12.11.17

Finding a substitute for MyPublisher

Posted in photos at 1:13 am by wingerz

Just putting this out there in case it’s useful for others. I was always a huge fan of MyPublisher; I’ve been making annual photo books (usually their classic size, but a big 14″x11″ layflat for my wife) with their software for about 12 years.

Mixbook works quite well. The web UI for laying out photos is snappy. Unfortunately they only have a layflat option for their smaller books, not their 13″x11″ book. I put together a few smaller books. One thing that’s nice is that once you’ve uploaded all your photos, you can edit your book from anywhere, which is something I haven’t been able to do before (since all my photos are most easily accessible from my desktop computer at home).

I’m using Blurb to make my big photo book. I got my hopes up since I saw there was a Lightroom Blurb plugin (and clunkily laid out a few sample books), but it doesn’t support layflat for 13″x11″. In looking around it seems like exporting to PDF and then converting wasn’t a good option either (I also couldn’t find the right settings on the website). I downloaded Bookwright (their desktop software). I added bunch of templates (from their website) and combed through them looking for good 4-8 photo layouts with no text to add to “My Layouts.” I ended up spending a few hours putting together some custom layouts myself by making some slight changes to their templates.

We’ll see how the books turn out! I’m excited to get them sent off and printed.

Follow-up a few weeks later: I haven’t been super happy with the printing results. Nothing compares to the layflat glossy MyPublisher book. My original Blurb book (Standard Layflat Matte) had a stain on the cover so I was able to order a new copy with the Proline Pearl Photo paper. It was better, but the photos don’t jump off the page in terms of clarity and brightness like the MyPublisher book. It’s possible I got worse at photo editing this year, but hopefully not (I’ve been using the same camera for 4.5 years and the same workflow for even longer than that). I looked at my parents’ Mixbook Layflat as well and I still prefer the old MyPublisher books, maybe I’m just used to them.

Other comments: Blurb customer service is really good; I just had to send a photo of the damage and they immediately sent me a coupon for a reprint. The BookWright software failed to upload my book the first few times, so I panicked because it was 110 pages, but a computer restart fixed the problem. I was a little too aggressive with placing photos into the Blurb book – some of my layouts have photos that are too small.

Will probably need to pick some of my favorite 2017 images and assemble books across a variety of services to really nail this one down. Sounds like the next service to try is Shutterfly.

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