Digital scrapbooking

Talking about scanners made me think of a project this last summer.  I made a scrapbook on a family event.  Counter to my usual policy, I’m not going to make fun of physically making a scrapbook.  It requires you to get pictures developed, buy material and meticulously laying out your scrapbook.  If you can do it, I applaud you.  This post is only presenting a computer based method to create a book of your favorite family memories and have it printed into your choice of hardback or softbound book.

What do you need for digital scrapbooking:

  1. Digital photographs or a scanner (to make digital photographs)
  2. A computer
  3. Bookmaking software (Online or offline, it doesn’t matter).
  4. Patience
  5. (Optional) An older relative to tell you who everyone on the photos are

That’s pretty much all the equipment you need.  No scissors, glue, rules or colorful material.  (I apologize to those of you who want those things.  Please ignore this post in its entirety.)  The look and feel of your final product is left up to the software you have, your technical expertise and imagination.

At this point, you’re taking stock, and realize you have items 1, 2 and 5.  I can’t help you with 4 (patience), but I can tell you more about bookmaking software.  First, you have a decision.  Are you more comfortable with working on your scrapbook online or offline?  I like offline because there are definite situations where you want to work on a book without internet connections.  Think grandma’s (internet-less) house while asking her who all the people in the pictures are.  If you choose offline software, you typically make your book then upload the finished digital product to the bookmaker website.  After determining the type of software you want, you need to consider how large of a book you want.  Most publishers make you pay for a minimum number of pages (20) then charge you per page or block of pages after that.

If you want to save money, compare prices between the vendors, and read customer reviews on book quality.  After doing all that, pick your vendor.  My prior quick tip on reviews mentioned a good review site.  Take a look at vendors, try out some of the software, look at the prices and make a choice.

:).  Ok.  I recognize you have a life, and don’t have the time to do all of that.

For those of you who don’t have the time for your own search, I’ll share my experience.  Personally, I’ve used two bookmakers at this point.  Both were of the offline variety.  I’ve never been patient enough in my workflow to wait for 20-50 jpgs to upload before I could keep working.  Offline makes that a lot easier.  The two bookmakers I’ve used were MyPublisher and Blurb.  Blurb strickly handles books.  MyPublisher gives you the option of books, cards and calendars.  If you google ‘MyPublisher vs Blurb’, you’ll find hundreds of comparisons on the two.  For my purposes, Blurb won out.  MyPublisher was good for making photobooks, but Blurb surpassed it in the number of page templates and layout capability.  Also the Blurb website allows you to make a book public and set a price (in addition to the printing cost) to sell the book for.  You could publish your own work and start a little online bookstore.  Did I mention the Facebook integration?  The Blurb Booksmart app in Facebook allows your friends to drop pictures in one place and lets you pull those pictures into a your computer client to make a book.  Oh, the forums and tutorial videos also help a lot.

That’s all for now.  Enjoy your bookmaking.

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