I don't get it. I've seen numerous conversations on the web comparing Shutterfly and MyPublisher, and it seems like the people with the strongest opinions are always those who like MyPublisher better.
I don't like MyPublisher.
I've tried to like MyPublisher. I really have. I've made two photo books with them. The first was our family's "2010" year book, and the second was a Christmas present for my sister last year. I just really really don't like working with their software. It's a program that you download to your computer. You assemble the photo book offline, then order it and upload it to their website.
- Customization is annoying. To change the location of photos or text on the page, you have to drag the photo box with your mouse. You cannot inch it along with the arrow keys on the keyboard. Because you have to drag it, you cannot be extremely accurate - you have the limitations of screen size and mouse dexterity. It's hard to get things to line up properly.
- There's a huge lack of background choices, themes, and frames. You're very limited in your choices.
- Some layouts, if they're part of a theme, are locked and cannot be customized. There's no reason given or any logic in this, it's just how it is. Some layouts, seemingly at random, just can't be altered.
Additionally, the order process is backward. You make your order first, and then you upload your book to their website. (Remember, you create the book in a program on your computer, not on the internet). This arrangement - ordering before uploading - opens the ordering process up to error and frustration. What if you order the book, and the order goes through, but then the book does not upload? You've already purchased the book, and now it can't be uploaded? It makes far more sense to upload the book first, and then place orders.
Other things I don't like about MyPublisher:
- Shipping is expensive.
- Several pages printed unexpectedly dark.
- You can't order different books at the same time; just multiple copies of the same book.
- Their deals aren't great. They often have a "buy one get one free" deal going on, but it's for two copies of the same book. And I don't need two copies. I just want one discounted copy. The best deal I have found for them that comes up occasionally is through Photobook Girl. She will sometimes have a code where you can get up to 70 extra pages free - and pages usually cost $1 each. So you can get a 100 page book for $35 (plus the ridiculous $12 shipping. That's $3 more for shipping than Shutterfly charges for exactly the same size book).
Anyway, with all that said, the book itself is pretty good. I got the "layflat pages" option and that turned out really cool. Here's the "2010" book that I ordered from them:
|Nice cover - I like that the picture stretches all the way to the spine. I wish they had more cover layout options, though. They didn't have very many.|
The inside has a nice gray end sheet and then a nice vellum cover page:
Here's one of the couple pictures that printed unexpectedly dark - and it stinks that it's the front page. On my computer, Jason was bright and easily seen. In the book, he's very dark. I know that if I had printed this with Shutterfly, Jason would have printed brighter and much closer to what I saw on my screen. I've never had problems with pictures printing dark with Shutterfly - and so was surprised when it happened a couple times in this MyPublisher book.
Here's an example of a layout (note how flat the pages are):
Another view of how flat the pages are:
Here's another problem I had - the words were cut off here. This one was probably my fault; I'm guessing I ignored some warning or something. But I was surprised when I saw it. In Shutterfly, I definitely know when I'm ignoring their warnings - they make it obvious and remind me like three times. In this book, I don't remember ignoring the warning (although I bet there probably was one).
Some more layouts:
Another example of how flat the pages are:
The back cover (again, I like how the picture stretches all the way across):
The spine. The one fault with the cover pictures running all the way to the spine is that it makes the spine look kind of funky, because you can see the front and back covers next to the white spine even when the book is on the shelf. (Instead of just seeing the white spine with words.) Maybe it looks more normal if you order a 20-page book, and they just didn't adjust spine width for a 100-page book? I'm not sure, but the spine looks a little funny to me when the book is on the shelf:
Paper quality: Excellent
Binding: Excellent. I got the layflat pages, and think they turned out really cool. Plus, the binding is nice and strong.
Print quality: Very good, except for the couple pictures that turned out unexpectedly dark.
Price: With the deal I got (free pages), I did save quite a bit - it was like $35 + $12 shipping for a 100 page book. So, not bad. But the expensive shipping is ridiculous. It doesn't need to be that much. And I don't like how most of their deals are "buy one get one free" of the same book. I don't need two copies of the same book. I just want one, cheaper book.
Sorry, this turned out way more negative than I was planning! I want to reiterate that I do like the book. I just don't like working with the software. But the book itself is very good, with just a few minor faults. Overall, I'd recommend MyPublisher, especially if you don't mind their software and the price is okay for you.
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