Photo books are fast becoming one of the best ways to bridge the gap between a phone full of digital photos and a place in your home where you can hold onto important memories. A photo book allows you to distil your myriad photos down to just the best and have them immortalised in print, all laid out in a fancy book for you to enjoy, gift or share.
How you get to the stage of having that memory book of photos is up to you and there are lots of options. Plenty of sites now offer a photo book service which is great as it means the process has been refined for simplicity. It also means the quality of offerings is high while prices have been driven down.
We've trawled photo book services across the US and the UK for important factors like price, speed, quality, range of options, software simplicity and more to give you our selection of the best photo books.
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Top 5 best photo books in the US
The key here is that the Mixbook software is easy to use which makes collating your photo book a pleasure rather than a chore. Also, the finish is so excellent that you feel like you've created a work of art rather than fuzzy printed images. The templates are simple yet fully editable so you can be as creative or as quick as you like.
The addition of backgrounds makes for a great finish, which you can do in varying materials with stickers and more. A 20-page 8.5 x 8.5-inch Mixbook hardbound will set you back around $35.
Shutterfly offers another option for those looking to breeze through the software side of work while creating a great physical book. Content is plentiful with lots of backgrounds and template variations that mean you can personalise your book as you want. Sometimes the odd photo in the print are reported to be less than perfectly even in terms of balance, but quality is still generally high.
Picaboo takes third place as, once again, this offers some great software that straddles the line between easy-to-use and rich with content for creative options. The ability to search through background and clip art is really useful. This falls down on print quality compared to the top two, but is still better than most others out there. A nice option to polish photos and help them match backgrounds is a great touch here that makes a professional finish a possibility.
Snapfish not only offers plenty of simple-to-use templates but it actually guides you through the process, too. There are over 120 themes to pick from with a huge selection of backgrounds all of which are easy to pick and pair as the book editor guides you through each stage with drag and drop simplicity.
The only downside we've noticed is that the final physical book photo quality could have been better. But there are often deals to be had here that get you a good price for your next photo book.
Apple is well known for its design ethos and so the Apple Photo book option is one that creates the quality book you'd expect. It also follows Apple's minimal style to make everything simple to use. This is also a downside though as it can be quite limiting for those that want a bit more. Also the photos themselves are not the best quality when compared to the likes of Mixbook.
Top 3 best photo books in the UK
For a photo book service in the UK which offers ease of use, wide options for things like templates and backgrounds, plus a quality finished product, Cewe is the best photo book service right now. For £20 you can get a quality printed photo book, which is easy to build using computer or mobile software and that is simple to install and use.
Varying paper options like gloss and matte, plus nice options for the covers like faux leather are great to see, too. There's even a 24/7 UK-based customer service support team and a 14-day money-back guarantee to sweeten the deal.
If you want a super simple system that lets you upload photos and have them automatically laid out for you then Whitewall is the photo book for you. There is also the ability to use the software to customise the book as you like. The delivery is fast, as is the software design side of things, with the book arriving in a few days.
There are varying paper options, but it's probably best to go for 250gsm and above for a quality finish. While skin tones could be better the overall photo print quality was great.
For sheer print quality Bobs Books offers a really impressive offering with stunning photos. Despite the high quality, pricing is relatively low with £9 getting you a 26-page book at 300gsm premium paper quality. Images are sharp, colours are punchy, sharpness is spot on and dynamic range is realistically accurate. The online creator software is easy to use although book designs are limited. There is an iPhone app and even a professional design service available if you need that as well.