Picture Snob

April 24, 2008

Battle of the Photo Books: Apple is a Simple, Integrated Option for Mac Users

applebooks.pngThis week we're looking at some key photo book services: Apple, Blurb and Lulu. We've written a bit about Apple already, but it's time to look at these three together. All three companies share a similar quality of printing and even pricing, but the way you build your photo book and the customization options are different.

How You Build the Book: iPhoto on a Mac Computer
First, you must have a Mac computer. Second, you must have iPhoto (it comes with the operating system). Third, you probably want to make sure you have the latest version of iPhoto (purchase iLife for $69.99) because they update book templates and functionality. Once you've got all that covered, you can make your photo book. What's handy about this is that iPhoto is also where you store and edit your photos and create albums, so there's no journey from photo organization/storage to the book, it's all right there. Ahh. The software is fairly intuitive, but do mind these tips to get the best results.

Extra Features:
There's nothing really extra here other than that you've got one integrated system in iPhoto -- it is here that you store, edit, organize and can then, with literally a click, create a book, order prints, send to email, create a web gallery, etc. It's a handy one-stop-shop for Mac-a-holics.

How Customization and Design Weigh Out:
Apple is known for its design quality and their photo books are no exception. You'll find about a dozen options of book themes that are tasteful, and some are thankfully generic. When it comes to noodling with a theme, there are not a lot of options. The covers seem particularly limited which is a disappointment since the cover of the book is so important. You can change page layouts (somewhat) and crop and enlarge your images, but more than once we had to surrender to iPhoto and give up what we wanted to do.

Pricing Baseline:
Hard Cover with Cover Wrap ($29.95 and up)
Soft Cover Perfect Bound ($19.99 and up)
Volume discount starts at 25 books

The Bottom Line: Apple is a great option for Mac and iPhoto users if you are happy with the design options and limitations.

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Posted by Susan Moriarty at April 24, 2008 6:36 AM
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