When you create a memoir or family history you’ll want an archival quality book. Some features that will help make your book a family heirloom are:
- Hard cover with a protective covering such as a dust jacket, plasticized Imagewrap or custom leather
- Quality binding; usually over-sewn or sewn through the fold rather than double fan adhesive binding
- Quality paper with enough weight to both retain the ink well and be opaque enough for two-sided printing of images
You might want to check out the recommendations of the Hardcover Binders International, a printing trade group, insuring quality, durability and longevity in a book.
If you plan to print a small number of books, make sure that your printer will retain your files and guarantee that future prints will be identical to the initial print run.
It is possible to save money on the cost per book by doing things like using paperback covers, glue bindings and limiting color in the book's interior. However, we always recommend that if you are printing a limited number of copies for family members you will be better served if you spend a few extra dollars for an archival quality book. After all, you expect your family history to be passed on from generation to generation. That will only work with a book built to last.