- Simple, user-friendly editor
- Various photo uploading/storing options
- Cost-friendly (base) pricing
- Quick printing with worldwide shipping
- Various promotions and coupons
- No mobile version
- Confusing theme selection
- Insufficient cover–size pairing
Even though U.S.-based Picaboo is a company helping you to create customized canvas prints, posters, calendars, phone cases and yearbooks, the company is mostly known for its photo books. And seeing its simple, user-friendly editor with countless customization options, it is not surprising that in 2014 the 2 millionth photo book was sold.
Picaboo promises that you will be 100% satisfied with the final result, which you can customize to your liking. You can select from soft, hard and leather cover photo books in various sizes and regular or layflat pages, choose from various themes, add your photos onto 20 pages with “safety zones” warning you of cropping lines and get your captions spell-checked. The base prices are all cost-friendly and you only have to pay additional fees if you exceed the minimum amount of 20 pages after which you get your book within 1–10 business days. Your photo books can be shipped worldwide even to your doorstep and thanks to the various coupons and discounts your sum total can be reduced radically.
Picaboo’s Photo Book Selection
If you want to create a photo book, or any of the 8 other products for that matter, you can do it without an account. However, it is not recommended, as the save feature is available for registered users only. The save feature is especially crucial, because the site uses the often crashing Adobe Flash Player, which also makes the use of Picaboo from a mobile device impossible. Thankfully, the restriction only applies to the final products; all other modifications you make are auto-saved.
After entering into the decent, simple editor you can create, copy, delete and share as many photo books as you want in various sizes, using different styles and themes. Photos can be added from your computer, sites like Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr and Google Photos, or if you have used Picaboo before, you can use the photos you have already uploaded thereto. The photos, which are automatically fitted into their respective frames, can be auto-filled into the photo book, but you still have the option to make everything on your own either using this option or creating a new photo book from scratch.
In the editor you can make further adjustments to your photos, or add fun stickers to them for giggles. Your picture editing options include adjusting the brightness and saturation, changing the single- or double-page layout thereof inside the book, and even the background can be modified in any way you wish (even using one of your photos as background). In addition to these you can add new placeholders to the pages, and make your book unique with lines, shapes and of course text, which can be spell-checked before checking out. You can also remove and add additional pages, but don’t forget not to exceed the standard 20-page length unless you want to pay extra for each new page. The photo book itself more or less appears the way it will in real life, but pay attention to the so-called “safety zones”: these are indicators of those parts of your photos that might or will be wrapped, or completely cut off.
Choosing from these themes is not easy; not because there are so many of them, but because your decision is permanent. When you choose a theme, you have to pick one at the start of creating a new photo book, meaning that once your theme is selected, you cannot modify it – unless you want to start everything from the beginning.
There are a few problems with the templates, too. It is a good thing that the number of themes is self-explanatory: there are 73 of them in total, of which 49 are under bigger categories (travel, wedding, baby, holidays, seasons), 23 are miscellaneous without categorization, and one is completely blank. Unfortunately it is the list of these themes that is quite confusing. Alongside the regular themes, the 26 seamless layflat themes are also displayed (marked by the abbreviation SLF), which, even though you can still choose them, are not available for classic photo books.
Picaboo’s photo books are available in 4 types: Premium Mini Books, Classic Photo Books, Seamless Lay-Flat Books and Prestige Books.
Classic Books exist in 5 different sizes, coming in square or landscape rectangular shapes. The books can be ordered with soft or hard covers and you can also choose photo books with layflat pages that allow you to open up your photo books to a perfect horizontal position. The Premium Mini Books have two sizes and shapes, and they cannot be ordered with hardcover.
The only differences between layflat and the Seamless Lay-Flat photo books are that they are only available in two shapes, 4 sizes and with one, hard cover. Premium Mini Books can also be ordered with seamless layflat pages with the same conditions that apply to their regular counterparts.
As for the Prestige Books, there are two of them: Madison with a hand-made leather cover in 5 colors with thick seamless layflat pages, and Flush Mount in two sizes with hand-made 5-color leather, gilded edges and Kodak Endure Papers.
At Picaboo the lowest price of a hardcover-only 8×8 photo book is $34.99 which is a base price; this means that you have to pay the chosen book, whether you can fill up the 20 pages or not. Additional pages and changing the default cover – not available in certain cases – cost an extra: additional 8×8 pages are available from $1.25 per page, the layflat option is an additional $20, while the 8×8 seamless layflat versions are $64.66 per book plus $1.75 per page for extra pages. The prices of the shipping always depend on the type and size of your book and how fast you want it to be delivered to your address. If we still stick to the 8×8 photo books, the shipping price is a rather friendly $8.99 U.S.-wide plus $2.00 for each additional book.
You can reduce the price tags, however, if you choose one of the many discounts of Picaboo: for instance you only have to pay $30 for a 11×9 seamless-lay-flat book, get 60% off if you order 10 or more books, get a $25 coupon if you refer a friend, or buy gift certificates for $25, $50 or $100.
Support & Shipping
Through Picaboo’s customer care you can find answers to the most basic questions, turn to the knowledge base, read tutorials or the quick tips. If you need further support, you can start a live chat, call the staff or write an email, which is answered within 72 hours. Picaboo is very active on social media as well, especially because this is the platform where most of the company’s promotions are advertized.
The company has a refund policy, which sends you a new photo book for free, while the price of the original will be deduced from your next order(s) if the original photo book does not satisfy your expectations due to unforeseen circumstances.
Shipping, the base price of which is approximately quarter of the book’s price, exists in 4 forms, only differing in delivery time (1–2 weeks) and whether they can be delivered to your P.O. box or not. If you order outside the U.S. you lose the tracking option and you have to pay an additional 3% on your sum total.
Overall Picaboo is a sympathetic photo book creator with only a few, but quite noticeable mistakes, like the Adobe Flash Player-based software, which makes it impossible to use the editor on a phone. Choosing a style is complicated because themes available for regular photo books are always mixed with those for seamless layflat books. And unfortunately certain books cannot be ordered with soft or hard covers.
However, the editing, pricing, shipping and support options are very good. The editor is easy to use and has unique features like the safety zone and a spell-checker. Photos can be uploaded from your computer, external sites and can be stored on Picaboo’s servers. And if we take into consideration the countless themes, plenty of cost-friendly base and shipping prices for books in various sizes, and the superb customer support, you can be sure that your memories are well preserved with Picaboo’s photo books.