What is a "Coffee Table Style" book? It typically has a hard cover, is sturdy and often has a window cut out with a photo in it or has a jacket cover wrapped around it. They do look like a regular hard cover book, but unless you're planning on having over 100 pages, I don't think it exactly looks like what I would call a "coffee table" book! I've got a version that I design and sell. The pages are thicker than I've seen in the consumer market and they lay flat. They call them "art hinged" paper books, but they are in the same vein as the ones I talk about below. If you'd like to see my sample of a coffee table style wedding photo album, feel free to check it out.
My Publisher - Their site is; www.mypublisher.com - My brides have raved about this company for years and now that they're Mac compatible, I'm happy to rave about them too! Their 14 x 11 books have thick pages, nice layout options and there is no color shift or density shift from what I'm seeing on my computer screen (that's a biggie!). They are constantly working to improve their product, have great customer service and for $120 you can get yourself a fabulous, very professional looking album. Costco uses them, so if you're a member, you can sometimes get up to a 45% discount!
the only drawback is that they do not have a way to order prints (which makes sense since they are a book publishing company after all!), so you'll have to upload your images for the book separately from the ones you're uploading to a site that does enlargments and prints. Which leads me to....
Shutterfly - Love this site, love their products, customer service, the whole kit and kaboodle. Only drawback is that their largest size is a sqare format, which does me (and you) absolutely no good since I don't shoot in a sqaure format (how archaic!). I have no doubt that very soon they will be offering a nice large size to compete with my publisher. Their pages aren't as thick, but at $70 for a 40 page book, they're hard to beat. You can also almost always find a 50% off coupon online by googling "shutterfly coupons". They're site is www.shutterfly.com. Another benefit is that once you've uploaded your favorite shots and sent out the link to friends and family, then you can simply click on the "make a book" option and voila, in an hour you can make a marvelous book that will arrive a few days later!
Mpix - This is a company that specializes in printing and they've gotten into the book business as well. Their pages are a bit thicker than Shutterfly's are, and their size tops out at 11 x 8.5 inches, but what sets them apart is their layouts. For all you people out there who love the layered look of their photos (you know, where there is a photo in the background and several photos are set on top of it?). You can also do amazing double trucks (where one image is spread across both pages... great from really long, horizontal images) and they've got amazing choices for both backgrounds and frames around the pictures. You can size and resize all the photos. My only glitch was leaving a thin strip of white on several of my layouts that weren't visible in the preview. Don't think it's a big deal, but it's worth mentioning. I made up a sample book on a Monday night and my book was on my doorstep by Thursday! No color shift or density shift. Very cool stuff indeed! Their site is; www.mpix.com
Picaboo - From what I can gather, they seem a lot like shutterfly, except cooler layouts. I'm planning on giving them a try sooner or later to see about their products. They are at www.picaboo.com
Blurb - www.blurb.com gets mentioned a lot along side My Publisher. Their prices seem a bit cheaper, but I have no idea about the quality. Think I'll have to give them a try as well.
Asuka Books - Nice, smaller square books. They run $400 - $800 and my friend almost died when she saw what I'd done with both My Publisher and Shutterfly. She thought the quality was exactly the same except my books were larger and cost a fraction of the price. Their site is www.asukabooks.com.
Flushmount "Chunky" Style Books
What is a "Flushmount" book? They have thick, cardboard pages and always remind me of the books my girls used to chew on when they were babies! They are quite the rage right now, but remember that they often have a maximum of 20 pages (40 sides) because they are so very thick. I've got two examples of the ones I design and provide. I have two different versions on my site; a traditional flush mount album or a more contemporary photo wrapped flush mount wedding album.That will limit the number of photos you can put in your book to around 80, so keep that in mind if this is a style you're considering.
Storybook Pages - Looking to have professionals design your book and are you looking for the chunky "zookbook" style books? Check out www.storybookpages.com. They're a great resource and are familiar with and use all the major book making companies, so they can tailor a book to fit your needs and do the layouts as well. I believe their prices start at around $725.
Pictobooks - You have to be a client in order to get prices, but they do offer flush mount books. How are you supposed to compare products when you have no idea what the costs are? Hum. Their site is www.pictobooks.com.
Graphi Studio - Everyone seems to either love or hate this outfit. They're based in Italy which seems to be where most of the negative feedback seems to be related to (lack of communication with the lab). Check them out at www.graphistudio.com. They have 5 layout options and each one seems cheesier than the next! Not exactly my style, but if schmaltz is your thing, this might be perfect for you! How many of you did I just insult, I wonder?!
Vision Art Books - These are flush mount books and they don't give prices either, but they will work with brides and they are happy to refer you to designers that they recommend and who are familiar with their operations, so that's a good thing. They boast a 7 -10 day turn around (most flush mount places are at least a month). Unlike a lot of these places, they actually seem approachable, so check them out at www.visionartbook.com
Not Sure of The Style, But Check Them Out Anyways!
These companies either seem to offer both styles of books or I couldn't figure out from their lack of photos and samples on their sites what kinds books they do make!
Candid 2000 - Their site is www.candid2000.com. The "Tuscany" and the "Destiny" both appear pretty cool and they seem to have pretty good prices (at least they give you a ballpark!). They quote the maximum size for a book is 11 x 14 with 20 pages (40 sides) is $359. If that's really flush mount, that might be a great option.
Create My Album - Gotta love a straight forward name like that! Mostly caters to wedding folks and says they charge $725 to design for 12 pages (24 sides) of a flush mount book with an additional $25 a page after that. They're at www.createmyalbum.com.
Craftsmen - They will design albums for you using the high resolution files I provide. They're at www.leathercraftsmen.com.
White Wedding Album - Their site is; www.whiteweddingalbum.com. They do deal with brides and they seem to offer a variety of books, both coffee table style and flush mount (what I call chunky board books!). They don't give you even a little hint about their prices, so you might have to do some digging!
Hi Folks, you can quit reading now, all the good stuff is listed above! I'm offering up this section as a listing of some of the wedding albums options I've seen out there. I've only been able to use some of them because many of the flush mount album companies charge a fortune for their books and that's not something I want to order just to check out the quality. I've listed as many coffee table style books and flush mount albums sites as I can think of and I've let off a few that I know I don't like or that were reviewed terribly, but have never made in into the knot lexicon. More "do it yourself" wedding album companies are popping up every year. Also, many of the traditional wedding album companies are starting to realize they're losing money by not dealing with couples directly. Hopefully the reviews of these coffee table wedding albums and flush mount wedding albums will point you in the right direction for your Michigan wedding. Most wedding albums are now very easy to make yourselves and they've kind of taken a lot of the need out to have a professional photographer do the work and that's fine by me! Thanks for checking my wedding album resource page and I hope you do click on some of the MI wedding ablum pages that I've supplied.
Michigan wedding photographer's guide to wedding albums