FOLLOW-UP: iPhoto Books


My comments about the books from iPhoto 5 sparked a lot of feedback. Thanks to everyone who left comments; The insight, personal experiences, and information were great to read.

As promised, here are my impressions from the book I ordered last week and received last night:
The quality was slightly better in my book, than the one my father-in-law ordered a week or so ago. Maybe I was already expecting some of the grainy-ness and was taking that into account. I don’t know. But it looked decent.
In fact, I noticed that the larger of the images (I got a medium sized book) were clearer than the small. This leads me to wonder if the 4mp jpg’s that were used from my iPhoto album suffered from some artifacting when their size was reduced for printing. That coupled with the printing techniques mentioned (in great detail) in the comments may explain the quality (disappointing as it may be).

Via the personal experiences expressed in the comments, it also sounded like the large sized books were of pretty good quality, and remain-so in version 5 of iPhoto. People’s observations are all relative to their experience and expectation, but if this is true, it may lend some validity to my jpg/scrunch/artifact theory. Who knows.

I actually plan to do as Roby mentioned, and order the different sizes and compare them to see if there’s variation from small, medium, and large books and their print quality. So look for that in the future. If anyone else has done this, feel free to save me the money, and let us know what you found. :)

So all in all, I guess I’m satisfied. My order was express shipped to me and fulfilled for about $20. Not shabby for a nice gift or keepsake. I still expected more, and hope Apple can find a way to increase the output quality, or add an option to pay more for it.
In the meantime, I’ll still order books from iPhoto 5, and suggest you try it for yourself as well. They’re cheap enough that it can’t hurt too much to try it at least once.


Les Martens

I am print production consultant based in Cape Town, South Africa and I print books on demand digitally and then supply them case bound (hard cover) and there is soft cover version. The quality is superb and my price is on par with the online book. I doubt very much that iPhoto’s book printers will match my quality with the transfer of compressed files via the internet.
I created a book in iPhoto and printed it and had no problem with the smaller images. iPhotos online books etc are not available locally so if anyone in SA is interested in printing locally they can contact me at


I am a very advanced amateur photographer who spent 45 years as an engineer for major photographic sensitized products. I had my first 8.5 in x 11 in 22 page softcover made up as a test. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the book. The images were a virtual match in color and contrast to what saw on my iMac display, the paper was high quality and the surface pleasing. I subsequently made a 120 page hardcover book with Inkubook, with equally great results.
I agree with Red Deliscious. The result you have seen sound like the image res was too small and or the image size was too small. Both can be easily adjusted in Adobe Photoshop or Elements.



January 9, 2007

Wow! is anybody here? This is an old thread with no dates on the postings. I wonder if anyone lives here or visits here…

Well, anyway for the fortunate souls who found there way here like I did — doing a search for “Apple iBooks print quality”… This is for you. I hope it helps-..

Here is what I found that other people have tried and produced better quality.

Apple uses a printing company that uses a 175 Line Halftone Screen. Typical industry standard is 1.5 to 2 times the ppi as the line screen. So… 175 x 2 = 350 DPI or PPI.. Your photos should have these specs in Photoshop:

350 PPI (Or scanned in at 350 DPI at your target size 8.5 x 11, medium or small)

Remember to add about 1/4 inch on all sizes for bleed.. so an image that is 11″ long and 8.5″ tall, it would need to be 11.5 inches long and 9” tall.. and so on for each size image.

Use .jpeg when saving. Not .tiff.

Saved with a profile of sRGB (not just regular RGB, but sRGB)

DO NOT save them as CMYK. Per Apple’s FAQ’s, CMYK will produce bad results.

> iPhoto’s preference file is set to produce a PDF file for uploading to the book, printing company at a low resolution of only 150 DPI. Even if you digitally photograph or scan your photos at 350 DPI, the largest they will be per iPhoto’s preferences is 150 DPI. So right there you are loosing quality.

> Go to and download a program called preference setter. Then go to your hard drive > Library > Preferences > preferences. Open that file and change the target sizes as follows:

BookTargetDPI – 350

Look for anything that has the name “BookTarget” and if the value is set below 350, change it to 350.

Save the iPhoto preference file.

Many people are claiming to set your file resolutions and iPhoto preferences to 300 DPI… but I tend to want to error a little bit higher as 175 LS X 2 = 350 DPI. 300 DPI would work for a 150 line screen (which Apple is not using)

I just stopped by and thought I share some help. But If you need to know more, just do a search on Apple’s discussion board, and you should find it.

PS.. get some dates on these postings! For goodness sakes your original posting should at least include the year! Feb 15 of um, what year?

– Red Delicious
(the best type of Apples!, that you can eat, that is)

Terry MacVey

I placed an order for a 98 page large book via iPhoto 5 on 2/7/04, and it finally arrived today. Given others’ experiences, I was a bit nervous but am happy to say I just opened it and am quite pleased, particularly with images that take up the whole page.

The photos were taken with a 5 MP Nikon 5700. Bottom line is the larger the photo on the page, the better the printed version within the book. The smaller the photo on the page, the lower quality – biggest problem being graininess.

Chris Decker

I placed an order for a large hard bound book on Wednesday, November 2nd. The book was ~20 pages. Apple shipped my book via Express on November 9th and I received it on November 10th. Overall I was pleased with the experience. However, I was pissed when I found out there is NO support phone number. I called Apple at 7 EST when they opened and the first guy I spoke with said his records indicated the order had finished printing and would be mailed later that day (which it was). I gave Apple a call because my book had been stuck on printing for like 4 days. I called back later in the day to see if another employee told me the same thing. I spoke with 2 people. They both told me they couldn’t provide any support on iPhoto purchases. One of them actually checked with her co-workers to see what she could do, but came back saying she didn’t have access to that information.

Anyways, my 3 to 4 business days quote was pretty close. Next time maybe you guys shouldn’t wait till the last minute to order those Valentine’s Day gifts! :-D


I had similar experience as James McAnear.
I ordered Hard Bound Large last week Friday night. Saturday I received notice it was cancelled because of corrupted file. Following their links, I discovered the problem was that the image covered the page numbers. I had to select no page numbers in setting. I resent it on Saturday, and so far no cancellation notice.

James McAnear

You’re lucky.
I tried ordering a large, hardbound book (100 pages) as a Valentine’s Day gift for my wife. The first oder was placed 2/2/05. Five days later I check online and it’s cancelled. I re-send on 2/8/05. No book on Valentine’s Day, in fact that afternoon I check its status and it too is cancelled.
Apple has no phone support for iPhoto or its book service. everything is handled via E-mail, so expect a 24-hour lag between submitting a question and receiving a reply. So, consequently, any time sensitive orders are extremely risky.
They can offer no help as to why the book can’t/won’t print. Just that some images may have been corrupted.
I printed the book to my color laser at teh office with no problems. I’m using a T-1 connection to upload.
Needless to say this has been an EXTREMELY frustrating and enfuriating experience.

Comments are closed.