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Photobook America Software Review
Photobook America Sample Layouts, Templates and Tips
(Update: Find all Groupon and Living Social photo book deals here!)
Welcome to Photobook America as the newest addition to our photo book database. The company is the 27th photo book printer added to the Photo Book Wizard – PhotoBookGirl’s exclusive detailed and searchable database of software and photo books. See the quick specs and software review on our Photobook America Review page.
Photobook America is part of Photobook Worldwide – which includes Photobook Australia, Photobook Canada and Photobook Malaysia. The company prints their photo books from two production centers in Canada and Malaysia, so I’m assuming U.S. books will be produced by our neighbors to the north. According to their site, they have a plan for future worldwide photobook domination. (Just embellishing that last part – the site says they are planning to continue expanding worldwide, so good news for us and our international readers!)
I love discovering new photo book companies to add to our list as it increases the choices we have as consumers. I haven’t had the chance to print a book yet with Photobook America, but from a look at their website, they offer some unique products and some different paper choices. With regard to paper weight and quality, if you’re wondering about the gsm to lb. conversion, 170 gsm is roughly equivalent to 115 lb. and 216 gsm is about 146 lb. Most of the companies in the database typically offer 100 lb. paper in their photo books, but note, it’s not an exact science comparing different types of paper. My initial thoughts are however that the 216 gsm/146 lb. paper will feel substantially heavier – (b/t/w I have a paper quality post coming up with a comparison of paper types from all the companies I’ve printed with before.) I’ll probably opt for the heavier paper so I can compare to the 100 lb. normally offered as the standard here in the U.S.
The software is both Mac and PC compatible and offers fully customizable layouts and instant two-page spreads so you can stretch a single photo to cover both pages of a layout. Also, you can use any font on your computer.
Note that page minimums are higher than the typical base 20-page counts you may be used to. Photobook America has a 40-page minimum for their books, so their price points are naturally going to start higher. Hardcovers start at $65.00 for a 40-page 8×6 and go up to $360.00 for an 80-page Professional Series XL Landscape book at a whopping 17.5×12 size. That’s the largest photo book size I’ve seen from any book in the database. Other upscale options include a slip case or presentation box.
Now is the best time to try Photobook America – lately, the company has been marketing their photo books on GROUPON at 70% off. Note that there is a current August promotion of 45% off. If you can combine the two, that would be some silly kind of savings. I can’t confirm right now that you’ll be able to use both promotions, but since Groupons are often entered as gift certificates while other discounts like the 45% off deal are often entered as promo codes, theoretically you should be able to use both. (Note that folks were able to do that with the Picaboo Groupon that was offered before, but that’s not to say it would be the same here.) I will try it before 8/31 and will let you know if it worked for me. Note that according to the terms I saw on Groupon, you have to use the entire certificate in one order and you can only buy a single book or multiple copies of the same book on a single Groupon (that’s apparently because one book is uploaded at a time.) Please read all the terms there before buying.
(Update: Photobook America (unlike the Picaboo Groupon) unfortunately does not allow you to combine their current promo with the Groupon. It was worth a try right?)
Okay enough chatter – this Groupon can only be purchased today (8/18) but won’t expire for another 2 years.
***ONE DAY ONLY*** (Update: 8/26/2010 Photobook America Groupon is available from another city TODAY!)***Click for details!
The amazing 70% off Photobook America Groupon is available today (8/19) for New York. You pay $35 to get a $115 gift certificate. As with all Groupons, you have only 1 day to buy (12mid EST). You have 2 years to use it. Doesn’t matter that you’re not in NY since this is an online service.
How to get your Photobook America Groupon:
1) Click on the graphic ad below or any of the Groupon text links above which will take you directly to the deal.
If that doesn’t work for you follow the steps below:
1) Click on the ad or links above. If you’re not taken directly to the deal, look for the “Visit More Cities” just to the right of the big GROUPON logo at the top center of the page;
2) Select “New York”
3) Buy your Groupon!
CURRENT AUGUST PROMO
Photobook America is offering 45% off all their photo books!
