Sam’s Club 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Book Review

Sam’s Club 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Book

Hello everyone, these came in yesterday, a new product offered by Sam’s club: 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Books starting at $6.86!  I designed a few so I could get a feel of the interface and of course see how the print quality is.  Here are some of my initial thoughts.
  • Very nice sturdy quality for the price! (I wonder why Costco doesn’t offer these, the web interfaces to design the books are basically the same, and they all come from Greenwood SC)
  • The paper is lustre with a bit of a texture. The thickness and feel is reminiscent of a playing card (which Sam’s Club also offers as photo gift option).
  • The sturdiness of the paper stock is great for not picking up greasy fingerprints, but the image saturation isn’t what I would normally get with the Fujfilm Crystal Archive HD photo books (I believe that’s just how luster paper prints).  I know it’s hard to judge print quality looking at photos of books, but in general lighting, my books are a bit dark and contrasty.  The color black and shadows really block up, which actually worked well for some monochrome images that I placed.
  • Next time I’ll put a color swatch as one of the pages.  However I shoot with so many different cameras and lenses and the color grading I do is always based on feeling so it really doesn’t matter. 😉  I’m just glad that it’s a real photographic chemical based print instead of halftone dots that you see in the other books and photo gifts.
  • Edge to edge full bleed looks good.  There are minute trimming issues, which is to be expected but think I can live with that
  • You can’t put any text on the spine, and it is always solid white
  • The design software does not show that there will be a barcode set inside a white box on the back of the book in the lower left hand corner.  So you shouldn’t try and be slick like me and put an image on the back.  I guess plain black or white will have to do.  The barcode just takes over too much visually in my opinion to even have your own logo in the middle. 
  • If you like to design with images that will have white space around the edges, you have to add a bit more for space on the left and right of the pages to account for cropping.  Comparing the real samples to what I designed on screen, it’s about 50% more.  Even then though, if you’re hyper critical on even borders, you’re still at the mercy of the cropper.  If you like to design with lots of empty negative space borders like art photographers, then putting images well inside the page dimensions is okay.
  • Since the books fold out to a really nice panorama view I think the next book I make will be for my anamorphic shots around town.  Another clever use of the books would be vertical longways oriented 4:12 showpieces as well.

Sam’s Club 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Book

Sam’s Club 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Book

Sam’s Club 4×6″ Lay Flat Mini Photo Book. Interesting 4:12 aspect ratio that can be used for vertical images.

The design software doesn’t tell you that the back of the book will have a barcode in a white box. Oh well.

The aspect ratio of the book opened up is wider than the 2.40:1 cinescope but it still looks very nice for my real anamorphic shots, or just plain cropped images if you have some that fit nicely.

Another great product that we didn’t have years ago.  I remember printing 4×6″s at the Wolf Cameras in town and also getting the albums to stick them in and give to people.  For my small art/photo portfolios that I would keep in my side bag, I would do the same, and often wondered why they just can’t print front and back.  So now 17 years later, I finally have a simple, good looking and economical solution. 😉


Sadly I don’t think these books are offered anymore either!


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