Despite that a vast percentage of photographs shot today are viewed only in electronic format, there’s a reason why so many photo-sharing websites still offer print services.

Everyone loves to hold a picture in their hands.

Printed photo books likewise remain popular and a new entry, Montage from Mixbook promises to make them easier and less stressful to create. Montage already has plenty of competition from resources like Apple’s iPhoto book service,  Blurb and a host of others, but it also competes against its own Mixbook online book builder and mobile app, Mosaic.

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 10.35.38 AM 730x551 Got 15 minutes? Create a printed photo book with new Montage Web app

Montage’s new angle on book creation emphasizes ease of use by removing most of the tedious decision-making from a process that can turn a fun project into a chore.

With many book creation apps, you have lots of choices in deciding what images look good together and how many to arrange on each page. For people with a sure hand and eye, this is not a problem, but for the indecisive, the whole thing can devolve into frustration.

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 10.49.28 AM 730x549 Got 15 minutes? Create a printed photo book with new Montage Web app

To get started on your Montage, just choose the edited photos you want to include and the Web app uploads them to the site when you click the Start Your Montage button.

Montage’s technology knows when your photos were taken and organizes them chronologically. It also analyzes the activity in the photo and its quality. If it perceives a photo to be more important, it will be splashed across two full pages.

If there are multiple people in a photo, it will enlarge it across the pages. You can still choose how many photos are on each page, but your theme will give you the default layout first.

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 11.04.31 AM 730x615 Got 15 minutes? Create a printed photo book with new Montage Web app

The app proved a quick performer, even on my pedestrian Internet connection. After a short warmup period, the images started to load into the window. I uploaded 30 photos for my book, but you can load between 20 and 120 images for up to 50 pages.

When you click the Create My Montage button, you can choose from among a small number of themes, and that seems like a strategic choice to lower the stress level while providing the best looking pages.

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 10.51.39 AM 730x620 Got 15 minutes? Create a printed photo book with new Montage Web app

The Change Layout Box lets you click to alter the arrangement of images on the fly. You can swap individual photos as well as pan and zoom them in the window. However, you must otherwise edit your photos before uploading them.

The cover gives you various layout choices, and you can swap out photos and add captions until you’re satisfied with the look. Then hit Checkout and wait until all your photos are finished uploading. Flipping through your layout, a pleasing animation lets you turn pages like a book.

Screen Shot 2014 07 15 at 1.02.26 PM 730x577 Got 15 minutes? Create a printed photo book with new Montage Web app

Craftsmanship is another area of concentration for Montage — heavy book pages are wrapped in a thick, soft leather casing.

Montage books are available in three sizes: six-inch square ($39), 8.5-inch square ($59) and 12-inch square ($119). They are priced according to size, not the number of pages. Books arrive within five days of your placing an order.

➤ Montage

Featured image credit: Montage