Mpix was the fastest to process the book. I uploaded over the weekend; they shipped on Monday via the US postal service, and I received the book on Thursday.
Photos of the book compared to the Apple book are in this flickr set.
Generally, I was not impressed with the quality, though it didn’t have any glaringly awful problems affecting all of the photos. Photos looked a bit washed out, with blacks not being very deep, and darker photos with more contrast seem to have been lightened with the contrast reduced. I’m not sure if this is a simple conversion issue or whether Mpix decided to try to make my images look “better.”
The biggest issue was the “binding” – the pages were just stapled, not bound. I presume the hardcover book is not stapled, but given the image quality, I’m not really interested in trying that out.
One of my colleagues chuckled and said that I should try the office color printer: he thought it would yield better results. Another said that it was an “ok” book – one that a grandmother would certainly appreciate receiving of the grandkids, for example.
So, another publishing company not to use. I’ll stick with Apple for the best overall experience and the highest quality output — and the fewest printing options at a high (but not the highest) price, and with Viovio for nearly-as-good output, excellent service, and printing options which are cheaper and more numerous.