My Photobook Canada Review

By | January 19, 2011

In August 2010 I registered for Groupon. There were a few interesting deals that showed up in the weeks following my registration but in September a deal appeared for Photobook Canada. Incidentally that deal remains as my only purchase on Groupon since I registered six months ago.

The coupon was for $35 purchase that got me a $110 credit to be used on any photo book order from Photobook Canada. With our England/France trip coming up in a month I thought this would be a good way to create a scrapbook from our trip without having the hassle of printing photos, buying extra sheets and plastic covers and, most importantly, finding a photo album that we liked and could expand in size.

In December we got serious about creating the album and put a few days of effort into putting it together, here are my thoughts on the Photobook Canada process.

Software
I was intimidated by the software at first but after a bit of time experimenting with the features I became quite comfortable and still never utilized all of the capabilities of the program. Once you have added your images to the album you can select different page templates for each page, alter the background color, apply borders to items, manipulate images, add text and shapes.

We didn’t know where to begin and we feared our inexperience with the software would produce a poor quality album but we took it slow, started by adding images we wanted onto a page (no layout or theme, just the straight images) and worked our way through the trip.

The page templates are incredibly useful and I feel the pages we used a template on were the strongest of the book, but they only serve as a guide and could be modified and adjusted. I never felt restricted with the software or that it was holding me back from doing something I wanted to do. We were able to lay images on top of each other, scan brochures and other mementos we picked up on our trip and still give it a hand made scrapbook feel without the glue or double sided tape.

On my 15″ MacBook Pro running a 1440×900 resolution I never found the interface to be too cluttered or crowded. I was able to see both pages I was working on and still access all the tools. I was able to “Preview” the photo book and flip through the pages, but if I wanted more control I could export the album as a “Proof” and look at the pages as images. This gave me a good feeling for what the final product would be and it didn’t disappoint.

Ordering
Through the Photobook Canada software I was able to upload my order to their website. I had a few connection issues with their server so I had to try uploading a few times but on the third attempt it completed. This created some confusion on Photobook Canada’s side as I had someone from the company email me a few days after I uploaded my order (I uploaded it on December 23 so a few days to catch the issue and write me is expected) saying they couldn’t find my images and I would need to upload them again. However, a few minutes after that message I received another one saying they located my order and would begin the printing process.

From the time of placing my order to receiving the product (photo link) was 23 days. This was longer than I expected but the Photobook Canada website talked about delays around the holiday season so I expect if you don’t order during a busy time the turn around time would be faster.

One thing that stood out is that once my order was put into “In Production” the status never changed. Even a week after delivery it hasn’t been updated. I’m compulsive about order tracking, but for others it may not be important.

Final Product
The book was packed extremely well. It was covered in plastic, bubble wrap and a tight cardboard box. The box would need to be cut in half in order for any damage to come to the book and the final product looked flawless.

I ordered a “15×11 Large Landscape Imagewrap Cover – ImageWrap Matte Lamination” with 46 pages. Including shipping and paying for the additional pages I paid $22.05 over and above the original $35 Groupon order. For $57 we got an incredible product and an even better deal. If I had to pay full price for the album I probably would because the cost of materials to create a photo album on your own would come close to $100 (or more), plus the time to create it would be far greater than the hours we spent on this.

For value and final product I would highly recommend Photobook Canada. We will keep their name in mind the next time we have to create a photo album.

21 thoughts on “My Photobook Canada Review

  1. Gordon

    How many pages/photos went into the final product? And I assume the software is free, and you only pay once uploaded? I’ll have to keep an eye on the groupons myself.

  2. Sean Post author

    There were probably 200 photos. I used the ones I had uploaded to Gallery2 so I already had my selection narrowed down. On top of that there were probably 20-30 scanned items like receipts, transit passes and brochures.

    Yes, the software is free. As for payment you do that at the time of ordering. I don’t know if many companies appear on Groupon multiple times but it’s possible. If you didn’t have a lot of pages and picked a simple album you could have something for $100 (or less).

    There should be a price breakdown on their site and how many pages are included in that starting cost.

  3. Danielle

    Hi, I am having difficulties with photobook, I wonder if you have any insights..

    I paid for my album and the order went through on my mastercard.
    Then (I didn’t know I needed to upload the album directly after), so I closed the software.
    When I discovered this, i re-opened it and uploaded the album and it completed fine.
    However, I never received a confirmation email, or an order number, so I don’t know if it went through.
    Now I am trying to contact them to get more info as I need the album as soon as possible.
    I have sent 2 message by their ‘ticket’ website.

    If you have any ideas as to what is happening, please reply,
    Thanks,
    Danielle

  4. Danielle

    Hi again,

    It seems I just needed to comb through the website to find my answers. Thanks anyway!
    Danielle

  5. Nothing is possible

    Hello,

    I usually don’t experience really bad customer service to the point I have to write a bad review on the company, but Photobook Canada left me no choice.

