|Some useful URLs:
Adobe (Photoshop etc): www.adobe.com/au
|Back to Photobook home page.|
|The objective here is just to compare various features of photobook suppliers and their software. It is not to suggest that one is better than any other. I've prepared this for my own use. Pricing is included, but check first before making any decision based on cost as this can change, and make sure you are comparing oranges with oranges and not a mandarin. I have made further comment at the bottom of the comparison table. A space means I have not checked.|
|(See notes below)||MOMENTO||SNAPFISH||ADVENT||ALBUMWORKS||PHOTOBOX||BLURB||PHOTOBOOK
|Website ease of navigating||Clear and concise.||Clear and concise.||Okay to navigate but lacks some required information - see below.||Automatic scrolling images annoying when trying to compare.||Comprehensive and clear. Seems lsower than other to download a web page.||A mess to navigate really and slow but very comprehensive. All info provided. Many inspirations. Enter 'Get Started' from home page for full info.||Well desiogned, easy to navigate and find all info. Several calculators to determine costs.||Very easy to navigate but some information sadly missing.|
|What it boasts.
|Momento is Australia’s first and finest photo book company.||(No hype).||(No hype).||Announcing the world's first High Definition Photobook. HD = High Definition Microprinting option.||Welcome to Photobox, proud to serve 22 million members.||Easy-to-Make, Affordable Books||Beautiful Books Your Way||More Products, More Pages, More Options, More Design Freedom.|
|In Australia (1)||Sydney||Sydney and New Zealand||Melbourne||Australian||Indicates is in European company.||San Francisco and London. Printer in Australia.||Melbourne office of a worldwide network.||Australia. Ubiquitous.|
|Street/postal address given in website||P.O.Box 140
Strawberry Hills, Sydney
|Couldn't find one.||18 Parkhurst Drive, Knoxfield, Melbourne, Vic 3180||Couldn't find one.||Couldn't find one.||Offices and contact support: San Francisco, London. Printer locations: United States, Netherlands, Australia. No addresses.||1/475 Burwood Highway,
Vermont South, Victoria 3133.
(Google map shown).
|Officeworks are suppliers of stationery and office products. with stores in each capital and major cities.|
|Support. Response to firstname.lastname@example.org
Prompt and courteous.
Online enquiry form also.
|You could use the on-line enquiy form for bulk orders on the pricing page. That's all. Nice photo of staff which is of no help.||On line enquiry form.
(Took ages to download).
|On-line inquiry form.||support@
Also on-line support form.
|On-line enquiry form.|
|Phone hotline||1300 799 764||1300 775 527||(03) 9887 2033||1300 553 448||1300 957 380||Could not find one.||(03) 9887 6338 or
(03) 9016 9895
General, not specific photobook.
|Other contact||No other.||Online Live Chat||No other.||No other.||Live chat.||Chat Support.||Chat line.||No other.|
|On-line information support - FAQs.||Yes, and a search facility.||Yes.||Appears not.||Appears not.||Not sure.||Yes, extensive. Under How Tos, Customer Support.||Yes.||Yes. FAQs.|
|Software download - all free.||No file size indicated.
(Actual about 138MB)
|No size indicated but 'only takes 30 seconds'.||Advised approx 120MB (PC), or 160 MB (Apple)||No file size indicated.||No file size indicated.||No file size indicated.||No file size indicated but warning download could be slow.||No file size indicated. Min PC and Apple requirements.|
|Free software but sign-up required?||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.||Yes, called Photo Designer.||Yes, called Photobooks Editor.|
|What they offer (2)||Photobooks PB, Personal stationery PS||PB, huge range of PS.||PB, PS (calendars, greeting cards)||PB, PS, Canvas.||PB, PS.
Lay-flat photobook option that appears to be stitched.
Magazines.Year books, planners. Ebooks.
|PD, LB, posters.
Pre-designed books, choice of pre-designed covers. Proof books - look it up. Professional Series option at a hefty price.
|HD and SD books.
