Hardcover Photo Book Review
I started looking for a company to create a photo book of my recent trip to Japan when I was only a week into into the month long trip. I regretted not having any of my photos printed from my last trip and there’s something really cool about holding your own shots in your hand that you don’t get from flicking a touch screen.
After an extensive Google search, I narrowed it down to Blurb and Artifact Uprising. Both aren’t too expensive and seemed to over a nice level of quality for a hobbyist price point.
I'd read great things about both, but really liked Artifact Uprising's minimal design and their fabric hardback covers.
I decided to go with them after a member of their team commented here on reddit.
I started trying to get my photos into their book creator. Overall, it wasn't too difficult, but definitely took a few hours to get exactly what I wanted. I really wish you could just start building a book page by page, rather than choosing the 100 page option, and realising you needed more, and having to scrap the whole thing and start again.
If you do have to scrap the project, it would be much more convenient to have the option of importing your project into the new 150 or 200 page template. I really hope they work on this and refine the process a bit.
I found the software a little slow in the performance department at first and I hope they end up making a stand alone app for the process like Blurb do.
Nevertheless, it gets the job done and I had a nice looking example of what my book was going to like.
Shipping to Australia was about $35, which is pretty reasonable. It was quick and fully trackable via Fedex. Overall, I’d rather pay this than have a slower untrackable service.
I missed the international Christmas cut off by about a week, but it still came two days before Christmas! Props to AU for the speedy printing and handling.
I opted for the hardcover square fabric book. The paper is Mohawk PC white which is apparently 100% recycled. It has a matte finish which I much prefer to glossy.
If you have the book in the sun, you’ll still get a little bit of sheen, but it isn’t distracting. The paper quality is really nice.
The printing itself is high quality. I only have individual prints to compare it to, but I’m quite impressed with it.
The blacks could be a little blacker, and if you bring the page to your eye and squint you can see the dot printing, but I’m pretty sure that is unavoidable for this price point. Overall I’m really happy with it.
From what I’ve read, AU has nicer quality prints than Blurb, and I’m inclined to believe that. I would of course need to compare both side by side to be sure though.
Before I printed, I made sure I wasn’t blowing up my photos past 300 dpi. Make sure you do the same to get the best quality print.
The book doesn’t lay flat. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but may be for some.
Layout options are limited, but I didn’t have an issue with their default templates. It was easy to drag and drop either a full page, multi portrait, multi landscape, grid etc…
If you’re wanting to print a best of 2014 book or one to remember a holiday, I think they’re definitely worth a look.
It’s a really cool way to remember a trip and show your photos to friends/family. For me, it beats “here’s a link to my flickr stream” any day.
If you'd like to try one for yourself, head over to http://www.artifactuprising.com/photo-books/hardcover-books