Thanks to advancements in technology and the appearance of photo book services that focus on speed via importing and printing social media content, putting together a photo book is a fast and easy process. Despite that, once the book is placed in the shopping cart and purchased, there is nothing much that can be done aside from waiting impatiently until the order is delivered to your doorstep.
Yet even if there are very few ways to rush the production, shipping is something that can be expedited. As a matter of fact, by choosing the right delivery method, the freshly printed photo book can indeed arrive at the desired address the very next day – or even faster.
Eligibility for Overnight Shipping
The good news is that most photo book services that we have tested so far provide overnight (one business day) shipping for their customers and the vast majority of products from these company are indeed eligible for super-fast delivery – provided that the recipient’s address is in the continental U.S.
However, note that overnight shipping is often available with certain important limitations: take Shutterfly’s Super Rush shipping for instance, which is available for almost all photo book products – with the exception of 7×9 size books – and ships orders within 1-2 business days to regular U.S. addresses. But users choosing Super Rush delivery have no 30-minute cancellation period that comes with Shutterfly’s orders and are limited to creating photo books that have standard pages and don’t have upgraded covers, like genuine leather or crushed silk cover.
Thankfully, limitations on overnight shipping are not always that strict: although Chatbooks’s Photo Series Book cannot be delivered overnight, the flagship product still provides delivery entirely free of charge. But the moment a custom photo book is chosen instead, overnight shipping (this time called Express) becomes available without any major restrictions.
However, the most common practice is that photo printing companies either offer overnight shipping for all available photo books regardless of their physical attributes and content – as is the case with companies like Blurb, Mixbook, Mpix, Picaboo, and PrestoPhoto – or this delivery option is not available at all.
The Price of Overnight Delivery
Since overnight shipping always requires the involvement of express mail companies like UPS or FedEx, the costs are really high. To have a book delivered within one business day you will have to pay between $20 and $30.
This might not seem like too much at first, but it increases the total cost of the order significantly, since the average price of standard photo books (most commonly 8×8 in size with a hard photo cover) is usually the same price as the overnight shipping. And since expedited production is scarcely available – with the exception being AdoramaPix – it’s not surprising that photo book companies recommend customers select fast delivery if the book has to be delivered by a specific deadline.
Ensuring Super-Fast Delivery
As mentioned, there are very few instances where overnight shipping is not possible. However, in order to make sure that the photo book is delivered by a predetermined deadline, it’s best to take into consideration the following advice:
- The simpler the better. Unless you have a very specific idea in mind, ordering a simple photo book with the most common size and default paper and cover will help keep the process quicker so the book is printed and delivered faster.
- Always pay attention to the overall production time. Depending on the company and the chosen physical attributes, photo books are usually printed within one to five business days, but the time required for actually producing the photo book may take longer.
- Regardless of the length of the production time, it’s best to place the order on Monday, Tuesday or Friday. This way the photo book is delivered in a timely manner, not to mention you will avoid Saturday delivery – which is never available for overnight shipping.
- Order to a U.S. address, since expedited international shipping is virtually nonexistent.
Overnight Shipping 2.0
‘But what if there is no way to have the photo book printed and delivered by a predetermined deadline?’ you may ask. Well, in that case it’s best to just think outside of the box.
Most photo book builders allow users to share their projects with others through email or social media, which is the perfect method of giving the photo book recipient a special sneak peek of their would-be present. And, of course, there is the bullet-proof method, a gift voucher that only takes a few seconds to make and is always delivered in a timely manner, whether through snail mail or email.
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