Calendars, journals diaries. Linen, faux leather covers.
|Inspiration (3)||Yes, many imaginative examples.||Limited - just three.||Couldn't see any.||Only one I could see.||Couldn't see any.||Six themes illustrated with just one double-page each on home-page. Find 'photo book ideas' for each themed book to see several interesting examples. Videos also of selected books.||Yes - several full screen photobooks.||None really.|
|Competions/rewards (4)||Monthly and annual competition. $150 credit for monthly winner.||Couldn't see any on website.||None.||Appears not.||No.||Appears not.||No.||No.|
|Photobook sizes and orientation (5)||Nine: 3 portrait, 3 landscape, 3 square.||Eight: 3 portrait, 3 landscape. 2 square||Six: four hard and two soft various sizes.||Nine: 3 portrait, 3 landscape, 3 square.||Thirteen options shown.||Seven sizes including three small.||Eight sizes.||Nine each for HD and SD.|
|Hardcover/softcover||Hardcover only. Dustjacket available.||Softcover choice on some.||Softcover available.||Hardcover. Dustjacket available. Softcover.||Hardcover, softcover.||Hardcover,
|Hardcover, debossed option (embedded photo in cover). LB - ie, Imagewrap. Softcover 3 sizes, 170 gsm Premium Silk stock.||Hardcover, Photocover, Linen and Faux Leather with laser embossed titles.|
|A regular or popular size (A4 = 295 x 215)||'Regular'. Slight less in width of A4 = 295 x 205||'Large'.
Less than A4 =
280 x 200
|Hard 210 x 290, also Hard A4 landscape with diecut window..||'Medium' is A4.||A4 personalised.||'Standard' is 10 x 8 inches (25 x 20 cm) portrait or landscape. (Slightly smaller than A4).||'Medium landscape/portrait) = 11 x 8.5 inches = 280 x 216 mm.||'Medium Landscape': 300 x 210 mm (A4)|
|Ease of stock (paper) determination, and other choices. (6)||Yes||No - had to email to obtain info.||Yes.||Yes.||Yes||Yes - need to enter 'Get Started'.||Yes. See cost calculator.||Could not see any mention of stock offered.|
|Stock choices available
(generally for standard A4, laminated boards - ie Imagewrap).
|Three: 170 gsm satin, 140
gsm art (extra cost),
220 gsm Kodak photo paper (extra cost).
|No choice. 200 gsm only (satin, gloss?).||170 gsm satin.||170gsm
satin gloss for SD standard printing;
230gsm photo paper on HD 2400 dpi printing.
|170 gsm gloss appears to be standard, other choices to 380gsm.||Very wide range - weight and finish. On Proline high quality - 190gsm, 148 gsm. 'Standard' is 80# - 118 gsm. Five stock finishes. 90gsm on some sizes available. Offers choice, extra quality ProLine - and offers a Swatch Kit of papers to choose from, at very reasonable $8.95 cost.||Standard is 170 gsm Premium
Professional Series is 150 gsm to 217 gsm various surfaces, all same price.
|Nothing mentioned - did I miss something here?|
|Binding (7)||Website indicates stitch bound. Pages are glued and stiched to cover.Covers fit neatly, no gaps between spine and perfect bound paper edge.||Nothing specific on website but obviously glued at least. Photos shown.||Nothing listed. Presume perfect bound glued.||Explain as 'state-of-the-art perfect binding', and PUR glue. Mention books 'laying flat on your coffee table'. In illustration, spine is separate to perfect bound paper edges.||Standard books appear to
be perfect glue bound, with end pages glued only to boards.
Also offers a genuine (as seen by photo) lay flat book, as well as traditional glued perfect bound.
|'Library quality binding' for hardcover. Perfect binding for softcover..||Nothing specifically mentioned on binding.||Nothing specifically mentioned.|
|Spiral bound offer||No.||Not on photobooks.||No||Not sure.||Yes||No.||No.||Yes, as option.|
|Clear binding/spine image shown on website.||Yes.||Not specific.||No.||Yes||Yes||Yes||No.||No. except for spiral.|
|Print resolution quality choice.||No choice, presume high.||No choice, presume high.||High resolution, standard resolution options.||High resolution, standard resolution options.||Nothing mentioned.||Proline is their high quality product.||No specific mention.||Presume HD is better than SD.|
|Hard covers (8)||DJ, LB, CB. Large thirty-three options of cover materials.||DJ, LB, Softcover also. Limited choice of cover materials depending on book size.||Four hardcover, 2 soft.
