AMITIAE - Friday 19 June 2015

Printastic: The Proof of the Pudding - A Book Made on the iPhone Arrives

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


In perfect timing for the session I had with Apple personnel on iPhone photography on Thursday this week, when I went in to my office on Friday morning, a package was waiting for me in my mailbox. This was the long-awaited output from Printastic.

I reviewed Printastic back in May. I was particularly attracted to the concept of producing a book on the iPhone, as Thailand is one of the countries where Apple's own book-printing services are not available. There are alternatives, such as making a book in Aperture or Photos, but this needs to be saved in PDF format, then taken to a printer. Printastic does this all online.

I created the book and sent the file to Printastic, paying for the service within the app. I was told that the delivery would be via UPS and waited several days. In setting up the service, the developer had needed to make some adjustments and my order was placed right at the time they switched to the UK's Royal Mail.

In email communication, the way the service had been set up clashed with how things work at the Thai Post Office and an entire shipment had to be returned, the sent out again. The helpful Printastic told me that they had spent time renegotiating with the Royal Mail and the problems were not expected to recur.

While I receive a number of letters and parcels annually via the postal services, there is the occasional slip-up here, while courier services are not always perfect either: my best experiences are with DHL and FedEx.


Despite the delay, I was delighted when I opened the package and saw my book. Hard front and back covers, with a photograph on the front. The pages were set up in a variety of ways as I wanted to test out the types of output for the initial run. The paper used is high quality and feels smooth to the touch.

All of the photographs I used were in the iPhone Photos library. One or two had been taken with a Nikon DSLR (one was even taken with a Hasselblad and the negative scanned in). Of those in the pages, some were edited in Photos. A number had been through apps like Waterlogue, DistressedFX and the rather excellent Enlight.


Of the total 37 images used, 4 could have had better focus. This is more noticeable if they are to fill the page. This is of course less noticeable if special effects apps are used. My purpose with the first attempt was to test out the way the app worked and in general, I am satisfied with the finished product.

A 21cm x 21cm book of 24 pages is priced at $29.99 (1,000 baht) including shipping. The normal time-scale for that is 5 days. It is possible to create a books up to 200 pages, but the price (obviously increases). When I changed the setup to add one double page (making 26 pages), the new price quoted was $30.49. The prices compare favourably with Apple's own books (especially as they are not available here). Apple allows a number of size and materials options as well.


I am pleased with the output from the iPhone produced by the Printastic app on this occasion. The delays caused by postal services appear now to have been fixed and there is a money-back guarantee that is not just vaporware: with the delays, I was credited, but the book still came.

I expect to order more as this type of output would make a good gift, particularly as my family live in the UK and have no idea what I really do. As an example of output from the iPhone, this is an excellent example of the type of flexibility that such apps provide for ordinary users.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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