Lay-flat photo books are becoming mainstream as more online sites now support this format. Formerly only sold in the wedding-album segment due to the complexity and expense, lay-flat books are benefiting from improved lab production equipment and excellent software, like our own HTML5 builder. These wonderful books showcase special photos in a wide-screen format, and now can be used for travel, baby and even portfolios.
Not all lay-flat books are the same, so let’s look at the different formats. From a software standpoint, the differences are minimal but for the lab and the production team, the assembly process requires different material and specialized equipment. Generally speaking, a lay-flat book is defined as a book where the pages lay completely flat, don’t move back up, and there is no visible gutter. The big advantage for photographers is a photo can spread across two pages, as if a panorama. You can also design a two-page, multi-image format spreading across both pages.
Lay-flat books requires special paper, usually thicker and heavier than standard photobook paper, but the firmness and weight vary quite a bit from supplier to supplier. Even though lay-flat books seem to be the same, there are three main categories.
Seamless lay-flat binding – This style has facing pages printed on one continuous sheet, and there is no gutter or center break. There will, however, be a slight center crease. The paper weight and thickness can vary.
Hinged lay-flat binding – This is a flush mount with a hinge in the binding enabling the pages to lay flat; there is a tiny gap in the center, usually about 1/16 inch. This format doesn’t really interfere with the spread, but text positioned in the middle may not look very good (because of the gap). The paper is sturdy enough to lay flat and can vary in thickness.
Flush-mount album – This is the traditional style used for wedding albums. Images are printed on high-quality photographic paper, then mounted on thick mat board and there is a very small gutter, or space down the center, about 1/16 inch. These albums are usually hand bound with leather covers.
Whatever the format, Mediaclip is ready to support the lab with the most intuitive book-builder available. Our latest software version supports linked page theme designs and includes new two-page layouts to help customers to make the most of the wide surface offered in a lay-flat books.