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      February 19, 2018

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Photo Books

  1. Shutterfly
  2. York
  3. Vista Print

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Best Photo Books

Photo books are a great way to celebrate weddings, birthdays, new babies, wedding anniversaries, graduations, family reunions, and more. For those on a tight wedding budget, photo books make inexpensive photo albums that can save you hundreds of dollars.

Traditional photo albums were popular for many years. They were convenient when developing large rolls of film was a common practice. However, with the invention and popularity of digital cameras, photo books have become a popular substitution to the traditional photo album. They provide a very affordable and impressive method of capturing and organizing your memories.

Continue reading below reviews

2018

Photo Book Reviews

5 stars
Mixbook

MIXBOOK Visit Site

Cost:

From $6.99 to $49.99

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Mixbook offers a wonderful selection of photo book options that can meet any budget. If you have a flare for creativity, Mixbook is the photo book provider for you. They offer the most customizable design templates, fonts, and software that allow you to create a unique photo book that represents you.

Mixbook offers 7 different photo book options in both hard and soft covers, and in various sizes. To start the design process you simply choose the size of the photo book, the cover type, a design theme, and begin uploading your photos from any location such as Facebook, Picasa, Flickr or your home computer. The Mixbook software allows you to crop and turn photos, add comments, and really have fun creating your photo book. The effort is similar to scrap booking except it takes much less time, is better designed, lasts longer, and often costs less.

If you aren't satisfied with the quality of your Mixbook for any reason, you can contact Mixbook using their online support form within 30 days of receiving your order. According to their policy, Mixbook will fix the problem or refund your money. Mixbook provides prompt customer service assistance through live chat or email, but they don't offer phone support. Their photo books are created in as little as 3-5 days and delivery is based on the shipping options you choose at checkout.

The prices are definitely affordable at Mixbook and make great holiday gifts for those on a budget. Overall, Mixbook provides a wonderful, creative experience that is affordable for those on a budget. You'll choose from a huge assortment of templates and customizable options when you create your photo book. If you want to have fun creating a top quality photo book, Mixbook is a great value. They earn our highest rating.

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3.5 stars
Shutterfly

SHUTTERFLY Visit Site

Cost:

From $11.04 to $27.50

Shutterfly has a rich and successful history in handling photos online. With their move into photo books, they have extended their online photo offerings to include an interface that is both fun and easy to use.

Upon arrival to Shutterfly photo books, you're given the selection to choose either a Custom Path, where you have extended creative options, or a Simple Path, with predefined templates.

  • With the Custom Path, you can choose from an extensive collection of backgrounds, layouts, and embellishments to adorn your photo book. You can place up to 25 pictures per page, and up to 1,000 total pictures in your book. And you can choose from Premium, Hardcover, or Softcover books.
  • With the Simple Path, you choose from more than 20 styles with preset backgrounds and layouts. The pictures are automatically arranged for you, after which you can rearrange them or add captions where you see fit. You can place up to 4 pictures per page, and up to 500 pictures total in your book.

Once you've selected which creative path you want, Shutterfly takes you on an interactive design session where you create your photo book. This animated, what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface is among the slickest we've seen, and made creating the photo book fun. They provide a lot of easy to use options for adding pages, arranging photos, and previewing your photo book.

Shutterfly brings their knowledge and history of handling online photos to a successful photo book offering. Their interative design process is slick and easy to use. If you're looking for a good photo book for your photos, Shutterfly is definitely worth a look.

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3.5 stars
York

YORK Visit Site

Cost:

From $5.99 to $38.99

York is best known for developing film into physical pictures. York has diversified their business and now offers a nice selection of photo books as well.

York offers 3 different sizes of photo books including 5x7, 8x8, 12x12, and 8x11. Prices at York are much more affordable than many other companies and start at only $5.99. However you should not expect the same level of cover or paper quality with these less expensive photo books.

The York Photo Labs website is user friendly and provides some nice design options. Like other photo book providers, you can include your own photos and captions, add one of their stylish designs, and even customize your photo pages and layouts. Photo books are available in hardcover or soft cover styles, and some styles are available with custom covers or dust jackets.

All the photo books from York Photo Labs are professionally bound and printed on archival-quality, acid-free paper. The return policy is more ambiguous at York. They state that a customer should contact them if they're unhappy. However, the only method of communication is through email. This may be frustrating for some that don't have the time or patience to wait for a response.

