PLEASE NOTE: Sometime earlier this year in 2011, Pixable stopped printing photo books and now appears to be concentrating on online albums. Therefore all information on this company below is inactive and we’ve removed it from the database. If you bought a Groupon that has not yet expired, I would suggest contacting Groupon or the company to obtain a refund.
One of my favorite places to go on vacation is anywhere there is water. (Ironically I’m watching a documentary on the making of Jaws as I write this! LOL!) There’s nothing more relaxing for me than to walk along the beach and photograph anything that catches my eye. I decided to make a photo book with the theme of sea, surf, sand and shells – a perfect subject for trying out a FREE 8×5.5 softcover photo book with Pixable. This free book is offered to all new users and is a great opportunity to try out a new photo book publisher.
I don’t normally make too many softcover books, but this compact glossy photo book made for an easy and affordable way to highlight pictures from our recent trips.
Here’s the stats:
|Book size:||8×5.5 (width x height)|
|Price:||FREE (most economical shipping was $2.99)|
From what I have read, Pixable is the first photo book publisher to offer a direct way to take your photos from your Facebook account and create photo books. In fact, you can also access photos from your friends’ accounts as well. (Hmmm…better check those FB privacy settings!)
With 400 million estimated users and growing (probably add another 100 million as I’m writing this) it’s no surprise other companies are hoping to attract Facebook users who have hundreds perhaps thousands of photos uploaded to their accounts. Just recently Shutterfly added a Facebook feature to its offerings and Kodak has announced that users will be able to access their Facebook, Picasa, and Kodak Gallery photos from retail kiosks at stores such as CVS and Target by September 2010. But, we’ll give credit to Pixable for being the first.
“Firsties” should count for something right?
Pixable’s software runs off their site. In addition to Facebook, you can pull photos from Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and SmugMug, and your computer of course.
For this book, I uploaded photos from my computer, which was very easy to do and I thought the upload speed was good as well – though speed is in large part dependent on your own Internet connection. You pick the folder where your photos are located and select the photos you want to use for the book. From there you are taken into the book editor.
To place a photo into a picture box, you can either double click or drag and drop that photo onto the layout. Pretty simple to use.
1) Fully customizable layouts are a definite plus – you can use their layouts or create your own
2) Easy drag and drop function – plus it’s very easy to move a page or set of pages to change the order of the pages
3) You can change the size of your book and your layouts will stay relatively intact (however, note that I wasn’t able to change back to my original size once I did that)
4) You can rotate your caption boxes to be vertical or to any angle you choose
5) I haven’t tried the collaboration feature, but it’s a neat idea to be able to work on a book with friends. It would be a fun project for an organization or club to make a book or if you take a vacation with friends, a great way to share vacation photos with each other. (Your friends are probably uploading all their photos to Facebook anyway right?)
6) You can create and share your photo book on Facebook for free – you only pay if you want to order a physical book.
1) I found the book editor to be too small which made it difficult to see details as I created the layouts. The full screen mode doesn’t do anything to increase the size of the book, and switching to single page mode doesn’t increase the size of the page either. (I am working on a 15″ laptop, so that may be a factor.)
2) Creating your own layouts is a great feature, but I would prefer a grid or guides to assist in lining up the photo boxes. It would also be helpful to see the exact size of the boxes and as well as coordinates, to allow for more precise placement. Eyeballing it is not ideal if you want things to line up properly.
3) It would be nice to have a “duplicate” button to make it easier to create a photo box of the same size.
Print Quality & Book Construction
The softcover and interior pages are very glossy – the glossiest I’ve seen thus far with any photo book I’ve made. The high gloss paper makes the photos look more like “photos” rather than the matte pages of a book you’d find at a bookstore.
The cover photo reproduced very well and the colors matched my original photos but there’s a slight strip of black on the right half of the cover at the bottom which is not supposed to be there since it’s a full bleed photo. As for print quality, there were a couple of photos that seemed a bit pixilated, but the vast majority of photos came out clear and with accurate color reproduction.
The inside of the front and back covers are not printable and Pixable adds its logo on the back cover. The book is held together with 2 staples in the center.
Note that photos on Facebook are not uploaded in their original size. Therefore, if you use a photo on Facebook, keep in mind that stretching it to a full 8×8 size for example may result in low image quality. You can upload photos from Flickr or from your computer if you’re concerned.
I made a similar sized softcover book with MyPublisher a few years back and I found that I like Pixable’s print quality better. I’m not sure how a hardcover comparison would turn out, but that’s for another day!
Overall Pixable offers an easy to use book-making program to get your photos and your friends’ photos off of Facebook. Being able to share your photobooks on your Facebook page is also a creative way to showcase your photos. If you’re new to Pixable, there’s no reason not to try Pixable’s FREE book offer for yourself!
If you want to see more on Pixable, see my Pixable Overview.