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Best Place To Have Books Printed/bound By?


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#1 pjeaston

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:27 AM

I am about 40 pages (12x12) into each of my daughters books and have been putting the pages into Arts Cow as I complete them in PS7. They will probably be 80-100 pages when completed. Regardless of price and going for top quality, which company should I have these books printed and bound by? I like the fact that I can load the pictures into Arts Cow and hit play to see how my book looks with the pages turning. However, I have never had a book printed yet, so I don't know how their books will look. I like the idea of them being in leather and they don't offer that. I really want a nice quality, heavier matte page with the book stitched and not glued. Leather cover would be great. I see so many companies you like, but if you could say where I should go based on what I am looking for that would be great. Thanks:)
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#2 Shari PV Mom

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 02:44 PM

I haven't used ArtsCow for a book yet but it looked to me like they were stitched. And the prices are really reasonable. I've only gone through Shutterfly so far. I like the books but they are glued so I thought I'd try ArtsCow for the next one.

I'm interested to hear what others have to say too!
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#3 Sara Arell

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 03:16 AM

I am in the process of writing books about their childhood for my children and while still in progress, am wondering as well, where the best place to have them bound and printed as well. I can print them, but don't know where to have them bound - or at least put in book format. I don't want to put them in binders but with only four books am wondering if that is my only option.
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#4 AngRoCamp

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 03:37 AM

I've had a few books printed through Arts Cow and I hate to tell you but I can only recommend them based on price, not quality. They are definitely the cheapest around, but unfortunately I wasn't very pleased with the quality. The print colors were "off" and were very heavy in yellows so everyone kind of has a yellow hue to their skin tone, and blues were quite green, reds quite orange, etc. Also, while they do have stitch binding, I have already had pages pull out of the binding and I only had the book printed last summer. It's very discouraging because I'd previously had books printed through Creative Memories Photo Center and the quality was outstanding so the comparison leaves ArtsCow looking pretty lousy. (I actually printed the same layout in both a CM book and an ArtsCow book for different people and that was how I was able to verify just how off the coloring was).

I recently had a book printed with Winkflash and was very happy with the quality of the pages and printing. They were also stitch bound. I haven't had any trouble with the book's durability (but admittedly it hasn't been handled as much yet as the CM and ArtsCow books have been) Winkflash was much lower price than Creative Memories and I was really pleased with how quickly they printed and shipped and I fully intend to use that site again. I'm not sure if they have a leather cover (CM does, I remember) but they had at least a vinyl/leatherette type covering which is what I chose and it looks and feels really nice and I was able to have a gold embossed title added.

Oh! One other think I preferred with Winkflash (and CM) over ArtsCow is that with ArtsCow they only have set number of pages allowable in books. You can't add just one or two or five pages. If I remember correctly you can add individual pages at certain increments but then it jumps to only being able to have 40-41 pages, 80-81 pages or 100 pages. (I don't remember the exact numbers. I just remember being frustrated by having to choose between having a bunch of blank pages or eliminating a layout or two that I'd created. So be sure to double check that before you get too set on using them :)

There have been a number of discussions about different printing/binding companies here on the board over the years. If you search a bit you can probably find reviews of just about all the services out there :)

#5 Sara Arell

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 03:41 AM

Thanks, Ang - that helps - I will do some more research since my books are not finished as of yet.
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#6 Bride

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:25 AM

The book that JoAnnB made for me when she was spoiling me as my secret pal, she had made from WalMart and it was gorgeous!!

#7 pjeaston

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 01:28 PM

Thank you so much for the detailed reply. I can't thank you enough. I am going on the site right now to check it out and probably won't go with ArtsCow based on yours and others feedback. I'll post once I get a book printed on my thoughts about the job.
Joanne

#8 April Showers

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 03:49 PM

So I checked out winkflash and they were having a sale, so I ordered my SG 52 layouts in a book from them. I don't like that their 12x12 templates are really 12x13-- smaller with the crop, but still, not square. I spent several hours opening all my psd files, adjusting the size and saving jpegs to upload. Maybe with other layouts it wouldn't matter so much, but the way these are set up, I needed them to fit right.

