Ok, now this has got to be the ugliest photo book ever. I’m regretting even making it, I thought I’d be able to customize the cover, and then their customizations only had ugly templates. And after I’d spent the time to design all the pages, I didn’t want to scrap them and go with a different company. And I had an awesome coupon for Winkflash.
So anyway… don’t get a photo book there, even if you have a good coupon. I’ll tell you why.
They don’t give a good preview of what the finished page will look like if you use their text and template. I stupidly thought, “Well, we’ll see what it looks like afterwards, maybe it’ll be OK”. No… no… it’s not ok. That right there was the most attractive looking cover I could come up with, and that’s saying a lot. Their templates are hideous, and you don’t have the option to design your own cover. You can put the title under the picture (in only one font choice, and only one size), and that’s about it. And I paid a premium for it! I should’ve gone with the plain cover.
The cover is a plasticky material, slightly puffy. In the binding you can see that the pages are stapled together for the binding. Which I suppose is better than the glue in the Shutterfly book that’s coming apart, but for the price I’d expect something a bit better than staples.
That is one of the pages I designed. (I did use their template a couple times in the book… and they look the same as the cover for the most part, very uninteresting and IMHO pretty ugly). If you’re going to design each and every page, it’s not so bad (other than the cover).
However, their java software was VERY painful to use. If you upload all the pages all at once, you won’t have a problem. But if you want to upload 4 at a time, design 4 more, upload 4 more… then the software will not update a folder with the new images. You have to create a new folder for each upload, and go back and select it every time (at least on my Mac, I don’t know if IE on a PC would be different). If you go back and select a catch-all folder, it won’t see the new images. It took a lot of futzing around to complete the silly book.
And then there’s the printing. I created each page to spec, and the text on the pages isn’t crisp, it’s grainy (more noticeable in the small text). I create printed stuff all the time, and the text isn’t grainy, but it’s grainy in this book. On the pages with their templates, that text is crisp, but then I’m pretty sure it’s not printed from a jpg either since they don’t give you a good preview of those pages.
I think the printing is better in the Shutterfly book. The photos are a bit grainy too (you can see a dotted effect from the printing, so the photos are slightly fuzzy when on the monitor they were sharp). If you’re just casually flipping through someone’s photo book you probably wouldn’t notice that, but I’m looking closely at the pages because I’m reviewing the books.
The pages are slightly shiny (nice) and they feel slightly thicker than Shutterfly’s pages (nice). But other than that, I give this book a big thumbs down. There are scads of other photo book companies out there, for a timeless memento, there’s no point in wasting your time with this place. Poor Maylie has to suffer with a horridly ugly book for all eternity, don’t do that to your kids.
Pricing: 30.95 for up to 20 pages in a 10×8 book, 50c per additional page. $6.99 to ship the first book. For a plain cover, it’s $18.95 for up to 20 pages, 50c each additional page, $6.99 to ship the first book.