Last month, I found a website for a company called HotPrints that is running a year-long promotion--one free photo book per month, with free shipping, for twelve months. Crazy rad, right?
Figuring I had nothing to lose, I decided to go ahead and see what I could do with it. I uploaded some photos from our wedding and went to work.
The website itself was pretty easy to use. It took a while to upload enough photos to fill the book, but it was very simple once everything was uploaded--just a lot of clicking and dragging. There were a tolerable number of layout and design varieties, and I was pretty happy with the potential of my book when I finished.
Well, it got here a couple of days ago. I'd say it took maybe 3 weeks but I was silly and didn't actually record the exact interval.
All in all, I can't complain about something that was free. Still, I wasn't completely satisfied. Photos were smaller in the book than the preview made it look like they would be. The book was paperback, more like a 20-page comic book than anything else (slightly heavier paper). The print quality wasn't bad, but the photos did turn out a little dark, so if I do it again I'll have to be sure that I lighten my photos more than I think they need before uploading them.
The promotion is sponsored by advertising of course, so there was a full 2-page spread of ads printed in the middle of the book, although it's designed to be easily torn out. I have to admit, I didn't even look at it--just ripped it out and tossed it in the trash.
There are also ads on the outside back cover, which is of course a little harder to tear off and throw away.
I'll probably make another one or two of these, because hey, it's free, and you could put together a nice little collection of comic book-sized mini photo albums without much trouble.
Overall verdict? It's definitely not a service I would pay any significant quantity of money for, when there are much higher-quality services out there with better layout options and hardcover books. But, if you've got some photos that you want to put into a booklet without spending a ton of money and don't care about those things, you've got nothing to lose, really.
Note: This review represents my opinion only, and was not sponsored or paid for.