- Superb, foolproof photo book editor
- Various customization options
- Mosaic app
- 300 photo book themes
- Good size–cover pairing
- Fast printing and shipping
- Page flipping in the editor
- iOS-only app
- Cheaper shipping to abroad destinations
Despite being founded in 2006, Mixbook, which is also the company behind Montage, is one of the best photo book editing services on the market. One of the reasons for the company’s leading position is the almost pitch-perfect editor with which you can create the photo book of your dreams within a short period of time. The editor is full of hundreds of designs, plenty of layout options and other customizations that make a photo book unique. Mixbook also offers a good size–cover pairing comprising of 7 sizes and 4 cover options and affordable pricing and shipping, thus you can be sure that you will receive a quality product within one–two weeks or even faster. If you want to reduce the price of your photo books, you can do that by applying various coupons and discounts you can find on the website. And if you are hungry for more, try the Mosaic iOS app with which you can create a truly unique photo book.
The online editor itself is simple in a very good sense and has only a few weaknesses: flipping pages and selecting objects within the book is not so fluent. Your photos can be uploaded from your computer, your account or from social media/file sharing sites. These pictures can be used multiple times and added to your book either manually or by using the quick auto-fill option. In the book, photos can be moved within and outside their frames, zoomed, rotated, flipped horizontally, added to the background, swapped with other photos and even turned into a 2-page spread. And this is just the beginning: you can apply various effects, adjustments and even reflections, make your pictures semi- or completely transparent and add text boxes too. However, you have to be careful when making darker pictures brighter; despite choosing the maximum brightness setting, they still might look a bit dark when printed.
You are not bound by the selected theme’s layouts either: you can change them the way you want by keeping them, adding/removing photos and mixing them with other themes too. If you don’t like the theme layouts, you can also use blank ones in which you can have up to 20 photos on just one page. You can change the backgrounds as well – without deleting the theme settings of the book. And if you want to make your readers giggle, you can choose from almost 200 stickers, even replacing the preset ones.
Thankfully, the editing process is foolproof. Each modification is auto-saved, text boxes are spell-checked, and you can only work within the crop zones. If something goes off these zones or your photos have low resolutions, you are warned in time. Even though the editor makes you think that Mixbook does not print books with flyleaves, the company automatically adds them before and after the first and last pages of your book. You can also preview your book, turn on the rather bland help feature and even invite others to collaborate with you.
You also have the option to create a photo book – albeit only on iOS mobile devices – in the company’s app, Mosaic. Although the app is only capable of creating a 7×7 book with a black linen cover book, special holes thereon and 20 photos per page on black or white paper finish, the editing process only takes a few seconds. Furthermore, a $25 Mosaic book is ready within 48 hours and shipped within 4 days.
Mixbook is a true Canaan of different themes. Believe it or not, you have 301 styles to choose from under several categories such as family, kids, seasons, wedding, yearbooks and the list goes on. The true shock comes when you realize that all of the styles can be used for all types of books: during the theme selection process you only have to decide about the shape of the book, which doesn’t influence themes at all. You also have the option to filter the designs and choose the newest, the most popular themes or take the advice of Mixbook and choose a theme suggested by the company. And before you ask, you can always start a photo book from scratch and toy with the design elements during the editing process.
You don’t like the selected theme or you want to shake things up a bit? No problem. Like we mentioned before, themes can be changed within the editor as well and you can even apply different themes within the same book.
With Mixbook you can choose from 3 different shapes in 7 different sizes: 8×6 (Pocket), 8.5×8.5, 8.5×11 and 11×8.5 (Classic), 10×10 (Deluxe), and 12×12 and 14×11 (Coffee Table). As for the covers, you can order your books with a customized soft or hard cover (the latter is glossy and has a smooth touch), a hard cover with customized dust jacket, a premium black leather cover with dust jacket and a premium layflat hardcover. Each book comes with 20 pages and can have 399 pages at maximum (99 in the case of layflat books). You can order your books with 10–19 pages too, but the company will still create your book with the recommended 20 pages with the unfilled ones remaining completely blank.