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#9 Jenna

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 10:39 PM

I am interested in seeing how this goes because I have never had a bound book done - I have only had pages printed & used regular scrapbook albums I buy myself. I can say that I have used winkflash & shutterfly in the past for photo printing & really liked the quality of both very much. I use winkflash more often because their price is better (so is shipping). For individual pages I have used scrapbooks to share & they are reasonable, great quality, & fast but they can't print 12x12 without leaving a thin white border. I am about to try out scrap simple for borderless 12x12s - if anyone has used them let me know - the price looks good & they seem to have good feedback (that I have seen).

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#10 Sherry Lynn

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 06:47 AM

I too am watching this thread --- I have a grand-nephew that I need to make an ABC book for AND both of my nieces are pregnant so I'm thinking a couple of baby books are in my future!
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#11 Bride

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:29 AM

April - I would be interested in knowing how your book comes out. I have my SG 52 to print out as well.

#12 Buffalo girl

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 09:21 PM

I have used ArtsCow and was very disappointed with the color. I did complain and they reprinted all four free and adjusted the color but it did not compare to my originals. I won't use them again for book printing.
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#13 TallCool69

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:00 AM

Shutterfly!
They're pricey - but they make fab books!!!
I've had all mine done there so far.
I took some to the Convention last fall and a lot of people had a look, so maybe someone will post what they thought about the quality (of the books, not my scrapping)!

I've had a couple of problems with different things - color, binding and glue-residue - but Shutterfly has sent me new books every time. To Sweden!

I've heard good things about Blurb too, but haven't tried them yet.
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#14 ArizonaAngel

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:43 AM

I had my first book printed by My Publisher. Their binding is not stitched but it is a step up from the glued binding, something to do with stapeling in addition. I was very pleased with the quality but they do not do square books so I too had to go into all of my psd files and adjust to fit the page size. I just had my second book done, it was my SG52 book from last year. I was inspired by Carla who posted a link to her SG 52 book and she used the same page templates I did. Hers looked great and they were having a sale so I took advantage. I love the book but I think the colors may be a bit off. I thought I read somewhere on another string about Sutterfly automatically adjusting quality unless you tell them not to. Maybe it was another company, needless to say I didn't look for anyplace to turn off that feature so I don't know if it was me or not. I did see Thess' books at the convention and they are fabulous! I would use Shutterfly again but I would look to make sure they are not adjusting my LOs. If anyone knows if that is an issue with Sutterfly please let me know how to turn it off.

#15 Jenna

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:27 PM

I ordered the pages to Tony & Becky's wedding album from scrappin simple - I'll let ya'll know how they turn out when they arrive. I didn't have them bound - I will be using a traditional scrapbook.

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#16 April Showers

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:34 PM

April - I would be interested in knowing how your book comes out. I have my SG 52 to print out as well.


It turned out beautifully. My husband commented that the color was really good. I like the weight of the paper, and the book takes up WAY less space than the ones I printed on photo paper and put in an album in plastic sleeves. Of course it is the only one I've had done. I was way too lazy to make a custom cover, so that part didn't matter to me.

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#17 Jenna

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:11 PM

Just got the pages for the wedding album & they turned out BEAUTIFUL! Great color, full bleed & on photo paper. The pages were done by Scrappin Simply & ran $2 a page with $5 flat rate shipping. I opted for my own album because I picked one that looked perfect for Becky.

Just wanted to let ya'll know! :)

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#18 KarinaS

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 10:28 PM

I'm working on a Blurb book right now; I wanted to go Shutterfly for the stitched binding, but the book I want to make for DD is over 180 pgs and they don't offer that many pgs. I am trying to finish my Las Vegas Album first, as it will have less pages and use it as a "test" to see how Blurb (aka Booksmart) turns out before spending all that money on the other one. I am not worried about the cost, either; just the quality.
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#19 JenniferZ

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:46 AM

I have had several books printed at Scrapbooks Please and both were lovely. They are stitched and have a variety of covers and sizes to choose from. The books I ordered were 12x12, the paper were nice and thick (you can choose a variety of finishes) and the printing was beautiful. My sister-in-law loves Pages To Treasure -- she says the print quality is superb, but I don't know if they do binding.

