Here is my first photo book battle! Shutterfly vs Mixbook – in the layflat category. I chose these two books, because they are extremely similar in price, quality and functionality. I will compare them looking at the golden fives: cover, binding, paper, printing and software. Read on to see who wins!
About the companies:
They are both based in the US but they deliver worldwide, and Mixbook has printing stations now around the world for faster delivery.
|Cover||Glossy Hardcover Imagewrap||Matt Hardcover Imagewrap||SHUTTERFLY|
|Paper||Lustre e-photo paper (thick)||Silk paper (very thick)||SHUTTERFLY|
|Layflat Binding||YES (Deluxe version)||YES||NO WINNER|
|Software||Great themes (not free)||Great themes (free)||MIXBOOK|
Shutterfly offers Glossy, Matt, Die-Cut, Crushed-Silk and Leather Hardcover, while Mixbook offers only Matt cover for the Llayflat books. I chose the Glossy cover for my Shutterfly book (personal preference), and had the Matt for Mixbook. Shutterfly put a barcode on the back cover, Mixbook didn’t. They both look great, and have a soft touch, however, Shutterfly is the clear winner here since they offer far more cover options.
Shutterfly offers two types of layflat binding. One is hinged, where the pages are printed separately, so you can’t have a full double page spread, and the deluxe version, where the book is printed on double page spreads. I chose the deluxe version. Mixbook offers one type of binding, which is identical to Shutterfly’s deluxe binding. They both feel very sturdy and are beautifully done. Nothing gets lost in the gutter. No clear winner here, both companies do an amazing job 🙂
They don’t provide absolute gsm data on their papers, so I am not going to guess. Shutterfly uses a lustre e-photo paper for their deluxe books (IMPORTANT: if you choose the hinged binding, you will get the standard matt pages, not the e-photo paper). Pages are fairly thick, they don’t bend when you page through the book. Mixbook uses a silk type paper, however, it’s a lot thicker than Shutterfly’s, it’s very hard to bend. They are both nice paper stocks, but I think we can all agree that a good old lustre texture will always beat the standard silk paper, especially in photography. So Shutterfly is the winner for me.
Both companies use digital printers for their books. Too bad there is no premium option for silver halide printing. Colours looked great in both, the lustre paper managed to hide the digital artifacts a bit more, but that has nothing to do with the printing process. So no winner here again, both are just as good.
These two companies are among the bests in terms of functionality, options and customisability. You can do your books from scratch, use of their themes or ask their designers. I chose to use the themes. They are fantastic, there is nothing you can’t do in these books. Effects, backgrounds, clipart, fonts, resize, rotate, shapes, borders and the list goes on and one. Mixbook offers these themes for free, but Shutterfly charged me $5.99, which is not the end of the world, but why should you pay for it, if you can get it free? So the winner here is Mixbook.
Both companies delivered within a week. Too good.
They have something on every single week, 30%, 40% and 50% off. Don’t pay the full price, if you can get a deal. I always have the latest coupon codes in my deals section!
The full price without any discounts applied was:
Shutterfly: $78 (8×8″ book) Mixbook: $52 (8.5×8.5″)