Uploading images to Facebook, Flickr and other popular online sharing sites is fun, mainly because of the instant gratification it provides. Family, friends and coworkers can see the cool restaurant you discovered while exploring a new city even as you’re there devouring dinner. But sometimes, the length of time it takes to post those images is about as long as they last in our memories. Put those pictures in a good, old-fashioned hardcover, however, and a sense of permanency is created, suggesting your images will last forever. And there’s nothing like seeing your photos beautifully printed in a book.
Beyond the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, there are practical reasons to publish your own book. If you’d like to turn your hobby into a moneymaking venture, this is a great way to promote yourself as a photographer. Plus, customized picture books make for good gifts on almost any occasion. Thanks to today’s online book-publishing sites and services, there’s no shortage of options for creating a photo book exactly the way you want.
AdoramaPix. Using a unique binding system that allows pages to lay flat for seamless photo spreads, AdoramaPix offers a range of size and style options. The PixBuilder tool lets you get as creative as desired, allowing you to work with prebuilt templates or custom design the layout from beginning to end. PixBuilder is designed using Adobe Flash so it works from any web browser on any computer. You can add photos wherever you want, along with captions, shadows and borders. The pages are made from Fujicolor Crystal Archive Album photo paper, a professional-quality archival paper resistant to fading. Sizes range from 6x4 inches to 12x12 inches with up to 76 pages. Estimated Street Price: $43 (8x10-inch book with 26 pages).
Apple. Creating a printed hardcover, softcover or wire-bound photo book from within Apple’s iPhoto ’09 application is as simple as opening the photos you want to showcase, choosing a theme, and dragging and dropping the images into the template. Themes include Old World, contemporary, crayon, snapshots, travel, watercolor and more. For hardcovers, there’s a new extra-large, 13x10-inch size, along with the standard large, 11x8.5-inch offering. Both come with photo-wrapped covers and matching dust jackets. Each hardcover book uses traditional bookbinding style. Softcover books are available in small (3.5x2.6 inches), medium (8x6 inches) and large sizes, while wire-bound books, which lie completely flat and let you rotate pages under the book, come in medium and large sizes. Estimated Street Price: $49 (13x10-inch with 20 pages).
Bay Photo. For Bay Photo, variety is key, with the lab offering a wide selection of sizes, formats and styles to choose from when using its BayBooks services. Hard-covers are available in lustre, metallic or canvas surfaces, with satin or glossy laminate and with optional full-wrap, laminated dust jackets. Leatherette and linen hardcovers are also available. There are hundreds of customizable page layout templates to select from using Bay ROES, the company’s software that includes assistance with design layout, or you can create your own using any image-editing app. They also provide blank Photoshop templates for ensuring proper sizing when creating your own designs. Paper types include smooth, linen, pebble or canvas textures. Gloss or luster UV coating is optional. Estimated Street Price: $46 (8x10-inch linen hardcover with 10 pages).