    I am actively telling everyone to AVOID Photobook Canada. I had never heard of the company before purchasing my Groupon, but I was looking forward to testing it out considering I loved making an earlier Photobook through Mixbook.com.

    It turned out to be the most aggrevating experience EVER.

    What went wrong?
    1. Extremely limited selection of page templates, backgrounds, scrapbook stickers (like maybe 10 each!)
    2. Software is really old and you are limited in the flexibility of EVERYTHING.
    3. Pre-made books are specific to the size of the chosen photobook. So if I liked a pre-made book that was XL-landscape I couldn’t apply it to a smaller size book.
    4. Similarly, if I was working on a book and half-way through decided I wanted to change the size, I could only do the “transfer” by saving my pages as JPEGs and placing them on the new book as one large image.
    5. I finished my book near the end of my groupon and their site experienced heavy customer traffic and crashed! So I couldn’t upload my book or put my order through (Photobook responded to this issue a week later saying they fixed their site and extended the Groupon.)
    6. Their whole “process” makes no sense. You want to make a photobook? 1. download software; 2. make book; 3. upload your purchase; 4. create a username+login; 5. pay for your photobook; 6. go back and now actually upload your pages.
    –This whole process is ridiculous. The fact that you don’t actually create an account with them until AFTER you complete your book is counter-productive. Because it was only after I made an account that I started receiving emails about “Tips & Tricks on how to make great photobooks!”
    –Also, I had no idea that after I purchased my book that I still needed to upload my pages!! There is little instructions communicated to you during the whole process. Usually payment comes at the very end anyway! But no, I had to receive an email a week later from their customer support that “We are still waiting for your files to be uploaded to proceed with the production of your album.”–Are you KIDDING ME!
    8. Finally, (and this one EXTREMELY annoyed me), the fact that orders over $60 comes with free shipping was not advertised. My order came to $59 and I was charged $12 shipping +tax!! I learned about their free shipping policy afterwards and I emailed them in hopes that I can cancel the order and add an extra page for $1 instead of paying $12 for shipping! Their response? That’s not possible.

    That should be their slogan, “Nothing is possible with Photobook”.

    I’m in the process of waiting for my book to arrive. It’ll probably arrive in 3 months instead of 7 business days and fall apart the second I hold it.

  6. Photobook Fail

    @Nothing is possible

    Dear Nothing is Possible,

    You are so right! I went through the exact same thing! Except, my visa wouldn’t even go through. On the photobook webpage I had a different billing address from my shipping address as the book was a gift. When I tried to pay it kept automatically inputting the shipping address and failed to recognize my billing address and visa card. I ended up having to use my amex, which isn’t a big deal but for the plethora of other problems I encountered trying to upload and pay for the book.

    The whole process made no sense. I even finished the book a day before my groupon deadline so I could submit it earlier. I tried calling their support line to get help, but the phone number was busy all day! Worst customer service EVER! actually, no customer service at all!

    I didn’t even know about their free shipping policy. It seems like this company relies on their groupon purchases and as a result, does not care to appease their customers. It’s too bad they failed to take into consideration potential return customers. They definitely lost their chance of getting me as a return customer!

    I hope you book will turn out well at least! I’m also still waiting for mine.

  7. tmf

    @Nothing is possible
    I had a great experience with PhotobookCanada and, I find it difficult to believe your problems had anything to do with the company or software. If you liked a template available in another book you could easily mimic it yourself – you are not limited to the templates they give you and it’s extremely easy to create the same effects yourself – there’s even a grid when moving items about to ensure you can be spot on every time. I did not find the software to be “old” and I do a lot of photography and photo editing. Deciding to cahange the size of your book halfway through if your own fault not the software’s – the size of your photos then needs to change, the pages are different shapes and it’s simply an unreasonable expectation.

    Before you write a negative review maybe you should evaluate how reasonable your expectations were?

  8. Maggie lovelock

    Agree with last post , having a hard time making sense out of it . When I added pictures at the beginning it filled the book in no particular order . It was impossible to remove them leaving blank pages , I had to drag the pictures over the top of the already filled pages . There is a tutorial on google , it’s hard to find and it should have come with the software . There is no real help , and I would love to have used a ready template but I don’t think it was offered with the groupon coupon . I’m now faced with dealing with text and boxes etc . There was no explanation as to the meaning of 4 ups And 6 ups , ANYWHERE .i assumed it meant photos per page , but not sure . All in not a great experience .

  9. Margot Davis

    I have used Photobook Canada for several years now, and have always been impressed with the products. The staff have always been incredibly helpful and patient. They get back to me promptly if I have a question, and they have undone mistakes that were my fault, with no complaint. (Yes, I’ve had 2 books lose their pages, and they replaced them with no hassle at all. We have found that the larger landscape books shouldn’t be forced to open flat.) Over the years, they have added more options in response to customer suggestions, and the software is incredibly easy to use. Like any software, there’s a learning curve, and you need to do some homework if you are confused. The help is there. The URL I added takes you right to the page with links to user guides. (Here’s the site, in case it doesn’t post correctly: http://www.photobookcanada.com/tools/bookmaking-tools). User guides get updated as well, so watch for those. You are never limited to the templates provided, and I usually make my own. If you choose to use their wizard, your pictures are going to be in random order and design. You can now also use other services to make your pages. They offer regular promotions, which really slash the prices dramatically. I live close enough that I can go and pick up my orders, but the shipping costs are not horrible. I used to buy Groupon deals for Photobook, but found those gave me more hiccups than getting the deals directly from Photobook. All in all, I would recommend Photobook in a heartbeat.

