Ask Design Mom Week — Book Binding Service

November 4, 2009

I am looking for an inexpensive way to print and bind books. Is there a website you have used and would recommend? Or an easy do it yourself technique? All the best to you and your family. — Becca

For sure, Becca. This is actually a great time for people like you and I, who might want to get one or two books bound — but not necessarily a thousand. There are several online sources that provide such a service. Most are designed for uploading and showcasing photographs. But there’s no reason you can’t use them for showcasing writing or drawings as well. And in my opinion, they’re all surprisingly economical — not that long ago it was very expensive to get a single book bound.

The service I’m most familiar with is Blurb. (You can see their samples in the photos above.) And I know my sister-in-law, had good luck printing a book with Shutterfly. If you prefer the handmade route, I recommend looking up a local class. It is very satisfying (but not necessarily easy) to bind your own book.

Dear Readers, do you have a favorite book-printing service?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jena November 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Besides Blurb, we've also used:
Fastback Creative Books (my fav!)


2 rum sum mum November 5, 2009 at 1:00 am

I have been completing a photographic 'year book' of our kids for the last several years. I used Blurb last year and had great results. My complaint would be that the photographs came out a little darker than I would have liked (this might be due to the random publishers Blurb outsources).

I have had excellent (photographic) results using the Apple books produced through iPhoto (if you happen to run a Mac) – less happy with the inability to configure pages to my liking…. so I ended up going with Blurb for the 'artistic license' it allowed.


3 Raleigh-Elizabeth November 5, 2009 at 8:02 am

i work in an architecture department, and we rely heavily on lulu for many of our productions. i actually HIGHLY recommend them. i've enjoyed blurb's interface, but i also like how lulu let me expand beyond their on software and use other design programs to create pdfs for each page. it, sometimes, became more simple that way.

goodluck with yours — i give litlte handmade books out each christmas with recipes ,pictures, and design from the year!


4 renee November 5, 2009 at 8:02 am

I just created a book with color illustrations and used Blub's new PDF to print and the book turned out fabulous. I researched many different POD companies and felt that Blurb was the best by far.


5 vfg November 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

The Blurb book I made a couple of years ago was dark, too.

But liked the rest of the experience.


6 Anonymous November 5, 2009 at 8:44 am

We use Lulu every year to do our family calendar. Excellent service, quick delivery and a great end product.


7 Champagne November 5, 2009 at 10:01 am

If you have a Mac you can use their iphoto application and create beautiful glossy books. We made them last year for our families since it was the first year our son was born! I'm not sure if you can use it on a pc or not but you can go to click on "Share in Print" and read all about it.


8 Katie November 5, 2009 at 11:31 am

We used apple books. They've never let us down!


9 Amy November 5, 2009 at 11:38 am makes all sorts of styles of books, but can be a little pricey. does book binding without as many sizing options and they also do other personalized fun stuff. Watch for their sales and you can get some neat stuff done for WAY cheap! I made a digitally scrap booked wedding album book and got multiple copies for different family members. Getting copies for others when you are already going to the trouble for yourself makes a great personalized and memorable gift.


10 Mary Frances November 5, 2009 at 11:45 am

If you DO want to attempt to bind a book yourself, one of the greatest stores on the planet, Paper Source, has tons of in-store how-to classes that are loads of fun and not too expensive. It's a great way to learn a new skill and be able to make something custom yourself! Store locations and workshops are listed on their website at


11 collette crew November 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm

fyi :) blurb books are 20% off right now and free shipping until the 24th of November. Im anxious to have my blog book printed off in the next two weeks!


12 amy November 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I have used MyPublisher and am WAY more impressed with their quality than the books I've gotten from Shutterfly and Kodak. It's wonderful and very easy to use- plus you create a file that you can reprint anytime you want.

For printing my blog to a family history book, I use LULU. You have to put your blog into a word document and format the way that you want and upload it. It is beautiful and easy to do. My first book was 505 pages and cost $115 to print- (there are up to 3 pictures per 8×10 page.

Lulu is running a special on photo books and calendars 25% off. use the code PHOTO when you enter your order.

I tried Blurp and hated what it did to the formating of my blog. I don't want little thumbnail pictures nor do I want it to choose which pictures to leave out.

I also tried blog2print- it's very user friendly if you have a blog and want to just go with how it formats your book. It's easier than lulu but options are more limited. They are currently running a special as well. (I would have had to do 2 books for my 2008 history instead of Lulu's 1 book)


13 Erin November 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I just got my first book from Blurb and am thrilled with the results. I also used the PDF to print option, so I was able to design it exactly the way I wanted in a standard design program (InDesign), but their software seemed pretty decent as well. I chose the ImageWrap option for the cover and love how professional it ended up turning out. My photos weren't too dark at all, though maybe we just got lucky? I will definitely use them again and recommend them as much as I can after only one experience. Good luck!


14 Tasha Stenning November 5, 2009 at 11:34 pm

try the places professional photographers use:


15 becca November 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks so much for all the advice! And for selecting my question for Ask Design Mom!

I'm sure one of these sites will work for me!
Much appreciated!


16 jengee November 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

inkubook is having a 25% off promo until nov 22 with the code "INKUGIFT25"
i haven't used them before, but i'll be trying it out soon!


17 Lindsey November 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I LOVE MY PUBLISHER! Fantastic books!


18 Meg November 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm

it's a collaborative scrapbooking website! You make your scrapbook online and invite your friends to help you with the pages or upload photos. You can share online or print the books!

It's really great and creative!


19 UK lass in US November 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

I've only used Shutterfly so far, as I had a coupon for a free book. I was impressed with the quality. Only one page had the tiniest of printing errors (there was a hint of white on one corner – either the printing was faintly off or the page was trimmed on a slight angle. My main complaint was that you seem to be limited to their templates. I would have liked to have more control over positioning of photos and text etc.


20 Carin November 12, 2009 at 11:58 am

I have used MyPublisher, super easy to use and I love the books I have put together. You can view sample books made by others, which is nice for ideas. They choices for books and layouts.


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