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Creating a Photo Album.


I intend to get a 11 X 14" sized 40 page Photo Album with a Hard Cover (4200 X 3300 Px at 300 DPI) printed. While sites like Snapfish are an option, they provide very limited options with layouts, size of photos on the album page, etc. I need to have the freedom to create my own page layouts, which means I should be looking for printing options where I supply the artwork and expect the printer to print, bind and post while keeping in touch at every stage towards reaching finished product. I do not live in USA, but I hope to get that printed in Providence, RI or any place if the printer can post it there afterwards. I am having a look out on Etsy for this. This is what I am seeking assistance with:

Any pointers/tips from personal experience would be appreciated. (I would have already scoured through the Search Engines for the same, so pointers exclusively from experience would be most helpful)
Any ideas about the margins I need to leave out, considering that the binding side of the pages should have extra spacing? If so how much extra should I leave out? How about bleed? What would be the turn around time? I guess the printer would be giving that info. I have not dealt with printers directly before.
What page thickness would be ideal?
Any recommendations on printers?
If any of you had a photo album project done, how was the pricing? How were your experiences?