I've waxed poetic
before about my Shutterfly
photo books. And anyone who hangs out with me in real life knows how much fun I have lining up the photo books on the shelf in my house - I love to make these little gems of family memory. My kids love to read them, to page through their history. We're currently obsessed with the ones that contain the pictures of their births...for some obvious reasons.
But recently, I bought a Groupon
, another photo-book service. I figured it was a good deal and I'd try it out. Truthfully, I didn't read the small print, which said "not valid with other offers" and so I stayed up really late to get my book done in order to take advantage of a Cyber Monday 40% off coupon...and then couldn't use it. But the Groupon was quite a good deal, so it's all okay.
But here I am to write a completely unsolicited review comparing my experiences with the two products. Mostly because I can't quite decide which one I like better! Both really give me a wonderful finished piece.
|Yael, enjoying a photobook|
: I am very familiar with their software, which is all online. It's really an improvement over earlier iterations of the process, with their new Storyboard feature being one of the best parts. I've always been a tiny bit frustrated by some of the limitations of their layouts, but I always thought it was a small price to pay for the ease of use that their system offers. There are also limited backgrounds and font options, sizes, etc. Recently they introduced full-photo covers, which are gorgeous. Oddly enough, the backs of the books are less customizable than I'd like, but the fronts never seem to be a problem. The "title page" of each book is also set to a specific number of layouts, which seems a little strange to me. The spine of the book can now be printed with words, which is wonderful. Each book is now identified by its dates, and I love that. The paper weight is heavy, the print quality is great. Shutterfly allows for amazing stackable coupons, which is another benefit. I never pay for shipping, and I always wait until they are running some kind of sale. (Actually, I bought a Shutterfly Groupon once too!) Production and shipping usually seem to take quite some time - usually it's almost 2 weeks from the time I click "order" until I have the book in hand.
: You have to use their downloadable software. This is good and bad - I can only work on my one computer, instead of wherever I have internet access (like my work computer, for example), but the stuff is locally saved, which is also nice. Their software took me a little while to get used to, but once I realized its potential, I was so excited for the unlimited customizable effects I could make. I could do almost anything I wanted with the photos. There's no formal way to "crop" a picture, but I figured out that I could zoom and move them to get what I wanted. Borders, no borders, shading, no shading, and more - there were seemingly unlimited options, as well as fonts and sizes of typeface. I could also rotate pictures and captions at any angle, which is really great. The covers, both front and back, were fully customizable as well, and so was the "title page." You can't add text to the spine of the book, which seemed like a huge negative to me, since I so recently acquired this feature in Shuttefly and I've become accustomed to it! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do it before realizing that it's just not possible. The most amazing thing? I ordered my book late Monday night and received it on Saturday. That was pretty remarkable. The book is really beautiful, even though I might have gone a little overboard in testing out all the backgrounds and fonts and things! I do think the paper weight from my Picaboo book is lighter than the Shutterfly book, even though my husband disagrees with me.
Bottom line? Both are great. Pricing is really similar, there are different options of book sizes and formats from one company to the other. It seems incredibly trivial, but the spine text is important to me and I can't quite decide if it outweighs the customizable layouts. I'll have to wait and see if I use one or the other more regularly, I have money left on my Groupon purchase on Picaboo, so my next book will probably come from them too.
Here's another comparison review
of the two companies.
Do you make photobooks? Which service do you use? If not, how do you keep your family records?
Full disclosure: I bought all my own photobooks, I didn't receive anything to write this review and I asn't asked to write it.