I’ve had a fair bit of experience making photo books over the years, using Future Shop, My Publisher, and Lulu.com. I’ve switched companies usually because of price or ease of use. I tried a company across the border but the brokerage fees were almost as much as the books. Today it seems like there are more choices than ever in photo books, and I often wonder which company is the best.
Then I stumble upon “The Great Photo Book Review Round up” by Jason Dunn. Jason has done what really needed to be done to be able to fairly compare photo books: he made a photo book and had it printed by 12 DIFFERENT companies. He was fortunate in that they all donated the printing costs! Afterwards he wrote a 15,000 word review comparing all the different companies on not only their book quality, but pricing and their software/interface.
Something to keep in mind is that not all companies provide the same service. Blurb not only can create just about any type of book, it can also market it for you, while some of the other companies are made to “drag and drop” photos into their templates. The other thing is I’ve heard that some of these companies don’t print their own books, they simply contract it out to local printers, so a Blurb book ordered in Europe will not be printed in the same place as one ordered in North America. Finally he was not able to test iPhoto (something many commenters asked about) as he did not have a mac computer.
And the winner is? Well I won’t make you read the whole review as it could take most of a weekend, however here is Jason’s brief summary of all the companies.