While doing this Smilebooks review (or any photo book service review) I always keep this in mind: photo books should be fun to make. And I have to admit I had fun working with SmileBooks. They have also added a few features that will help with the design of your book-- making it pretty easy if that's what you're looking for.
SmileBooks "Design Service" FeatureSmilebooks now has a fantastic offer for those people who like photo books, but just never get around to designing one. For a very reasonable fee a human designer (not just an autofill program) will work to create a beautiful book for you.
How It Works: You just need to decide what style and size book you want. You even have the choice of uploading all of your pictures to have the designer choose the best photos to use, or going through the pictures yourself and uploading only the pictures you want to use in the book. Complete FAQs and pricing can be found at the Smilebooks Design Service.
SmileBooks Do It Yourself SoftwareThis SmileBooks review is based on their downloaded program. Many photo book printers offer either an online program or one that you can download, but this is the first printer that offers both! The review for the online version is at Smilebooks Online.
The downloadable photo book software is a good choice for those of you who like to design your books while offline. It is a hefty downlad of 80.7 MB and takes quite a while to download, even with a fast connection.
SmileBooks Templates and DesignsBesides having an almost unlimited number of layouts, you now have more backgrounds than you could possibly use. If you don't like the provided backgrounds, you can go online and download some more. They now allow you to upload your own photo to use as a page background. Image masks are a new fun option that will put a new shape around your picture. But it is more than that -- you'll need to see it to understand.
The Assistant: You can either use The Photo Book Assistant that creates the book for you, or use the many layouts and make the book yourself. When doing this Smilebooks review, I chose (as I normally do) to create a photo book on my own. Fortunately, you do get some automatic help if you are doing it on your own. One picture that I was using was too dark and the program suggested that I fix it. I clicked a button, and the image was much lighter-- very helpful.
Help and Customer ServiceThere is no online help because you are working locally on your computer while offline. There are some good instructions and help that you can read that answers most of your questions.
In writing this Smilebooks review, I did test out their customer service email feature, and got a response within about six hours. About par for the course with most photo book printing services.
SmileBooks Photo Books and PaperOne thing that stood out when doing this SmileBooks photo book review was the paper they use. The paper that Smilebooks uses is 135 lb. This is thicker than most photo book printers who use 100 lb. paper. The books have twenty-six pages, where most printers have twenty. There is also a new option of making a book with actual photographic paper and features a lay-flat binding.
Updated:August 11, 2010
Smilebooks Photo Book Review
What is the Quality of the Photo Books?The review on this page only reviews the software that you use to make your photo book. In order to review the quality of the photo book you receive or the quality of any help please go to Photo Book Experiences. Here you will find what other people have said about different printer/publishers. These reviews have been broken out by each individual publisher.
The quality of these comments are only helpful if Make Your Own Photo Books site visitors take the time to leave comments about their experiences. Please pay it forward to other site visitors by taking the time to leave a comment (good or bad)if you have made a photo book.
Comparative Photo Book Software Review
|Layout Variety||Over 170 layouts|
|JPG as a Background||Yes|
|Text - Variety and Full Page||Add unlimited text to each page|
|Embellishments and Corners||Yes|
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