LB. No DJ.
Diecut window available (with standard resolution print)
|LB, linen or faux leather covers.||LB, diecut window. Cloth choices.||Dustjacket, laminated boards - they call Image Wrap.||Eight sizes. Debossed cover option. No dustjacket.||Nine in HD and SD quality.|
|Dustjacket on hardcover available.||Yes||Yes||No.||No.||Appears not.||Yes.||No - but debosssed photo available.||No. laser engraving on linen or faux leather covers.|
|Cover embossing||Yes, from Momento selection.||Apparently not.||None offered, but window diecut available.||None offered.||No. Window diecut available.||No.||No, but debossed photo in cover.||No.|
|Endpages||Yes, black or white||Appears so.||Presume so.||Yes, mentioned||Yes.||Yes, but option at cost.||No mention.||No mention.|
|Something special, different to most others.||Embossing.||Odd stuff like cups and plates.||Diecut window.||Promotes SD and HD - but is High Definition any different to others.||Genuine 'lay-flat' book, appears to be section stiched, very heavy photo stock 380gsm. Phone, iPod cases, T-shirts.||Small 'pocket-book' sizes, notebooks and planners available. Mono (black and white) printing also. Facebook & Instagram books (?). Also prepares eBooks. Swatch Kit of papers available.||Debossed cover option.||Nothing really except low cost delivery.|
|Gift/presentation boxes||Yes||Appears not.||Appears not.||Yes||Appears not.||Appears not.||Yes. Slip-case and box for certain types.||Yes.|
|Gift vouchers.||Yes||Appears not.||Appears not.||Yes||Appears not.||Appears not.||Yes.||No.|
|Tools. Embellishment packs - software for creation. Templates. (9)||Huge range; backgrounds, frames and plain borders. Can be selected and downloaded as required. Templates.||Maybe - have not used.||No idea what they offer.||Highlights nine 'themes' but no examples. Mentions backgrounds.||Wide range of themes and backgrounds.||Appears to have a wide-range of easy to use design and image embellishment tools, including a link with Adobe Lightroom, anmd Adobe InDesign. Wide range of templates.||Many templates.
Readybook templates - 'at affordable prices'. Backround colours and options. Frames. Readybooks - templates for various themes.
|No idea - nothing specifically mentioned. Maybe after you download creating software.|
|Automatic layout available.||Yes||Maybe.||No idea.||Yes, by selecting a 'theme' which can be modified.||Not sure.||Yes, many templates.||Yes, many templates.||None that I could see.|
|Enhance photographs.||Auto enhance available.||Not sure.||Some basic features.||Don't think so.||No.||Adobe Lightroom, and Adobe InDesign available.||Yes, limited selection - auto enhance, red eye removal..Brightness and contrast. Black & white, sepia.||No.|
|Handling of text when creating, ie captions.||Limited but adequate for captions, minor paragraphs. Very easy to use.||Do not know.||No idea.||Specifically mentions 'beautiful topography''||No mention||No specific mention.||'More options for text, improved typography tools'.||No mention.|
|East of determining costs.||Enter 'Personalised Photobooks' then click Prices tab.||Click tab for Photobooks on Shop list on home page; then select book site.||Click on photobooks. Scrolling images of book sizes and styles with costs. Would prefer static listing of products.||Click on SD or HD photobooks, then pricing tab.Easy comparitive layout.||Easy - shown with photobook examples.||Enter 'Get Started', then Make Your Book, then Pricing and Formats.||Easy - pricing calculator under 'Products and Pricing'.||Very easy - start on main page for Officeowrks photobooks.|
|Costs (10), intial A4 plus per extra page above free pages.(Generally for standard A4, laminated boards - ie Imagewrap).||$70 plus $1.00 per extra
(Satin 170gsm stock)
plus $1.95 for two extra pages.
|$39.95 plus $1.00 per extra page. Also Hard, diecut window, 'standard' print resolution for $29.95.||SD quality: $59.95, extra pages $1 down to 50 cents depending on quantity. HD quality $109.95 plus $1.50 to $1.00 for exrtra pages.||$49.95 extra pages $2.40
per two pages.
|$37.99 for slightly less A4 'standard' size, standard paper. Extra for high quality ProLine. Extra for endpapers. Extra for cloth cover under dust jacket. $0.25 per extra page.||$112.00 for standard landscape Image wrap, 40 pages or less, 150 to 216 gsm stock four options - no change in price. Extra pages $2.00 for a few extras, down to $1.50. Must increase in four page lots. Professional Series $420 min 80 pages, 150-216 gsm stock, no change in price.||$59.95 for 30 pages plus
$1.00 each extra page, for Standard Definition.