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#20 bjc

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:08 AM

i am following this mb as it is so interesting...i mostly print myself and put my pages in sleeves cause i just dont have the time to do the uploads to the sites that you need to do and then the dragging in of the pages, plus i worry that the bleed may cut off some stuff...anyone else feel this way or have a solution to make it quick to use one of these book printing sites?

also very interesting in your comments on artscrow as yesterday in the nl i loved brandys song book and asked her where she printed it... in the mb you will see she said with artscrow and it came out beautifully...so who knows what to do????
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#21 Reminiscing

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:48 AM

I have had books printed at Snapfish, Shutterfly, ArtsCow, and Blurb. My favorite is Blurb. Snapfish is good, even with stitched binding if I recall correctly, but they don't have square books. Shutterfly would be awesome, because they are trying to cater to digi-scrappers, if only they would improve the quality of their books. ArtsCow I was satisfied with, but I don't like ordering from so far away and I'm unsure about their quality.

I have ordered 3 books from Blurb, most recently my 104 page 8x10 2009 Project 365. (Whew! What a lot of numbers!) It was only a little more for the deluxe quality page (I forget what they call it) so I went with that, but even the regular quality page was good. And of course the tight stitched binding and perfectly neatly wrapped cover make the book sturdy and looks so "real."

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#22 bjc

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:53 AM

I have had books printed at Snapfish, Shutterfly, ArtsCow, and Blurb. My favorite is Blurb. Snapfish is good, even with stitched binding if I recall correctly, but they don't have square books. Shutterfly would be awesome, because they are trying to cater to digi-scrappers, if only they would improve the quality of their books. ArtsCow I was satisfied with, but I don't like ordering from so far away and I'm unsure about their quality.

I have ordered 3 books from Blurb, most recently my 104 page 8x10 2009 Project 365. (Whew! What a lot of numbers!) It was only a little more for the deluxe quality page (I forget what they call it) so I went with that, but even the regular quality page was good. And of course the tight stitched binding and perfectly neatly wrapped cover make the book sturdy and looks so "real."


michele, just checked out the blurb site and wondering if you made your book from pdf or did you use their software...i have all my psds in photoshop and am trying to see what the easiest way is to make these books without too much production needed to the psds and would love to know what you do
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#23 Reminiscing

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:13 AM

I use their software, Booksmart. It's easy to use. I haven't had any trouble with it since a couple of upgrades ago (earlier versions had trouble handling large amounts of text, which isn't even an issue for digital scrappers, but my first book was not made with digital layouts, instead using their templates and my photos and journaling). One of my favorite features is that it automatically saves your work all the time and it remembers the last book you worked on. So when I open it up now it has my 2010 Project 365 book, with weeks 1 through 7 complete.

To use the program, you import the photos (layouts) you want to use in your book and drag them onto the book. You see thumbnails of your pages along the bottom of the page for easy navigation through your book, and the tools are easy to figure out. There's a good preview feature. And when you're done, the software takes you right to the website to order the book.

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#24 bjc

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 10:18 AM

I use their software, Booksmart. It's easy to use. I haven't had any trouble with it since a couple of upgrades ago (earlier versions had trouble handling large amounts of text, which isn't even an issue for digital scrappers, but my first book was not made with digital layouts, instead using their templates and my photos and journaling). One of my favorite features is that it automatically saves your work all the time and it remembers the last book you worked on. So when I open it up now it has my 2010 Project 365 book, with weeks 1 through 7 complete.

