.)

Blurb and Mpix differ from the other two in offering complete customization by allowing you to create your own templates and by altering their templates.  Both offer software that has to be downloaded onto your computer.  Blurb allows you to create custom templates and save them for future projects.  You can also do a two-page spread and place your photo as background for the template.

Sushi ring centerpiece

Mpix's software allows for customization - a two-page spread with two photo overlay. Photo Credit: SecondPrint Productions

Bouquet & Shoe two page spread

Blurb's two-page spread created within Blurb's software. Photo Credit: SecondPrint Productions

This customization is one of the biggest plusses for Blurb and Mpix in comparison with MyPublisher.  Out of these 4 companies, Snapfish’s program is online.  You have to upload your photos to the program before you can use them.

SIZE

MyPublisher only offers traditional landscape options: 7.75 x 5.75 softcover, 11.25 x 8.75 hardcover and a 15 x 11.5 size.  In contrast, Blurb also offers 7 x 7 square and 12 x 12 square along with 8 x 10 portrait, 10 x 8 landscape, 13 x 11 landscape.  Snapfish offers 8 x 11, 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 hardcover books as well as 5 x 7 softcover and other smaller format softcover books such as mini books.  Mpix offers softcover books and hard cover books including suede hardcover books.  Since my focus is on custom hard cover books I won’t focus on those other options.  Hard cover books from Mpix are offered in 5 x 5, 8 x 8, 10 x 10 and 8.5 x 11 in both portrait and landscape options.

To summarize then, out of the four reviewed here, only MyPublisher doesn’t offer a square book option.  Mpix offers the smallest square option at 5 x 5.  So, your choice of printer may depend on what type of book you want if a particular size is important to you.

Sizing up the competition

A size comparison from top to bottom: Mpix 5x5; Blurb 7x7 & MyPublisher 11.25x8.75. Photo Credit: SecondPrint Productions

COVERS & CAPACITY

As for cover options, MyPublisher is the only one out of the four that doesn’t have a full bleed photo cover printed directly onto the surface of the book.  A glossy dust jacket is offered, but it can get worn from regular handling.

(UPDATE June 6, 2010: MyPublisher has introduced their new photo finish cover which allows for your photo to be printed directly on the front and back cover of the photo book. Downside – it’s only available for PC users at this time.)

Leather cover

My Publisher's leather cover option with cutout.

Snapfish offers an option to print a full-page photo directly on the front cover of the book and a small 4 x 4 photo of your choice on the back.  The spine is printable as well.  The cover finish is glossy and laminated.

Blurb’s cover is the most customizable.  Blurb allows a full-page bleed on the front cover and back cover, and titling on the spine, printed directly on the hard cover surface for complete customization of the exterior of the book.  The cover is matte which means that it doesn’t show fingerprints and has more of a “real book” look to it.

Mpix offers a high gloss laminated type cover and allows a full bleed photo in front and back.  It’s shiny and most like a glossy photograph.  It doesn’t appear that the spine can be titled though unless I missed something.  The big disappointment I had with Mpix however is that my 5 x 5 book, upon my first opening it, separated at the binding in the rear, exposing the staples holding the book together.  After that, I was afraid to open it too much.  I’ve never had that problem with the other printers.  Also Mpix only allows for 50 total pages for the 5 x 5 book, which especially with a smaller book, isn’t quite enough pages for most of my projects.  In contrast, you can get up to a whopping 440 pages in Blurb (100 max in MyPublisher and 150 pages max for Snapfish).

View of the spine

A view of Mpix and Blurb square format books. Photo Credit: SecondPrint Productions

Cracked binding

My poor Mpix book after opening it for the first time!

PRINT QUALITY

Out of all the printers, MyPublisher has the best print quality.  The photos are clear, colors are well saturated and the vellum pages in the front and back give the books a nice finish.  The glossy paper has a nice heft and feels substantial.

Snapfish’s printing and paper quality is similar to My Publisher, though not as sharp in my opinion.

Blurb’s print quality is very good, but not quite as sharp as My Publisher.  I ordered my books using the premium paper option which the website says is a 100 lb, silk finish which is 35% heavier than the traditional paper (80 lb. and matte).  The paper feels substantial and feels slightly heavier and a tad more stiff than the MP paper, though the MP paper has a glossier finish than Blurb.  I’ve never ordered the regular paper, so I don’t know from personal experience how different it looks or feels.

