Building memories from our cross-country journey with

 In Tech

Digital images are stack up everywhere you look in my house. They are on my phone, on hard drives and on my computer. We probably have a few on a Kindle somewhere too. Where you won’t find them is in a photo book, at least not recent photos from our travels. It seems like the moment photography switched from film to digital we all stopped filling photo albums with single prints. Or maybe it was when baby boy number two came along that I ran out of time and energy to print out photos or make books?

After completing our two-week cross-country trip that moved us from Seattle to just outside of Washington, D.C. I knew I had to do something to commemorate our first major road trip as a family. I had taken thousands of pictures. I’d begun editing them for Christmas albums and articles I was writing, but I didn’t have anything concrete in my hand to show the boys as we reminisced about that incredible journey.

When approached me about checking out their book making services I figured “why not?” This would be my excuse to actually get our book completed and in my hands before the boys left for college. I’d used other services before, some with frustration, but never MyPublisher. How did I like it? Well, I was pleasantly surprised, but there were a few user errors and program hiccups along the way.

Making a photo book has a software package that you must download in order to make your book, unlike other print to order photo book companies where you build the entire book on their website. I was able to import the images that I wanted to use, and pick and chose where I wanted them placed. It did take me a while to figure out how to get the software to auto-fill my book with the images I selected. Once I did figure it out I realized I should have renamed all of my images so they went into the book in the order I would like them to be in. I ended up placing each individual image so I could get the layout I wanted.

I loved the different templates and how easy it was to switch out a 2 or 4-image page for an 8-image page. The price check button was particularly helpful as I had 185 images to go into their classic 20-page book. I knew I would need to add pages in order to fit them all, which I did end up doing. Thanks to the price check tool I knew where I had to increase the number of images per page so I could keep within the $50 budget I had to make a book.

My final book came to be $47.81, but that did not include taxes or shipping fees. It also didn’t include any premium upgrades, like lay flat binding, premium paper or super gloss binding that would protect my book pages from scratches or spills. These would cause a significant increase in price, so I skipped them. As I went to finalize my purchase a screen popped up offering a massive discount on lay flat pages and super gloss finish for $14 total, which I happily accepted. My book total was now up to $65.52 with tax. I debated whether I should skip the extras, but this trip had been a big deal for us. I made the splurge and I hoped I would not regret it.

Finished product

After hitting the final purchase button on my screen all I had to do was sit around and wait for my book to arrive. I hadn’t requested overnight shipping or put a rush on my order. Standard shipping cost more than enough for me ($10.99). I hit submit on a Saturday and I had my book in my hands by Thursday. I was pretty impressed with this turn around. I used to work in publishing and I do understand the technology behind print on demand, but for some reason most companies still take over a week to ship a product out.

When I opened my book I saw my lovely family staring back at me through a black linen window cut out cover. I’m not too keen on the text below the image, but I couldn’t figure out how to make my image large enough to fit the space even though the file should have been large enough to fill an entire page. The super gloss and lay flat pages were definitely worth the splurge. The colors of my images popped out at me and the boys were able to flip through together without anyone tearing a page because it was popped up on the sides.

Overall I was thrilled with the process. There are definitely a few quirks I need to figure out in the software, but for now I’m just going to assume that is me, not the technology. The price can be daunting for the books if you plan on making a bunch, but keep an eye out for coupon codes and sales. They pop up all the time, which makes the books more affordable and worth the price.

As for me, I’m just going to kick back with my new photo book and reminisce about the time my oldest made us do a much longer hike in Zion than we anticipated and covet those moments when both boys fell asleep in the car on the way to the Grand Canyon.

Many thanks to for providing a US$50 credit to use towards making a book through their software. As always, my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Josey

    I’ve used MyPublisher for all of my photo books for the past 7 years, and you’ll definitely get the hang of it quickly if you keep using it. Also, I only order when they’re running their 60-70% off sales. I can get my 100 page annual family yearbooks with super gloss and lay flat pages for about $50!

    • Keryn Means

      That is AWESOME!!! I definitely want to play with the software more and still need to make albums from our trips to Iceland and my 5 week trip through Europe three years ago with the kids!

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