Make Your Own Photobooks

Picaboo Reviews:
Comprehensive Review of Picaboo Photo Books

Looking for Picaboo reviews to help in choosing a photo book printing service? If you're planning to create and print a digital photo book, looking for photo book reviews is a good way to start-- because every photo book priting service has something unique to offer.

Here, I'll go over every element of Picaboo's products and services, and how they rate, including their:

  • Photo Book Software
  • Ease of Use and Design
  • Backgrounds and Designs
  • Photo Editing Capabilities
  • Photo Book Sizes, Paper, and Quality
  • Support and Customer Service
  • Picaboo Customer Reviews
  • Picaboo Overview

    Picaboo is one of the most popular photo book printers around. They is probably because they're one of the higher quality photo book producers-- their books start at a higher price point than many other photobook printers, but also start with a higher quality point and with a wider variety of covers, backgrounds, etc.

    This printer is a popular choice for people looking for a high level of quality and design. It's generally not the first choice if you're looking for budget photo books.

    Picaboo's Photo Book Software

    Picaboo X Photo Book Design Software
    Screenshot: Picaboo X Photo Book Software
    The most important part of this Picaboo review is probably the software-- because it's this that most differentiates one photo book printer from another.

    Picaboo has been working awhile on a new software that is also Mac compatible and they have just released it - called Picaboo X. There is a lot that is totally different with this software release, but they continue to offer one of the most flexible software packages available.

    The biggest change with this release is that there is only a 8 MB software download --very small and quick-- and it operates on an Adobe Air platform. The previous software version was a hefty 114 MB download. While it's a shame they don't offer an on-page option for designing a photo book, it's actually pretty amazing that they can offer so much with their software when there is such a small download.

    Another fun feature added to the new software at Picaboo is the ability to post your photo books on your Facebook page.

    Click here to download the software for free and give it a test run yourself.

    The Photo Book Design Process

    With the Picaboo X photo book software, you start your design process from a bookshelf that shows you all of the books you have made. You can edit a book, or choose the new button and go from there.

    After your installation, you always start your design process by clicking on the desktop icon to see your bookshelf. Your first choice is the theme, and then you choose the pictures you want to use in the book. You can choose to arrange these one-by-one yourself, or have them auto-arranged by the software.

    The Photo Preview Feature: Once you have chosen your pictures and are in the picture tray, you can hover over a picture to see it a little bit larger, or click on it to have it enlarged. It makes it pretty simple to find and arrange specific photos. I was recently making a book with a friend and she was having trouble seeing who was in a picture she was trying to place in her book - and that photo book printer's software did not have any picture preview at all. So this is a great feature that you might not appreciate until you do not have it.

    Using Picaboo for a Photo Book Business

    Picaboo is also a good option for those looking to design photo books professionally for others, as the "share" capability within allows you to send off a particular design for client review before actually placing your order.

    Comparative Software Picaboo Review

    Background Themes Over 14,000
    Layout Variety More than you would ever need - plus can add are delete picture from layouts.
    JPG as a Background Available for any page
    Digi-Scrapbooking Friendly Extremely
    In-book Editing Yes
    Text - variety and Full Page Nice variety
    Embellishments and Corners Nice variety
    Full-Page Bleed Yes
    Final Grade A+

    Click here for an explanation of these photo book features.

    Picaboo Backgrounds and Themes

    In any of my previous Picaboo reviews, I've always noted that Picaboo offers more backgrounds than anyone else. But they now include those backgrounds right into the software. You have an unlimited number of backgrounds available to you in their photo book software. You can make a nice-looking photo book page page from the thousands of backgrounds and themes, or you use any photo to create a full-page bleed.

    There are a greater variety of layouts than any other photo book printer's software (to my knowledge, anyway), and you can expand on that by being able to add as many pictures that you want to a layout, move any of the pictures, and expand the size of any picture box. It's pretty intuitive to use.

    Photo Editing Capabilities

    Picaboo's picture editing feature uses such tools as zoom/crop, rotate, white borders, and shadows to make your photos look just right. You can remove red eye and adjust brightness and contrast very easily. You can use almost any color for your fonts, or even for backgrounds by using a color "picker" that lets you grab any color in your picture or background-- it's pretty flexible. No, Picaboo's photo editing features aren't ever going to rival Photoshop... but for most users they don't need to.

    Picaboo photo book design
    Screenshot: Arranging Photo Layout in Picaboo X


    Picaboo Photo Book Sizes, Paper, and Quality

    This is one of the only places in this Picaboo review where this photo book printer falls a little short: Picaboo only offers three sizes of books (see chart below).

    But they do have several book types. The basic types include the typical die-cut books along with a custom photo cover. Then there are high quality books (Cape Cod, Modern, Victorian, Madison, and Ranch) which are printed using a 110 lb. matte paper, rather than the 100 lb. glossy used on their other books. The pages in these higher-quality books also lay-flat, eliminating the bending that occurs when normal pages are sewn directly into the spine. These all come at a much higher price, though. For more information on pricing, see our Covers and Sizes page.

