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The Best Online Photo Book Services 2020



My mom has a closet full of photo albums that are curated from years of birthday parties, holidays and family events. While the days of dropping film containers at a 24-hour photo booth and properly arranging the prints in a physical album may be earlier in many thanks to the digital era, I still think there is no compensation for actually keeping these family pictures in my lap .

Given the coronavirus lockdowns, quarantine and on-site protection is now as good a time as any to go through your old photos ̵

1; not just print, but also Instagram photos , Facebook albums, and any other social media accounts you may have forgotten. And with the quality of the cameras that are always improving, even phone pictures are worthy of attention in a wonderfully glossy book.

Photo books are also a great gift for the newly graduated student
in your life.

  gettyimages-88181660

Putting together a custom photo book can be a relaxing hobby to take up.


Vlad Fishman / Getty Images

There are a number of reputable services available online to help you build a photo book project that can be shipped directly to your door. The CDC and WHO say it is unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 through packages, but if you are nervous you can also just save your project and order it later.

We tested some to see how easy they are to work with, although we haven't actually got any books yet, so we can't compare the quality of the final products. Here are some online photo book services to check out.

Read more: The best printer for 2020

Shutterfly / Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Shutterfly is one of the better known digital photo book services. The site can help you assemble a photo book with over a dozen templates and book sizes, or with tutorials and ideas if you want to start from scratch. You can also choose Shutterfly's Simple Path, which uses the website's software to instantly upload your photos – all you need to do is arrange, and decorate and add captions. Basically, you have a personal photo coffee book in no time.

You can add photos from your computer or photos that have already been uploaded to Shutterfly, Facebook or Instagram. You can also use stock photos from Shutterfly's Art Library. All images you upload must be in JPEG format. The site does not take long to learn to navigate, even if you are not very digital savvy. If you need some inspiration, you can click on Idea Pages for some premade templates.

How Much Does It Cost : Without the sales tax, an 8- of 11-inch 20-page hardcover book would cost about $ 40 before shipping and tax. Shutterfly often drives sales, so you should look for promotional codes that can be applied to your purchase to save some money. If you add or remove something from your project, Shutterfly tells you that the price of your project has changed.

Mixbook / Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Mixbook's minimalist layout makes it very easy to use. The site has dozens of fun photo book themes – family, season, wedding, travel, baby – and more specific designs in each category. It is also possible to put together a book from the beginning.

Mixbook lets you upload photos from your computer, phone, Facebook, Instagram or Smugmug or use the photos you have already uploaded to the site.

I used Mixbook to organize my wedding photos, just a few years after that. It was easy to add and edit photos, text, extra pages and embellishments to the template I chose. You can change the themes at any time, but based on what I can tell you will have to change the pages manually, even if the photos will go over.

You can be as creative as you want to be and turn away from the template as you like – or stick with it. When you build your book, you can click Preview to see what the final product will look like on the road. When you are satisfied with your book, click Order to complete the book size, page and cover.

How much it costs: Mixbook offers many customization options that can affect your final price. Photo books can be ordered in landscape, portrait or square form in 6- and 6-inch, 8.5-8.5-inch, 10- by 10-inch and 12-by-12-inch sizes. The Mixbook offers four different page finishes and five different cover styles. The combination you choose and any extra pages will determine your price.

If you choose the regular semigloss page and a softcover, you can keep prices below $ 20. Designing a larger book with more watches and whistles like hardcover food or leather with a dust jacket will raise the final price. For example, my 8.5- to 8.5-inch 39-page brochure photo book came to about $ 30 with a pre-tax and shipping discount code.

Snapfish / Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Snapfish uploads photos to make an album super easy by organizing all your uploads into one file. From there, you can have Snapfish fill your photo book automatically or add your photos manually. Snapfish had a similar user interface as Mixbook, but was more sensitive to image resolution. For example, on both sites if the resolution of an uploaded image is too low, it is flagged with a small exclamation mark. Some of the photos that were OK for Mixbook did not exceed Snapfish's resolution requirements.

Snapfish had dozens of templates and themes such as Summer Snapshots, Grad Nostalgia, Family Farmhouse, Storybook Love and Moments with Mom. If you chose a template to begin with, you can still switch pages with other backgrounds or change the book theme completely. Some of the embellishments with some templates had drop shadows for each photo which made them feel more like traditional scrapbook pieces.

How much does it cost: When you're done with your project, click View and Purchase to order. For an 8- and 11-inch hard disk 20-page photo book, Snapfish charged $ 40. The site also offered to print nine 4- to 6-inch glossy prints from the album for 9 cents each.

