I enjoy taking pictures, though I am reluctant to call myself a photographer. My enjoyment for photography is derived from the smiles I experience looking at the pictures I’ve taken of my family and the places and things we’ve experienced. Like many, my camera of choice is my iPhone. It allows me to take a lot of decent quality pictures and from there I can sort through the keepers. Those I find pleasing to my untrained eye, I post online through Instagram, a social network that focuses solely on photos and short videos.
A social network owned by Facebook, Instagram shares your photos, albeit in a square perspective, with other users that also allows you to cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks for your friends to appreciate. While seeing your pictures online is always nice, sometimes you want to see them, hold them, and share them without the glow of a screen. Recently, I found a service that fits this need: Chatbooks. (https://chatbooks.com)
Chatbooks touts themselves as “the beautiful photo books that create themselves. The photo books for those of us that don’t have time to make photo books.” That identified me perfectly. These books measure 6” x 6” and can contain between 30 and 365 pages. The price is reasonable, as a book costs $6 for the first 30 pages and $1 more for each additional 10 pages. With the Instagram series, Chatbooks automatically creates books from your Instagram feed, sending you a new volume every 60 pages. The Chat series does the same automatic generation of your Chatbook, but uses images you’ve texted to your friends or family. For my first book, I opted for the Custom series; this one allows you to selectively pick photos from Instagram or from your phone’s photo library for your book.
I decided to use solely Instagram photos and set about carefully selecting 60 photos from the year previous that I thoroughly enjoyed. Once I had my selections, I checked the captions and decided that my comments and hashtags I used when posting them would work just fine. Of course, should you want to change any captions, Chatbooks makes it really easy. After I chose my cover image and a title for my Chatbook, I finalized my purchase (60 pages for $9 and $2.95 shipping) and waited for my book to arrive.
About a week and a half later my Chatbook arrived and I was more than pleased with the final result. The softcover book is printed on high quality 100lb. paper on a digital press with a digital ink, certified by Wilhelm Imaging Research, that promises to resist fading for 200 years. While I won’t be around to test the validity of that claim, I will be able to enjoy my Chatbook for quite some time. Want to try it for yourself? You can get your first Chatbook free if you use this code: PC2QVYZE.
Sharing photos has changed significantly over the past decade and Chatbooks is a convenient way to bring your cherished moments into print. Share these smiles with your friends, relatives, and anyone else who wants to take a look at your photo memories without being a slave to your cell phone screen.