When talking about the print on demand eCommerce business model, the focus is majorly on items like clothes, accessories, equipment, appliances, etc.
However, print on demand works just as well for book publishing as any of the above mentioned items.
Print on demand photo book publishing allows you to publish photo books one at a time, both for yourself and for clients.
Whether you want to publish a few photo books of your wedding anniversary to distribute to your friends or family, create a catalog to showcase products you are selling, or sell travel photo books without printing many copies upfront, print on demand is the way to do that.
However, the problem many people get with print on demand is choosing the right platform. Many print on demand platforms are available online, and you need the best ones to succeed.
In this article, we will go over the top 10 photo book print on demand publishers.
Blurb is a well-known print on demand book publishing company that allows you to publish photo books, trade books, catalogs, magazines, and wall art.
Photo books start at just $24.99 for 20 pages of high-quality photos (always make sure to check updated pricing here).
Photo books come in various sizes, from 7” x 7” to 13” x 11”. For the cover, you have three options: A softcover, a glossy dust jacket hardcover, or an image wrap hardcover that has a matte finish and pictures printed on the front and book of the back.
The hardcover versions can cost as much as double the price of the softcover books for the first 20 pages. Adding extra pages will usually cost $0.49 per page.
Inside the book itself, you can choose between different types of paper quality: Standard paper, Premium Lustre, Premium Matte, Uncoated Proline, Proline Pearl Photo, and Standard Layflat.
In addition to standard photo books, you can create other types of photo books, including wedding photo books, travel photo books, family photo books, magazines, photo ebooks, and trade books.
A trade book is a good option if you want to create paperbacks or hardcovers to showcase products you are selling.
For magazines, you can create either premium magazines with matte paper and a semi-gloss cover or standard magazines that have a newsstand look and glossy pages with images of lower quality.
Blurb gives all of its users free access to the BookWright publishing tool, which you can download to your desktop. You can create your own layout from scratch or use one of the customizable templates to get started.
According to Blurb, they have been around for more than 15 years and more than 320,000 books have been made with the BookWright tool.
When you create your photo book, you will be able to create an ebook from the same file, saving time. You will even get a free ISBN for every version of your book.
Adobe inDesign and Adobe Lightroom are two other great tools that you can use to edit your photos for your book. There are also special services from Blurb that you can sign up for, such as photography, book coaching, interior and exterior layout design, and more.
You can sell your photo books on the Blurb Bookstore to tap into the existing Blurb customer base. Alternatively, you can sync them to Amazon or distribute them to tens of thousands of retailers, bookstores, and libraries through distribution networks such as Ingram.
You can also sync your photo book to Apple iBooks. Of course, if you want, you can keep them for yourself and only distribute them to close friends and family.
BookBaby lets you order your first photo book sample for just $99 before you place any further orders.
According to BookBaby, they are the only publishers of Outdoor Photographer’s American Landscapes photo book series, so you know you are in good hands.
Once you order your first sample and are satisfied with how the results came out, you can place your final order. The minimum order is 25 books, but there is no maximum limit on how many books you can order.
There are a few different styles to choose from. Both softcover and hardcover options are available.
Here are some of the different styles available from BookBaby:
- 10” x 10” glossy hardcover
- 12” x 9” glossy softcover
- 8.5” x 11” perfect bound
You can either upload a PDF to create your book design or have the folks at BookBaby create a design for you.
Once you have designed your photo book and placed an order, you can distribute it to stores such as Walmart, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
You can also distribute them to bookstores and libraries through the Ingram distribution network or sell them directly on the BookBaby BookShop online store.
If you create an ebook version of your photo book, you can also sell it on Apple iBooks.
Although BookBaby requires a minimum order of 25 books, it comes out cheaper than Blurb or Lulu (the next option on this list) if you are ordering more books.
Also, if you work with BookBaby, you will get access to some useful features and services such as a professional book file review.
Although you must place an order for at least 25 books, once you do that, you can purchase the Print On Demand plan as an add on.
This will allow you to sell one book at a time; as soon as an order comes in, even if it is just for one book, BookBaby will print a copy and send it to your customer.
Lulu has a very wide selection of photo book versions and styles to choose from. Here are just some of them:
- US Letter Hardcover
- Small Square Paperback
- Square Hardcover
- Small Landscape Paperback
- US Letter Landscape Paperback
- A4 Landscape Hardcover
Prices vary based on size and whether you want a hardcover or paperback book. For example, the Small Landscape Paperback starts at just $7.81 for 50 pages, but the US Letter Hardcover book starts at $12.83 for 50 pages.
There are a number of places where you can sell your Lulu photo book. One place to sell it is the Lulu marketplace, but you can also branch out and sell it on Amazon, on your own site, or through a distribution network that will make it available to retail bookstores and libraries.
In addition to regular photo books, you can also print and create yearbooks, calendars, and photo ebooks. Whether your school already created a yearbook and you just need to print it or you need help with designing a yearbook, Lulu can help.
