- Very affordable
- Same-day and one-hour pickup options
- Support is quick and efficient
- Free shipping on orders over $35
- Confusing editor that displays more design options that what exist
- Unfortunate design options
- No phone or email support
Walmart is reputable for being a go-to spot for buying anything from lawn supplies to Halloween costumes, spotting some of the most interesting characters America has to offer, and everything in between, including creating photo books. Since you’ll probably be there anyways, why not consider using its services to make your next photo book? With free, same-day pickup (as little as one hour for some products), you can get your shopping done while your project takes life – it doesn’t get much better in terms of convenience. While neither the quality of the book you end up with nor the interface you make it in are the most glamorous ones out there, the low prices and rapidity of the service greatly justify the quality, staying in line with the true spirit of Walmart as a whole.
Creating a Walmart photo book must be done on the website – there is no app to do this with nor is the option to do it in the store available. After choosing the type of book you’d like to create, you’ll then be prompted to choose its size and cover material. You can then either upload photos directly from your computer, import them from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, or Google, or pull them in from your Walmart account if you have one.
The editor is easy enough to use and one nice bonus is that you don’t need to create an account in order to play around with it, which most platforms do require you to do, so you can test it out and decide if it’s right for you first without having to give out any personal information. As far as modifying a photo, you have the option to crop and zoom in on it, add a black and white or sepia filter, tilt the photo, and adjust its brightness.
Although the photo book creation interface is easy to use, you’ll notice that when working on your design, it’s a bit buggy and therefore strange and confusing. For example, while there are only seven layouts available to choose from, this set of layouts is strangely displayed 19 times, making you think that you’re scrolling through a large selection of layouts only to quickly realize that you’ve been looking at the same seven ones for five minutes. Is Walmart trying to trick us?
The Walmart photo book designs are not exactly impressive, and while this aspect is certainly subjective, we feel that a good portion of them look very outdated and even unprofessional or amateur. A list of design themes will be presented to you upon choosing the type of book you make (the theme options are the same across most books), and while the quantity of choices is not bad, the quality is sub-par. If you’re envisioning a more sleek, modern look for your project, you’ll likely quickly realize that you’re in the wrong place.
There is a design tab in the interface which is, again, a confusing aspect of the editor, as it just displays a list view of the photo-less pages of your book with the theme you initially chose and gives you the option to change to another theme as well. Nowhere does it let you customize or adjust these themes in any way, so this tab might as well not exist. Although you can change the font, size, placement, and color of the text, you cannot change the colors of the design you’ve chosen for your book. That means, if you like the pattern of a certain theme but aren’t a fan of the color scheme, you’re out of luck. You also cannot create your own design from scratch, so hopefully, you’re okay with the default designs the website has to offer.
As mentioned earlier, there are around seven different layouts to choose from, despite the fact that you may think there are close to 100 upon first glance at this tab. The layouts vary based on how many photos can fit onto a page of the book type you’ve chosen, and it is not possible to create your own layouts from scratch.
The Walmart website lets you shop either by book size or type, which is useful. Books come in hardcover and softcover, and cover material choices include linen, leather, and paper. The popular layflat style is also available, in both a standard version and a premium one, which gives you extra thick pages and a nice matte finish. 2×3 hardcover mini-books are another option, as well as spiral-bound flipbooks. Out of all of the options mentioned, the ones available for same-day/one-hour pickup include the hardcover and linen cover ones – the other styles must be shipped out.
Books come in sizes from the tiny 2×3 mentioned all the way up to 12×12, with a few options in between. The default number of pages in most photo books is 20, but you can add extra pages in for $1.76 a pop (which is actually not very cheap compared to the average cost that competitors charge for extra pages). However, adding additional pages is not possible with one-hour pickup projects. Up to 160 pages can be added to a photo book, except in the case of layflat books where the maximum is 90 pages. Flyleaf pages are not automatically included, so if you want these in your project, Walmart’s suggestion is to create your book and leave the first and last page blank. This could work, but the page will have the design of the theme you chose on it – in other words, you won’t get to have the nice blank page in the beginning and end that a lot of people enjoy the look of.
If the Walmart photo book service stands out for anything, it’s its prices, as usual. Perhaps the cheapest ones on the market, if you want a good bargain, you know where to look. With the least expensive book starting at a mere $4 (and it’s even a hardcover one), you don’t have much to lose by trying out the service, even if you don’t end up being thrilled with the results. The priciest product in the line is the premium layflat book, which goes up to $64.96 for the largest size, and there are loads of options within this range based on the size and type of book you want. Keep in mind that additional pages beyond the default number comes at a cost of $1.76 per page, and if you’re not able to pick your book up in stores, you’ll have to pay a shipping fee. However, spend more than $35 on your book(s), and this fee will be waived.
Walmart’s photo service team provides support via live chat, every day between 7am–11pm CT. There is no email or phone support offered, but if you go into a store, you could have the real deal, which is one-on-one real-life support. As far as the quality of the support goes, we tested it and have no complaints. There was no wait time whatsoever and the team member was quick and knew the answers to all of our questions. Walmart is, of course, present on all social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), but getting support on these platforms isn’t going to happen, which is to be expected from a corporation of such a size that cannot possibly have experts from all of its departments available to answer anyone’s questions via social networks.
If you have an issue or question while creating your photo book, you’re better off getting in direct contact with the support team via the live chat – don’t expect to find many answers in the online help documentation. The FAQs answered there are very general (mostly about logging in to your account, shipping, etc.) and the explanations don’t include any helpful screenshots to guide you.
The Walmart photo book service is basically exactly what you would expect it to be – it’s not luxurious and you certainly won’t end up with the greatest quality product out there, but it is dirt cheap, convenient, and can get the job done for many projects. Compared to other photo book platforms, the range of product types available is about the same; the main area where it lags behind is in the design. If you’re not super picky about the style, are on a strict budget, or are pressed for time, this may be a great choice for you.