$74.95 for HD.
|Number of free pages incl above costs||10||20||20||20||26||20||40||30|
|Max pages A4 photobook||200||150||Nothing listed that I could see||200 (less on A3)||100||440 and 240 (depends on sock and size.)||300||170|
|Volume Discounts||5% off for 2+, 10% for 5+, 15% for 10+, 20% for 50+, 25% for 100+||I could not see any.||None listed.||Yes, but contact them for a quote.||No mention.||Yes. Varies: 10% off for 10-24; 25% off for 100-249 - quote for 250+.||Yes. 5% for 5-9 books; 10% for 10-49' 15% up to 249. Quoyt for 250+.||None.|
|Special prices, promotions.||Havn't seen any.||Yes. A webpage of 'Deals'.||None listed.||Indicates so but not shown - 'keep checking'.||Discounts offered.||Possibly special day occasions - Father's Day?.||'Awesome monthly deals.'
'Promos and deals'.
|Delivery||By Aust Post Express, about 8-10 days, Australia only. Fast service available.||Post, or from any K-Mart store.||By Express or standard post, stated 3-5 days.||Regular post 7-10 days. Overnight courier available.||10-18 days, costs vary by (Australian) state and method.||7-10 days. Shipping calculator based on country and postcode. Fast track available.||5 - 7 days, various shipping costs - calculator available. Free shipping on $65.00 plus nett purchase.||Free into Officeworks store for pickup, or $8 by courier, $3 by Aust Post..|
|Further Product Promotion||.||Link to You-tube videos.||You-tube link.||.||You-tube link.||In-house blog, Facebook, Twitter.||TV ads (for Officeworks company).|
|Education.||Free seminars in capital cities. On-line videos.||Link to You-tube videos.||You-tube link.||None offered.||No mention.||Excellent on-line advice: Tips and Tutorials; Colour Management. On-line videos.||On-line Quick Guide.||4M download pdf, Officeworks Photobook Guide. You'll find a link hidden under 'Photobook Contact'. 33 pages.|
|Sell your book and buy others.||Yes||Appears not.||No.||Yes.||No.||Yes - helpful information.||No.||No|
|Remove photobook suppliers logo (usually on back page).||Momento logo on back cover and on extra white page at end of book - cannot be removed or changed.||Don't know. Could see nothing on website.||Don't know. Could see nothing on website.||Don't know. Could see nothing on website.||Yes, for $6.00||Yes, and replace with your own logo for 25% extra.||No mention.||No mention.|
|Archiving on suppliers site.||Yes. Momento state archive indefibnately, with a $15.00 'retrieval fee' . You have 30 days after uploading to order bewfore file is deleted - but can be loaded again.||No idea. Nothing mentioned on website.||No idea. Nothing mentioned on website.||No idea. Nothing mentioned on website.||No idea.||Fifteen days after uploading project - but can upload again. After purchaising, remains for at least a year in archive.||No mention.||No mention.|
|My comment.||Have used and satisfied in all aspects. Maybe a bit dearer than others.||They seem to be popular and offer a large range of personalised non-book items.||.||.||.||Seem to be very professional with a huge range of options and creative asisstance but where are they?||.||'Ullo, Ullo!!! methinks Officeworks does everything through Albumworks.|
1. Based on the address given on the website. Sometimes hard to determine if an Australian company.
2. On offer: PB - Photobooks (various sizes, A4 always offered.). PS - personalised stationery such as notebooks, diaries, calendars, cards. HD=High Definition, SD = standard definition.
