by Ann KerrThe Internet is fast becoming a major tool of communication. Technology now allows us to print a single book in full color using Internet companies. Just a few short years ago this was unthinkable. There are now many sites where you can print a book. Here are several we have used.
www.shutterfly.com One of our favorites. Their books are beautiful and they are very fair if there are any issues. Upload your pictures first, and then drag them into premade layouts. (They have a lot of options.) As of August 2013 they are in partnership with My Publisher, but so far that has no effect on either of them. One thing I'm thrilled about is that they just started printing a 10x10 book. I always thought their 8x8's were a little small, and the 12x12's are a little large. The 10x10 will be perfect. The square books are great if you're making your pages in Photoshop because almost all the digital templates come in a square format. From time to time they offer a free 8x8 and I've done seven or eight of them for free--just postage.
www.picaboo.com Beautiful books. They allow you to put any picture or digital paper as a page background—a nice touch. In addition, they have hundreds of backgrounds on the Internet that you can drag onto a page. They are organized by theme, so it’s easy to find what you want.
www.mypublisher.com This is where I published by first book 12 years ago. They’re still in business and now have more options. You can make a photo book cover for your book as one of their choices. Several times a year they offer up to a 100 page book for $35. The only catch is that they only give you five days to do it. On books I know are going to be lengthy, such as our yearly memory books, I work on them whenever I can, and hopefully finish up after the sale is announced. Another great thing they do is send out an email several times a year showing little pictures of all the books you have ever done. They offer reprints of any book for $25. That's not a great sale if your book is short, but for the longer ones, it's a bargain. When I make a 100 page family reunion book, I try to get my copy for $35, then wait until the $25 sale to get a copy for each of my kids. Their printing is great, but they also have an option for a heavier paper and glossy photos that make your pictures look like they were taken by a professional. Very, very beautiful.
www.mpix.com They do books in addition to other photo printing. Many professionals use this site. Until recently they didn’t give you an option for a picture on the cover, but now they do. They have a 9x9 size that is nice and not offered by most other companies.
www.blurb.com One of the most inexpensive of all the sites we’ve tried. They also let you drag from Picasa and upload the pictures later. Their quality seems pretty good, but is not up to the standard of the other books I'm mentioning in this post. One great feature is that you can “slurp” your blog into a book. Very cool. For a small fee you can also put it on your ipad.
http://www.adoramapix.com is my favorite of all the books. Their pages lie totally flat and are beautifully printed. They are different in that you can't just make any length you want. They have to be 14, 26, 38, 50, or 76 pages long so that everything comes out right. You can place a picture right across the middle of a two page spread and it will be perfect. There are no gutters. They are a little more expensive to make that the others, but they have sales from time to time and usually give you plenty of time to make your book.
Here are three beautiful double pages from a book I made after a fall foliage trip to Canada and New England. These pages are made in Photoshop, but they have more options than any other company for designing right on their website.
To access slideshows and links to some of Alison's books:
Reaching the Summit Tribute
The Important Book
To see the proclamation Book full size, click here and choose "slideshow."