I'm rather taken with the company I'm highlighting today--I've been looking forward to telling you about Inkubook for a couple weeks now.
Maybe you're familiar with what this company offers--they're a website where you can upload your digital pictures then arrange them online and have them printed off into a real, live book. Okay, maybe not real, live book but a real REAL book. I've seen places where you can do this and have seen one or two books people have made but this is the first one I've tried for myself.
I'm not a high-powered scrapbooker and I tend to just throw my pictures into 3-ring binders--you know, the minimalist look? But I decided that this new technology is really the way for me to go from here on out.
I uploaded 150 pictures from our trip to Florida last March to Inkubook and printed off my own family album as a test run so I could tell you what I think of the whole process.
- Lots of layouts. You can choose your backgrounds and layouts and I found that the selection was more than sufficient. I started out using patterned backgrounds just because I could but then I switched to solid colors that complimented instead of competed with the photographs and it looked much better.
- Lots of sizes. Right now there are really only two hardbound sizes available--8.5 X 11 in either landscape or portrait layouts but there are quite a few new sizes coming soon. Anywhere from a small landscape of 7 X 5 inches on up to a large 11 X 11 square and most in both hardback and softbound.
- Reasonable prices. I know how much it costs to buy acid free paper, sheet protectors, photo corners, pens, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with scrapbooking but for the 47 pages my book contained the cost would be about $37--plus $7 shipping. If you have under 20 pages it's as low as $25. That's not bad at all, I've heard other sites that can be upwards of $50.
- Good print quality. My pictures weren't at the highest resolution--I set my camera at a lower setting to accommodate video footage as well--but still they printed well. Full-page pictures were slightly grainy but even if I'd tried to order prints at the photo shop they wouldn't have done any better. The quality was good.
- Preset formats. You can create your own book from scratch or you can go with some of Inkubook's preset formats and ideas. Not bad if assembling your own book seems a daunting task.
- Endless possibilities. There are so many ways you could use this service--as a souvenir from a family reunion, as a wedding album or baby book. You could make one for a year of a child's life or as a graduation gift with pictures from the graduate's educational career. I think I'll be making one each year for our family now that I've got the hand of things. I will never go back to the glue and paste thing in the binder. NEVER.
- Easy to use. Even though there wasn't much of a tutorial on how to use the site it was pretty intuitive and even someone such as I, who had never made up a picture book like this, was able to figure it out. The only thing I had trouble with was that at first I didn't realize that your book is saved as you go and when I had problems with my connection I thought I had to start over again. Not so, just pick up where you left off and everything's saved and waiting.
- Access to Flickr. If you already have pictures uploaded to a Flickr account then you can use those without going through the upload step again. I haven't tested how this works but that's what my information is telling me and it sounds very helpful.
- Fast service. I received my book very quickly, it was printed and shipped within a week.
- Problems with the site. The site still has one or two bugs that can make it difficult to navigate. There were times when my cursor hovered over nothing in particular and without clicking or anything suddenly I'd be thrown to the home page and for some reason my screen wouldn't show my dashboard on the home page. What this all meant was that I couldn't go back to my saved book without logging out and then logging in again. I'm not sure if this was a Firefox issue or what but with 150 photos it probably happened 10 times which became pretty irritating. I expect that that kind of problem will be fixed as the bugs get worked out.
- Photos upload slowly. Though that's typical of any site and isn't specific to Inkubook the photos do take some time to upload. Nothing to be done here, I'm probably just too darn impatient. Instant gratification, that's what I'm about apparently.
Oh! I almost forgot! After I made a book and received it Inkubook sent me a survey to fill out which, once completed, earned me a coupon for another free book (not including shipping). What a deal. Then later I got another coupon for free shipping on a paid book. So as long as this offer continues you can essentially get two books for the price of one.
Thanks to Inkubook I have FIVE free books to give away--here's your chance to take a whack at this exciting and creative new technology. The prize is good for any size book plus free shipping so let's hope you've got some ideas of how you'd like to use it.
To take your shot at winning one of these five books follow the directions below and cross those fingers!
Here's how to win:
Before 12 am Monday go to the giveaway entry form on this page and enter your name and email. I will pick one of the names at random, contact the winner via their email and publish the winner's first name and home town in next Tuesday's post. See the bottom of the entry form for more details.
This giveaway is open to all readers so good luck!
Technorati tags: product reviews, giveaways, scrapbooking, photo albums