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Summary:

Raise your hand if you’ve ordered a book from iPhoto. My father-in-law ordered one right after installing and opening iPhoto 5. He got it in about a week later and called me. He was not impressed (mind you, he’s a huge Apple nut). I figured he […]

Raise your hand if you’ve ordered a book from iPhoto.
My father-in-law ordered one right after installing and opening iPhoto 5. He got it in about a week later and called me. He was not impressed (mind you, he’s a huge Apple nut). I figured he was being overly critical and that it would actually be pretty cool.

Hmmm. Well, I went over to his house soon thereafter and checked his iPhoto book out for myself. He was spot-on in his assessment:
The images weren’t very sharp at all (the originals came from a Canon 10D dSLR kit, and looked fantastic) and the printing was grainy at best. The images were not glossy either (yeah, I realize it’s a way to keep the cost down, but make it an option Apple!), though the paper was a nice weight.

Early last week I express ordered my own iPhoto 5 book for my wife as a Valentine’s gift (yeah, it’s a day after Valentine’s and it’s finally supposed to be arriving today…guess I could have acted on that one sooner). My hopes are that I’ll be pleasantly surprised, and that my Father-in-law’s book was an uncommon occurrence.

I’ve got a $150 Canon bubble jet that spits out 8×10 photos that look professionally printed – and it does them in barely a minute! If Apple’s going to offer these cool books are low low prices (which is awesome), at least let us know the quality ain’t gonna be there. And then give us an option to upgrade the print quality if we so desire!

And by the way, did you know if you want to order a small sized book for $3.99, you have to order them in packs of 3? So don’t be fooled that you can get a small iPhoto book shipped for like $7 – it’s more like $17 when you complete the order.

So what experiences have you had with Apple’s photo books? Have you gotten the large, small, or hard-cover versions? Does the book size, or hard/soft cover have any relation to the quality of the printing? I’d love to know if anyone else is as dismayed as my father-in-law and I are at the apparent lack of quality.

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  1. A little premature with this aren’t you? You probably should have waited till yours arrived to make sure there is really something wrong and it wasn’t an anomaly. :-)
    Everyone I know that has used the service has been very happy. And, as I recall, every article I’ve read where the reporter ordered one, they seemed pretty happy with it.

  2. Sorry to hear of a bad experience with the book service, as a couple years back it was the primary reason I bought my iMac. I have NOT ordered a book under the new iPhoto ’05 multi-sizes setup, but I have created 2 of the original large sized hardcover books. I ordered the first in ’03 and another in ’04 and both were of excellent quality. Okay, they were big and cost over a hundred buck a piece, but they were gifts for family members. I sincerely hope the one that you receive is perfect as well.

  3. Well I’m giving them a 2nd chance aren’t I? Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. ;) But I doubt most people would go another round when the 1st was disappointing.

    I really wanna hear everyone else’s experience’s though. I sure hope I’m off-base here though, because I love the iPhoto book concept. So we’ll see when I get home tonight and it’s there waiting for me.

    I’ll post a follow-up based on my own iPhoto book purchase, probably tomorrow.

  4. That’s encouraging to hear – thanks Robert. I’m definitely hoping for the best.

    Actually, those little ones are cheap enough (and since you have to buy them in ‘bulk’ anyway) they’d be really cool to use as a periodic family ‘newsletter’ to friends/relatives. I’m thinking we’ll do that this year (it’s a bit pricey, but I’ve done DVD movie/slideshows in the past which is time-consuming and a bit price anyway…might as well let Apple do the heavy lifting this year!)

  5. I have ordered a few book from Apple’s iPhoto. I was using iPhoto ’04. The original hardcover books I ordered came out fantastic! They look unbelievably professional! The images were not even photos, but artwork generated on the Mac. The images were 3300×2475 @ 300dpi. They all came out great!

    I don’t know what has happened since the upgrade to iPhopto ’05 but it doesn’t sound promising. I’ll have to order a new book and see for myself.

  6. I haven’t yet used iPhoto 5 to order a book but have used iPhoto 4 to order several. They all turned out great with one caveat — after repeated handling, the pages all developed slight wrinkles. Not terrible, but still a mar in what otherwise has been a great service for me. Anyone else experienced the wrinkle problem? And I’d love to know if iPhoto 5 books come with pages that don’t get wrinkled.

  7. Nick,
    I had the same experience as your dad. Ordered a medium photo book. In the past I’ve ordered prints through Ophoto and I was expecting the photo quality to be similar in the Apple book. But it was grainy, low-res looking.
    After my initial disappointment I considered the price and I’ve come to terms with it. It’s a neat format and fun just to “look at” but not really “archival quality.” Also, after showing off to friends, family and co-workers my book has developed some smears in the printing. I guess they use some type of ink jet technology?
    Overall: I’m content given the cheap price but not up to the quality I expected.

  8. I received my 3 pak of books (minis) last week. There were awesome. Very sharp photos, no smudges, and well packaged. The photos were taken with a Kodak Camera at 5 megapixels.

  9. Back in 2002, I ordered a photo book for a friend’s wedding, back when I was on the old 400Mhz TiBook. I had taken most pictures on a Sony DSC P50 at an archaic 2.1 Megapixels resolution. It turned out very pretty though I don’t know whether the book has resisted the test of time. I’ll try’n’ ask’em next time I see them. And I’m not really a big photo quality buff, so i’m prolly the least qualified to comment on quality hehe :)

  10. I was similarly disappointed in the graininess of the printing on my large format, soft cover book. These were mostly 3- and 5-megapixel shots which are sharp and deeply-saturated with color, but in print have lost a good bit of their zing.

    It’s still a nice overall presentation, but I definitely get much better photo quality from my crappy little Epson printer.

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