West Coast Albums Review

The very first thing I do when I pick up a new album is knock on the front, back and spine, just like it is the front door of my neighbors house when I’m not happy with them for parking their car in front of my house. I give it a nice firm knock without any anger, just enough to say, answer the door – I have something to chat about. If that album has any give at all to the knocking, I simply put it down and keep walking. I suggest you do the same. People tend to forget that “making albums” = “bookbinding”. When I got really into albums I took about 6 months, bought all of the equipment and did some album binding ala AltF just to see how it all worked. It’s much like photography, anyone can do it, only a few can do it really well. If you want to run the test on your own albums, make sure you knock on the spine as well, that is where many album companies scrimp. I’m happy to say that West Coast Albums passed the knock test.

One of the first things I want to point out is that the owner of West Coast Albums is a really great guy. Jack has been wonderful to talk with about everything, not just his own albums. Working with a business means that you are working with the people who own and run it. And I always make sure to talk to the people who run a business. If I don’t gel with them, I don’t work with them. Jack passed with flying colors.

The box arrived on Thursday from FedEx. I open it up and the first thing I noticed was, DANG, that’s a lot of bubble wrap. That sucker was protected.

Opened it up. I ordered the custom box with it. The box was very well made, nice presentation and the metallic print on it was awesome-o-licious. I ordered the dark brown box with the gold speckles. I would probably order a different one next time, a bit too sparkley for me. But that is just personal taste.

The leather on the album was very nice, supple, yet sturdy. I custom ordered a ten page album, even though their minimums are 20 pages. I’m a firm believer that ten pages is the optimal amount for a portrait album. I think 20 pages is just too many pages for a portrait album, especially on just one or two people. I would rather produce an album with 10 amazing pages, than 20 mediocre pages. Jack is working on adding this into the pricing structure.

The pages are nice and thick. You can tell they are sturdy and will last a long, long time. The printing is fantastic. But, this is to be expected. If an album or lab cannot produce consistent color in this day and age, something is drastically wrong. Again, when looking at albums, check the printing to make sure, but then check the binding.

The albums are not on the cheap end, nor are they overly expensive. Again, for such a nice album I can command a premium price and make more money. It’s not about the cost of the product, but the profit of the product.

I received a big swatch pack from West Coast Albums. They have a ton of great cloths, leathers and faux leathers. The faux leathers look really great. The swatch packs are only $20 and give you a great hint at the possibilities. West Coast Albums will also be releasing fine art inkjet albums on fine art cotton paper soon, and those look really cool.

To find out more about West Coast Albums visit their web site here.