  10. Laura Toews

    I too have used Photobook Canada for many, many books. I create photobooks for clients and have used many companies, but keep returning to Photobook Canada, but I don’t know for how much longer I will be using them. It isn’t because I don’t like their product because it is as good as the best I have used. The reason I would change is because I keep running into irregularities and they are so very slow in answering my emails. When I first began with them one could just phone them and talk to a real person. However, this appears to be a thing of the past – even when asked to call me if they do not want to share a phone number. I emailed them on Tuesday in an attempt to discuss another irregularity and they still have not gotten back to me 2 work days later! This, unfortunately, is not new. I have had to wait days in the past to hear from them. Needless to say I have unhappy clients when I can’t complete something in a timely fashion and I don’t hesitate now to tell them it is not me, it is the company I am dealing with namely Photobook Canada! I am ready to pull out my hair! Love their product! Hate their customer service or lack thereof!

  11. poor customer service

    Poor customer service – they list online chat as an option but during normal business hours it returns “error” messages. Their email response time is incredibly slow for a service based industry. Also, the many templates and backgrounds shown on their website do not exist in the actual software download. The groupons make the books reasonable but still more expensive than their competitors. I’ll go back to My Publisher, Picaboo, or try some of the other photo book companies before buying from PhotoBook Canada again.

  12. Krista

    If they are located in Markham why is my order coming from Malaysia!!!

  13. Krs1

    Terrible, terrible, experience with Photobook! Never again! I get why they have no customer service number for people to call! Am still waiting for a cancellation of my order, and refund. It has been over a month, and the book I worked so hard on, to gift someone for Christmas, is still “In production”. Shame on Groupon for partnering up with Photobook Canada!

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  15. Trish

    I placed my Photobook Canada order using my groupon back in December 2013. I received an email showing shipping confirmation and tracking just this week…it’s September 2014! Coming from Malaysia too….I’m a little annoyed. Not sure why there’s not more negative reviews for this company. 9 1/2 months to get a Photobook!!! Well I haven’t actually received it yet…

  16. Marie Denton

    Have made several photobooks with some difficulty, but generally got into the swing and managed beautifully. Not with Phototbook!! I feel like an utter novice and am frustrated to death. Sometimes I can add text, on the next page it’s impossible, pages I’m editing look different to the one upper tracking that shows the book’s progress!!
    No wonder there are always Groupons for this company!! If you have felt the same way I encorage you to try Shutterfly or Mixbook – or possibly anything else.
    I think I shall just have to insert photos of this long trip as if just pasting in a scrapbook willy nilly, just tp get it done and cash in on my $100 worth of product. But really, It’s hardly even worth that, the frustration is too much.

  17. Frustrated!

    Marie Denton, I feel your pain!!! I bought a groupon for 3 photobooks. That money will be going into the trash. I cannot get the hang of their software at all, and am completely frustrated. I would imagine that sending my photos to Costco for printing and picking them up and pasting them in a scrapbook would be 100x faster. Very disappointed. 9 hours later, not even one book is done.

  18. Deb Latter

    Horrible customer service!!! Stay away from photobook. Waste of $$$ Order was totally messed up

  19. Christina

    This is the worst experience I have ever had with a photobook company. First of all, the software takes forever to load. I bought a Groupon for their book and the code did not work. I contacted them immediately and it took SIX days for them to return my email. Even then, they had not listened to my question and did not answer it. Groupon tried to remedy the situation but ended up giving me a refund for the book. To date, Photobook Canada has not helped me. I wasted a lot of time making up this book and it was a total waste. In contrast, I made a book with Mixbook and had the option of using “chat” to speak to someone. My question was instantly answered. It was like day and night.
    Do NOT use Photobook Canada!
    Christina

  20. Sarah

    bsolutely agree with this thread. Photobook Canada is a complete scam. They are in Malaysia not Canada. They do not answer their emails or phone. The website says there’s a location in Toronto and this is not the case at all. Good luck if you have any issues or questions they will ignore you. PayPal will not refund your money if you purchased a coupon code. The software is full of glitches and bugs. Don’t waste your time or your money!

  21. judy

    Very frustrated with this product right now. Bought 5 vouchers to make 5 copies of a family history album for Christmas gifts. Found out too late that each copy has to be ordered separately. 5 separate shipping costs. Found out there were additional costs too. Each book will cost me an additional 27 dollars with shipping costs included. Now I have discovered that once you ordered your 1st copy, the shopping cart icon disappears! Waiting for customer service to get back to me.

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