A few weeks ago I bought a travel photography book. I started it at work on Tuesday, and just finished it tonight. I really enjoyed it - I can see where an experienced photographer wouldn't get much out of it, but for someone like me who's just starting it was perfect. It gave me a lot of basic tips on everything from the white balance, to what accessories are essential (and how to use them), to editing programs, to basic travel precautions. It was a great introduction to travel photography.
One section of the book discussed various ways of sharing your photos once you had finished the editing process. It listed a number of websites like Flickr, and also went into programs to use to make slideshows, complete with a soundtrack, that you could put on a DVD. However, there was one section that really caught my attention, and that was for the print-on-demand books.
There are a number of websites (the book lists 8; a quick Google search will bring up dozens more) that let you organize and design a book, upload your pictures, and then they publish the book and send it to you. A number of size options are available, from regular snapshot size to much larger, up to 15" x 11.5". There are dozens of layout options. You can put one picture on a page, or twelve, and can have anywhere from 20 to 300 pages. Most of the books are hardcover, some offer custom covers or dust jackets, and a couple even guarantee satisfaction or they'll give you your money back.
I went to all of the sites listed in the book, and they're pretty reasonably priced as well. Most of the books cost a certain amount for the first 20 pages and then an additional $0.99 for each additional page. You can choose other extras like the custom covers and dust jackets, or higher quality paper. But the basic books start at around $20 for the smallest sizes and go up to about $50 for the largest. To me that's not bad at all for a high quality, personalized hardcover book.
So I'm going to make one. I'm going to Ireland two weeks from tomorrow, which has been a dream vacation of mine for as long as I can remember. The trip is actually what spurred me to start getting into photography and gave me a reason to buy my Rebel, though it's a hobby I've been wanting to pick up for years. I'm hoping to get some awesome pictures while I'm there - I'm fully expecting to take thousands so I figure I can weed out enough that I'm proud of and publish them.
It'll be a lot of work, I know. I have to get the photos to begin with, then get them home, label and edit them, and pick out the best. Then I'll have to work out the layout I want and everything. But I think it will be completely worth it to be able to one day pick up a book off my bookshelf, open it, and relive the trip of a lifetime.