I promised awhile ago to review the photobook I quickly designed using the online Montage tool (https://www.montagebook.com).
The book arrived quickly. That’s always nice — only if you’re into anticipation will the rapid delivery disappoint. It was boxed compactly with an easy opening pull tab.
Opening the shipping box I discovered another box.
This one was contained in lightweight plastic wrap I assume to discourage any moisture from damaging either the interior box or the photobook within. This is standard practice for printers to deliver their books and most use a more substantial plastic wrap.
The interior “Montage” box is clean, simple and elegant enough to wrap as a gift or put into a gift bag. That’s a nice touch and makes your photobook that much easier to deliver as a present. This is unique to Montage and is not available without additional charges from other photobook printers.
Opening the 2nd box, I found a return label and instructions. If you follow the straight-forward steps Montage says you’ll receive a refund “in a jiffy.” (I’m keeping my sample to show to clients.) If you are planning on giving the photobook as a gift, be sure to open the 2nd box and inspect the book.
You’ll probably want to remove the return label and instructions too.
I really appreciated the substantial, solid feel of the 6″x6″ book. The leather is soft to the touch and the edges and corners (though a tad bulky for the size of book) are neatly and compactly turned in. Montage includes their softly embossed logo on the lower back of the book. It’s subtle enough but you’ll remember where to find it. Good move on their part as it is less obtrusive than some printers’ logo positions.
The inside covers (front and back) and facing pages are printed with miniature, grayscale images of the pictures I submitted for the book. I prefer a uniform color such as black, white or grey but some may like this different touch.
What I Disliked
Although the cover will lay flat when opened, I don’t like that the
pages will not lay flat. When left open on a table, one page may flip up at a 45° angle and the other page will lean at 15-20º. I believe this is because the pages are thick! Each page is thicker than the card stock many soft cover books use. The book reminds me of a child’s first book with easy turn pages. These thick pages also result in the cover popping up a bit when the book is closed on a flat surface. Maybe not quite the clean, coffee table book you’d like to display.
What I Liked
Although I’m not a fan of paying $45 for a smallish format of 6″x6″, 30 pages at this size is pretty much in line with the industry and I
do like Montage’s free shipping and return policy. (Free return but it is unclear to me whether 100% refund is given to your credit card or to “your Montage account.”) And the print quality is fine. I’ve received books with better quality on premium paper but I’ve received worse many times. The tones and colors are accurate and cleanly applied. Montage’s “silver halide” is also available for an additional charge.
Overall the product delivered by Montage is quick, easy and offers a few unique, elegant packaging touches. But as a friend remarked on looking through my book “It just feels awkward.” Maybe that’s not as evident in the larger size formats.
If you’re ready for super thick pages, a Montage book may suit perfectly. It’s always worth a try given their “auto-magic” easy layout and design tool !