Friday, July 19

Picaboo - A Review

Every spring, an online photo printing company offers a coupon for a free photo book. I wait for that coupon and then I compile all of our Christmas photos from the previous year and create a free Christmas memory book for our family. This past year, I forgot to watch for the coupon. I'm just too tight of a penny-pincher to spend $30 on one, so I was resigned to do without. But then I was introduced to a company called Picaboo Yearbooks, that creates fabulous and AFFORDABLE homeschool yearbooks. I didn't need a yearbook, per say, but it worked all the same. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, but I'm excited to see that if I wanted to purchase the yearbook new, it would still be under $10. I don't have to watch for my once-a-year coupon anymore!

I received a 20 Page Softcover Yearbook and I was very impressed. The pages are thick and the colors are vibrant. These are intended for homeschool groups and organizations who want to create affordable yearbooks. At this price, they would also be a good fundraiser. Each yearbook purchase also comes with a free eBook, so they can be viewed with your tablet or phone.

It took me several hours (honestly, a solid day) to create my book, but I have issues with getting things "just so", so this was actually making pretty good time for me. Picaboo has you upload any pictures you might want in your album and provides all kinds of backgrounds and themes. There are also many, many different font choices available. Here is a page that introduces our Christmas play:

The backgrounds and detail options are wonderful!

You can overlay fonts and pictures and even some clip-art that they provide, though I wasn't terribly impressed with their clip-art images. I do like the ease of adding and maneuvering text.

What I really liked was the Help Line at Picaboo. I had a couple problems, which were completely due to user-error and no fault of Picaboo, and had several opportunities to see how good their customer service department really is. And let me tell you, it's excellent. They have a chat option, which works instantly and is very helpful. I also tried their phone support one time, when I was desperately afraid that I had accidentally deleted my book (no, just logging on to the wrong website, dear) and they were equally wonderful. It should be noted that Picaboo provides a simple tutorial at the beginning of your project, showing you how easy it can be. I'm just a skip-the-tutorial-let's-wing-it kinda gal. I don't advise it, but I think it helps round out my reviews nicely, don't you think?

Here is a picture of my Picaboo Yearbook, the softcover on the left and a standard example of one of the Christmas photo books I've purchased elsewhere in the past. 

You can squeeze a LOT of pictures in this thing!

Picaboo provides a guide to help you stay in the printable margin lines and alerts you if you are outside those lines. I cut it very close, wanting to keep my pictures as large as possible, but I now wish I had provided a little extra space for two-page spreads. 

After placing your order, Picaboo advises a 3 week wait for processing and shipping. Mine took closer to just 2 weeks, impressing me even more.
I'm very pleased with our Christmas album. I prefer a hardcover book for something that I want to keep and use for many years, but the price is unbeatable at $8.49. The upload was as time-consuming as it ever is for me in these kinds of projects, but that's to be expected. There were many more options for backgrounds and arrangements and fonts than I have ever run across in other photo book companies. I will definitely be ordering again. I will probably hold out for a Picaboo coupon and order a hard cover book next time. I have seen quite a few excellent deals online since I started this project, so coupon's probably won't be hard to find.

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