I do a mix of photo books and layouts; it all depends of where the layout is going! If the story is self-contained, it gets printed in a book.
So, for example, our Christmas this past year with all 3 children, their spouses, and our 4 grandchildren was made into a book. I had copies printed for everyone; it was 20 pages and the perfect size. Other examples of books are vacations or graduations. I also give my children a book for Christmas with layouts of the grandchildren from throughout the year.
As for the layouts that I print as 12x12, those will go into our yearly albums, along with my P365 layouts. That way I can add to the album as I make and print more layouts.
I really really really like Persnickety Prints. As for the books, either Shutterfly or Snapfish are just fine. They both have great sales; get on their email list! Just remember that your photos and elements shouldn't be right at the edge, as you'll lose some detail with the bleed area.
I highly encourage you to print! You'll be amazed at the lovliness and so happy that you spent the time and you'll enjoy it all over again.