Mpix’s print quality was better than Blurb in that it was brighter and the photos appeared sharper and less grainy, but the print quality slightly under the quality of My Publisher’s.  I ordered the pearl paper which lent a nice sheen to the pages – not as glossy as MP, but not as matte as Blurb.  I was expecting more from Mpix printing since I’ve ordered prints from them before, and their metallic finish prints with luster coating is really amazing, but I would have to say that I was disappointed with the print quality and the durability of the book.  When you add in the fact that the small 5 x 5 Mpix book at 50 pages was $50.00 before shipping and the 7 x 7 Blurb book with 80 pages was only $33.95 with premium paper option, the Blurb book is a much better deal.

Table number collage

A comparison of MyPublisher's quality to Blurb's directly below.

Table number collage

A similar spread to MyPublisher example, but in Blurb.

As for pricing just a few days ago, MyPublisher announced that they were “rolling back” the pricing of their books from $29.80 to $26.99 for a 20-page book and extra pages went from $.99 to $.79.  MyPublisher also frequently offers specials and coupons which can get you up to 50% off their books.  It is definitely worth waiting for a coupon or offer if your book isn’t time sensitive.  Snapfish is similarly priced to MyPublisher and also offers special deals from time to time, though I’ve seen more deals offered by MyPublisher with more frequency.  Snapfish tends to cycle its deals through the greater variety of other photo products that it sells.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

MyPublisher is the speediest printer in my experience.  Even with selecting normal delivery I’ve had books in hand just a few days after placing the orders.  However, their speed may also be the cause of some more recent issues with printing.  Lately, I have had some issues with inconsistent printing with some photos in a recent book coming out reddish in tone.  Upon contacting MP, they provided a coupon code for a free reprint.  I thought that ordering during the holiday season may be the cause of the printing inconsistencies since I’d never had problems with prior books.  So I waited until after the holidays but the book still came back with problems.  The reprint corrected the color issues, but there were odd wrinkled marks in the center of several pages.  It appeared that a few of the pages got crushed while going through the press leaving behind wrinkled pages.  Not pretty.  Again, MP provided another free coupon code.  I have to say their customer service has been very good both via phone and email.  I wouldn’t mind them slowing down a wee bit to make sure that the books go through a little more quality control.  I haven’t used customer service for any of the other companies.  I would say that Blurb takes the longest to print their books – sometimes a good two weeks or more to receive books with standard shipping.  (Note that shipping times may vary due to high order volume such as during holidays.)

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…

For a standard landscape book, MyPublisher beats out the rest.  The price is reasonable (especially with coupons – see coupon below!), they are super fast and the print quality is the best in my opinion.  The software is easy to use (albeit a hard drive space hog) if you don’t require customization and are happy with the standard templates provided.  Despite the recent printing issues I had on my last couple books, because they promptly responded and offered to correct the issue, I wouldn’t be hesitant to order from there again.

If you want a square book, I would choose Blurb.  I’ve printed four books this past year with Blurb – all of them in a 7 x 7 format.  Blurb is very affordable and allows for complete customization.  They also provide you with the ability to not only share, but sell your book online.  I also plan to try Blurb’s portrait sized 8 x 10 book in the near future.  These sizes are not available from MyPublisher.

I would not recommend Mpix for photo book printing even though I love their regular print quality for 4 x 6 prints and enlargements, unless you really want to have a small 5 x 5 square book that you can easily put in your purse.  The 7 x 7 from Blurb can also serve that purpose though, so Blurb pricing wins out.

I hope that sharing my personal experiences helps narrow down some of your choices as there are a lot of options out there.  Also check out the following posts for more comparisons of these companies.  See this post for Snapfish vs. MyPublisher and this post for Mpix vs. Blurb.

Note that from time to time I will update or write new review posts as I try other photo book makers.

Post a comment below and let me know about your experiences with any of these printers. I’d love to hear your opinion!

Happy photo book making!

_____________________

Be sure to check out my CANVAS DEALS!