To use the program, you import the photos (layouts) you want to use in your book and drag them onto the book. You see thumbnails of your pages along the bottom of the page for easy navigation through your book, and the tools are easy to figure out. There's a good preview feature. And when you're done, the software takes you right to the website to order the book.



i assume you have to import the layouts as jpegs? right? and also is there any way or guides they have so you are sure nothing will be cut off in the bleeds when they bind or how the two page spreads will be ok and look like one page??? any thoughts michele?
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#25 Jenna

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 01:23 PM

I can't speak to the cutting off with the binding - but I did format all of my pages with an extra 1/8" all the way around as recommended & found that I could see the "lip" where I added the buffer to my pages - meaning they printed full bleed & cut nothing off (or cut off so little that I honestly couldn't tell). I would say that next time I order from them I might just make sure that text is safely within the recommended limits but not add the buffer.

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#26 Reminiscing

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:17 PM

Yes, with Booksmart from Blurb, you import jpegs to the software. After you finish the book and tell the program you're ready to order, it sends the entire book to Blurb for you, which took quite a while for my 2009 Project 365. I don't remember exactly; maybe a half hour. I have cable internet.

As for cropping the edges, there are guidelines you can turn on in the program -- blue lines around the margins of the pages -- so you can see if any of your layout is in danger of being chopped off. They might indicate in directions or help somewhere what fraction of an inch is too close to the edge, but I'm not sure what that number is. I just paid attention while scrapping to what I put on any edges, and estimated. I didn't lose anything important with my imprecise method. Maybe a portion of a word here and there.

On one page I did have a lot of text near the edge and I was concerned it would be cut off. So I shrunk the size of the layout on the page in Booksmart so it fit within the guidelines, and when I received the printed book I was so pleased to see no white around the edge. My layout reached the edge of the page and I can read all the text.

This reminds me of the one thing I am a little disappointed with, and it's my own fault. Despite always re-reading my journaling more than once, I have still found several typos. One is even a word left out on the paragraph I wrote on my back cover!

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#27 bjc

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 03:20 PM

Yes, with Booksmart from Blurb, you import jpegs to the software. After you finish the book and tell the program you're ready to order, it sends the entire book to Blurb for you, which took quite a while for my 2009 Project 365. I don't remember exactly; maybe a half hour. I have cable internet.

As for cropping the edges, there are guidelines you can turn on in the program -- blue lines around the margins of the pages -- so you can see if any of your layout is in danger of being chopped off. They might indicate in directions or help somewhere what fraction of an inch is too close to the edge, but I'm not sure what that number is. I just paid attention while scrapping to what I put on any edges, and estimated. I didn't lose anything important with my imprecise method. Maybe a portion of a word here and there.

On one page I did have a lot of text near the edge and I was concerned it would be cut off. So I shrunk the size of the layout on the page in Booksmart so it fit within the guidelines, and when I received the printed book I was so pleased to see no white around the edge. My layout reached the edge of the page and I can read all the text.

This reminds me of the one thing I am a little disappointed with, and it's my own fault. Despite always re-reading my journaling more than once, I have still found several typos. One is even a word left out on the paragraph I wrote on my back cover!


thanks and it sounds doeable...i am still trying to finish up my 2009 lo so maybe i will try to print it up as a book.... was there anything you needed to do as per the colors so they matched what you saw on your monitor
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#28 Reminiscing

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 04:45 PM

I didn't do anything concerning the colors. They look richer in the book than on my screen.

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#29 bjc

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 12:01 PM

ok...i am going to upload the software from blurb so any other blurb users out there please speak up and let me know what you think of the published book and the ease of using the site...or any other recommendations... cause its not too late ...getting 2009 lo published will take me awhile...glad for christys script to save them to jpegs quicker and also may do an 8 x 8 for dd so that script will come in handy
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#30 Becca

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 06:16 PM

I've used Artscow for book printing, and I've been fairly pleased with them. I have never had the color issue that other people have run into with Artscow, though.

They are definitely not top-notch quality, but getting a 20-page book for under $10 shipped was definitely a plus. I look at it this way - I'd rather have my books printed now cheaply than just have the digital files. (Was it Ro who said something like "Don't let your kids grow up to be JPEGs?" awhile back??)

I can always go back later on and have them reprinted when our family budget can take the higher price tag on the better companies.




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