Coupon Code: AUG45US
Deal Expires: 8/31/2010
I received my PhotobookAmerica book – I chose the debossed 8.5×11 with the buckram cover. I suppose my rave review should be taken with a grain of salt since this is the first photobook I’ve ever done. I’ve been a Snapfish (and sometimes kodak gallery, going back to its Ofoto days) customer for years, but the things I’ve done there have been mugs, ornaments, pillow cases,etc. Once I tried a Snapfish book, but found the process clumsy and didn’t do it. That was a few years ago and maybe it’s changed since then. But on to PhotobookAmerica.
I loved their software. It took maybe 20 minutes to realize what was what, drawing on previous experience w/pagemaker and photoshop. There were many easy choices in the layouts and changes you could make to the pix – the same effects would have been much more complicated to do in photoshop ahead of time. The negative points were yucky choices in backgrounds – I stuck with white,which I think is usually the best choice anyway, using drop shadows which made the pics pop.And you had total control of the shadows – size, color, placement, etc. I upgraded to the matte canvas-like paper and am thrilled with it. The weight is just perfect and the paper texture is lovely, both on its own and under the pix. Well worth the $10 upgrade. I was very uncertain about the cover choice – buckram. On Photobook’s website the closeup they show of this cover makes it look somewhat like burlap – large weave. That is not the case at all. It’s a lovely, fine weave with a nice sheen to it. Although I haven’t another vendor for comparison, I give PhotobookAmerica a solid A. I love the results, can’t wait to give it to the intended recipient and, at the same time, I want to keep it for myself!!
thanks for the info Charlene. I am starting a book and having a hard time deciding on the cover. I would like the full imagewrap, but that is another 10 pages I could put in the book for that money. I contacted PhotoBook America and asked if it is possible to change the cover later in the process as long as you keep the size the same. I was disapointed to be told, no, I would have to start over if I want to switch the type of cover later. The customer service person said it was an enhancement they are working on, so hopefully soon this will be possible.
I do not recommend Photobook America. I have had the worst experience with them and I know others have as well just by looking at their facebook page. It has been over 3 weeks and my book still has a status of “in production” when they say on their site that producing the book only takes 7-10 business days. Also, they sent me a book that didn’t belong to me about a week ago. Someone is very upset that they’re missing their book, I’m sure. I’ve tried numerous times by email, phone, facebook, etc. to contact customer service and have had no luck. I would warn anyone against spending your money here. I wish someone would have told me before I spent $75 on a book and $41 for overnite shipping for a Christmas gift! Now it’s New Year’s and I STILL don’t have the book. 🙁
Yes, I did see some frustrated folks on FB. That’s really bad to get someone else’s book! How did that happen?! They must have overestimated their production capabilities and perhaps folks all used their Groupons at the same time. At the minimum they should provide you your book for free. I am tracking to see how they resolve customer service issues as that is important. Thanks for sharing your experience with them and I hope it gets resolved soon!
I also had lots of issues. I posted before – the fact that they are “off line” but you can’t use an external hard drive – VERY inconvenient. Second, I used the wizard (don’t recommend) and then didn’t realize that the blank pages would be there at the end (how many pages in advance?? I guessed – how will you know before you design the book???) – Because there is NO ITEMIZATION on the end price and it was my first book – I had no idea how many (blank) pages I was charged for, etc. I then used chat and she had to go in and correct and refund. BUT, I planned to upgrade and realized that I did not (with all the stress) and had to contact them AGAIN. I hope their production is as slow as stated – cuz I need time to fix my book!!! One good thing is the “chat” customer service has been excellent (so far). The pricing is confusing and this was not my first book – but my first with them.
I am also having the WORST experience with them. They had this great promotion on photo journals and I thought the journals would make great stocking stuffers so I made up my mind to design two of them.
After spending two days and many hours designing two journals using their flawed wizard, I was all set to complete my order. Only to find that I kept getting an error that my page five is left blank and I cannot complete my order. Here’s the kicker though- the journal templates don’t include a page five!! There’s no getting past this error and their customer support line keeps me waiting on hold forever. They haven’t responded to emails yet, and their online chat function is having SQL errors. All this is happening before I even place my order.
I thank you for your review, because reading your review was what made me trust them in the first place but I’m thinking that they gave you such a stellar experience because they were trying to have you market their product. There is a severe lack of follow through on their end for others is seems.
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I reviewed them quite some time ago. Typically my orders are put through the normal channels so it’s a genuine user experience except for getting a credit. I don’t think the production end knows which order is mine actually. Anyway, I hope you were able to resolve this.