- Simple use of editor
- Cost-friendly pricing policy
- Quick shipping
- Store pickup
- Primitive photo book editor
- Insufficient size–cover/size–theme pairing
- Badly advertised promotions
There are not too many photo printing companies that can boast about the fact that they have been on the market for a century; Ritz & Wolf, the owner of RitzPix, is one of such companies as it was founded in 1918. Since then it not only provides print, card, calendar, décor and gift editing and printing services, but it also recovers pictures from SD cards, burns pictures to CDs or DVDs and it even copies data from VHS tapes as well. And of course, thanks to the launch of the RitzPix site, customers can enjoy the fun of editing their own photo books too. RitzPix provides over 100 different themes for photo books in various sizes, two shapes and top-notch covers. You can also create photo books from scratch by modifying the layouts and/or backgrounds, and you have the option to adjust your pictures with the help of two complementary software solutions. Once you are done, your books are printed for rather cost-friendly prices and shipped to retail stores or to your doorstep within 7 business days.
Even though it has many positive aspects, the computer browser-only editor of RitzPix is a major disappointment for various reasons. The best thing of all is that you can upload as many photos from your computer, Facebook or Instagram profile as you want and use them multiple times for diverse products too. Another great thing is that the editor itself is absolutely not complicated: you can switch between a thumbnail and page view, upload or drag and drop photos, change the layouts and the background, add or remove pages and save your works. Depending on your theme you can add/remove more photo holders and change their size, orientation and opacity alongside those that come with the theme. As for the text boxes, you can add/remove them, choose from various fonts and change the alignment of the boxes to your liking.
Unfortunately the pros stop here, which is first proven by the oversimplified editor. You might feel pretty satisfied with it at first, but once you realize it lacks crucial features like auto-save and auto-fill, you will definitely change your mind. Another huge miss is that if you want to add stickers, effects, vignettes, remove red-eyes, or change the size of the pictures, you have to use Adobe Creative Cloud or PicMonkey. These solutions are absolutely fantastic, and they allow you to keep the original pictures on your account, but still, they are complementary solutions. But believe it or not, these were the minor problems.
Another, much bigger issue is that once you have selected the book’s cover type, size and the theme, you are stuck with those unless you start your project from the beginning. Furthermore, certain themes don’t allow you to add blank photo holders, meaning you have to go with as many photos as the theme can contain. But by far the biggest, most incomprehensible error RitzPix makes is that you cannot preview your work, change certain covers, layouts, perform spell-checks or get low resolution, crop zone warnings, giving you no idea how your book actually looks until it’s too late and you’ve received it.
RitzPix’s design options are a real mystery until you start the photo book creation process. Unfortunately, choosing a design is not very easy either. What you should know is that the total number of designs is 111 spread across 34 different categories like travel, family, everyday life and such. This sounds pretty good, but like we mentioned before, once you have chosen a theme, you cannot change it back. Plus, in the case of certain styles, you can’t even customize the number of photo holders and their layout either.
The bigger problem is that not all designs are available for all cover types, which becomes even more confusing when it comes to choosing the size of the book with the selected cover. For instance, the total number of themes available for layflat cover books is only 47, while classic hardcover books have 59 different styles. And to add even more to the complete disorder, the number of themes also changes when you order your hardcover book with or without window.
A soft cover book without cover customization can be created the traditional way in 6×6, 5×7, 8×8 and 8.5×11 sizes, with customizable layouts (where is it permitted) and from all themes; the quick way only allows you to have an 8×8 book consisting of either 20 or 50 pages with a black or white background, and each page contains only one photo.
Classic books can be ordered with black linen in 4×4, 6×6 and 8.5×11 sizes; black linen with photo hole in 8×6 and 8.5×11 sizes; red and blue linen in 6×6, 6×8 and in 8.5×11 sizes; and finally in black and/or brown leather in 6×8 and 12×12 sizes.
The last two categories are the premium photo books and the layflat books: the former can be ordered with customizable covers in 6×6 and 8.5×11 sizes, while the latter is available with a preset cover in 8.5×11, with customizable covers in 6×8, 8.5×11 and 10×13 sizes and with customized metallic covers in 8.5×11 and 10×13 sizes.
Without doubt the cheapest product of RitzPix is a 4×4 book that costs $9.99, but it can only contain 10 photos on 20 permanent pages. The 8×8 book on the other hand can come in three types: the 20- or 50-page quick book for $14.99 and $19.99 respectively, or the more customizable 20 page-long traditional book for $14.99. Quite surprisingly, additional pages to 8×8 books are free of charge while other books charge at least $1.00 for each additional 2 pages. All books you order from RitzPix come with 20 pages (16 in the case of layflat and premium books), but this number can be reduced if you want a thinner book. The maximum amount of pages, however, is always 50. Shipping of an 8×8 book costs $8.99 with the default shipping method, which is completed within 3–7 days; however, you have to option to get your book delivered within 1 or 2 business days.
If you want to reduce the price tags, there are temporary coupons and discounts arriving via email or randomly appearing on your account. The only permanent discount is that your orders are shipped free if you exceed the sum total of $30.00.
Support & Shipping
If you need help from RitzPix, you can contact its personnel via telephone or you can send them an email, which is answered promptly and within a short period of time. There are no FAQ, tutorials, or blog to be found, while the company’s Facebook and Google+ account is used for advertising the promotions. Thankfully, there is a refund policy: if your photo book arrives damaged, you can ask for a either a redo or a refund, which arrives within 4–5 business days, but you have to print out a form and send it back to the company via snail mail. Unless you asked for a store pickup, in which case you can ask for a redo/refund immediately.
Speaking of which, you can pick up your orders in 6 stores located in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Texas and Utah. Residents of the other states, however, are forced to get their orders shipped via the overnight, the 2-day or the regular (3–7 business days) shipping. Traces of shipping to P.O. boxes and international destinations are not found.
There is nothing to redeem here: RitzPix is nothing but a disappointment – which hurts us even more if we take into consideration the company’s supposed experience. It is sad to see that the way too simplistic photo editor only knows the most basic functions, lacks crucial elements like low resolution and crop warning, and it needs the help of two complementary software solutions to make more sophisticated modifications to your photos. Choosing a theme for your book is light years from ideal and the size–cover/size–theme pairing is insufficient. And if you need help from the staff, your options are very limited.
However, if you trust this 100-year old company and you don’t mind the primitive editor, RitzPix is a good choice. After all, not all photo book companies can tell that they have over 100 themes, various sizes with various covers and cost-friendly pricing and shipping.
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