3. Inspiration. Does the website link to a number of created photobooks to get ideas.
4. Competitions/ rewards: Does the provider offer a chance to compete against other creators, with cash or credit rewards.
5. Photobook sizes are generally of nine sizes - very large (near A3), A4, and A5. Each of these is available in portrait, square or landscape format. Hence nine choices. Momento have a clear visual guide - go to 'photobooks; tag, then 'sizes'.
6. Can the range of available stock (paper) be clearly seen on the website before ordering.
7. Binding: Stitching (in the case of photobooks) means thread sewing of endpapers to board covers. It does not mean section sewing as seen in most production books. Glueing is just that - refered to in some instances as perfect binding. SG is both. Some suppliers also offer alternatives such as spiral wire bound. Most stationery is spiral wire bound. Photobook suppliers with glue binding may suggest that their books lie flat. That is stretching the imagination. Photobooks supplies who mention stitching do not clarrify this on there website could lead to a potential customer thinking that it is section-sewn. Check image of binding on each site.
8. Covers. DJ - dustjacket, LB - laminated boards (picture covers), CB - cloth covered boards (numberof choices).
9. Embellishment packs. Think of these as you would if scrapbooking. Also basic and fancy frames, backgrounds.
10. The range of costs is generally extensive so I will restrict it to consideration of an A4 photobook (also called regular size) with a printed cover.
I would have thought that most photobook suppliers would provide much of the same creative software and print technology but this is clearly not the case. You can assume that the quality of the print is acceptable, but without comparing one photobook to another, it is not possible to make a judgement. One supplier offers two standards of printing - HD = high definitoon and SD = standard definition. Again, it is difficult to determine the difference just by looking at the example on the website. It begs the question of course as to what quality the other photobook suppliers provide - are they all 'HD', or 'SD'. I put this to Momento who replied: "Unfortunately we cannot comment on the SD versus the HD that other Photobook providers offer as we are not privy to personal information such as the difference in equipment they use. What I can say is that our printing press is the top of the line when it comes to digital printers, hence why we market ourselves as a premium company." Fair enough. Some providers do indicate what equipment they use, and the dpi setting that they work to. It may be reasonable to suggest that for every-day family photobooks of the kids, holidays and the family tree, a standard definition is quite adequate; whereas the professional photographer or commercial sales company wishing to show off their product may opt for a higher, glossy, production. The cost difference is quite significant in all cases.
I have heard it say that photobooks are expenssive but if you consider the cost of printing individual photographs, they are quite cheap. In one photobook I used 632 photographs for a cost of $260 which equates to around 40 cents a photo. Admitedly I would not have had all the photographs made into stanrd prints, but the photobook allows you to use your imagination and utilise photographs - or parts of photographs - as part of the overall design. That is another reason photobooks are such great fun. Show an ordinary photo album to Aunt Maud and you will have her fall into a deep sleep over her lamington, but present a well laid out photobook and you will have her utmost attention - while you nick her cake.
One of bigger differences in what the photobook suppliers offer is in the creative software. The download is always free, and you always have to sign in your name and email address. After that you take your time to develop your photobook. Nobody will be coming to knock on your cyberspace door to hurry you up. All creative software allows for ease of layout of your digital photographs. Some suppliers lean toward a large selection of predefined layouts, or templates. Some are so easy that you can define a batch of photographs, suggest the number of pages that you want, and let the software do their creative best. And if you don't like a particular page layout, you can change it easily.
I found the whole photobook creation a wonderful experience - from the selection of photographs, their preparation in Adobe Photoshop for both visual enhancement and creative design, and especially the design and page layout. Unlike the permanency of scrapbooking, photobooks are so forgiving - if you don't like the layout, simply change it. It is only set in concrete after you have downloaded the whole layout file to the provider. And I predict that family members in the future will thankyou for the photobooks of the family of past days for one particular reason -photobooks encourage you to caption your photographs. Do it. You may know who the guys and gulls are at the beach party but your kids wont. How many times have I been so frustrated when presented with a box of treasured family photos only to find that not one is captioned on the back and no-one knows who they are. May as well throw the lot out. The challenge is when some intellectually challenged person writes 'Me' on the back of a photo!
