Amazon has once again proved its one-stop-shop monopoly by offering a photo book service - Amazon Prints! Prints is a picture printing site that will give you a range of options, including cheap photo albums. Available with free delivery via Prime, Amazon allows you to create a simple book from a personal Amazon Drive account that comes with your Prime membership. Upload your own documents for safe online storage and use any time you like. If you are a little restricted in your edit skills, and you’re just looking for a basic photo book experience, then Amazon Prints could be for you... although we probably wouldn't recommend it unless price is your only concern.
Amazon Prints: Pricing
Amazon Prints offers some of the cheapest books of any service we tested. A hardcover 8 x 8-inch book only costs $17.99 with 20 pages included. Amazon doesn’t charge shipping on orders that cost $15 or more, so you won’t have to pay a shipping fee if you choose standard shipping. This service does charge tax but that should only amount to a few dollars or less. When purchasing additional pages, you must order two at a time. It’s $1.00 for every two pages, which is half the price of most other services. Amazon does not offer bulk discounts at this time. If cheap really is important to you, then this even undercuts Shutterfly.
Amazon Prints: Books and services
Amazon prints currently covers photo books, personal prints, table embellishments, and even wall art. They are offering a wide range of printing services, and if you can figure out how to use the confusing interface, then you could have an easy option for cheap and fast print services.
It offers five options – the smallest number of items on offer from any of the photo book retailers we reviewed. If you want choice, we suggest our top pick, Mixbook. The 8x8 inch options are available in hard or softcover, with the remaining sizes being 5x7 softcover, 8x11, and 12x12. It really isn't a great range of options.
The online interface Amazon Prints employs is one of the most confusing to use. When you enter the buy page and select your desired photo book you’re automatically taken to your Amazon drive, to upload pictures – once this is done it’s difficult to find out how to place these into a photo book editor. Having read through five different Amazon Print help pages we were still none the wiser as to how to actually make the book. The instructions Amazon currently provides to navigate the design stage don’t match options on the pages themselves, and the editor is near impossible to actually find.
This program uses Amazon Photos to store your images. Amazon Drive and Amazon Photos both allow you to upload and sort your pictures into albums, which you can then (apparently) take forward into making your photo book. The experience of using these cloud bases systems was overall pretty easy, they were restricted to manual uploads only and don’t connect to social media accounts - something that most other retailers have managed to achieve. If you’re looking to sort through your pictures on the go then Amazon photo’s is available in app form for both Android and IOS, which will automatically upload your phone's picture album.
Amazon Prints: Support and user reviews
Amazon Prints is included in a Prime subscription, and so if you do manage to create your photo product then you’ll get it cheaply and quickly. Amazon support, as always, is a maze of FAQ’s and circular pages that transfer you back to step by step guides which, as mentioned above, don’t always match what’s going on. Amazon support does try its best to cover every base, and you’ll usually find an article that attempts to answer any questions.
Amazon Prints has one of the weakest customer reviews, overall, it being called “confusing”, with one user expressing disappointment that “Amazon’s usual clarity is completely lacking – it would take a lot for me to go back”. In general Amazon has missed the mark with their photo books, and customers are feeling the sting.
Should you use Amazon Prints?
Amazon Prints is a strange option to look into. With several other companies available that have clearer communication and make it easy to upload pictures and edit your book, Amazon shouldn’t be a first choice. The affordability of Amazon is always a selling point, and for general shopping it still remains a strong contender in online retail, but for picture printing and photo items it doesn’t quite stretch. You get the quality that you pay for, and Amazon is no different.