50 Comments

  1. Bea
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:42 am | #

    Thanks for the great post. I really like it what i have read so far in your blog

    • photobookgirl
      Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm | #

      Thanks for your comment Bea. Let me know if you have any questions about my site! Hope you’ll visit often. If you’re on Twitter you also can follow me – Photobookgirl :)

  2. Jennifer
    Posted July 17, 2010 at 8:43 am | #

    Great reviews! Question for you.. Can you download pics from Snapfish into Blurb? Thanks again!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 17, 2010 at 9:29 pm | #

      Thanks for your comment Jennifer! There isn’t a direct interface to my knowledge between the two programs, but as you know both services allow you to upload photos from your computer. Blurb has a special interface to upload photos from Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and SmugMug. If for some reason you uploaded your photos into your Snapfish account and you don’t have them on your computer anymore, (happened to me once where I accidentally deleted my originals) Snapfish, for a small fee, allows you to download hi-res versions of your photos back onto your computer for $0.25 for the first photo and $.05 for additional ones up to 50 photos at a time. Seems odd to have to pay for your own photos, but if you really lost them, you’d want them back, and it ends up being a small “backup insurance fee” I suppose. I don’t know if that was why you were asking, but either way, I think I answered your question. :)

  3. Ed
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 11:37 am | #

    Your blog is very informative…thanks for doing these mini reviews.

    Do you have any experience with lulu.com, A&I books, or photobookamerica.com? I’m hearing mixed reviews, so I’m not sure which direction to go in.

    I will probably end up giving My Publisher a go. As my first purchase, are there any additional coupons I can add beyond the “buy one get one free”?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Ed

    • photobookgirl
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm | #

      Hi Ed! I’m glad that you found it helpful. I haven’t had any personal experience with the companies you mention, although recently I took advantage of a photobook america groupon, so I will be reviewing them down the line. As for lulu.com, my brother is familiar with them and likes their service. He’s done at least two softcover books with them for his architectural portfolio. I recently got them from him to look through, but as they contain architectural renderings and drawings, I don’t know if I could really do a review of them for photo quality – so that’s another company that I’ll have to try at some point. By the way, be sure to check the main photo book company reviews page for the companies that I have tried since this post (which has been a lot actually!)

      As for MyPublisher coupons and any other company in my database, be sure to check out my photo book coupons & deals page. That’s where you’ll find all the info on savings. I don’t know if you’ll be able to add a promo on top of the buy one get one free book, but keep your eyes open for their deals on gift certificates. You can get 40% to 50% off the certificates and if there is a sale at the time you go to use them, you can use both your gift cert and a promo code (there are two separate boxes to enter a gift cert and promo code). It’s great because their gift certs don’t expire – useful if you know you want to do a book down the line, but don’t have time to do it within the time restrictions of a current promotion. If you want to hear about all the latest deals, I often post them on Facebook first and sometimes only on Facebook if they run for a very short period, so I welcome you to fan my page. Please keep in touch and let me know how your photobooking is going!

  4. Ed
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 7:19 am | #

    Thanks again. I will try MyPublisher based on your recommendations, and will post results once I get the book.

    Ed

  5. Posted August 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm | #

    Hi
    Thanks for the comprehensive review. I have been using mypublisher for a number of years. Love the large size and excellent service but the last few books, I have noticed a decline in printing quality (including the red tones that you mentioned). They did reprint without hesitation but I started looking around for other options as print quality is more important to me than flexibility and layouts (though why they don’t put borders around their photo boxes is beyond me). I am sorry to say that mypublisher is starting to disappoint me and hope that they pick up the print quality.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 17, 2010 at 1:18 am | #

      I completely agree with your assessment of MyPublisher – consistency seems to be a hard thing with print on demand books. The worst book I received looked like some of the pages got crushed in the print roller. I was pretty shocked. Like you though, because they were willing to reprint, I was okay with using them again, but since then I’ve tried lots of new companies as you may have seen from the blog. I’ve been pretty impressed with AdoramaPix, Picaboo and Apple Aperture recently. btw Picaboo has a FREE 20-page photobook for new users – so it would be a good time to check out a new printing company for free. :)
      b/t/w have you tried MP’s new software yet? They released it on PC, but not Mac yet, so I haven’t gotten to try it out…

  6. david
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm | #

    I appreciate your comments. Having done 4 books with Mypublisher, I am getting a little tired of the lack of flexibilty. The page quality is good. But since I usually put between 2 – 4 phoos per pages and like to add comments, I am limited to about 20 different page layouts! As you mentioned, this becomes a little boring. I am looking for more more page options and customization without having to spend 50 hrs learning the programs. It looks like it is down to aperture and adoramapix for my next book. You seem to like picaboo whereas others don’t have the same admiration.
    I do use a MAC and Aperture2 for my photo editing

