Traditional photo albums were becoming a thing of the past. With the rise of digital cameras and smartphones, many seemed happy to catalog photos on their computer or scroll through their camera roll. But that never felt the same. And it didn’t pay respect to the emotional value of our treasured photos.
Photo books are becoming more popular as people want a photo album they can hold, look through, and put on their shelves. Mixbook and Shutterfly are two excellent online services for creating high-quality, personal photo books. And we’ll compare Mixbook vs Shutterfly in this review so you can decide which is the one for you.
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What Does Mixbook and Shutterfly Offer?
The main product Mixbook and Shutterfly produce is the photo book. A photo book is a personalized book full of photos you’ve selected. They’re similar to old photo albums. But the photo book has more personal features. You can add different themes and color schemes. And you decide which photos go where.
Both websites offer much more than just photo books. Mixbook offers personalized cards for all occasions. And they have calendars and home decor products like posters and canvas prints.
Shutterfly offers a wider range of photo products to choose from. They’ll put your photos on pretty much anything. They also have cards and calendars. But they also offer personal puzzles, glitter blocks, and metal prints. You can put your photos on a picnic blanket or beach towel. And there’s a selection of photo drinking vessels like mugs and water bottles.
In terms of the products they have to offer, Shutterfly definitely takes the cake. But we want to know which company does the best photo book. And that’s what we’ll look at in the next section.
Mixbook vs Shutterfly: Which Photo Book is Better?
We’ll look at the photo books from Mixbook and Shutterfly. We’ll compare the templates they offer. We’ll look at the editing options for each site. And we will also compare print quality and price.
The Photo Book Templates
Both websites have hundreds of templates to choose from. Mixbook has 230 book templates in their Family category. There are another 180 in their Everyday category. And they give you 91 travel templates to choose from. You won’t be short of ideas for your wedding album because Mixbook has 72 wedding templates on offer.
The Mixbook template collection is extensive. And they all look great with tasteful designs and elegant layouts. The problem is that more isn’t always better. While they make an effort to make each template distinct, there is some repetition as you make your way through the template catalog.
Shutterfly has a smaller template collection. The categories are very similar, with family, wedding, and travel photo book options. They don’t have the same number to choose from as Mixbook. But each template has a unique design that’s distinct from the others. You don’t experience the same browsing fatigue in the Shutterfly library.
Shutterly also has a Designer Collection of books. They’ve been designed by people you might recognize. They do cost more money, but they offer an extra level of classy design. And the Disney Family Adventures is one the kids will enjoy.
I’ll pull no punches with this one. Mixbook is easier to use than Shutterfly when you’re creating your photo book. The basic options of layouts and page formats aren’t vastly different. But Mixbook is far more pleasant to use.
The Mixbook interface is easy to follow and intuitive. It only takes you a couple of seconds to understand the drag and drop system for adding photos to a page. And the adjustment tools are clearly labeled and easily accessible. It doesn’t take long to get everything sitting perfectly on the pages.
The Shutterfly user interface is clunky and unclear. Adding photos to their other products is easy. It only takes a second to add your favorite photo to a mug or jigsaw puzzle. But creating a photo book is more complicated. And as the process grows, everything becomes less straightforward.
The Shutterfly book construction pages are also less colorful. That might seem like a purely cosmetic problem. But I found it affected my user experience. Tools and command buttons get lost in a sea of white and grey boxes.
Computer-savvy users will get on fine with both websites. But many members of the Mixbook and Shutterfly key demographic might find computers difficult. Many will have an easier time with the Mixbook website.
Personalizing and Editing Photos
Both Mixbook and Shutterfly let you add backgrounds to the pages of your photo book. Shutterfly has an extensive list of backgrounds to choose from. There’s no shortage of choice. But although Mixbook has less to choose from, I prefer their backgrounds. They are subtle and tasteful. And they have a more personal feel to them.
Shutterfly also has more stickers than Mixbook. They’re a great way to customize and personalize your photo book. And both sites have a fun selection you can play with. They have hearts, stars, and cars. They have clip art of anything your family or friends are into.
You can also add text on both. Both allow you to type, so you can add any text you like. But Mixbook offers an easier experience when adding text.
Once your photos are on the page, both websites allow you to edit your images. Shutterfly offers a limited selection of editing options. Apart from crop and rotate, you basically have five or six filters you can apply.
Mixbook gives you more photo editing tools to play with. You have photo filters like sepia, B&W, and ’80s. You also have adjustment effects, including saturation and brightness. And they’re easily adjusted with sliders. It’s not exactly Adobe Photoshop, but it gives you plenty of editing tools to customize your photo book.
Photo Book Printing Options
As we’ve seen throughout this Shutterfly vs. Mixbook review, Shutterfly has more options. And the same is true in the printing options. Mixbook only has three size options, 8.5×8.5″, 10×10″, and 12×12″. But Shutterfly offers six book sizes to choose from.
Shutterfly also has three different types of pages. Mixbook has two. But Mixbook gives you a better explanation of the page types. They have semi-gloss or premium matte lay flat pages. They give more detail so you know what to expect. Shutterfly simply says standard pages, standard lay flat, and deluxe lay flat. I appreciate that both companies offer lay flat books.
Mixbook offers more cover options. They have softcovers, hardcovers, glossy hardcovers, and soft-touch matte hardcovers. Shutterfly offers three covers. They have soft and hardcovers. But they also offer a premium leather cover. It looks classy, but the price increase is pretty steep.
In the print quality section of the Shutterfly vs Mixbook debate, there isn’t much between them. It’s one of the most important areas when deciding which company to go with. And we’ve been pleased with the print quality of photo books from both companies.
We’ve often found the photo quality on other items has been dark or saturated when ordered from Shutterfly. But we have no such complaints with the Shutterfly photo book. The image quality is excellent. And the books are bound well and look fantastic. Although, the premium leather book was out of my price range. We can’t comment on that one yet.
The print quality is just as good on the Mixbook photo book. The photos are bright and clear with accurate colors. And we’ve experienced no blotches or imperfections on the images. I also appreciate the cover and binding options. You can get the exact book you want. We have to say both companies have done an excellent job with the final product.
Photo Book Prices
The starting prices are similar for Shutterfly and Mixbook. You can buy a soft cover book with gloss pages for about $20. That’s for their smallest size. Mixbook’s prices increase as you change the book size or paper type. But the increases are gradual without surprises.
You’ll see drastic price increases with Shutterfly. As soon as you change the paper type or cover, the total price will jump. And the most expensive book (excluding the leather cover option) is considerably more than Mixbook. And that’s without shipping fees.
You won’t be disappointed with the finished product from Shutterfly or Mixbook. But Mixbook is the more affordable option for your next photo project.
Shutterfly vs Mixbook: Our Verdict
Mixbook comes out on top in our Mixbook vs Shutterfly debate. You won’t be disappointed with the finished product from Shutterfly or Mixbook. They both make excellent photo books. But there are some differences that have influenced our conclusion.
One of the major factors in this decision is the interface. Creating your photo book on Mixbook is a breeze. The interface is intuitive and easy to follow. I found Shutterfly layout options hard to navigate.
Shutterfly offers more services. And they have larger collections of templates and decorative additions. But more doesn’t always equal better. And Mixbook still has plenty of options to choose from.
Mixbook also offers better value for money. The print quality is just as good as Shutterfly. But you can have a high-quality book of pictures at a lower price. Mixbook makes fantastic photo books for a reasonable price. We recommend Mixbook.
Photos of children make for an amazing photo book. Check out our Dreamy Childhood Portraits e-book for pictures that you will cherish for years to come!