Friday, June 3, 2011

Photobooks, a comparison

I'm hooked.
On photobooks, that is.
For years, my pictures have remained in digital files, hiding in the depths of our Pictures folder on the hard drive of our computer.  I've enjoyed digitally scrapbooking here and there, but sadly, I just couldn't keep up.
Hence, the photobooks. And I love to display them.
Of our family pictures, I have made two books, one from My Publisher, the other from Shutterfly.

Both books come with 20 pages, and the prices are comparable.
Shutterfly 8x11 book - $34.99  additional pages $1.00
My Publisher 8.25 x 11.75 book - $29.80  additional pages $.99

The Shutterfly book is an 8 x 8 ($30). They seem to always run a free shipping deal on orders over $30 (standard shipping for this one book is $8, for two books it is $12).
The My Publisher book is an 8.25 x 11.75 book and has 65 pages. They run a deal every spring where additional pages are free! Shipping is $9.99 for one book, $4.99 for each additional book.

Shutterfly gives you the choice of choosing the simple path (photos arranged for you, 1-4 photos per page, 20 set page styles, you can rearrange and add captions), or the custom path (1-25 pictures per page, text or no text, you can change the background and layout on each page).  I always choose the custom path.
My Publisher has you choose between 10 book styles and 200 page layouts.
Both books offer full page bleed photos, storyboard page layouts, text or no text, or a lot of text.
 I liked being able to change the color of each page in my most recent book.
However, I ran into some trouble fitting in the text I wanted (right photo).  Also, I had to place my pictures out of order to fit them in My Publisher's set layout of vertical and horizontal pictures for that page.

Shutterfly has a new feature in the custom path that allows you to move and resize your photos and text boxes, and add embellishments anywhere you choose!  I like the added creative freedom that Shutterfly offers.

Both books seem to be holding up fairly well, but the My Publisher book is brand new and I can't vouch yet for its durability. Already, the back of the book is showing wear on the binding.  Perhaps because of the dark background?

A couple years ago, I made an ABC book of sorts for my kids and to give to all their cousins as a gift.
This is a 5 x 7 book from My Publisher, that at the time was only available in paperback.
Do Not order a paperback book for kids in black.  The black has been scraped off, revealing pink, and the binding is not holding up very well.
Thankfully, I noticed this right away in our book, and was able to laminate the front and back covers of the books that I gave as gifts.

I have to say that both hard cover books present very well.  The photo quality isn't bad and the books look nice.  I'd have to say the Shutterfly is a little easier to navigate, thus more user-friendly. With their new features on the custom path, I think that the next book I make will be from Shutterfly.

If you're like me and never make prints or have photo albums in your home that are missing some photos due to kids pulling them out, photobooks are a great way to preserve you memories. I know that some people order duplicates of each book so the kids can freely peruse one of them and not worry about rips. One thing I noticed is that your created book is always on your 'bookshelf' of your account online and you can reorder books whenever you'd like (I'm not sure how long they stay there).

I love to watch the kids looking through our books time and time again.

"Hey, remember when we made these!?"
"That's you, Brant!"
"Remember when we went there?"
"That's Fat Man's Loop!"
I really don't think my three year old remember making gingerbread houses two years ago, or the trip to Scottsdale McCormick Train Park - until he saw the pictures.  Through the pictures they can re-live and remember countless occasions and fun times.  And I have a beautiful looking book holding them all.

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