I recently saw an advert on facebook for a free photobook in return for a product review. I filled in the form and promptly received a voucher code and the instructions to post an honest review on my Facebook or Blog, so here it is.
The first port of call for any of these book printers is how you are going to make your book. The usual way is to provide their own software, which usually range from abysmal to awful. As a proficient user of InDesign I much prefer to be given templates to produce it in the software I know. The Saal-Digital website had only two options, download their software or use a web based system. I downloaded the software and feared the worst but in fairness it was relatively easy to use and no where near as bad as others I’ve struggled with.
I chose a 28x19 landscape book, glossy without padded cover which allowed me to have 30 pages within the £40 budget. There is no mention of paper weight anywhere within the software. My Spotlight series was all printed in high Gloss but you can choose all configurations of cover and inner finish.
Once finished you complete the transaction within the software and then leave it to upload all the images and everything went smoothly.
The book arrived about 4 days later in a cardboard sleeve and sealed in a plastic bag and the first impressions are excellent. The book is hardback bound and the cover is beautifully thick and well printed. I have used two other book printing companies before, Blurb and Bob Books and the Saal-Digital cover is a step up in quality.
The first and last spreads are bound to the cover which is obvious but when I opened the book I wasn't expecting it so it threw me slightly but what was really surprising was the thickness of the pages. I think these are the thickest pages I’ve ever seen in a photobook, they must be at least 350gsm. Printed with my almost black images on gloss they really feel superb and give the book a feel of quality I haven’t ever had from a photo book company. The pages also open flat, so if you wanted to bleed images across them they would look fantastic.
The image quality was superb, my pictures of people in New York against almost black background printed as good as the prints I had produced at Adorama and other professional printers. Deep colours, not too saturated and crystal clear.
So if you are looking for a premium photo book, and at £40 + P&P for 30 pages this is not for everyone, but if you are wanting to archive a project or give someone a very special present I would recommend Saal, I shall certainly be using them for my project books from now on. I might get some prints made too.