We’re traveling and taking more photos than ever. But what are we doing with all those images? Will they forever be stuck on our phones or in a cloud service somewhere?
Enter photo printing sites. Photo printing sites make it easy to organize your travel pics and turn them into books or gifts. But the difficult part is deciding which service to use.
And before you entrust any company with your precious memories, you need to make sure they will give you the quality you’re after, without breaking the bank. For example, what does other travelers say about their printing quality? How easy are their services and tools to use? And can you share photos or collaborate with others while creating your photo book?
Let’s dive right in!
How To Choose The Best Photo Book Site
Before we jump into my Mixbook vs Blurb reviews, let’s talk about features you should look for in a photo book printing company. Keeping those criteria in mind will simplify the decision process and make your job a whole lot easier. Generally, there are four things to consider when choosing your photo book printing service:
- How familiar are you with design tools? Bear in mind there will be some design work involved in creating a photo book. If you used software like Photoshop before you should be set, but if you are totally inexperienced, you need to ensure the company provides a lot of pre-made templates and other design elements. The good news is both Blurb and Mixbook does that.
- What’s your budget? If you are on a budget, it’s wise to shop around for the best deals. Keep in mid that many photo book printing companies often have special promotion, sometimes as high as 30-40%! Most companies also offers discounts on larger volumes.
- Does the company ship to your country? While both Blurb and Mixbook ships to most western countries, some countries are not on their shipping list. The list of supported countries differs between the companies, so make sure to verify this before making your choice. Also make sure to review their shipping prices.
- Will you be printing other products in the future? If you plan to print other items or gifts in the future, it’s worth checking out what other products the companies have. It saves time to establish a good relationship with one company to use for all your printing needs.
Table: Comparison Blurb vs Mixbook
Even if you never made a photo book before, chances are you still heard of Blurb and Mixbook. They are two popular and well-established companies in the self-publishing niche, not to mention in the online photo industry in general.
Let’s first have a look at a comparison table, and then talk about each of them in more details below:
|Photo Book Sizes||6||7|
|Processing Time||4-5 days||1-2 days|
|Photo Book Prices||$14.99-$87.99||$15.99-$124.99|
Blurb is a self-publishing and marketing platform that makes it easy to design, publish, promote and sell professional looking printed book and e-books.
The company was founded in 2005 and is one of the oldest and most trusted company in it’s niche. They pride themselves to have served millions of customers, and according to their web site, a new Blurb photo book is created every minute. Moreover, Blurb offers a large selection of features, and users can rest assured they can do anything with their photos and be able to produce quality photo books using the Blurb platform.
The company headquarter is in San Francisco with an office in London.
Blurb has one of the largest selection of personalized products of all of the top-ranked photo printing sites. But in this Blurb photo book review I will be focusing on their gorgeous travel books.
The travel books are available in 5 sizes: 7×7″, 8×10″, 10×8″ 12×12″, and 13×11″. And you can choose 2 different cover types for your books: ImageWrap and Dust Jacket. ImageWrap has durable matte finish and no cover flaps. While Dust Cover is glossy and has black linen hardcover
Finally, Blurb offers 5 paper options: Standard, Premium Lustre, Premium Matte, Proline Uncoated and Proline Pearl Photo.
Website & Tools
Users will have several options for creating their Blurb photo books. First, if you already have finished PDFs you can upload them directly to the Blurb platform. But if you have no finished design yet, you can download the free Bookwright Publishing Software that can be used to create beautiful designs for Blurb photo books, magazines and e-books.
Bookwright has many different templates making the designing of your Blurb photo book very easy. And the tool has plenty of customization options allowing everyone from beginner to professional to design as they wish. And if you get stuck on the way, they have experts for hire as needed.
All in all, Blurb customers of all skill levels will find the website and the tools easy to use. Between specific menu options and site prompts, not to mention customer service representatives for additional questions, every person is able to navigate the site and end up with professional-looking work.
Blurb offers 4 shipping options for the United States, starting with Economy (14 days) up to Priority shipping (7 days). This includes the printing and binding that takes 4-5 business days. Moreover, shipping costs are dependent on the weight, quantity, size and the packaging difficulties, so Blurb customers need to place an order in order to obtain a shipping quote. In addition to the United States, Blurb ships to over 70 other countries and territories.
The quality of all of the products from Blurb is better than most competitors. The prints are clean and crisp, photo books are sturdy, book covers are made to endure, and framed art is stunning. Of course, customers will find better quality products when using the best quality cover and photo paper. And by using the photo preview options at every step, and paying attention to the suggestions, a flawless product is pretty much guaranteed.
There’s no membership fee for Blurb, and prices range from $14.99 to $49.99 for a 7″ x 7″ photo book depending on the type of paper you choose. Additional pages will cost anywhere from $0.20 per page to $.0.40 per page.
And for medium prints we have the 8″ x 10″ photo book with prices ranging from $21.99 to $59.99 depending on the paper.
Finally, large format prints start at $55.99 for a 12″ x 12″ book with the cheapest paper. For more premium paper the price can go up to $94.99 for 20 pagers. They also have landscape 13″ × 11″ starting at $58.99.
Blurb also offers discounts for larger volumes. For those ordering 4–9 books will get 30% off, for 10–19 books you’ll be eligible for 35% off, and for those who are ordering 50+ books will get 40% off.
The customer service section of the website pulls up an entirely new page with a plethora of options. Here you can find product support for every category, as well as a FAQ section for a variety of issues like photo uploads, shipping, and perfecting photo resolution. And if you wish to speak with a representative, there’s a button that takes you another page where you can submit a support ticket.
