This year, days after I had combed through the year’s photos and selected some for Mirielle’s annual photo album, MyPublisher contacted me to review their product. Luck really does favor the prepared. MyPublisher invented the PhotoBook in 1995 and 15 years later is still a leader in PhotoBook publishing. They focus on easy to use software, high quality printed products and customer service to differentiate themselves.
Creating the PhotoBook
Rather than registering, uploading pictures and creating books online, MyPublisher gives users a very small application (11-20MB – less than a couple of photos!) to create the PhotoBook on a computer. Not being tied to the internet made this process so much easier for me. I brought my laptop with me when I knew I would have a few minutes and most of my PhotoBook was created waiting at the kitchen table, in the car, and at the dentist. As a busy parent who is disorganized, working offline gave me the flexibility to finish the book.
The MyPublisher software is both easy to use and flexible. The steps are literally laid out one, two, three, four, five on buttons along the bottom. There is also an “Auto Build” button which allows the software to auto populate a book template with selected photos.
MyPublisher found a good balance between the choices of book sizes and styles and the decision paralysis when there are so many choices and customizations. The themed styles, including “Travel” were tasteful in my opinion (and free from licensed characters.) Page layouts and font choices were equally balanced.
I built the book myself and it was a straightforward “drag and drop” process with easy navigation between photos, pages and sections of the book. It was easy to add, swap, edit and re-size photos. The navigation was a huge plus for me as it was fast without the wait for a new web page to load.
The weakest area of MyPublisher and a source of frustration for me was organizing photos before putting them into the book. In trying to figure it out, I contacted the 24 hour customer service via online chat which was quick and professional. Unfortunately, they confirmed there was no way to auto-sort the photos by date or keywords.
To purchase the PhotoBook, I did have to go online. The software guided me through registration, selection of book size, cover materials, and quantity. The final step is uploading the book and it was impressive how little time it took considering I had close to 200 photos.
To share an electronic copy of the book, there is a “Share” button which emails a link to a preview version of the book.
Delivery was very quick. One business day after purchasing my two books, I received an email with tracking numbers. MyPublisher promises 1-4 days for processing with a choice of Standard, 2-day or Overnight FedEx delivery.
The first thing I checked was print clarity. Photos in bright sunlight seemed slightly washed out, otherwise the quality of the printing was quite good. This year there were a lot of iPhone photos (<1 MB) and they looked as sharp as the 4 MB pictures printed in last year’s book, even when blown up to a full 8×11 page.
The paper felt different from other photo books – smooth, thicker and a little like the paper photos would be printed on. Time will tell how well it will last but it is archival quality paper so the photos should not fade or discolor.
MyPublisher books are assembled by hand and you can tell when you look at the binding. I compared it to the book from last year and you can see how much more securely the pages are bound and the end-sheets look like they are hand glued. The picture books I made for our trip a year and half ago began to lose their pages after less than six months of use so I am sensitive to binding quality.
Pricing is competitive with other PhotoBook providers and promotions are available if you check on their website, open the MyPublisher software or are registered to receive emails.
Will I use MyPublisher again? Yes. The ability to work offline, responsive customer service and possibly the best product quality in the consumer PhotoBook space won me over. I have three unfinished books online from our travels and the year one book which I am going to queue up in the MyPublisher software and see if I can get them done before it is time for the year four book.
Congratulations to Carolina who won a $75 coupon from MyPublisher.
Leave a comment about the subject of your next PhotoBook. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this contest including a link to this page (http://bit.ly/4Wfbbc) and #MyPublisher. Maximum two entries per person. A winner will be randomly chosen this Friday, December 18th at noon EST. (Download the MyPublisher software today, design your book before Friday, and if you upload the book by noon EST on December 20, you can receive it for Christmas with FedEx overnight.)
Disclosure: MyPublisher did give me a credit to try their product. My reviews are honest and based on my experience with a product – good and bad. Acceptance of any editorial discounts or product for giveaway is in no way a commitment to positively review the product.