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm | #

      Hi David – I’m waiting for a Deluxe book from MyPublisher to arrive – for this one I used QuarkXPress to do custom layouts for what I call “chapter pages”. I use these chapter pages to break out the book into sections and create “previews” for the photos to come. You can see a sample of one of those pages I did for a book on New Zealand and Australia. That has been my workaround, using Photoshop, Quark or Aperture to design custom pages and then inserting them as jpegs. Too tedious to do for an entire book, but at least with my chapter pages, I can inject some personality and try out any photo book company that’s running a sale. By the way, did you hear that MyPublisher’s new software upgrade allows for customizable layouts? Catch is, it’s not available for Mac users yet, so we have to wait for a bit – MyPublisher said soon, but I was still waiting for that custom hardcover for Macs, and that was months ago… Plus I heard from another reader that they don’t have an alignment tool. :( As for Picaboo, what I liked and tried was the Madison – very different book from their entry level books – I’m going to try their free Picaboo Classic book before the deal expires so I’ll have a broader comparison to come. They need to get an alignment tool as well though… Have you tried Picaboo before?

  7. Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:02 am | #

    Excellent review and thanks for the photo examples!

  8. Diane
    Posted December 31, 2010 at 10:49 am | #

    I have been in the printing business for 20 years and in the last 2 years I have been creating photobooks and calendars online. I agree with your choice in giving the Oscar to MyPublisher. I was curious why you dont use Shutterfly? I had them print some coffee table books and baby books and they are close to MP in all categories. Thanks for your article – I found it helpful.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 31, 2010 at 1:05 pm | #

      Hi Diane, I have used Shutterfly and I do like their product. At the time I did this review, I hadn’t tried them yet. Since that time if you go to my main review page, you’ll see that I’ve tried several new companies since then (and I keep trying more all the time! :)) The main reason why I wouldn’t choose Shutterfly over MyPublisher may be a minor issue to some, but the main thing is those darn page numbers! As of the last time I used them, there is no way to turn them off. I don’t see any reason why a photo book needs to have page numbers. I think page numbers only make sense if you have a table of contents. So, I guess it’s a pet peeve of mine that some folks may be fine with. Other than that, their print quality is very good and their paper is a lot better than most companies. Other main issue is the lack of customization of layouts in Shutterfly. Unless I plan to create all my layouts in an outside program, I don’t like the limited choice of layouts for any company that only offers fixed templates. MyPublisher has started to allow customization, but it’s still very basic and doesn’t have the alignment tools I would like to see, but because you can choose to have or not have page numbers, I would rank MP above Shutterfly. Thanks for commenting – do you have any other companies you like or recommend?

  9. Posted February 26, 2011 at 9:38 am | #

    hey great review! might be answered in the blog, sorry if it was, but how many pages did you print with blurb? The book looks really thick, I like how it looks.

  10. Tori
    Posted March 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm | #

    Just wondering if you have done other blurb books since. When I first started using Blurb software it was pretty quick, but with each new version it seems to be getting slower and slower. As in I will add one photo in, go off and do something else for 2-3 minutes, then make another change, go off and do something. It is mostly when I’m adding, moving or editing the framing of photos around, and saving the custom layouts. It sounds like you have had bad luck with mailing times, I have actually found the opposite and have been impressed with how quickly they have been sent out. Of the two books I’ve had printed, one in mid November, the other the night of the deadline to get it there for Christmas, both arrived 2-3 days later.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted March 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm | #

      I haven’t done any other Blurb books since, but I will be doing one soon since I bought a Groupon, and I plan to update my post if I see any changes. I can’t recall if I found it slow, but one thing that I notice is that you have to switch between the edit layout mode and regular mode which seems a bit clunky. After trying more photo book companies and their different takes on software, you begin to see differences and it is interesting to see what features are built in and which aren’t. Mailing times/production times can be hard to generalize, and I’m sure different folks may have different experiences with that. Another company that I found very quick before, is much slower now – so it’s really hard to say. You did have some good luck with your Christmas order though! Thanks for your comment!