Blurb Reviews: Summary
Alright, let’s sum up what we found in our Blurb photo books reviews:
- Best option for advanced users, or for those who want total control over their design work.
- Blurb has one of the lowest prices in the industry.
- And a large selection of elegant templates.
- Great selection of papers, bindings and covers.
- Possibility to sell books directly on the platform.
- Great customer support and training tools.
- The tools can be a bit complicated for beginners.
- Blurb only offers book publishing and no other photo gifts.
Blurb Reviews: Conclusion
Of all of the photo book sites available today, it’s usually best to go with a trusted name you know. Blurb has been a staple in the industry for nearly 15 years, and the information and products available are a testament to the growth of the company to keep up with its customers. As beginners are just as comfortable as experienced printers using the site, it is easy to see why Blurb remains a top competitor in a crowded field.
Mixbook was founded in 2006 and is one of the original online self-publishing services. Headquartered in California and backed by a global and diverse team of professionals, Mixbook offers an easy place to store, print, share, and create a variety of photo books.
With an easy-to-use interface and a full-time group of customer service representatives, Mixbook remains one of the preferred photo book sites for users around the world.
Besides photo books, Mixbook also offer calendars, metal printing, yearbooks, company books and wall prints.
The range of products spans the gamut of simple prints to customized home decor. However, in this photo book reviews we will focus on their photo books.
Mix book offers photo books in landscape, square or portrait layout, that comes with softcover, hardcover, or premium lay-flat covers.
Also, Mixbook has 4 different paper options: Semi-gloss, Pearl Finish, Premium Matte Lay Flat and Premium Lustre Lay Flat.
Website & Tools
Video tutorials offers a visual tool to help customers do everything from upload photos to create the products of their choosing. Their blog also provides unique and creative ideas for ways to arrange personal photos and to compile them into gifts for friends and loved ones.
Mixbooks users who feel comfortable creating photo books from scratch can use the available online tools, while others have the option of using any of the hundreds of templates provided by Mixbook, for example for weddings, baby, travel, family, or everyday use. In addition, you can find suggestions for photo layouts, backgrounds, textures, and patterns if you need ideas or inspiration.
Furthermore, Mixbooks users can share their photos by allowing others to collaborate on the photo making process, and photos can be uploaded from mobile phones and most social media sites. There’s even a smartphone app which makes the uploading and ordering of images that much faster, easier and convenient.
All in all, customers of all levels of experience will find Mix book easy to use. The site has clear menus that make navigation simple and straightforward, with everything from prices to sizes at your fingertips. Mixbook user will not miss anything they need to create their photobook, and people without much experience can use the videos, the support section with FAQs, or the customer service.
Next in our Mixbook review let’s talk about their shipping options:
Mixbook offers Budget (6 to 11 Business Days), Standard (5 to 6 Business Days), Priority (4 Business Days) and Express (3 Business Days). Shipments to Canada usually take 4 to 12 business days, and services to other countries vary, but any international service is available.
When using Mixbooks cheapest paper options, the quality does tend to suffer a bit. However, by upgrading the paper type, images will be sharper and clearer. All photo book will be at least of a standard quality, and most Mixbook customers are very happy with the final products. Moreover, the covers for Mixbook photo books tend to be well-made and sturdy, and you can ever design framed items.
There’s no membership fee for Mix book, and prices starts from $15.99 for a landscape photo book depending on the type of paper you choose. Anything over 20 pages will cost you extra.
For medium prints they have the square photo books starting from $19.99 depending on the paper.
Finally, large format prints start at $24.99 for a portrait Mixbook photo book using the cheapest paper.
Mixbooks customer service section offers several FAQs and tutorials, plus an email option for support questions. But the live chat is the best way to get an immediate answer to a question or concern, as it’s available 24/7. Service representatives are quick to help out, and offers support with anything from pricing to design assistance, based on the customer’s needs.
Mixbook Reviews: Summary
Alright, let’s sum up what we have found in our Mixbook reviews:
- Best option for beginners.
- Tools are very easy to use.
- Large selection of other gift printing services.
- Great selection of papers, bindings and covers
- Advanced users may feel it’s lacking in features.
- Bulk discounts are more limited than with Blurb.
Mixbook Reviews: Conclusion
Mixbook lives up to its reputation for offering a myriad of photo printing services at one of the lowest prices in the industry. While the quality may not be at the highest level when you choose the cheapest paper options, Mixbook customers are generally happy with the finished photo book. That’s why Mix book continues to dominate the photo printing industry year after year.
Mixbook vs Blurb Reviews: Conclusion
If you are trying to decide between Blurb and Mixbook, you have to decide which factors are most important to you. The printing company you end up choosing may be dictated by the requirements of you particular projects. For example, I am comfortable with doing a lot of my own design work so I am using Blurb for all my photo book projects. But for other projects like custom photo gifts, I have found a lot of good deals on Mixbook, such as their personalized calendars and metal prints. I also haven’t tried Mixbooks new Premium Lustre Lay Flat books yet and it does looks interesting. I’ll be sure to provide some updates when I give it a try!
In closing, I think you can summarize our photo book reviews like this:
- Blurb is a great choice for more advanced users and those who wish to have more control over the design of their photo books.
- Mixbook on the other hand, may be a better choice for beginners, since their tools are more straightforward and easier to use.
Did you like reading my Mixbook vs Blurb reviews?
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