My time has gotten away from me today, so let us discuss an ongoing issue on my mind: photobooks.

In the next month or so, I am going to finish my layouts from last summer’s vacation and order a photobook. As we’ve discussed, there are quite a large number of options for photobooks.

To narrow the range, I’ve settled on some minimum requirements.

  • Size offering at or between 7″x7″ and 11″x11″
  • Fully custom photo covers and spine
  • No downloading of software
  • Full bleed pages
  • Guidance/templates on trim and bleed

I’ve gone through the sites of Snapfish, Scrapping Simply, PhotoWorks, Winkflash, Shutterfly, Persnickety Prints, Mixbook, Blurb, Viovio, Inkubook and MyPicTales to investigate options and my various preferences. It appears these are my three best options:

Have you created a book with my requirements? Which service did you use? Was it one of these three?

Photobook example by Joey_M

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  1. L Van Voorhis

    I use Shutterfly and really love the photo books I have from them. I have use their standard templates for some of my photo books – and I have created my own digital scrapbook pages and had those printed in the photo book as a full page picture. They have turned out great either way – it just depends on which I prefer doing at the time.

  2. Laura

    I have done a couple of 8 x 8 books from Shutterfly and been happy with them–no complaints at all.

  3. Biograffiti

    I’m not a huge fan of shutterfly and haven’t tried the other two. I would much rather spend the extra $$ and have a higher quality book. I also don’t love that they put a barcode on my book. I’m checking out the Persnickety books this week. My favorite place for photobooks is American Color Imaging. The print quality is AMAZING- the pages look like real photos. Top Notch.

  4. Tiffany

    I did a Blurb book and was very happy with it. But I did have to download software, so I’m not sure if they meet your requirements. If they’ve changed their procedure, or have a non-software alternative, I’d love to know.

    • Jennifer

      Blurb allows you to upload a PDF, so yes it would meet my requirements.

  5. linda

    I’ve used blurb, because I can design everything like a real book, full control using their PDF to book workflow…so that’s what I went with. The quality is good and when there was some issues, I sent them an email and they sent me a new copy … so you don’t have to worry about production inconsistencies. The color wasn’t as vivid as I thought, but not sure if that is because it’s paper, not glossy photos…

  6. esther_a

    I’ve used both Shutterfly and Blurb. I preferred blurb because
    * I could download the software and work on my computer without being online (I have limited downloads per month)
    * I could just work on creating my pages and leave them in a folder and blurb would automatically import them all at once alphabetically or by creation date)
    * It was very clear where the bleed zones were.

    I have not yet received my blurb book but from what I’ve read the paper quality is not as good as shutterfly and more people had problems with print quality. For example quite a few people had bits fluff stick that had to the paper pre printing and gradually fall off afterward leaving spots.
    Does shutterfly have a dust cover? Blurb does. I don’t think Blurb allows you to print on the back of the hard cover.

    • EBPitcher

      You can print on the back cover with Blurb.

  7. Jas

    I have made books at Shutterfly and at Blurb. Shutterfly has the better quality, but is more expensive. If your book has many pages … I would go with Blurb.

  8. Jacklyn

    I ordered my first photo last week from Shutterfly and am waiting for delivery now (international). I hope it will turn out good!

  9. Melissa

    I’ve used and Shutterfly. Snapfish haven’t got as many size options and I was happy with the quality. They also seemed to crop less off my LOs than Shutterfly

  10. Jennifer McIntyre @atthebluebarn

    I’ve ordered Shutterfly books that others have created – they seem okay.

    I’ve seen a Blurb Book, a large square, and it was amazing!!!

    I want to make the same type – using our kids artwork – and create a coffee table sized book – for grandparents. i do not know the specifics for the software – but i would deal with it to receive such a quality book!!


  11. Ang

    I haven’t done any photobooks but I am seriously considering one for my P365 this year. I’ll admit, I’m nervous about it. I’m used to getting my individual LOs printed at WHCC and putting them in an album. I’m thinking I will do a smaller book as a gift to my daughter, using LOs I already have, so that I can see how it works out first, before I wait til next Jan. to send off my all my P365 LOs.

    I scrap 8×8. How do you deal w/edges getting cut off? Is there a special way to format LOs so that they won’t get cropped?

    • Marg VP

      I took Anna Aspnes’ “Album Magic” class a few months ago and her advice was simply to make sure you don’t place anything out to the very edge of the layout that you don’t want clipped off. In other words, keep the photos and any important elements just to the inside 1/8″ edge of the layout whenever possible and use a service that offers full bleed prints.
      I’m sure there’s lots of other advice out there but this method works well for me. Hope this helps.

  12. EBPitcher

    I’ve used both Shutterfly and Blurb.

    Shutterfly was a breeze to use, but you must remember to turn off their VivdPics when you print full layouts or they will really mess up the color. You can call and have them just turn off VividPics on your account. The quality is good.

    I used Blurb to print a book of my blog posts. I used their software since I was laying it out. I suppose I could have laid them out individually in PSE and then uploaded, but the software worked for me. I will say that the software manages lots of text pretty poorly. I have no idea how someone would use it to self-publish a lengthy text book. As for quality, I was pleased. I ordered both the regular and the premium paper the first time out to compare. I really like the weight of the premium paper as well as the print quality for not a whole lot more money.


  13. michellejg

    I used Viovio for several books and they are fantastic. The color is great (had a BAD color experience with another printer) and the bindings are beautifully done (very secure). The prices are fantastic but they aren’t the speediest. I think it’s usually about 10-14 days. But as long as you aren’t in a hurry they are SO worth the wait πŸ™‚

  14. Marg VP

    I’ve been a Shutterfly fan for quite some time. I started off using thier templates and designs but have crossed over to using my own layouts for most of my photobooks. When using Shutterfly, remember to turn Vivid-Pic option OFF for the best color results. Customer service and delivery times get an A+. Shutterfly also runs sales and discounts on a pretty regular basis….watch your email for announcements and discount codes.
    Looks like alot of folks here like Blurb just as well….maybe I’ll check it out!
    Lots of really good input here….Have a great day everyone!

  15. Linda

    I am anxiously awaiting 2 12 x 12 scrapbooks that I ordered through Viovio. This is my first time using any company to print my scrapbooks.
    It was somewhat difficult navigating through the site, but once I figured it out, it was okay. I had a blank page in one of the scrapbooks, & they emailed me for clarification before they printed it. I will let you know the quality as soon as I receive them. The price was so much better than Shutterfly. I did a lot of research reading multiple reviews on the different sites before I chose Viovio. Hope I made the right choice/



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