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Photo Books: where to order, what to charge?

Michael Willems , Dec 09, 2008; 05:37 p.m.

Hey all,

I am adding photo books to my repertoire. Customers love them. So I have two questions:

  1. Where do I get the most cost-effective books? 8.5 x 11, 20 pages, that sort of thing. The kind of thing I now get from Apple (I just make them in iphoto after I export the pics from Lightroom - bit laborious but oh wwell). But Apple is quite expensive - my customers are cost conscious. Are there more cost-effective options?
  2. What is the easier service to use, given that I do my work in LightRoom? In another answer, someone mentioned Blurb, but they do not have a plugin yet, apparently. Any other options?

As always, I thank everyone here for reading and responding



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David Massengill , Dec 09, 2008; 05:40 p.m.

Try www.mpix.com

Katherine Topolniski , Dec 09, 2008; 10:45 p.m.

a Canadian option for photobooks is through www.pikto.ca - download software with templates or custom design options...and online ordering is available.

Michael Willems , Dec 09, 2008; 10:55 p.m.

Thanks... both the last options, however, appear to cost much more than Apple's US$35 for a 20-page 8.5x11" hardcover book. Pikto like US$40 and mpix even more I think. To me, $20 seems a natural price at which I will make some money.. no-one does it for less than Apple, then?

Michael Axel , Dec 10, 2008; 03:04 a.m.

Also Winkflash and Lulu. I haven't delved into it enough yet, but it seems quality is an issue for most photographers. I don't want to do a book if it's going to make my shots look bad.

Michael Axel , Dec 10, 2008; 03:06 a.m.

Michael, I just got my January / February 2009 issue of American Photo today, and it has a spread on various book makers, costs, and quality. Get it if you can. It's very helpful. I subscribe, so it may not be on newstands quite yet.

Daryl Ann Anderson , Dec 10, 2008; 10:02 a.m.

I just ordered a book that fit your exact description, from Shutterfly.com. It's shipped and on its way to me (hoping it comes today). They always have specials going, it seems. My client actually wanted two copies, which I ordered. My cost including shipping for the 2 books was about $63. Get on their emailing list and you'll be advised of all the sales! They have an assortment of "OK" templates, but you can also create you own pages with your software and drop in entire pages of your own making (my personal preference)

...Now if the quality's acceptable, I'll be very happy and will be ordering more books from them in the future. I'm thinking positive and have the next one in the works, so I hope I'm not disappointed.

Sarah Brown , Dec 10, 2008; 05:52 p.m.


Forrest Berkshire , Dec 11, 2008; 10:10 a.m.

I currently use Apple books designed in Aperture. Not sure if they are any different than ones designed in iPhoto, but for the cost, quality and software capabilities I have been hard-pressed to find anything better. And I have looked around. Every time I think I might have found a better product, I download the software and it is cumbersome or buggy. The price is not bad, if you ask me, of $35.
What I would like to find is a similar service where I could upload PDFs that I design in InDesign or Quark. Anyone know if such a service?

Kathryn Hayden , Jan 02, 2009; 10:11 p.m.

MyPublisher also has lots of specials and deals. As I recall, they were the original service for iPhoto books...and used to be a plug-in from iPhoto (but no longer available since they now compete for this service).
Since I usually print one for myself and one for client or person giving to, I particularly like their 2:1 deals.
Quality is very good.
What kind of markup do others typically charge for creating photobooks -- I am still determining the sweet spot b/w actual cost and what people are willing to pay and would be interested in some thoughts...obviously will vary depending on amount of work involved, but just trying to get some context.

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