I've been reviewing a lot of album vendors lately, trying to determine a firm that will do flushmount books. I'll do all the PS and design work myself, probably using the Lab Prints s/w. It's fairly widespread in the industry and a lot of pro labs are compatible with it and use it themselves. It's also not specific to any particular high end photographer or book binder.... not that there's anything wrong with that... but I prefer more generic stuff that's more widely used. I'm in this for the long haul.
The problem is there are so many good choices out there. I was "visiting" over at DWF, perusing their Album Forum and had a headache by the the time I got done reading their wealth of info - some really good stuff there.
But when in doubt, I fall back on some general "rules to live by" that have helped me survive in the picture business.
So I ask myself: Who is fairly widespread, who do a lot of folks use, who has been around for a while, who is fairly reasonably priced, what do you see people using, and what do respected friends and associates use? Much of the time the answer is for merchandise and services that cost a little bit more than the average, and a bit more than the budget newcomer. But that's usually because of better quality control, level of service, and overall fit and finish.
Repeatedly, associates have recommended these 4 biggies: Leathercraftsman, Zook, Classic and Capri.
I've no doubt there are other vendors as good as if not better than these. But these keep popping up. I believe the least experienced of these has been around for at least 15-20 years; one for about 50 years. That says something.