Back to the photobook suppliers and their creative software. I can't compare them all as I have not used them all, but if they are anything like what I have used, they will be easy to use - to select a photo, drag it to the layout screen, manipulate it for size and shape (cropping). You should have line guides around the edges with warnings if you go too near the edge - but still allow it if you want photo 'bleed to edge'. You should also have user-controlled line guides to use for consistency - if you want to use them. There will be a choice of page backgrounds - the colour of the page - and the oportunity to create you own background, be it plain or photographic. You will have the opportunity to move a designed page to another part of the book, copy a page, delete a page, and of course create new blank pages. Many photobook suppliers have a range of 'theme pages', that is, a background suitable for the relevant theme; many also provide a range of graphics similar to what a scrapbooker would use - all fancy stuff to make the page more interesting. But use them wisely - don't overdo it.
Something that most photobook creators forget about is the binding and the paper stock. Most hardcover books have a pre-fomed cover that appears to clamp the spine end of the pages. I don't like this but it seems there is no choice - except for Momento which actually stitches the endpapers to the covers. Because heavy stock is used - that roughly defines the thickness or stiffness of the paper - photobooks with many pages do not open out as flat as I would like. The standard common stock is 170 gsm which is ideal for A4 landscape photobooks. However, a 200 pages portrait A4 does not work so well. There are resons for this which I will not go into but as Momento rightly advised when I was too ambitious with a said 200 page portrait book, you need to cut down the number of pages, perhaps as much as half, to one hundred pages. Only then will the book open out reasonably well. Basically, you can get away with it in landscape. The reason for this 'lack of flatness' is that all photobooks are what is called perfect glued - a perfect bound book of any type is one that has individual pages glued at the spine edge. The end result is a 'prefect' square edge. The binding itself is far from perfect but adequate in most instances, and with modern glues it would take a strong person to pull a book apart - not like the old days when they could fall apart with age. But the glue section is about 4 or 5mm along the spine edge and you just can't bend over many pages of thick stock paper. (See elsewhere on this website about binding). One photobook supplier privides a genuine flat binding, but you need not go that far unless you really want it for double-page spreads. And thats another thing - beware of the 'spanned' photo that covers two pages. You will always loose a bit of the photo in the middle where the pages are glued. But there is a way around this - to some extent. (See elsewhere this website).
All photobook software allows for the insertion of text, but not all software is sympathetic to its use as the main content of a photobook, such as a journal, or thesis perhaps. Captions are fine, and bits of scattered text, are fine and only that is really required for a photo book. But I would like to see the development of the photobook into a text-oriented book, where the text can be changed (bold, italic), right-justified, with options of leading (look it up) and other word facilities. I think there is a market for it. I tried to do a 200 page travel journal, with one or two photographs on most pages. The only option from Momento was 170 gsm stock. I was very pleased with what Momento did, but I was overly ambitious. It was a great book, but hard to open up and read comfortably. So a text-orineted 'photobook' needs to be available with a lighter stock - say 120 gsm. The photoshop supplier Blurb comes close to the right stock options, but I have no idea what their text manipulation capability is. I may find out.
The procedure to upload your finished photobook file, and to place an order, should be simple. Uploading can take a while, depending of course on the number of pages in the photobook, ie, the size of the file. I think some upload software is smart enough to resume loading after a power failure or whatever has turned off the software. A two hundred page photo book can be as big as 150 Megabytes and take more than thirty minutes to load.
Can you select a photobook supplier suitable for your needs from the above comparison table? Perhaps you can but one thing I cannot comment on is the end quality of the book - the sharpness of the printing, the firmness and reliability of the binding, the cover production and detail. I'd say all of those listed will give an excellent result, but whether it is the best for your needs is up to you. Don't get drawn in to having to have a hardcover book for example - softcover is fine for some. Spiral bound works well for some applicatioins, especially smaller 'brag-books' and diaries. A dust jacket tends to be passe now, even though I chose one recently. The laminated picture board cover (called Imagewrap covers by some) is much more practical and is slowly creeping into vogue in the mainstream book industry; I think it is past predudice that is the only thing holding it back.
I can't over emphasise how much fun I have had doing the photobooks. And the achievement gratification is enormous.
Last update 18 July 2014.