I just wanted to share some recent experiences I've had with 2 companies in the industry. Because, they seem to have a search engine that picks up things from forums or anywhere on the net, I'll avoid using their actual names in text:
Company M is m- oooo- mmm--e--n----t--o
Complany A is A--- llll bbb--u--m---wooo--rk--s
# Product Quality : M > A : that's not to say that A is not a quality product. The cover, the page thickness and colours are all pretty much as they appeared on screen. The options in the M software though, give a much cleaner, professional interface and it really shows in the end product. I think A is aimed more at a personal flavour with more options for flowery type borders more suited for things like family albums rather than a photography print book.
Also, it took 2 tries for company A to produce the desired result and even so, with pure white borders, the printing somehow still leaked colours into the borders - not so with M. Both companies' books had slight warping of the pages but it was slightly more noticeable in A.
M also has alot more cover options and dusk jacket options.
# Customer Service: Both were excellent and A printed our second try with no fuss. The only thing I get paranoid about is the fact that after my last post, BOTH companies contacted me by email without me having even contemplated contacting them yet. If I get an email after this post, I might be tipped over the edge into a paranoid pyschosis.......
Company M even offered me to redo the Nepal book (done with A) with M's software for free to compare the difference. I haven't had time to do it and will probably get around to it some day but I have no doubt it will be of good quality.
Marianne got a call from company M to sign up to the pro version after we received our book - At first we were excited but on reflection, I don't think this really means anything since we still have to pay the same rate for their pro-products........
# Price : This is the real downer. Both books were approximately 130-150 pages long. A's price was $190, M's price was double that. Unfortunately, quality really does come with price in this case and this makes the books completely unaffordable to anyone but the people for whom it has relevance. Fortuantely, we had asked for vouchers for Xmas last year instead of the usual gifts.
If anyone is interested in looking at thumbs to see if the price is justified, let me know and I can give you a link. I suspect if I link it here, their search engine will pick it up.