Hello folks! Hope you’ve finally recovered from eating all that yummy food at Thanksgiving! How about starting off the holiday shopping season with a giveaway?
14″ x 11″ Large Layflat Landscape Hardcover Photobook valued at $96.99 each (3 prizes available)
11″ x 8.5″ Medium Layflat Landscape Hardcover Photobook valued at $68.99 each (3 prizes available)
There are SIX prizes up for grabs with a total value of almost $500.00!
PHOTOBOOK AMERICA’S LAY FLAT PHOTO BOOKS
I recently had the opportunity to try out one of these layflat photo books from Photobook America. The company has been around for a while (they just celebrated their 10th Anniversary recently) and I’ve reviewed their software and products before, but not their layflat books. Layflat photo books have become increasingly popular with photo book lovers and these books are a new offering in the company’s lineup, just released earlier this year. I had been wanting to check it out and having just celebrated Photo Book Baby’s first 100 days, I thought it would the perfect topic for this book!
For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now, you may be wondering how Photo Book Baby is only 100 days old, well I guess I’m speaking of Photo Book Baby number 2, but I don’t want to call him “number 2” so I graduated his brother to Photo Book Toddler. However, Photo Book Toddler recently turned 4 years old so I guess he’s not a toddler any more and perhaps I will refer to him as Photo Book Boy! Oh my these kids are growing too fast for me. I’d like them to stay my babies forever!
You may also be wondering the significance of celebrating a baby’s first 100 days. It stems from a Chinese tradition celebrating a child’s longevity. From what I read, it represents a wish for a child to live for at least 100 years. We combined this tradition with what’s known as a “Red Egg and Ginger Party” which is typically held 30 days after a child’s birth, but is sometimes also celebrated after 100 days. Being born and raised in the U.S., it can be hard to maintain traditions and one’s ancestral culture, but I try to pass down what I can to my children, albeit oftentimes in a modified form. My parents did not celebrate this tradition for my brother and me when we were babies, but I’ve always been interested in history and world cultures and it’s just something that resonates with me. I suppose my wish to preserve my family’s culture is not surprising given my love of preserving memories in photo books. So, now that you have some background on my topic, on to the review!
Here’s the stats on my Photobook America Lay Flat Photo Book:
|Book size:||8 x 11″ (width x height) medium portrait|
|Cover:||Imagewrap (your photo on the cover) + optional slipcase|
|Binding:||lay-flat, folded, seamless|
|Price:||$91.99 + $34.99 slip case (complimentary for purposes of review)|
You have a three ways to make your book with Photobook America: 1) Downloading software; 2) Creating your book online; or 3) Selecting an online Readybook. If you go with downloaded software you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to work on your book. With the latter two, a connection is required. Readybooks are fully designed books with the layouts already made for you. You just add your photos to the template of your choice and drag and drop your photos. The Readybooks are fully customizable however so you can make any tweaks you like. It’s a quick and easy option for making a book.
Another difference I noticed between the downloaded software versus online software – the online designer only allows you to use about 50 fonts, while the downloaded software allows you to use any font on your computer. So, for the most flexibility, you may want to go with the downloaded software. For the quickest way to make a book, the Online Readybooks seem to be the best fit if you don’t need to make a large book. For this book I used the online designer in conjunction with my own offline software program.
The online designer offers a lot of options not normally available in other photo book company software. One of my favorite features – photo boxes with rounded corners – is a customizable option. The software allows you to do this by adjusting the size of the corners. The higher the number, the more curvature of the corners. Additionally drop shadows, borders, and different shaped container boxes are all available. Adjusting the opacity of the photo is also a feature I don’t normally see. All of these options allow you to be more creative in your layouts. For a more detailed review of Photobook America’s downloaded software check out my earlier review. Although that review was done some time ago, the current features appear to be the same to me.
The Book Arrives
The book was packaged well and it came in good condition. There was an additional waterproof mailing envelope in which this box below was enclosed but I forgot to get a picture of it. So the picture below shows the cardboard box inside the mailer. With regard to production and delivery time, Photobook America has a seven business day guaranteed shipping policy. If your book doesn’t arrive on time, you’ll get the cost of shipping credited back to you. Also, if your order goes above $75, you get free express shipping. For purposes of review this shipping was expedited so I didn’t have the chance to check out the policy. This is the only company that I’ve seen that has this guarantee (as a base option versus an upcharge for rush processing).
