- Direct link to Facebook and Instagram
- Fast auto-build and photo arrangement
- Books with up to 475 pages
- Cover customization
- Cost-friendly base prices and shipping
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Primitive desktop and mobile editor
- Insufficient design options
- Weak direct customer support
Although there are plenty of online services allowing customers to create photo books using only their social media accounts and have the whole building process done quickly with an auto-fill option, there are still plenty of setup screens to face before your project can be called an actual photo book. But with the super-minimalist My Social Book builder editing won’t be a problem anymore: by connecting your Facebook or Instagram account to the Hong Kong-based company’s online builder you’ll be able to create quality photo books in less than two minutes.
Customizations like the type and appearance of the cover or the option to upgrade paper quality are reduced to the minimum, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your photo book a special touch that other photo book editors offer by default. And to top it all, not only does the company offer photo books with a record-breaking 475 pages, but they are also available at cost-friendly base prices alongside a fast, reliable and affordable shipping policy and a 30-day money back guarantee.
Introduction to My Social Book
Although the editor is available for mobile browsers, it is not pleasant to use from devices with smaller screens or in an upright position. Unfortunately, the desktop version is no better: granted, the builder that can be directly connected to your Facebook or Instagram account delivers what the company promises by creating a book under 90 seconds, but unfortunately due to its extremely primitive nature – which even limits how many pages you can preview – your hands are tied. My Social Book only allows you to determine the time period of images to be selected, the necessary information and/or sources to be included, the number of comments under each photo, how the cover should look on the inside and outside, and whether or not the book should be in another language.
However, picking the type of your future book offers a better range of variety. For instance, there is My Social Book’s flagship product; the 50-page long, automatically generated “My Best-of Photo Book”, which is built from your most popular Facebook pictures. Aside from this, it is possible to order My Social Book with everything imported from your Facebook and/or Instagram profile, but you can also build your photo book pictures from a page you liked to create the ultimate fan book. Moreover, if you have the necessary permissions, you can even build a photo book using pictures and posts from your friends’, partner’s or family’s social media accounts.
But no matter how you choose to fill your photo book, once the time period has been determined, literally everything will be imported from the selected social media profiles, which are always arranged automatically and in a chronological order without any option to modify them. This means you should forget about layouts, backgrounds, embellishments and other forms of customization. Granted, there is the option to choose whether information like wall messages, mobile uploads, shared pictures statuses and comments should be printed and certain posts can be removed manually. However if you included descriptions on your Facebook pictures, they will also appear in your book even if the photo-only option “My Social Book Photos” is selected.
Although the wide selection of the types of your photo book provides the biggest freedom, the design options available for the cover are your best and only real chance at customizing the book to your liking. With My Social Book you can pick from 13 different layouts for the book’s cover, but only the front side can have pictures on it. In fact, the front cover is the only place where you can modify the photos to be used by the software and there are options to adjust them a bit. Additionally you can change the color scheme of your book if you don’t fancy the default white one. However, keep in mind that choosing any of the 16 colors will not only change the appearance of the cover, but also the interior layout as well – at least where certain parts are concerned. And last but not least, you can modify the text that will appear on the front and back cover, though the font, the size or the color are all restricted.
It doesn’t matter which kind of photo book you are creating with My Social Book, they all arrive in the same 10×8 size and in portrait orientation. Thankfully the customization options are not limited to just one size and shape: the cover’s type can be altered and even the standard 60lb paper can be upgraded to a deluxe, 80lb silk paper type. Unfortunately, however, there aren’t too many options when it comes to picking the right cover: My Social Book products can be ordered with default glossy soft cover, a glossy hard cover or a matte hard cover.
Another thing to keep in mind is the number of pages: your book should always contain at least 25 pages, but if it doesn’t, the software automatically warns you to include more pictures from either your Facebook or your Instagram account. Shockingly, it’s possible to include as many as 475 pages in total, which comes with an unexpected benefit: the more pages your book has the less the price of each page becomes ($0.27 per page instead of $0.48 per page).
Since the prices of My Social Book products depend on the number of pages, the type of cover and whether you want to upgrade to the silk photo paper, it is impossible to give a concrete suggestion on an exact price of a photo book in advance – despite the fact that the website provides a price estimator on its homepage. However, the base prices are well advertised: a 25-page book with the default soft cover is $12, while upgrading to a hard cover raises the cost approximately by 15–20% (in this case to $15). The only product that has a fixed price no matter what is the 50-page My Best-of Photo Book: it’s $12 with a soft cover, $14 with glossy hard cover and $16 for the matte hard cover option. However, while only the standard paper option is available for the My Best-of photo books, upgrading to the silk paper quality in other products raises the price by approximately the same amount as it costs to upgrade to the hard cover.
Sadly discounts are not the strong point of My Social Book, but the company more than makes up for it by offering a 30-day money back guarantee on all its books and allows customers to purchase gift vouchers in the amounts of $30, $50, $80 or $120.
Customer Support & Shipping
The regular customer support of My Social Book is very weak, since the help page is reduced to just an FAQ. There are options to contact the company for support too, either through the irritating live chat – which constantly nags you even during editing – or via an email address. However, all of the above support options are available in nine languages other than English. The company is also surprisingly active on social media platforms: not only it is present on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – mostly advertising the company’s blog articles – but it has also established a Facebook group for customers who’d like to help My Social Book further improving the services.
Thankfully the company’s shipping policy is more or less consistent, allowing customers to ship anywhere and not only to U.S. destinations. Regular delivery without tracking to domestic addresses is $3.99 and usually takes 6-9 business days, while shipping with tracking starts from $10.99 (and reduces the more products you order) and delivers within 6-7 business days.
If you are one of those customers who want to have control over the customization their books then in truth you’d better be off with another photo book service. The fact that you are limited to making modifications only on one of three covers, and selecting from two photo paper types and one book size is not enough options for modifications. And we haven’t even mentioned the terrible book preview, the inconvenient mobile browser version, the inconsistent pricing policy, and the insufficient customer support. But for those who want absolutely nothing but a quality, up to 475-page long photo book created very simply from their best Facebook and Instagram photos within a short period of time and for relatively affordable prices and shipping, then My Social Book is definitely a worthy contender. And despite its flaws and overly minimalist nature it does successfully deliver what it promises: a Facebook or Instagram photo book in under 90 seconds.