  11. Posted May 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm | #

    Hi PBG-

    I want to place an order for a very large book from Blurb. I think Blurb is the only printer with the ability to print 200+ pages. I would love to make a very thick book of portraits with about 200 pages. I know I can only make a 160-pager if I select the premium paper. Do you know yet (since the time of your Blurb review) how the standard 80# paper of Blurb looks and feels for photographs? Can anyone shed light on this? Thanks!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted May 9, 2011 at 12:22 am | #

      Unfortunately, I can’t say firsthand how the 80# Blurb paper compares to the premium upgrade. Since I found Blurb’s paper upgrades to be relatively cheap, I’ve gone ahead and upgraded. Even though though you can’t necessarily say for sure that one company’s 80# paper is going to be worse than another’s 100#, most of the photo book companies I’ve seen default at 100#, so that has made me hesitate to order the 80#. I recently did a paper quality post comparing 12 different books from 11 different companies, but I didn’t have an 80# Blurb book to compare.

      Blurb also has a new ProLine introduced just recently, with even “better” paper upgrades. (I got the uncoated and Pearl paper in the ProLine to compare. I’ll have the books sometime in the next week or so, and will be doing an updated review.)

      If your project can’t be limited to 160 pages, other than Blurb, there is Viovio and Photobook America that can accommodate 200+ pages, but Blurb is by far the cheapest out of the three. I’ve read the on the Blurb forum on Flickr that the majority of folks did prefer the upgrade, but there were some who didn’t think it made a difference, so it’s not really clear. Sorry I can’t specifically help. I will post your query on my Facebook page and let’s see if we can get some feedback.

  12. Posted May 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | #

    A wedding client decided to design their own book and used Blurb. Banding problems occurred in many images and not others.

    I have been using My Publisher for over 8 years for clients who want quality, but have a budget they must adhere to.

    The paper quality of My Publisher is 100% better quality then Blurb books. You may not be able to do a double page bleed, but My Publisher’s overall book, customer service, software use is the very best.
    If you have any problems with your book, they will reprint it, no questions asked. For MAC users MP is a few months late with getting us the updates to their software program.

    They offer discounts all the time. As a pro photographer, and seeing for myself the other consumer sites for “designing and publishing your own book” I highly recommend MP for ease, consistency, quality and someone can be reached on the phone for tech support and their is I chat as well.

    Comparing the My Publisher book and books designed on a MAC. They are the same, but cheaper.

    There is a learning curve when designing your first many books with any bookmaker. Folks wonder why pros charge what they do for wedding albums- Even knowing the software, designing your special book is an art- Be prepared to spend 8-15 hours in the design of your book. This is AFTER tweaking the images to match the bookmakers print style.

    Hope this helps… Would NEVER use Blurb. – After seeing first hand today- the lack of quality in their books. May 21, 2011

    • Posted May 29, 2011 at 10:31 am | #

      Yeah I agree that MP is one of the best and lowest priced out there. I am a pro as well and do most of my larger-format books with MP when I can’t use WHCC or others. Although i do find MP’s software kind of buggy even on the Mac so I almost always use InDesign to lay out the pages and then just upload into a custom template.

      But the blurb project is different. I need square-format photos to fit a square-format and have about 250 that I want to put into a single book. That limits my choices. I will do the blurb book this weekend and report back to everyone.

      • photobookgirl
        Posted May 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm | #

        Sounds good Mike – let us know how it goes. I have 4 books now with 4 different Blurb papers (including the regular 80 pound paper) so that comparison post will be coming shortly!

  13. Posted August 11, 2011 at 11:07 am | #

    I would like to create a photo book of my paintings to show to gallery owners- for potential exhibition. Which photo book would you recommend? I need to be able to indicate the titles, dates, and size and type of media under the picture. I would be leaving the books off so I would like to consider the price as well. The color needs to be accurate. (Am I asking for the world here?) Thank you for any tips you can give me.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm | #

      Color accuracy is a hard one, but you could contact the various companies or look at their FAQ or sites for their color profiles. You could save some money doing softcover books. All of the companies allow you to do captions so you shouldn’t have any issues there.

  14. Skye
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:58 am | #

    I used my Publisher for the first time a few days ago to create mini books. I was disappointed with the lack of flexibility in the program – but the sale was incredible & I’m excited to see how the books turned out. I’ve been using Blurb for a couple of years now & in my experience, the quality keeps getting better. I do a lot of soft cover through them & they have all been of excellent quality. I also almost solely use my own customized layouts & get grumpy now when I don’t have that option. I have also tried Picaboo, which I thought was decent, Shutterfly I thought was only “ok” & on par with Snapfish.
    Anyway, thanks for the review! I was wondering about Mpix

  15. KIM BURGER
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm | #

    MY MAIN COMPLAINT WITH BLURB IS THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE. VERY POOR IT TAKES DAYS TO GET A RESOLUTION TO PROBLEMS.

