Books You'll Read Over and Over

Michael Kraus

Digital photo books are forever. Herewith, a guide to the best programs to use when making your own.

Digital photo books are a step up from the photo albums of old--you can pool your girlfriends' shots together, add your own captions, and choose from dozens of colors, styles, sizes, and themes. But which of the many programs out there should you use?

Uploading photos, removing red eye, and doing other edits of shots with the Web-based photo-sharing sites--Snapfish, Shutterfly, Kodak Gallery, Photoworks--can be time-consuming. Each minor change takes at least a few seconds, and a lot longer than that if you have a slow connection. Perfectionists will prefer the software-based iPhoto, MyPublisher, or Picaboo--changes go much quicker because you do all your work offline.

Beyond that basic distinction, some new features may coax you into making a book with one program or another. Snapfish's Group Rooms section allows you to create a group with your own URL, where you can share photos and collaborate on photo books with whatever friends you've invited to join. Photoworks lets you e-mail a photo book to friends, which they can view or add pictures to. With Shutterfly and Picaboo, you can share digital versions of the completed books, so your friends and family can review and make changes before buying their own.

Mac users have traditionally been limited to creating photo books with Apple's iPhoto software. In February, however, MyPublisher released its Bookmaker software for Macs. The company has even thrown in discounts for Mac users--half off for orders over $100.

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