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Today in My History

2001: Whatever Happened to Yvonne DeCarlo?
2002: Irreconcilable Differences
2003:  Ravings of a Scattered Brain
2004:  L'Chaim
2005Feast of Famine

2006:  Peace in the Valley Again
2007:  I'm Reviewing the Situation
2008:  Not That There's Anything WRONG with That
2009:  I Just Hate It
2010:  Amazon
2011:  Media Blackout
Sunday Stealing
2013: Short but Sweet

Bitter Hack
Updated: 1

Books Read in 2014
"The Ocean at the End of the Lane"

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mail to Walt


9 January 2014

For those who want to create quality hardbound books using your digital photos, there are many options.  I have made several books over the years, four years of books of photos of dogs we fostered, all the photos from the two years I did "365 days of me" are in books, all of our trip photos are in books, and lately I've been making books to help my mother remember "the good times."  In fact, the book I made for Christmas (unfortunately named "Christmas 2014" because I didn't proofread closely enough!) just arrived yesterday.

I have mentioned here a few times that when we returned from Urkaine, I was in the middle of making a book of our best photos printed at Snafish when I got an offer from Snapfish which said that anyone who placed an order of $60 or more would be eligible for $10 books for life.  That means you only pay $10 for a book of any dimension of 20 pages.  If you want more than 20 pages, you only pay for the pages over 20. 

I would not place a $60 order just to get that deal, but I was already placing an order that was going to cost about that much and when I finished the order, voilą...I had qualified for the $10 books for life.  That is what has allowed me to make so many books for my mother.  Anytime we get together I try to take lots of pictures and when I have enough accumultated, they go in a book so she can remember that yes, people DID come to visit her.  Yes, she HAS met her great grandchildren. Yes, Tom has been to see her recently.  And since I label each picture with the name of the people in the pictures (even if I have to write the names many times, once for each photo), she is more often able to remember the name of the friends who visit her....and that they visited her.  It's such a cool deal.  Besides, when she is gone, I will have those books too.  The photos won't fall out of the pages and the colors won't fade.

The thing I like about Snapfish is that it is fully customizable.   They give you suggested templates, and you can use them, or you can design your own, or you can combine their templates with things you want to add.  It's time consuming, but the end result is exactly the way I want it to be (assuming I've proofread my text sufficiently, of course!)

In 2011, I had a book made about our Compassion kids.  I'm not sure why I used Sutterfly instead of Snapfish, but I was very happy with the way it turned out.

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I've been thinking of making another one at Snapfish but today I got an offer I couldn't refuse.  I could make another 8x8 book like the one above for free at Shutterfly, paying only postage and handling.  Such a deal.  I knew it would be a good quality and the price was even better than Snapfish's $10 offer, so I gathered together all of the pictures of the Compassion kids for this year and started making my book.

I tried to sign in with the special code Shutterfly had mailed me and was told it was an invalid code.  Figuring I could work this out eventually, I just went ahead to the "make a book" part.

The first thing I discovered was how cumbersome it is.  Photos are not resizeable and there aren't as many templates on Snapfish.  But it would still work.  Except it made Firefox crash every 20 minutes or so.  After the first crash, when I lost everything, I remembered to save the work every time I finished a page.

I somehow managed to make a cover but could never again figure out how.  I wasn't happy with the cover and wanted to change it but there was no way I could find how how to do that.  I spent a VERY LONG time trying to find out how.   I decided I'd live with what I had created, though I know that every time I pick up the book I will remember that this was not the cover I wanted to have.

After about 2-3 hours, I was finally ready to call it quits.  It wasn't exactly the book I wanted, but it would do and I was tired of working on it. I hit "order" and the damn thing took me to the sign in screen again. 

I finally called Customer Service (after trying the "live chat" option and finding out that page was not available). The Customer Service rep managed to get me through to the order page and yes, it did accept my code this time and the $30 charge for the book was deducted, so I am only paying $8 for shipping.  I'm happy with that.

When you place your order, it gives you the option of sharing the book with others.  You can share on Facebook, share on Blogger, or get an embed code to share wherever you want.  NONE of those options worked.

In a week or so, I'll have a nice book of updated information on my Compassion kids, with a cover I wanted to change and I'll be happy that I did it, but today's experience made me realize that I will never use Shutterfly again. The difference between it and Snapfish for customizable books is the difference of night and day...and with my $10/book offer from Snapfish I can see no reason to go through the hell of Shutterfly again.             


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Maybe this is what is slowing the mailman down.
4 p.m. and still no mail

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