    • christy
      Posted September 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm | #

      I have ordered about 10 books from Blurb and have had FABULOUS customer service on 2 instances. They were timely & efficient in staying in contact with me until the issue was resolved. My sister uses them & got free books on a minor error that was made. I LOVE Blurb!

  16. Patricia
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 9:03 am | #

    thanks for ALL the info, sooo much to take in but very useful. I do have one question though….I recently got married and my photograhper has given me a few options for photo books (albums)(I believe she uses software only for photographers) and the prices are VERY high (cheapest book I think is aprox $600) now my question to you is…. which company would you recommend for best quality and elegant look specifically for wedding photos?
    I used mypublisher and picaboo for vacation photos which I think turned out good but they are only vaca pics (and also keeping in mind that I did use their more basic book choices.)

    Now that its my wedding book that I want to create I can’t seem to make up my mind. I had a valetine themed wedding, focusing on a very romatic setting so I want my album to be equally as romantic and sophisticated without having to pay a fortune….PLEASE HELP!!!
    Thank you again for all this useful info and I’d appreciate your opinion

    • photobookgirl
      Posted September 6, 2011 at 11:20 am | #

      Patricia – congrats on your wedding. Check out all my wedding photo book posts here – hopefully you’ll find that section helpful!

  17. Joanna
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm | #

    I have used Shutterfly, ArtsCow and Blurb and so far Blurb has been the best – quality, cost and delivery time. However, I am trying to a “storybook” so to speak of our Alaskan vacation. I have about 30 – 40 pages of text that I want to intersperse with photos. I’ve got about 250 photos which are of the highest resolution from our 35mm digital camera. I am finding the BookSmart software to be struggling with this much data. Any suggestions on a software that might handle this more easily?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted September 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm | #

      It’s hard to say what the cause of the “bugginess” of the Blurb program, but MyPublisher, AdoramaPix, Photobook America, Picaboo, Mixbook are some popular programs with customizable layouts. I have my reviews here: http://www.photobookgirl.com/reviews – then click on the logo for the company you want info on. I also have a wizard tool so you can plug in page count and compare cost.

  18. Linda
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm | #

    I am working on my first book project with Blurb Bookify. Their customer service is ridiculously slow and regardless of how my book comes out, for that reason, I will not use them again. I have been waiting SIX DAYS for Blurb engineers to figure out why I cannot access my book, a book of 400+ photos and 140 pages that I have invested 40 hours in to date! Does anyone know how to contact senior management by email or phone?

  19. SuSu
    Posted January 7, 2012 at 5:43 am | #

    Thank you for the detailed review! This was exactly what I was hoping to find. Have you had any experience with Shutterfly?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm | #

      Hi SuSu,

      Please see all my photo book reviews here Just click on the logo and then see all the blog posts I’ve done on them (scroll down to the “reviews from the blog”).

  20. Posted March 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm | #

    Mpix books do surprisingly suck. I made one for my girlfriend’s grandmother from the pictures i took at her place in the San Juan Islands. I was embarrassed to have to give her this book for the holidays, but I didn’t have time to return it. Mpix is really great for prints. I had an exhibition and got a few 20×20′s on gator board. One was scuffed, I explained that I needed it for a show and they airmailed a free one out next day. Great service and C-prints for the price.
    .So I guess I’ll try mypublisher.com. thanks for taking the time to compile the info!

  21. Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:30 pm | #

    I’m actually a big fan of Blurb but after reading this I may just give MyPublisher a second try! :D Thanks so much for your write-up.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted April 11, 2012 at 12:32 am | #

      I actually use both companies frequently. Blurb has some nice products that MyPublisher doesn’t have and vice versa. All depends on the project :)

  22. KS
    Posted November 4, 2012 at 6:04 am | #

    Question please. Is there a vendor that is completely web based? I will be traveling a lot and would prefer to upload most of the photos and access software from any computer.

