I am in the process of gearing up for a show for the Kansas City First Friday Artist’s Event at The Cashew in the Crossroads District. Anyone who has every prepped for a show knows it is a lot of work and very costly! Between 6 prints (4-11×14 & 2-12×18), 6 Frames, 3 Photo Books, a few easels, new business cards, and decorations I have spent well over $700. I must add that about 20% of that cost has been spent on experimental display products, prints, and photo books.
In order to alleviate some future headaches for you, I want to give you my thoughts on 2 photo books I have recently purchased. Whether you are looking for a photo book for an upcoming show or just to have as a coffee table book, it is important to look for deals wherever you can as photo books can be pretty expensive!
The first company I went with for printing my photo book was Printerpix. I saw this company flash through my email in an Amazon Local Deal, I was able to snag a 20 page 8.5 x 11 book for $25 with free shipping, normally $55.99, $62.99 with shipping. I jumped on the deal knowing it would come in handy for the show. Here are a couple of thoughts I have on the process and product offered by Printerpix.
- Building the book (5/5):
Building the book on their website was a very pleasant experience. I was able to upload my pictures very fast, throw a few backgrounds behind each picture, and submit the book for printing within an hour!
- Quality of the Prints in the Book (4/5):
I was pretty pleased with the quality of the pictures in the book. The photos were very accurately rendered from the images I uploaded. I can’t complain, but I have seen better.
- Quality of the Book Binding (3/5):
The book is bound in leather or what appears to be leather. Regardless of whether or not it really is leather, it has a nice tactile feel to it. The book is bound with thread and glue and seems to be pretty solid. It feels pretty sturdy as of right now, however, I have only looked through it 3 or 4 times. I will have to see how well it holds up to hundreds of hands touching it. I couldn’t give Printerpix a 4 or 5 for binding because the protective paper on the inside cover was not glued all the way to the edge. It started peeling up immediately upon opening. This is a huge craftsmanship issue for me, especially for the price.
- Final Thoughts (2/5):
I would have been very willing to recommend Printerpix’ photo books to a friend until I reached the last page of the book. Printed on it is an awful company logo with the order number and some bar codes. I was never informed throughout the process that this logo would appear in my book. I checked the fine print on the site, the fine print on the Local Deal, and even tried scouring their page for a disclaimer. Not one notification.The is very frustrating given the price tag on the book and immediately makes it appear like a low rate photo book designed for soccer Mom’s not artists looking for a professional book. Had Printerpix left that out I would have given it at least a 4 with my recommendation to future customers. They have a great product that is tainted by an awful bunch of jargon at the end. Unfortunately, I will have to figure out a way to cover it up for the show and for that reason I would not recommend printing with Printerpix for professional photo books.
Printerpix overall score 3.5 out of 5
The second company I used to print a book was Artisan State. They have this clever little photo book, Little Black Book, at only $15 for 20 pages! Mind you it is just a 5×7, but it is such a conveniently sized book that you could easily stuff it in your camera bag to wow those who may not know you or your work when you meet them for the first time. Here are my thoughts on Artisan State’s Little Black Books.
- Building the book (4/5):
Building the book on their site was pretty painless. I uploaded the photo’s relatively quickly and was creating a photo book in no time. I found the ability to move the pages to be difficult and after about 5 minutes of trying to organize the book I gave up. Your best bet is to organize them on the front side by naming them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
- Quality of the Prints in the Book (5/5):
The quality of the prints inside the book are absolutely stunning and very professional looking. They have a texture to them, similar to playing cards, that keeps the pages from sticking together. The pages are thick, sturdy and well crafted.
Quality of the Book Binding (5/5):
The book appears to be very well built. I have thumbed through it several times, every time I glance at it I pick it up to look at it. So far I have not seen any issues with the binding nor does anything strike me for future concerns.
- Final Thoughts (5/5):
They provide a beautifully crafted lay flat hard stock photo book for a great value. Unlike Printerpix, Artisan State does make you aware that their cheaper black book will cost less due to a website printed on the back. It simply reads “My Little Black Book http://mylbbook.com” . I knew that going into the purchase and shrugged my shoulders at the minor setback. It is printed on the very back of the book and is not distracting in anyway.Artisan State overall score 4.75 out of 5
[warning]Update! I did not have any of the problems listed in the comments when ordering through Artisan State. However, that does not mean problems could not arise! Take it from the list of comments below. This review was written based on my experience. Looks like one of those Order at your own risk situations.[/warning]