I got my 8x8 Shutterfly book a couple of days ago and I am totally thrilled with it!!! It is a hard cover book with a custom cover. I chose to make this book about my children and so the cover is a layout featuring all three of them. I left the back cover blank and added a title to the spine. The whole look of the book is very professional!!
Inside the pages have a nice, substantial feel. Since I ordered the book spur of the moment in order to take advantage of a coupon, I was mostly pulling together previously made layouts. I used 12x12 layouts that I sized down to 8x8 at 300 dpi. I then uploaded the 8x8 jpegs to Shutterfly and drug them onto the pages in the order I had previously decided. I guess at first I must have clicked on the wrong option because Shutterfly wanted to automatically populate the pages with the pictures. The easiest thing was to quit out of that and have it start over with a completely blank book.
The pages themselves look amazing. The color is very good. The full bleed was perfect -- no white slivers. Compared to the originals, some of the layout edges were slightly trimmed, but as I didn't have text or photos up to the edge, they were not affected. The biggest consideration in terms of the design is to be careful of the gutter where the pages come together in the center of the book. Since the book is glued and "perfect-bound" it is really important to keep design elements and especially photos and text away from that edge. And even though this book is really gorgeous, I think if the pages were coordinated and made with a consistent color pallet it would be even more amazing!!
All and all the process was very easy and the quality is as good or better than I had hoped! The only (slight) reservation I have is that I think I read somewhere that the binding is glued and not sewed, so it is possible that the pages may eventually come loose. Hopefully that won't happen to my book -- at least for a very long while.
Well, that's my update on Shutterfly books! I would highly recommend them, especially when they are running sales and/or specials.
That's it for now!!