Custom calendars are perfect if you want to give someone a gift. These calendars can contain custom dates and custom photos.
You can also create comic books with Lulu. As with standard photo books, you will have a few different book style options to choose from.
There is no minimum order at Lulu, but if you want to order more than 100 photo books at once, you can apply for a special discount.
IngramSpark is a well-known name in the self-publishing field, but not many know that you can create and publish photo books with them as well. Here is one story of how two authors created their photo book with IngramSpark.
Unless you want to create a black and white photo book, you will have to choose from one of the following two options: Standard Color or Premium Color. If you are on a budget, you can choose Standard Color, which is available in both saddle stitch and perfect bound style options.
On the other hand, if you want your book to come out looking even better with crisper graphics, choose Premium Color. There is a minimum of four pages for saddle stitch Premium Color books and 20 pages for perfect bound Premium Color books.
For both options, there are tons of sizes available, ranging from 4” x 6” to 8.5” x 11” and many specific sizes in between (such as 6.625” x 10.25″).
It costs $49 to publish a book with IngramSpark, in addition to the cost of printing the actual book or books; this fee allows you to publish a photo ebook version for free along with your print version. The printing costs will depend on what type of book you choose to print and its size.
You can use the Here is one story to check updated pricing information.
IngramSpark has its own distribution network that will allow you to sell your book to retail bookstores, libraries, and schools around the world, as well as on Amazon. Of course, you can also simply sell the book on your own website or in your own store.
5. Amazon KDP
Although I usually recommend Amazon KDP as my #1 option for print on demand book publishing for beginners, it is not my recommended choice if you want to create a photo book, as it is geared towards regular books.
However, it is still definitely possible to create and publish a photo book with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, as this author did.
It’s pretty simple, actually. Just act as if you were creating a regular book, but make sure to follow Amazon KDP’s formatting guide for inserting images into your paperback.
Although you can only publish softcover photo books with Amazon (there is no hardcover option with KDP), you still have a few options to choose from in terms of styling your book.
For example, you can choose a matte finish for a simple look or a glossy finish if you want your photo book to look nice and shiny.
There are also various sizes and a few different ink options available. You can even publish two versions of your photo book: A black and white version and a colored version (it will cost more to produce a colored version).
All of Amazon KDP’s print options are shown on this page.
Amazon KDP is pretty easy to get started with. One benefit of working with Amazon KDP is that there is no minimum order; also, your photo book will be available within 48 hours, which is more than most photo book print on demand publishers can promise.
You can always order a sample of your photo book before you publish it to make sure it came out right.
Once you are ready to publish your book, you can make it available on Amazon in the USA, Europe, and Japan. If you decide to make an ebook version of your photo book, it will be made available in additional marketplaces, including Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
You can also opt to join the Expanded Distribution Network, which will make your photo book available for purchase by bookstores, libraries, and schools all over the world. This distribution network is based in the USA but people all over the world can use it.
Gelato is a print on demand publishing company that has a wide range of products, from mugs and t-shirts to photo books and business flyers. There are two photo book styles you can publish with Gelato:
- A softcover photo book
- A hardcover photo book
Gelato has several production sites in over 32 countries, which allows you to reach people all over the world. With the Shopify and Etsy integrations, you can sell your photo book on Etsy or your own Shopify site.
In addition, Gelato seamlessly integrates with other eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace. You can also connect via API and Order Desk. There is also an API that allows you to connect Gelato to your custom online shop.
Alternatively, you can order products manually, one by one, as orders come in.
Gelato works with some popular design platforms, which makes it easy for you to design or import your photobook.
These platforms include Canva, OptimalPrint, Mapiful, Andy Okay, Photowall, and Positive Prints. So far, the platform has fulfilled over ten million print orders.
Gelato claims to deliver most products within 72 hours. However, it depends on the product type and the customer’s country. Delivery is fastest for European countries, followed by North and South American countries.
You can run your print on demand book publishing with Gelato without paying any money. The platform features a free account you can use forever.
The free account gives you access to the many production locations in over 33 countries, and an intuitive design editor.
If you want to scale your photo book publishing to higher numbers, you may need to go with a premium plan.
The good thing is that Gelato features a relatively affordable monthly plan, which costs just $9.99. The other option is the annual plan, which costs $599.
If you are looking to publish a photo yearbook, Treering is a print on demand company that specializes in that. As the name suggests, they are environmentally friendly and focus on helping preserve forests.
Treering is partnered with Trees for the Future, which has been around for 30 years. Treering itself has been around for 11 years.
The deal is simple: If you buy one book, Treering will plant one tree. They claim to have planted four million trees already!
In addition, Treering uses partially recycled paper to print their books, further reducing their environmental impact and preserving forests.
There is no minimum order with Treering. You can order photo yearbooks for your child’s entire class or just one for your child; everything is on demand with no contracts or commitments.
There are over 300 photo yearbook templates to choose from. All books are printed with high-quality, thick paper that will last a long time and allow your child to preserve their graduation memories for decades.
