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The Best Photo Book Sites

posted by on August 01, 2012 in Cameras and Photography, Photo / Video Sharing, Guides & Reviews, Tech 101 :: 14 comments

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ShutterflyMy mother took lots of photos of us when we were growing up, but few made it into her beautifully designed albums. And it's those albums that now tell the stories of us as a family.

Fast forward to my family and you'll find that I don't fill albums with printed photos—I create photo books. Fortunately, photo book sites have attractive templates you can use to fill your books, so they require a lot less artistic talent and time to produce a good result.

First, the process of compiling photos for a book is easy. Many sites will pull photos in from Facebook and other sites where you're already sharing your photos, as well as from your computer.

Once you have your photos, most photo book sites can auto-fill your book based on when and where you took your photos. You choose a template that complements your photos—summer vacation, trip to Europe and many, many more—and the site does the rest.

You can then go in and tweak the pages to highlight the most important pictures. And if you want to include old photos or a menu, receipt or postcard, you can simply scan them and treat them like any other photo. The results are quite remarkable.

If you do have the time and talent, it just gets better from there. You can change the fonts and page backgrounds (including your own photos or scans of documents), add embellishments and resize, crop and edit your photos right on the page. The resulting books are beautiful and truly one of a kind.

There's also flexibility in pricing. You can go all out for a hard-cover book with acid-free archival paper and a photo wrapped into the cover, which will start around $20. Or, you can get a small, color, 20-page softcover book for less than $6. It all depends on its purpose—a thank you gift for a memorable weekend or your family's archival photo album.

Here are my favorite places for making photo books:


For a low-cost option with plenty of design flexibility, you'll want to check out Walgreens. For $6.99, you can get a 4.5-by-6-inch softcover Brag Book, with 20 color pages, a photo cover and layout options. For $5.99, there's a 2-by-3-inch Mini Photo Book with single photo pages—no captions—and a photo and title on the cover. The printing is done by Snapfish, and the finished product is high quality. You can always use Snapfish directly, but it doesn't offer these two low-cost options.


Mac users can use iPhoto to create photo books starting at $3.99 for a 3.5-by-2.6-inch book (3-pack only). The software has all the layout bells and whistles, including face recognition for quickly and easily sorting through your photos. Plus, there's a smart auto-fill based on date and time, your ratings and face detection. And, you can always change the book type, size and color with just one click at any time.


If you're looking to create the ultimate coffee table book or album, you can't beat Blurb. This site is all about book publishing and provides tons of custom options. In particular, I like the fact that you can lay out your book offline, a big time saver, especially for those with slower connections. And if you want to give others the option of buying a copy for themselves, you can easily share your book without giving them all your photos.


At $12.99 for its entry-level book, Shutterfly may be a little pricier than the others on my list, but you get a huge variety of auto-fill and custom options to choose from. Shutterfly also lets you switch between book sizes and styles at any point, letting you create multiple versions at different price points.


Discussion loading


From Jennifer Wagner on August 01, 2012 :: 11:19 am

I just made a photo book of my family’s recent vacation using Shutterfly and was thrilled with it. It was simple to use and I loved all the options. Everyone is raving about how great the photo book looks.



From Melissa Ochsner on August 01, 2012 :: 11:30 am

I cannot believe that Mixbook didn’t make your list!  Mixbook is the easiest way to create a scrapbook style book (card, invitations ect.) without the cost and time of actual scrapbooking. Their shipping and customer service is amazing. Everything I have ever ordered (Books, graduation and thank you cards) was of the highest quality and fast.


Mix book NOT good

From Angela Ross on March 04, 2015 :: 7:27 pm

One commenter above (Melissa) seemed to like Mix Book.  I found it really bad!  For example, when you are entering text, you can’t even bring up a box that you’d type the text into.  they expect you to type it onto the page, with no ability to SEE what you’re typing.  I just did a Shutterfly book and ordered it.  Then I went to Mixbook to see if I could make the same book there.  Impossible!  Mix Books creation tools cannot even compare to Shutterfly’s—as far as user friendliness and ease of use.  Blurb would be okay, but you must download software from Adobe to use it, so there’s a bigger learning curve.  It’s probably more professional looking but I haven’t tried Blurb yet.



From Mercedes Millberry Fowler on August 01, 2012 :: 11:42 am

I used Mixbooks to create wedding books for our mothers (we eloped and wanted to share the day with them). We got quality products and the system was easier to use than Shutterfly and the prices were a little better. They also offer a wide variety of templates and often offer discounts. I even ordered a second round of books. They also offer other photo tools - I used their system to order photo invites for our reception now that we are back. I have been impressed with the quality and the price and the ease of use. I highly recommend Mixbooks.


I like Limelight

From Michael on August 01, 2012 :: 11:56 am

I like the Limelight Photobooks site

Easy and simple to use


2 other choices

From Barbara Jennes on August 01, 2012 :: 1:25 pm

If you design your own using Storybook Creator, printing through Creative Memories is the way to go.  Beautiful quality books with many custome options.  Persnickety Prints in Utah does high end custom work and is meticulous with each page they print. If something doesn’t look right, they will contact you. No mass production here.


Snapfish Photo Books

From John on August 01, 2012 :: 1:42 pm

I’ve had great success with Snapfish. It couldn’t be easier.


MyPublisher rocks!

From April Stafford on August 02, 2012 :: 12:06 am

I made a dozen 2x3 pocket-size photobooks of our wedding to share with family and friends who couldn’t make it.  They were less than $1 each, and perfect to throw in your purse, or even with your credit cards.  MyPublisher was terrific, I was very happy with their work!



From Anne on August 03, 2012 :: 1:20 am

I want to make a book from my sons travel blogs. Any good ideas for doing this? There’s lots of text as well as photos.


Blurb is great for that

From Dawn @ The Momma Knows on December 16, 2013 :: 1:05 am

Blurb can directly import posts from a blog and format them to create a book from them. You need access permissions to do so, though. There is also the ability to exclude certain categories or you can go in and delete certain posts from the book if they wouldn’t work well for it. I haven’t yet printed a Blurb blog book but I have run my site through it once to see how it worked. Pretty neat!


From Amy on August 14, 2012 :: 4:23 pm has the most options and the best prices! You have the option of uploading a completed PDF and you can event print you riPhoto books with them and save money.Check out their product catalog ere -


I need an advice, please!

From Hunay Saday on January 20, 2014 :: 3:00 pm

Hi, i saw your post and i’m thankful for it! I live in France and I’m at highschool. For the end of the year me and my friend we have a project to do and we choosed to product a photobook with a photo reportage that we’ve made. I need a photobook (that i can publish for myself)> But i also need to write a text right next to the photos. But these texts are not like “in paris” or something like that. It’s a project like i said. and if you have an idea for me please let me know! it’s so necessary! thank you.


For complete customization, use

From Stephan Pire on February 25, 2014 :: 4:18 am

Hi Hunay,

you can use the to produce your book. There is a soft cover (the fotomag) and a hardcover (the Prestige).



iPhoto 2.6 by 3.5 soft cover booklets

From gareth debenham on September 23, 2015 :: 1:25 pm

Sadly iPhoto has removed the smallest format from its options.
I’m looking for a viable alternative printer in order to reprint several mini books I already created. If anyone have a source - please let me know.


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