Turning Photo Books into Bricks

The easiest way to turn a photo book into a brick is to order one of the new photo books printed on traditional photographic paper. Most of these books are produced with uncoated photo paper that is placed in direct contact with another sheet of photo paper on the opposing page. In high humidity or in the presence of moisture, the pages will stick together forming an inseparable brick. 

In my tests, two weeks at 80% relative humidity was sufficient to create a photo book brick. These conditions are relatively common in tropical climates such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and are present elsewhere in the U.S. at various times during the year.

At this time, manufacturers of photo papers have resisted efforts to develop ISO specifications that would prevent photo books from turning into bricks, although Fujifilm did recently put out the following warning as reported in Photo Imaging News, June 22, 2009: 

According to PEN Weekly, Fujifilm recently distributed a document alerting wholesale labs and minilabs about possible sticking of pages in photobooks and design albums with prints on both sides of paper that don’t have laminating on print surface, as reported in Photo Trade Express. The document recommends laminating with film, liquid lamination, or interleaving paper in between print surfaces.

At this time, I recommend avoiding books produced with traditional photographic paper, unless you are certain these books are have been tested under high humidity condition and that they are treated to prevent the pages from sticking together.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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5 Responses to Turning Photo Books into Bricks

  1. toricase says:

    So, is it safe to assume that CM’s photobooks are not printed on photographic paper and/or they are treated so they won’t stick together? If so, this is yet another competitive advantage that consultants need to articulate to help justify the price (which is high compared to others).

  2. Mark Mizen says:

    You are correct. Creative Memories’ photo books are printed on high quality digital presses, not on traditional photo paper.

  3. Pingback: More on Turning Photo Books into Bricks « All About Images Blog

  4. Mary says:

    All the photos that I had printed in Hong Kong (when I lived there in 1992-97) were placed in cardstock covers with a strip of tape to hold the pix in. A lousy method, especially in Hong Kong’s high humidity.

    When I saw that the color was starting to peel off onto the previous pic, I undid all the albums that I had there and put them in a safer place until I got them in CM albums.

    Whew. Memories saved, once again. 🙂

  5. Thank you for posting this online, more knowledge will help me help others to make informed decisions. *U* K

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