    Thanks for your great reviews. Very helpful!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm | #

      Hi KS,

      Yes there are several – Mixbook, Shutterfly, Snapfish that I can think of off the top of my head. The others require a download. If you go to the main photo book reviews page, you’ll see in the chart if it says “download” or “online” – you’re looking for ones that are online then. Hope that helps!

  23. Nancy Sorkin
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm | #

    I am just starting to work on a family history book that should have about 15 pages of Microsoft Word text and about 20 pages of photos. I’d like to include a few .jpg’s within the text and also have text captions under some of the photos. Someone suggested that Blurb is the best company to use. Is this true?
    Also, if I want to include about five pages of family tree, is Myheritage a reasonable software to use and does this export easily into the Blurb book?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm | #

      You can work with text and photos with pretty much all the photo book companies – all of them have the capability of doing so, though the interface on some programs may be easier than others. Blurb is a great choice. Whatever company you use, my biggest advice is to not copy/paste directly from Microsoft Word. Make sure you are taking clean text (all formatting removed) before you paste it in. See my series here: http://www.photobookgirl.com/blog/how-to-make-your-own-digital-photo-book/ Take a look at the post on text. I’ve never used myheritage before so I can’t speak to that, but if myheritage lets you export into a jpeg format, then the family tree will be just like a regular photo and you should have no trouble uploading it into the book. Hope that helps! I did a family history book for my mom with Blurb – did you see that post?

  24. Ivy
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm | #

    Thanx for your reviews. I have used several of the photo book publishers you reviewed (although I had not tried blurb). I have been a die hard fan of My Publisher for several years now, because of the quality. I did have one issue with quality last year, but their customer service agreed to reprint the order, and all was well. Most recently however, I have had technical issues creating a simple gift (calendar), and have not been able to get it resolved by My Publisher. That is what sent me looking, and how i found your site. I love the quality of My Publisher books, but I will probably try out blurb, just to get this done, and see the quality difference for myself.

    Great site! Thanx for all your hard work.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm | #

      Hi Ivy, I happen to like both companies myself – it’s nice to have alternatives :) thanks for your review. Love to hear what you think of Blurb!

  25. Maria Hjaltalin
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm | #

    Have only tried Blurb. Created 2 books and was very happy with the result. The second book was for my aunt, only pictures of our trip, when I gave it to her she initially thought it was a regular photograph book of Myvatn, Iceland! Not just my compilation of the pictures we had taken on our trip.

    Included a pdf issue of the first book in my order but there was a problem with the download. Contacted customer service, some glitch at the time, they refunded the $4.99 pdf purchase right away (same day I contacted them). Some time later I realized that my pdf version was ready for download :-)

    • photobookgirl
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:50 am | #

      Thanks for your review Maria. If you’re looking for more Blurb reviews (I’ve done several since the time I wrote this post), check out my link! :)

  26. Michelle
    Posted December 15, 2013 at 3:12 pm | #

    I designed two photobooks of my wedding for my parents and in-laws through mpix and just as i was about to add to my cart, thought about how I designed my books. I have several pages with a single picture spread across both pages, I’m wondering if the way the book is bound will cut out a portion of the picture? From what I can find, it is not a “lay flat” book.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:26 am | #

      I’m not sure which Mpix product you are speaking of, but if it’s not a lay flat book, then there will be a gutter, so there will be a gap. It can work, but I wouldn’t put anything essential in the gutter (like a face) or anything you don’t want to be cut off.

  27. Janniferben00
    Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:47 am | #

    Great post it is and I agree with your review and choice in giving the Oscar to MyPublisher thanks for sharing these photo examples!!

  28. Marilyn
    Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm | #

    No comments about Bookemon? I’ve used Bookemon the past 18 months and applaud their paper, their color, clarity, beautiful cover (both soft & hard), and the fact that you can customize anything or use nice templates. The only issue is that the page background, even though beyond their guidelines, leaves a white margin in the gutter of the book. Your chart says they have a full bleed. Doesn’t this mean full pages? Also sometimes a very thin white border at the bottom of the page. Other printing problems occurred during busy Xmas season, but they did reprint. Printing turnaround is very quick. Nice website to work in. Love everything about Bookemon except for this lack of full bleed. Am I expecting too much?

One Trackback

  1. By Photo Book Showdown | A Life Exotic on March 25, 2014 at 11:58 am

    […] to do, what to do?  I found this very thorough review and comparison of these two and other photo book websites, but unfortunately, it’s a year and half old, with […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*