The "Memory Book" we ordered from Snapfish arrived and we love it. It's a nice little hard covered book with all our best Italy pictures printed on high quality book-like pages.
I think the pre-made albums are the way to go. To me the main outputs of picture taking are albums and archives. Archives are simple enough to create on CD's or DVD's. Albums are a pain to assemble from prints, empty photo albums, labels. If you order 4x6 prints from a photo service, all you have when they arrive is another project. If you order a Memory Book, you are done.
Snapfish customer service was quick and helpful when we thought the book was lost in the mail. They offered to re-create it promptly but it arrived the next day so there was no need. E-mail Customer service was very courteous and seemed genuine in their desire to help in any way possible.
Even with the good experience with Snapfish, I took another look at Shutterfly. They have a softcover album that is only about 50 cents a page (compared to a dollar for the hardcover album). Plus, shutterfly has ample space for writing on every page and more flexible page options. Plus, Sutterfly works with my Firefox browser so I don't have to go into Internet Explorer just to work on a photobook. I downloaded Sutterfly's software and it made it easy to upload my 122 photos for my Michele "Baby Book" project. I was ready to go with a softcover album. But, I made a few discoveries.
Discovery one: the softcover album is smaller, only 5.5 x 7.5 inches. The Snapfish album is pages are 9 x 10 7/8, the shutterfly hardcover album is 8.75 x 11.25 inches. So, on to a hardcover Shutterfly Photobook. With their January sale it will still be about the same price or less than Snapfish (more for 1st 20 pages, less for each page after 20).
Discovery number two: Shutterfly's software re-cropped my pictures and cut off parts of them! Since I have 122 pictures already uploaded to Snapfish without anything cut off, the bad cropping is a deal killer for Shutterfly for this project.
I'll be back to try Shutterfly if I can use a small book somewhere or maybe to see how their hardcover book compares. I'll need to figure out how to solve the cropping problem.
Meanwhile, I downloaded Snapfish's software, photoshow. As a Comcast customer I get the deluxe version free. It looks great, similar to Picasa which I blogged on previously but with the ability to make slideshows and put them on Video CD's. The main thing I am looking for from the software is easier uploading of photos to Snapfish. The web based upload procedure goes by the single picture and is very cumbersome. If the Snapfish software works for me, Snapfish will have a pretty good overall solution.