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bienejen 03-24-2021 01:54 PM

Lay flat books
I'm curious if anyone has any pictures or videos comparing a regular Shutterfly book vs one with the lay flat pages? Is the difference all in the binding? Does it make the spine thicker? I didn't realize Shutterfly was doing these until this latest sale and now I'm so curious!

jacinda 03-24-2021 03:19 PM

I printed these through a different printer (not Shutterfly), but I imagine the binding is the same.

With regular binding they look like this. The book doesn't quite open fully, and you can't quite see the part of the layout close to the bound edge:


With layflat the pages are like this. You see everything and the page sits flat when you open it:


I looooove the layflat option. You pay more for it, and the pages are on thicker board. This does make the spine thicker, but the end result is so much better.

HavaDrPepper 03-24-2021 04:50 PM

I don't have any SF hard cover books that aren't layflat but do have an 8x8 soft cover that isn't layflat. The parts of the layout by the gutter are exactly what others have talked about in other threads here. With layflat you don't lose the important stuff to the gutter.

My layflat books look a lot like what Jacinda posted. In my opinion, the money spent for the layflat is well worth it. I will never not get layflat in the future.

rach3975 03-24-2021 10:01 PM

Shutterfly actually offers 2 different layflat options. I think the one Jacinda posted about, with thicker pages, is like their deluxe layflat. I love it, but I don't love the upcharge. I usually get the middle Shutterfly option, the standard layflat pages. The binding style is different so that the pages lay much flatter than in the regular photobooks, but the paper isn't thicker.

Here are pictures of them. The regular one doesn't stay open on its own--I had to hold the pages down to even take a picture, and you can see how much of the pages are somewhat in the gutter. Nothing important got cut off, but I purposely kept everything away from the gutter area when I scrapped the layouts. There is a definite valley that some of the page falls into, and I think it's a little more obvious in person than in the photo. I do buy this kind for small, inexpensive photobooks, like when I'm printing an 8x8 vacation album with only 20 pages. It's not terrible, but if money was no object I'd always print layflat.


This is the standard layflat. I'm not holding the pages--it stays open like this. There's a slight curve, but I don't notice it unless I'm comparing it against the thicker pages like I am in the bottom photo. This is my go to for our annual photobooks.


Here are the regular, standard layflat, and deluxe layflat. Even though they're stacked up here, this is exactly how each one looks when they're not stacked, too--the weight of top books isn't holding the lower books open. (Fair disclosure--I assume the bottom one is what's now considered deluxe layflat. I bought it right after Shutterfly started offering layflat pages, and at the time it was the only option. The pages are thicker and lay perfectly flat, but the book is a lot wider than on the standard layflat.)


bienejen 03-25-2021 08:21 AM

Thank you so much ladies!! Great to see the comparisons!!

just_jo 03-25-2021 09:28 AM

I too thank you for the photos and comparisons. I was already leaning towards the lay-flat option and you have just helped me justify the cost. Love that look!

DawnMarch 03-25-2021 03:22 PM

I actually prefer the standard layflat and not just for the cost. You still get the benefit of the layflat pages without the extra bulk of the deluxe. I have one vacation photobook with the deluxe and it's spectacular but it's also huge. :D

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