I recently got the opportunity to order a photobook from Saal Digital for review. For this review, I selected the unpadded 15 x 21 (A5 portrait) photobook with glossy pages, which starts at £19.95 in the UK for a 26 page book. I used images from my recent trip to New York. The spine is 'lay flat' which is great for seeing the whole of photos as space isn't lost to the usual crease. The product received is very high quality and certainly good value. The images print quality is brilliant and the colours pop from the page. I feel that the photobook showed the images better than any of the screens I have viewed the same images on.
The photobooks ordered from Saal Digital are created using bespoke software which is downloaded from their website. Having the software locally on your computer has a lot of advantages over web-based options which need a fast and stable internet connection to upload each image you would like to add to the photobook. With local creation, images can be dropped in easily and only the final product is uploaded following the purchase of the book. This allows for ideas to be explored quickly, in particular montages of many smaller images. I had a couple of pages within my review book which tried out included multiple images, full bleed to the page edge and to each other. The print quality was very high and the edges of the images were consistently sharp.
The software also helps you create a book which looks professional with guidelines for page edges and for folds over the cover. These guides should be double checked during the creation process as the book will be printed exactly as you submit it for uploading. Within the software you also choose options for glossy or matte (-£5) page finishes, and unpadded or padded (+£5) covers. You can also elect to omit the barcode on the back cover, this option is also an additional £5, however, the barcode is small and doesn't detract from the finished article in my opinion. I would rather spend the £5 of some additional pages.
The pricing structure is very flexible for photobooks with more pages. Each additional two pages increases the cost by £1.50 with the range for the 15 x 21 going from the minimum of 26 pages to a maximum of 120 pages (for £90.45) - certainly enough for most photo essays/holiday snaps.
In summary, friends and family that have seen the book have been very impressed by the quality too. and I would certainly look order further books to collect images together from other trips. Compared to software galleries, or uploading to social media, photobooks are a far better memento of those special times.