So far, the best I've found for hardcover books at a reasonable cost is Blurb
I've found the quality to be excellent and far above the Apple books. Their turnaround time is fast as well, with six days from the time I ordered to the time it is delivered to my door. To be fair, the books are shipped from Seattle and I live in Kirkland so it is always overnight.
You will have to download their software (Beta for either Mac or PC) and use it to create your book. There are quite a few options for the type of book and the layout of each page. The software generally works well but be aware of a few annoying problems. First, it is slow. Especially when entering text. I would say that text entry in general is the weak part of the software. It is also a strong feature as it lets you add text and captions to a page very easily. As long as you find a page layout you are happy with it works well. You cannot change the layout, move the pictures around on the page or change the size of the picture. Pictures should have a resolution of 300 dpi and Adobe RGB color space.
To expand a little on the annoyance, I chose to have black pages with a white frame around the photos and white text. Once the text is entered and you need to change or fix it, clicking in the text box changes the text to black. Duh! Black text on a black background is really hard to read. Only after you begin to type something does the text change color so you can see it. The software includes a spell checker which kinda sorta works. It would flag words as misspelled because it selected only half the word. I would recommend proofing text several times just to make sure. A friend tells me he does all his text in a word processor, then pastes it into his book.
Cost is $30 for 40 pages and $35 for 80 pages. The dust jacket cover is striking. They have great idea and great product going for very reasonable costs.
Another company is Viovio
which just started to offer hardcover books. Not the quality and turn around time of Blurb, but OK. To use their service, you upload you photos and use their book maker software.