I find the pages are easier to fit into albums that fit onto my book shelves. Also it costs a lot less for me to print out this size on my own printer. If I need more room I just make a two page layout.
Most scrappers seem to use the 12 X 12 layouts and I'm wondering if there are more than I realize doing the 8.5 X 11 size. I've actually gone back and reworked many 12 X 12 layouts into 8.5 X 11. Someday I want to print out several books for my family and the cost savings will be a lot.
If anyone knows of tutorials for this smaller size, I would love a link or two or more.