I chose an imagewrap cover – it’s my favorite type of cover for a photo book as I like to be able to use the whole cover versus a partial photo cover, as you would get with a leather or fabric cover as with the Debossed Books. The Debossed Books feature a smaller sized photo on the cover of your choice that sits slightly recessed into the front. The imagewrap cover is matte in finish. There isn’t an option to have a glossy cover, but I prefer matte covers to glossy so this wasn’t an issue to me.
I also chose the optional slip case in “metallic buckram steel”. It has a textured linen feel and I think it’s a nice addition to my book. It adds some protection makes for a nice finished feel especially if you’re giving the book as a gift. The slipcover added $34.95 to the cost and also comes in linen, silk or leather. There’s about 30 colors/types to choose from.
Speaking of gifts, presentation boxes are also available which comes with an option to add a stamped title to the front of the box. This option is priced at $99.95. Slip covers and presentation boxes aren’t necessary but for a nice occasion or gift it does make it feel a little more special.
The Paper and Print Quality
According to Photobook America’s site, the paper used in the layflat books is
280gsm E Photo Lustre paper which features a satin-matte PE-coated surface which gives the pages a genuine photo print look. “Features include brilliant colours, depth of contrast, low reflection, smudge repellent and outstanding image permanence.” On another part of the site I noted that the paper used is actually 400gsm E Photo Matte paper. I confirmed this with the company. Regardless of its name, I liked the paper.
I found the color reproduction excellent. The colors really popped. The red of the Chinese calendar shown below is vivid and bright. Coincidentally my son’s 100 days fell on the night of the blood moon supermoon lunar eclipse which also aligned with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Harvest Moon Festival. How auspicious!
The paper is thicker than the average photo book paper. The pages are not easily bent which means it stands up more to wear and tear. You would have to intentionally push down on the page with some force to crease it. So, it’s not your average paper you’d see in a bookstore book for instance. The pages do not have a gutter so you don’t lose any image to the center of the book which is nice. The pages lie flat so you don’t have to hold the pages down while you’re flipping through the book. Some companies’ lay flat books have a hinge or gap in the center. This one does not, so you have full ability to design across the spread. You can see in the spread below my photos extend across both pages and there is no image loss.
Base price for a Medium Portrait layflat book is $59.99. Each additional page is $2.00. The minimum page count for layflat books is 24 and maximum is 160 pages. The max page count is higher than the typical 100 pages which is good as I’ve frequently fielded questions from readers wanting to know which companies allow for a higher page count. The standard version of this book (non-layflat with thinner pages) goes up to whopping 300 pages. Note that extra pages have to be added in increments of 4 pages.
For comparison, a standard photo book without the layflat upgrade would be $52.99 (+$1.00 for each additional page), but you get 40 pages included in the price. So, my 40-page book in the standard version would be $52.99. The layflat then costs $39.00 more or about 70% more. These prices are before any discounts, so be sure to check my deals page or the company’s site for the latest promos. There’s some really awesome deals going on right now for the holidays! Speaking of deals, I can’t do better than free! Let’s get to the giveaway!
HOW TO ENTER THE PHOTOBOOK AMERICA CYBER MONDAY GIVEAWAY
You have 5 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.
- IF YOU WON, FOR WHICH OCCASION WOULD YOU MAKE YOUR ALBUM? (Christmas, Graduation, Vacation, Wedding, Baby, Anniversary 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 reader subscriptions don’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” Photobook Worldwide 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. You’ll see a place to add your review at the bottom of each company’s page. 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!)
Make sure to do the REQUIRED ENTRY!
This giveaway is open to anyone 18 or older within the U.S. and Canada. Void where prohibited. Void in Quebec. Entries must be received by Monday, December 7, 2015, 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 will be chosen using Random.org. After compiling the results, I will announce the winner thereafter and will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw another entry. Canadian winner may be asked to answer a skill question to be eligible, to comply with Canadian laws. Cannot be combined with other promotions. Winner will be responsible for shipping costs. Shipping is approximately $10.00 to $13.00 per book to the U.S. Winner will be solely responsible for any taxes due on the product or prize including but not limited to sales tax, tariffs, duties and fees as well as any income tax obligations if any. Disclosure: Photobook America is sponsoring this giveaway and this is a sponsored post. Please note I am an affiliate of the company. If you click on a link to Photobook America’s site and make a purchase, I may receive a referral fee from the company. Regardless of affiliation my opinions are always my own and reflects my honest opinion of the product.