We understand that with all the book and album options, picking the best products for your clients can be overwhelming. We've put this article together to help you understand the differences and make the best choices for your business.
***Difference #1: Book have pages, albums have spreads***
The biggest difference between books and albums is that albums are made with full spreads and books are made with individual pages. These differences affect the way these products should be designed and are assembled in the lab.
When you order an album, one file will cover the entire spread - both the left and right-hand pages. The spread will be printed in the lab and then creased down the center, which means that you won't lose any of your file to a center gap and when you open the album, it will lay flat. You may order albums with 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 spreads.
An album opens to a double endleaf for a layer of protection. This endleaf allows the album to start with a full spread. The back cover has another double endleaf that matches the one in the front.
When you order a book, one file will cover just a single left or right-hand page. Many clients will design in full spreads, but those spreads must then be cut in half so you submit both a left page and a right page file. Books start with a single right-hand page and end with a single left-hand page. You will need to consider this when designing a book so that any inside pages meant to be together will be side by side.
When you open a book, there is a single endleaf and a black fly sheet to protect the first page, starting on the right-hand side. Pages 2 and 3 are what could be considered the first "full spread" layout, although they are printed as separate pages. The book ends with another fly sheet to protect the last designed page and a single endleaf on the inside the cover.
There are two styles of book binding: Magazine and Lay-Flat
Magazine pages are what you traditionally see with novels and magazines. The printed area of the page goes straight into the binding, so the paper curves up and then goes down into the center crease. We don't recommend putting faces or text on the center edges of book pages because some information will be lost in the binding process and it may look odd or incomplete. Magazine books can hold 30-180 pages.
Layflat pages have a plastic hinge at the center edge so they lay perfectly flat when the book is open. A small amount of the image will be lost in the small gap between the pages, so we don't recommend putting faces or text on the center edges of layflat book pages. You will likely lose information and it won't look right. Layflat books can hold 20-80 pages.
***Difference #2: Page thickness***
The other major difference between books and albums is page thickness.
Album spreads are dry-mounted onto thick boards, flush with the board's edges. Fuji lustre album spreads are mounted onto white boards and press album spreads can be mounted onto either white or black boards, depending on which is selected in ROES.
Press book pages are thinner and flexible, bending slightly when you turn the page.
***Difference #3: Paper options***
Books and albums each have several paper options, depending on which style of album or book you select.
Lustre and press albums are identical in almost every way. The only differences are board color options (as previously discussed above) and the types of paper your designs will be printed on. Press albums are unavailable in an 11x14 size.
Press spreads are printed on press paper through an ink-jet process. There are three press papers available: smooth matte, linen, and stipple. Some clients choose press albums because they are less expensive, have a matte look, or prefer a textured paper.
Lustre spreads are printed on light sensitive Fuji lustre archival paper through a traditional photo exposure process. Fuji lustre is the same paper you can choose for regular photo prints. Some clients choose lustre albums because they can achieve a richer black, have a wider range of printable color, and can print more neutral gray tones.
Like the name implies, press books are only available on press papers. Similar to press album spreads, press book pages are printed with an ink-jet process. Magazine books are available in either smooth matte or semi gloss. Layflat books have a wider range of paper options. 10x13 layflat books are only available in semi gloss, but the other sizes are available in semi gloss, felt, pearl, press luster, and smooth matte.
***Difference #4: Cover options***
When it comes to covers, there are many options to choose from. Most of the options are available for both books and albums, but there are a few differences.
Keep it simple by choosing from 31 beautiful fabrics. Visit our fabric page to view pictures of the fabrics available or order your own fabric swatch kit through ROES!
Cameos (albums only)
For larger albums sized 8x8 and up, we offer some cameo options when you've selected a fabric cover. These are a quick and easy way to personalize your fabric cover. Cameo images are printed on Fuji lustre, a light sensitive photo paper.
Square cameos are a great choice if you want to choose one larger image to highlight on the cover.
Triptych cameos are available in either a horizontal or vertical layout. The openings are smaller than the square cameo, but are perfect when one image isn't enough.
Metal Inlays (albums only)
These are available on larger albums when you've selected a vegan leather option. Your selected image is printed on metal and then inset into the cover. If you have a client that wants a modern looking album, this might be the right choice. We recommend choosing a picture that doesn't have a lot of fine detail. You'll also want to keep in mind that metal prints have more contrast, so you may want to slightly adjust your image to compensate.
Get the best of both worlds! Fusion covers are a cross between fabric and photo covers so you can have the personalization of a photo cover mixed with the elegance of a fabric cover. You can spend a lot of time designing the photo parts of the cover or keep it simple with a single image.
In this style, the fabric wraps around the back cover, the spine, and a small portion of your front cover to meet the photo on the front. The photo portion of the cover will overlay all fabrics except the vegan leather. Because they are thicker fabrics, vegan leathers will overlay the photo slightly.
In this style, the fabric wraps around the spine and partially onto the front and back covers to where it meets the photos on the front and back.
The ultimate option for a fully personalized look. Use our sizing guides to create a photo cover that matches the style of your pages or spreads. Choose lustre for a traditional look or pearl for a photo cover that has a slight shimmer to it.
A quick comparison
Despite knowing all the differences, you might still want to try some of these options out and see which you prefer up close and in person. We can help with that! We've introduced a new sample discount program where requests are handled on a very personalized basis. You'll be able to work with a customer service rep to try new products and get samples to use for in person sales. To try the sample program out, you'll want to fill out the form here with as much information included as possible (product, sizing, page/spread count, page/spread type, etc) so a rep can evaluate your request quickly and efficiently. If you're not sure what would be best for your business or you have additional questions, don't hesitate to reach out by phone or email. We're here to help!