I've tried a few different company's and here is my opinion of my experience with them.
1. Snapfish: they are similar to Shutterfly in that they always have really good deals and have plenty of design options. Quality is decent and the design options are pretty good. For a nice, cost effective book it's a good option. I have to say that I haven't used Snapfish for a few years and from what I can see on their website, they have made improvements with custom books and embellishments. Not a high end feel but more fun and bright. B
2. Apple Print Products: my sister in law made me a book of family pictures and I attempted one photobook but gave up on the book quickly because I wasn't completely impressed by it. I found it quite basic and limited in design options. Quality of the book was good. I think they have found a niche in taking your pictures on your Mac or iPhone and easily transforming it into a photobook. Quick and easy. However, I would rather have a product I'm completely happy with rather than an easy one. They are abit more costly too. Good options if you just want a photo album on pages. B-
3. Picaboo: I've only made one Picaboo book and it was a few years ago so again they may have made some changes but I found Picaboo limited in creative design and they were more expensive than some others. Quality was good but the book didn't impress me. They aren't about embellishments and don't have a scrapbook feel to it. C
4. Photobook Canada: I got a groupon for Photobook Canada before I had ever used them. I was high dissatisfied. The website was extremely hard to use and I lost part of my book at one point. I tried contacting them and they weren't able to help me. The book was decent quality but very basic and boring. The book ended up being expensive even with the coupon. I wrote to the company about some of my issues I had while making my book and that I wasn't happy with my experience and I never heard from them. I would not recommend them. D
5. Shutterfly: Shutterfly is the company I have most recently made most of my books through for a few reasons. I know their website and design options. It's easy to use and I really like some their features. I really like their storyboard feature. You can organize all your pictures in the book as you want them to appear. They hide the pictures also once it's been used so you don't accidentally duplicate a picture. Their custom path is easy and has lots of options. Multiple backgrounds, layouts and embellishments. You have to be careful with the embellishments because it can look cheesy and overdone. They have idea pages that enhance the book too. They have good deals all the time so wait till a 50% off deals come along. A
I have heard good things about Blurb and hope to try Artifact Uprising with my next book. Their books look high quality with nice, simple designs.
Here are a few of my recommendations: 8x11 hard cover is a perfect size. Pictures aren't too big so they are clear but not too small and hard to see. Keep it simple with colours and backgrounds maybe 2-3. Don't over load pages with stickers or embellishments. I usually do one every other page or less. I use the same background on both pages when the book is open. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Even have someone else do it. it's amazing how you can miss an error. Look for deals and wait if you can to order.
I usually end of making 2 or 3 every year for my mother and mother in law. It's my go-to Christmas and birthday gifts for them. They love pictures of the kids and the whole family.
Here is hoping I can find some time at the computer soon so I can finish my 2012 and 2013 photobooks. It's easy to get behind and then feel overwhelmed.
Since the new year, I have been using the Collect App with the hopes it will help organize my photos easily for my year end book. Organzing photos for a whole year I find the toughest so I'm excited I may have eliminated that problem.
Hope my review of a few different photo book companies is helpful. Snap on and create beautiful memories!