    The "Wedding Flush Mount" is the highest quality photo book at Picaboo. If you're looking for a premium, thick book feel – this is one of the best on the market. The books come in two sizes – an 11x8.5 and a 14x11. Both are landscape orientation. The pages lay completely flat and extend across the entire page. You can choose from six leather cover colors. For more information on this, visit our wedding page.

    Photo Book Paper Weights and Quality

    Paper Weight Classic and Regency: 100# glossy
    Lay Flat Books: 110# semi-gloss - thickness of an index card
    Flush Mount: Kodak Endura sliver-halide photo paper mounted on lay-flat board
    Max. # of Pages 160 pages or 300 MB file size
    flush mount: 90 pages or 300 MB files size
    Mac Compatible? Yes

    Photo Book Paper Weights and Quality

    The prices given are based on a 20 page book with printing on both sides of the pages. Additional pages are available for an extra charge. The price given is the lowest price for that size category.
    Hardcover
    6x8 $19.99
    8.5x11 $29.99
    11x14 $449.99 (flush mount only)
    Softcover
    6x8 $9.99

    For more detailed pricing, please visit Photo Book Covers and Sizes

    Support and Customer Service

    Customer support for the Picaboo website is excellent. "Live Chat" was put to the test on a Sunday night at 11:00pm and I received instant feedback-- so it actually worked as well as they claimed. If you do not need help immediately, you can also contact Picaboo by email, and they do reply promptly.

    However, one thing I didn't like: if you try to use the chat feature outside of their schedule, or when it's down, the email option they give you instead doesn't work all that well. The one I tried to send got no confirmation or response. So if the chat's down, I'd suggest going directly the the Email section.

    Picaboo Review Updated: August 1, 2010

    Visit our Picaboo Coupon Codes Page to see any current deals and promotions at Picaboo.

    Or: Click here to directly to Picaboo, where you can download the software and do a free test-design.

    Want to Know More?

    This Picaboo review focuses mostly on the site itself, the product line, and software that you use to make a photo book. For customer reviews the quality of and satisfaction with the photo book itself (or the quality of individual customer service experiences) please go to Photo Book Experiences. Here you will find what other people have said about different printer/publishers. You can also check out my run-down of reviews for each individual printer.

    Or go to the bottom of this page to read and share experiences and reviews of Picaboo's products and services.


    Your Picaboo Questions, Comments, or Reviews

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    Other Visitors' Reviews of Picaboo

    Click below to see reviews from other visitors to this page...

    Picaboo photobook problems: crashes loading images 
    I am a long time MPIX photobook user and I decided to try Picaboo photobooks because they offer lay flat pages and had a Groupon offer going on. I …

    Transfer Picaboo Photobook to Different Computer 
    I bought a new laptop and was wondering if there's any way to transfer the photobook that I've been working on on a different laptop? I emailed it to myself …

    Not very happy....... 
    I found this to be the slowest and most tedious photo book I have ever made!! It kept kicking me out and I would lose info or if I have saved (which takes …

    Did not Like Picaboo Photo Books 
    1st of all I have been a Picaboo customer for about 4 years. 2nd they are the most expensive, however I believe in customer loyalty I ordered a book …

    Question about Flush Mount Photo Books 
    Hi there, can you please provide pricing for the flush mount photo albums? Also do you deliver to Toronto, Canada? If so how much would delivery cost? …

    Picaboo is better than MyPublisher 
    I make a lot of photo books and Picaboo's customer service is far superior than MyPublisher. Both make nice photo books, but if you ever need support, …

    Good Experience with Picabook PhotoBooks, First time user 
    Made a book for the first time and absolutely love it. I received it within 5 days of sending it to them. Great quality, well worth it. I am an avid …

    How to you create a one photo cover spread? 
    Hi I downloaded the software but cannot figure out how to make one photo as a cover spread across the the front, back and spine of the cover, -- can this …

    Picaboo's Software outshines their print quality... 
    I ordered six photobooks from Picaboo recently and was diappointed. They have excellent photo editing and formatting software but my high hopes were quickly …

    Picaboo was Terrible 
    $350 on a leather bound photo book and I assumed I would have gotten something wedding album quality. NOT. The paper is thin and tears easily and the quality …

    Well done Picaboo! 
    When I decided to use Picaboo, I went online to read user reviews. There was a mix of good and bad reviews, but I decided to take a chance. I had previously …

    zazzle better than picaboo 
    I purchased $100 of products from Picaboo (though groupon) to do my annual calendar for family & friends. Though I tried to create the calendar on Jan …

    Love Picaboo Photo Books 
    I have been using Picaboo for over four years. I do a annual family album each year and recently made a family book for my Grandparents. I LOVE Picaboo. …

    Spring Break 09 Photo Book: Picaboo Review 
    I made my book with Picaboo. It was simple and quick. Product was fine - pages were a little thinner than I would like, but the printed page came …

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