You can even request a free yearbook idea if you are lost and don’t know where to start.
The cool part about Treering as opposed to Gelato and other print on demand photo book publishers is that Treering gives every student two free custom pages.
This means that each child in the class will get two pages that contain photos that are unique to them. These photos can be from school or even from outside of school, such as trips they took with their family.
It’s easy to upload the photos you want to print on these custom pages.
Simply connect Google Drive, Google Photos, or Dropbox. You can even connect your own or your child’s Facebook or Instagram account and upload photos from there!
Treering will automatically populate those two pages with photos from Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox, Facebook, or Instagram. You can then leave them as they are or edit them further and customize those pages.
Treering has even more cool integrations and features. For example, students can e-sign their classmates’ yearbooks with photos and stickers.
Photo Books Pro is a print on demand book publisher that focuses exclusively on photo book publishing.
You can use programs such as InDesign, Illustrator, Pixellu Smart Albums, and Affinity Publisher to create a photo book PDF and then upload that PDF to turn it into a printed photo book.
Alternatively, if you do not already have a photo book PDF created, you can just upload your photos to the online tool, choose a template, and make a book there.
Photo Books Pro offers a few different photo book page types, as well as six different binding and cover options.
Available styles and sizes include Landscape Photo Books, Square Photo Books, Portrait Photo Books, and Mini Photo Books (there are 22 different sizes to choose from in total).
Pricing starts at just $9.99 for one book. However, if you order more than five books at a time, you will be eligible for a discount.
Discounts start at five percent for five books or more, 10 percent for 10 books or more, 15 percent for 100 books or more, and additional discounts if you order more than 500 books at a time. Of course, make sure to check the pricing page for updated pricing information.
Although Photo Books Pro focuses mainly on colored photo books, they do offer a black and white photo book option as well.
Photo Books Pro even has their own custom white label business service. They will create a custom printing site for you within 48 hours and will take care of printing and fulfillment for your customers; you can learn more about this service here.
9. MILK Books
MILK is a publishing company that claims to be one of the best print on demand photo book brands on the market. In case you were wondering, MILK stands for “Moments of Inspiration, Love and Kinship.”
MILK has an interesting story. It was founded by Geoff Blackwell, who collected 40,000 photograph submissions in a contest and selected the best 300 of them to create three photo books: Family, Friendship, and Love.
From there, the idea for MILK was born.
One of the advantages of working with MILK is that they offer a wide range of photo book options.
Classic MILK photo books start at just $32. You can choose from seven different linen fabric cover options and various sizes, and you can even add an optional hand-bound presentation box!
If you want to step up your game a bit, you can opt for a Premium Photo Book, which starts at $62. You will be able to choose from six different color formats and add a Classic or Designer Cover design and a presentation box.
For something a little fancier, you can opt for a Moleskin Photo Book, which starts at $76. It’s available in five different formats.
You can even order a three-piece set that comes with three separate photo books.
In addition to photo books, you can order a professional photo album. The Classic Photo Album starts at $198.45; it will lay flat when open and comes with semi-gloss pages.
Premium Photo Albums, which start at $243.60, come in six formats. To preserve family legacy, opt for a Premium Family Set Photo Album, which starts at $389.35.
MILK specializes in photo books for milestones such as weddings, births, trips, Christmas, and more.
MILK is a little pricey, but the quality is top notch. Always make sure to check their website for updated pricing information.
In addition to being able to order books for yourself, you can also order photo books or albums to sell at fundraisers. Not only that, but you will get an online photo flip book that you can share with anyone, as well as unlimited cloud storage for your pictures.
Pwinty is a print on demand publisher that will print and send photo books in 24 to 48 hours, whether you are ordering it for yourself or for a customer. It is a white label service, with no Pwinty branding on any of the books they send out.
Photo books are available in hardcover and softcover and sizes range from a 14cm Square to an A4 Landscape.
You might want to consider Pwinty among other POD photo book publishers as it’s completely free to use. The platform charges no fees, and you’ll only pay the product price for the photobook and the shipping cost for it to reach your customer.
Furthermore, Pwinty is among thee top white-label print on demand services. Your customers won’t see any Pwinty branding on the photobooks they receive, and you can add your branding if you want.
Pwinty is able to maintain a 24 to 48 hours delivery time because the machines in their printing lab run non-stop.
You can serve customers in almost any country as Pwinty also works with printing partners. So far, the platform has more than 30 fulfillment partners.
With Pwinty, you get some of the most affordable product prices. This is because the platform allows you to place aggregate orders depending on order volume from your customers.
Interestingly, other users from popular print on demand platforms like Redbubble, Printicular, Pictarine, WedPics, PosterHaste, and Printastic.
If you are looking for the quickest and easiest way to print photo books on demand without investing a lot of money upfront, Blurb is the best option.
They have a lot of styles available, and the BookWright tool makes designing your book easy.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.