My search for the perfect book continues.
I found Viovio when I was searching for something else. The prices looked quite reasonable ($5 per softcover + $0.25 per page), and while there was some online book arrangement app, I could also upload a PDF for them to print.
This meant I could generate a PDF from Apple Aperture, and have it printed for less than what Apple charges, and even in different sizes, since Viovio scales the PDF pages (assuming the proportions are the same, of course).
The process was easy: find the book in Aperture, print to PDF, upload to Viovio. I used the 1st page in the PDF as the cover image, and the second as the back cover image (blank), and the rest of the pages fell properly into place. I decided to make a 9 x 7″ (23 x 18cm)book from an 11 x 8.5″ (about A4).
The book arrived in about a week, and I have mixed feelings about it. the pages were all scaled properly, which was good. And the good photos came out quite well — on par with Apple’s books.
Unfortunately, the darker photos came out very dark and muddy without much detail in the darkest regions. Worse, the blacks were not smooth – it looked like there was pocket lint strewn about.
So, it still looks like Aperture wins on flexibility (within an 11 x 8.5 book) and printing quality, but has the highest prices and least number of cover/size options.
The search continues…
update: viovio reprinted the book with a better colorspace conversion, and it looked much better. I submitted another book, and they’ve apparently be running a number of conversions to see how best to get it to look as good as possible. Impressive!