In addition to high quality printing, here are my requirements for a photo book:
- 12×12 – I design all my pages for this size and have no particular interest in smaller books.
- Softcover or Spiral Binding – I prefer to spend my money on my photos, not on an expensive hardcover binding
- PUR Adhesive – Photo books made with hot-melt adhesive will fall apart over time.
- Laminated or Coated Cover – Laminating or coating a cover protects it from damage due to handling.
With four simple requirements and a multitude of photo book manufacturers, I should be able to easily find what I am looking for. Unfortunately, it is not so easy.
I was able to identify three photo book suppliers that offer 12×12 softcover photo books: viovio, Michaels, and mypictales. Viovio and Michaels offer a perfect bound 12×12 softcover book, while viovio uses a spiral binding system. Other suppliers choose to offer the 12×12 size only in hardcover.
Next, I contacted these vendors to ask about their books. Here’s what I came up with:
- Viovio laminates their cover but does not use PUR binding.
- Michaels uses PUR binding but does not laminate or coat their covers.
- Mypictales does not laminate or coat their covers.
In other words, no manufacturer is producing the book I want at a reasonable cost! Yes, I am aware of suppliers that will basically do whatever you want, but those companies are cost prohibitive.
If you are aware of any companies I have missed, please let me know. I need to complete my summer vacation photo book soon.
Why are you not using Creative memories book service?
Why don’t you just use the “scrapbookers” method and put your 12×12 layouts in drop in pages? Why would you want to “bind” it anyway?
OK, is this a joke? I only use Creative Memories, don’t you?
Thanks for the comments:
1. My understanding is that Creative Memories does not currently offer a 12×12 softcover photo book (see requirements 1 & 2 in my original post). I am no longer with CM and do not know if they are planning to change their product offering.
2. I prefer a bound book to drop-in pages. It takes up less space, is more economical, and better meets my needs. I do use the Creative Memories Custom Album Pages and Covers for projects where I may want to add additional pages at a later time.
Why, oh why, would you not include and use Creative Memories?????
It is correct that CM does not offer a 12×12 softcover digital book. If they did I am sure it would be better than any of the other options.
Mark, I know that you -unfortunately- no longer work at CM but you should be able to answer this question: Does CM use PUR for the (portrait) 8.5×11 soft cover book? I’ve only ordered this once. It already was falling apart when I received it. CM replaced it and since it was a gift (to someone far away) I don’t know how the replacement book is holding up. I rather have stitched books and regret that CM doesn’t offer that option in the 8.5×11 size. I’m surprised that you don’t want to invest the extra money to get a stitched binding. Thanks for explaining more.
PUR adhesive will only fail if it is not allowed to cure properly; otherwise it is as strong as a stitched binding. There is even a desire among some binders to allow PUR adhesives for long-term preservation. Current ISO binding standards limit the use of adhesives for long-term preservation – a requirement that, in my opinion, is not really justified.
I am curious as to why you prefer a soft cover book for the large 12×12 size? You mentioned that you want high quality photos in your book, but I would be concerned that a soft cover book would not protect the pages/photos adequately. Wouldn’t they be more likely to get “dog-eared” and be exposed to more wear and tear than if they were inside a hard cover book? I think of paperback books as more of a temporary item, and a hardcover book as more lasting, as long as it has a quality binding. Do you expect that the projects you print in soft cover will not be looked at very much?
I have many softcover books and have never had a problem with durability, even though I have two kids who frequently look at them. A well-made softcover book will last as long as a hardcover book. I also really like the fact that they are more economical than hardcover books, so I can afford to make more books..
Does CM use the PUR adhesive for their softcover books?
Yes, CM uses PUR adhesive. They offer 5×7, 8×8, and 8.5×11 softcover books.
My other thought about a 12×12 soft cover binding is that the pages would not lie flat enough.
The Creative Memories 12×12 softcover StoryBooks that I produced as samples for Showcase 2011 had no problem with the pages lying flat. This product was one of the top requests from Showcase that year.