Saturday, 22 September 2007

Bobbooks: get your albums printed

I mentioned yesterday that I got my parents' album printed through the online service I thought it would be worth giving a review of the product and service I got.

What is bobbooks? Put simply, it's a service to get photo books printed on an individual basis. It's not so much a book publishing service as a personal album service: suited to putting together individual presents, holiday albums etc. The difference comes in the quality of the product, ore on that later.

The service consists of a small software download to allow the creation of the book: layout, text, background colours etc. It's easy to use yet quite powerful. You can set all kinds of layouts, copy layout, rotate stuff etc. It's also designed to tell you when your photos are being over enlarged, although it's far easier to pre-size the images yourself (to 300dpi).

Once created, you send off the compiled book file, including cover art etc, pay them (very reasonable rates, IMO) and wait for the book to arrive by post (around 2 weeks to UK addresses, I'd expect similar in most of Europe). Then the Swiss fairies do their magic.

The book comes properly packed, bound and printed on nice quality semi-gloss paper. It's a similar quality to many commercial photo books. The thing that amazed me was the reproduction. I'm not a top expert, but tonal range, colour rendition, contrast were all spot on to my originals. I was concerned that the semi-gloss surface would render all rather flat, with wishy-washy shadows etc. Not a bit of it. the book comes properly bound in hardback. A very nice product to hold, look at and present to someone.

A few weeks before my sister had ordered up an album of her images from a trip to India, using a variety of background colours, all manner of subjects and a wrap-around cover. The end result is most impressive. Certainly beats prints stuck in a paper album.

I've only a couple of reservations: the limit on page count (currently 80) and the limited sizes. Ideally I'd like a short-edge bound A4 (12"x8") and a 12" square option as well.

So, bobbooks: highly recommended service for short run photo books.


  1. You should check out Blurb ( They offer the same service but with more possibilites re lay-out, number of pages, software etc. They are a US firm, but for Europe, they use a printer based in the Netherlands. Had several photobooks printed by them, all good quality.

  2. hendrik, I would love to know your opinion on their colour repro. I checked out the website, looks like a good offering but I'm a little reticent when it comes to their specific disclaimers about fidelity 7 reproducability.
    One things seems to come with bobbooks & that is good colour. Not sure about reproducability but they only use 1 (AFAIK) printing house.

  3. Well, I'm not a specialist. It is my subjective impression that color rendition is true.
    Please also check out the following pdf:

  4. I think blurb has got linen hard back and then a dust jacket? I have been looking for books that have the photo printed as hard cover (not just on a dust jacket) - do you know if this is what bob books offer?

  5. bobbooks have a glossy, printed hardcover so you can get your photos printed directly to the cover, I believe.


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