Photo book buying guide

Last year I worked for a family with two wonderful children and when I left I wanted to make a photo book for them with some of the hundreds of photos I’d taken during the year. Well, things got chaotic as I packed up my life to move 3, 429 miles across the country, and in the end I simply didn’t have time to chose the photos, upload them to a suitable website, order the book, and wait for it to be delivered.

The idea came back into my head recently as I was thinking about Christmas gifts and this time I was just about organised enough to pull it off. But, man are there a lot of website offering photo books out there! So for those of you who might be looking for a quick comparison of prices here’s the little table I made while I was searching for the best deal.


Book Size



Other Info



for 20 pages

$1.50/extra page


25% off
extra books if you

order more than one.

8×8 or 8.5×11

for 20 pages

$1/extra page


Apple iPhoto

8.5×11 (single sided)

for 20 pages

$0.99/extra page

Not quoted

Requires iPhoto software

8.5×11 (double sided)

for 20 pages

$1.49/extra page

Not quoted



$22.95 for 20-40 pages

Not quoted


$29.95 for 20-40 pages

Not quoted


$54.95 for 20-40 pages

Not quoted



for 20 pages

$0.50/extra page or $10 for 20

Not quoted


for 20 pages

$0.50/extra page or $10 for 20

Not quoted



for 20 pages

$1.99/extra page



for 20 pages

$0.99/extra page


Qoop 8.5×11 $29.99 for 20 pages

$.99/extra page

Not quoted  

These are the sizes and prices for hard cover books, most of these sites also offer soft cover books at a cheaper price. The deadline for Christmas ordering is coming up so if you want to put Santa’s name on a photo book you better get a move on!

And if you’ve used any of these services, please share your impressions in the comments.


  1. I ordered 4 different books following our family trip to China. The first was shipped 22 hours after I ordered it, and I took delivery on the ramining three within 5 days of submitting the orders…and I live in Canada.

    Quality is excellent; much better than I expected. This is a GREAT service!

  2. I just ordered a book from Blurb, and it has not arrived yet, but I can attest to the fact that their book-creating software is terrific and easy to use. Also, their prices are reasonable. My 10×8 hardcover book ended up being about 325 pages, which cost me around $75 + shipping. With the other companies, $1 or $1.50 per extra page could really add up if you have a lot of pages.

  3. I’ve just got a book from qoop, and I have to say, I’m a little disappointed with the print quality. There’s visible banding on most of them…

  4. I have done about 10 books with and one with I was not impressed Viovio the and print quality was not as good as Blurb and the cover on wire bound was not much thicker than the inner pages. I really like the Blurb software, it takes all the pain of the technical details out of making the book and lets you have a nice preview before you send it off. So you get a good idea of what you are going to get. A few times I have found there templates too limiting but this can easily be resolved by creating the whole page in Photoshop or Indesign. Most of the books I just designed in there software but one I did in Indesign and saved as PDF and sent to Viovio and as PNG files per page and loaded into BookSmart for blurb and sent them off and waited for the results. Blurb becomes very good value if you want a book with a lot of pages, mine seem to always end up 60-90 pages by the time I get what I want in. I have heard mixed reports on the quality of there books and it seems to depend on where you live in the US as they use different printers for East/West coast. I am based in San Francisco bay area and have been very pleased with the results. You can read other peoples opinions on my blog

  5. I’m the marketing manager for another website where you can create your own photobook. The company is called Panraven…

    The pricing structure is identical to Apple iPhoto. And, our service is exclusively online, requiring no downloads.

    Check it out if you get a chance. We have some great background designs for the holiday season.

    [email protected]

  6. I recently used to order 9 hardcover books. The quality was very good. I used the Pearl finish on the pages as an experiment; I don’t recommend it for this application. Still, the quality was excellent. They use CMYK printing, and I was pleased by the delivery – it shipped 1 day after ordering 9 books. Fedex overnight was $9.75 for ALL books.


  7. Used Blurb to create a 100+ page book and was very happy with the quality. The new version of the Book Smart software was little buggy, but the technical support was pretty good. It would be nice if they released a Linux version. Good option for larger books and where you want more creative control.

  8. I just got my 138 page 13″x11″ book from blurb. I was lucky to only have a few minor print issues with blurb, but the price and overall quality were great. The cots (with shipping) was just shy of $100, but it puts the other coffee table books to shame.

    I did an apple book a few years ago and the quality wasn’t nearly as good as what blurb produced, however I would hope that apple has upgraded their printing technology in the past 4 years. If I were to do a comparable with apple it would easily be more than $200.

    I have pictures and details on the blurb book, including mistakes, here:

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