Thankfully there are virtually no restrictions regarding size-cover pairing, but you still have to take into consideration that some covers cannot be paired with some sizes. Such restriction applies to soft cover books, which cannot be ordered in 10×10, 11×8.5, 12×12 and 14×11 sizes. Other than the soft cover, only layflat cover books are limited: they cannot be ordered in 8×6, 8.5×11 and 14×11 sizes.
Your books come packaged in a bland, cardboard box while the books themselves have an extra, clear wrapping. This way you will quickly notice that books have a completely unnecessary sticker on the back cover. However, this is the only, mild annoyance, as the quality of the book is top-notch and it appears in real life the way you created it in the builder. The covers of the books appear nice and shiny, but regardless of your order, all pages are semi-glossy and have a refined touch. There are no defects whatsoever regarding the bounding and the printing quality which is proven by the lack of usual defects like smudges, printing lines and visible glue marks. In fact, the colors of each photo are really vibrant, so holding and opening your book, flipping through the pages and looking at your pictures is nothing but a true pleasure.
Compared to other photo book editing companies, Mixbook sells its products for rather average prices. Obviously the cheapest product is the smallest 8×6 size book with soft cover, which costs $15.99, while an 8.5×8.5 book with soft cover is $19.99. Depending on the selected size–cover pairing, you always have to add $5–$50 to the cheapest price of the product: for instance a hard cover for an 8.5×8.5 book is an additional $10 (meaning the final price tag is $29.99), while a dust jacket increases the sum total by another $10 to $39.99. Naturally you have the option to buy extra pages to the default 20: each new page is $0.65–$2.29 per page depending on the size of your future book. Shipping also has acceptable prices: depending on the type of shipping you have chosen, you can get your books printed and delivered within 3–11 business days starting from $5.99 up to $28.99 (first book only).
But if you still think the prices are too high, you have plenty of (temporary) discount and coupon offers. With these you can save on your first purchase or on all products, invite friends and give gift cards as presents.
Support & Shipping
Through Mixbook’s customer service you can ask for further support via email or live chat every day during the company’s quite extended business hours. Questions are always answered in a promptly and timely manner. If your question is not that pressing, or you are just curious about Mixbook in general, you can turn to the FAQ, the blog and the company’s YouTube channel for video tutorials. If your book is damaged, you can get a full refund of the purchase price within 3–7 business days from receiving the product, but only if your book arrives damaged due to unforeseen circumstances.
Taking into consideration the printing process, Mixbook works brutally fast. Depending on the four shipping methods (budget, standard, priority and express), your book is printed and delivered within two–three weeks tops regardless of the country you live in. In fact, if you order from the UK or Australia, you can get your books shipped for a smaller price than ordering from the continental territories of the U.S. Putting all of the above into practice: our book was ordered on a Friday, was mailed the next Tuesday and arrived only 2 days later. Therefore, if your book is not a collection of Picasso and Dalí paintings, orders are completed within the course of a single week.
In conclusion, Mixbook is the prime example of how to offer quality services with a perfect editor, good prices and a high variety of photo books. There are only a few things that were disappointing, like the tad-complicated way of flipping pages in the editor, the lack of a perfect size–cover pairing and the inability to create the same photo books in the (sadly iOS-only) Mosaic app.
These flaws are easily outshined by the countless pros of Mixbook. With an almost perfect and very reliable editor, 300 designs (including completely blank ones), and a good size–cover pairing, creating a photo book in Mixbook is a wonderful experience which is only topped when you receive the final, high-quality product. And if we take into consideration the affordable pricing and ridiculously fast shipping, the prompt customer service and the unique mobile app of the so-called Mosaic books, Mixbook is a more than ideal choice for preserving your most cherished memories.