Walmart / Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Get started with your photo book by creating an account on Walmart's website. You can customize your box size, from 5 to 7 inches all the way up to 12 x 12 inches, as well as the cover type, binding and how fast you want it to be delivered. Since I already had pictures available, I tested Walmart's wedding album template. You can change templates at any time, but the photos you have uploaded will not be uploaded and you will need to place them back in the new layout.

Walmart lets you upload photos from your computer, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox and Google Photos, but the site will only stick to the photos for a year. After dropping a photo, click it to start the editing process to make adjustments. However, Walmart provides fewer editing options – a black and white or a sepia filter, the ability to crop, zoom, tilt, adjust brightness and eliminate red-eye – compared to other websites.

It was easy to drag and drop photos or change layout pages in the template. However, one of the disadvantages of Walmart's photo books was the lack of embellishments. The program lets you add text, but "stickers", like other websites, would have taken the design process to a level.

How much it costs: When you are done with your project, click Next to review your photo book in storyboard format before ordering. There is also an option to preview the entire book page by page if you want a more detailed review before ordering. You get a warning if you left a few places empty, so don't panic. Walmart's options are also the cheapest of the bunch: An 8- to 11-inch 20-page hardcover book cost about $ 19 before shipping and tax. The store offers free shipping on orders over $ 35.

Mailpix

If you are not interested in creating an account and getting a lot of emails from a company, Mailpix may be the way to go. You can create a photo book as a guest, no account needed.

Mailpix offers premium ultra layflat, layflat, hardcover and softcover photo books, ranging from 8 to 8 inches to 11-by-14 inches in size. The site recommends that you design the book on a computer and use JPEG files. You can choose styles for almost any occasion – birthdays, Mother's and Father's Day, holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Hanukkah, birthdays and pets.

Select a layout and upload your photos. You can change the page layout at any time and the photos you added on that page will be customized (unlike Walmart's service). One thing I did not like with Mailpix was the red line that appeared around the page indicating that a section can be cropped during printing. This made me a little nervous – especially with embellishing heavy pages, and I was distracted as I tried to imagine who my side would be.

I was experimenting with a cute retro design that resembled something you might be able to recreate with real clipping materials. There was a nice variety of page layouts, and the site warns you if a photo's resolution is too low, so you can adjust. In addition, Mailpix updates your price totally as you go along, so you are not kept away from the final price at checkout.

How much it costs: When you are satisfied with your book, name it and select how many copies you want to order. Choose a cover style, add a photo if you like and check out. The prices for book formats and number of pages vary, as do the other websites – the finer the book and more pages you add, the more expensive it becomes. At Mailpix, each extra page cost $ 1.20.

An 8-by-8-inch softcover book with 22 pages came $ 37.40 before taxes and shipping – ground shipping is $ 9, but Mailpix had a spring sale in progress and two promo codes available as well, which will lower your price a little.

Google Photos / Screenshot by Shelby Brown / CNET

Instead of uploading your photos to another app, you can create a photo book with less hassle with Google Photos. In the Google Photos app, tap the For You tab (on my Pixel 3 phone, it is at the bottom of the screen, but it also works on the desktop), and then press the Print button. Press Photo Books to get started with a hardcover 9- to 9-inch or a softcover 7- by 7-inch. Both books start on 20 pages and can go up to 100 pages.

Google will give you some premium albums based on your photos, such as Best of Winter 2019, or you can build your own by choosing an album you have already made. It is also possible to start from scratch and manually add all photos by tapping Create Photo Book at the bottom of the screen.

Google Photos is probably the most basic choice when ordering a photo book. It offers a minimalist layout on white pages that you can add captions to. There are no embellishments available on Snapfish or Mixbook, but you can still create creative layouts with multiple photos. Hold down a page and drag it to rearrange or press to edit. Google Photos still has editing options in its app, so you can add filters before creating a book.

How Much It Costs: A 9 and 9 inch hardcover photo book costs 20 and 65 cents for each additional page. A softcover 7- and 7-inch photo book costs 10 and 35 cents for each additional page before shipping.

More Options

Apple Photos

Apple Shuts Off its Internal Photo Book Service 2018. But you can download project extension apps to create photo books with iOS devices like iPhone ($ 699 at Apple) and Mac. Open the Photos app and select File > Create > Book . From there you can download third-party apps Motif, Mimeo Photos, White Wall, ifolor Designer, Mpix, Fujifilm prints and gifts or Wix Photo Album to start a project. Every app you download will be available from Book when you create a new project in the Photos app.

Costco

Costco requires a paid membership to access its photo center. If you have one, you can build three different types of 30- to 100-page photo books with multiple themes, captions and layout design.

The 12-inch 12-inch premium condo starts at $ 40 and has a special backbone to accommodate larger photo spreads. The 11¼ and 8¾ inch hardcover photo book starts at $ 20. Costco also offers a two-pack of 8 to 8-inch softcover photo books starting at $ 20.

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