HotPrints may be the industry’s best kept secret. The site offers afree 16-page 8 inch-by-10 inch paperback book for $2.99 S&H. What’s the catch? It comes with a removable ad insert, there is only one fixed size and length for a maximum 84 photos, quantities are limited to 4 books per month, books can only be sent to your address, and the 20 theme designs and 34 layouts are limited compared to other sites. Quality is good enough, with weighty stock and saddle stitching instead of glue. If you don’t need alternate sizes or multiple copies, HotPrints books are an incredible value.
Walgreens and Snapfish
No kidding, Walgreens offers some of the smallest and most affordable paperback photo books, with 2 inch-by-3 inch minibooks at $5.99 for 25 full-page photos. These have fixed length and don’t allow captions. Step up to the 4 inch-by-6 inch bound brag books at $6.99 for 25 pages (up to 15 photos/page), expandable up to 150 pages, with customizable layouts and captions by page. Walgreens’ print partner, Snapfish, features the same robust user interface and similar book formats, and many more ways to repurpose your photos.
MixBook Mixbook is a relative newcomer that offers robust customization in books starting at 4-by-6 for $6.99. Unique to Mixbook are its sharing and collaboration tools. Invited friends can collaborate on the work in progress, adding photos and pages to the book. Finished books can be shared by embedding the Mixbook player code on a website or blog.
Blurb Blurb is all about books, and it shows. Here you can make (and sell!) customized books of any shape, size, paper type and layout. Its entry level is a $4.95 paperback 5-inch-by-8 inch booklet with 20 pages. Use the online tool, or download the bookmaking software. Blurb excels when text and photos combine in complex layouts, as in a memoir, and when special shapes and sizes are needed.