Lulu's online service covers not only photo books but a wide variety of self-published eBooks and so on. Its photo book section is limited to 23x18cm and 21x18cm; while it may not provide the premium paper or large sizes of some of its competitors, it is a cost-effective way to print images on a smaller scale.
Images are limited to 10Mb. Shots can be imported from Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket and SmugMug. Laying out your book in Lulu's browser software involves dropping images into placeholders chosen from a range of presets. There are 44 layouts, but images can't be manually placed outside these.
However, it is possible to enlarge images via an accurate percentage slider or to click to drag the image around its placeholder confinement. The Flash-based software is slow to update an image to its native resolution, but a short wait will allow for an accurate preview. The final pre-print book view is also provided as a PDF for your records, or should you so wish, personal printing at home.
Production time was the slowest of all those on test. It took the book a fortnight to arrive. The quality of the book seems reasonable at first, but some pages were stuck together, which caused some tearing, plus subtle marks on the cover are also visible, and images have a more muted colour palette compared with the majority of the others on test.
Formats: Online only
Delivery time: 14 working days
Easy import from Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, and SmugMug
10Mb upload limit
Small book sizes
Slow delivery time
Some pages stuck together