If you're looking for different photo book sizes that are affordable and easy to build, York is worth browsing. However, we were less impressed with the unclear return policy and the lack of customer service contact options.

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3 stars
Vista Print

VISTA PRINT Visit Site

Cost:

From $9.99 to $15.99

At Vista Print, cheap is what you pay and cheap is what you get. Vista Print is in the business of making inexpensive stationary, business cards and other big print jobs. They've also recently incorporated a basic and unimpressive photo book business.

The photo book sizes at Vista are small and only include 4x6, 5.5x7.5 and a 5.5x7.5 flip photo books. You may design your photo book using 80 different designs and customize further with captions. You can upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Flickr and Picasa.

Vista's business model seems to cater to big print jobs. However, fast and big quantity does not necessarily translate into a beautiful, personalized photo book. Vista also doesn't cater their website or customer service towards the photo book customer. We struggled with the website to make our photo book.

When we had a customer service question we were frustrated when we had to keep searching for a simple 1-800 number. The website seemed adamant to direct our question to different help areas before providing us the actual Vista Print phone number. Unfortunately, the representative that answered kept telling us she worked in a different department and wasn't knowledgeable about photo books. However, she was courteous and did attempt to answer our questions.

Vista Print photo books are made and delivered within 7-21 days, depending on the shipping options you select at checkout.

If you're looking to go the cheapest possible route with your photo book, Vista Print might be worth checking out. However, you shouldn't expect the same level of quality or professionalism that you get with the higher rated companies in our review.

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Continued from above

Most photo book websites allow you to choose from a variety of sizes, covers, templates, and the ability to include captions and comments. Some photo book companies provide very attractive photo book options, while others offer just the bare minimum.

Before making your next photo book purchase, you should consider the following items:

  • Template and Cover Selection. Does the photo book company have attractive covers and available templates that reflect your style?
  • Prices. How do the photo book prices compare among other companies? Does that reflect in the quality of the photo book?
  • Customer Service. If you have a question or concern about your photo book purchase, does the company provide helpful customer service assistance?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best photo book companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right photo book to preserve your cherished memories!

Why Have Photo Books Become So Popular?

The simple answer to that question lies outside of the photo book itself: Digital photography and a computer.

The days of coming back from a European vacation with a hundred rolls of exposed film and no way of knowing if you got a good photograph of anything is over. After spending many dollars on developing the film, it was normal to fill several traditional photo albums with shots of dubious quality, a time consuming and expensive activity. Few people, aside from yourself, want to see a dozen shots of the Eiffel Tower from different angles. But they will be happy to look at one great photo of the icon on the Seine, especially if it was taken by you. If it is context with other spectacular photos of the City of Light, well, what's not to like?

Digital cameras allow you to click away until you get the image you want. If you know how to use the digital camera, then loading the photographs into your computer is probably easy for you, as well. The final step, creating a photo book, using the best of your best photographs, rather than oodles of ordinary ones, is a simple effort for anyone.

Therein lies the reason for photo books' rising popularity. The books, created from your skill, your eye for composition and your flair for storytelling, provide a way for you, and others, to truly enjoy the event you have experienced. And with the help of photo book companies, you can do it without too great an effort nor too great an expense.

Photo books are a perfect memento for a wealth of occasions, especially since you can determine exactly how many photo book copies you need for yourself and to share.

It goes without saying, the bride and groom will treasure their wedding photo album, but the parents of the couple, would no doubt enjoy a photo book of the event, perhaps with more candid, family shots included than would be in the formal arrangements. A photo book of Mom and Dad's Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary party, with Grandma and Grandad taking a turn on the dance floor, would probably be a best seller if it were available to the whole clan, and with a photo book, it can be.

Photo book services allow a digital photographer to easily manipulate, crop and resize images. They also provide easy access to a wide range of other variables, from backgrounds to photo placement and fonts for captions.

Photo book cover options include spiral bound, soft covers, hard backs, leather bound and dust jackets. Photo books can be created in several different sizes, from 4x6 inches to portfolio sized perfect for display on the coffee table. Choices include photo books which either have page curl and those with lay flat features.

The result is a totally customizable photo book of personal memories.

 

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