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.
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.
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 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.
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.