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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Instagram Photo Books - Prinstagram vs Chatbooks

I joined Instagram back in the very end of 2012.  Like many women in my demographic (SAHM/30's) I find myself taking phone and or/iPad photos of my life almost every day.  My Instagram feed is predictably filled with photos of kids, coffee and food.  I will add however that I mix it up by adding photos of hot air balloons (and other desert scenery around here) and vintage Fisher Price.

These photos are naturally precious to me but I was becoming stressed at the amount as they added up in my ever growing account.  I wanted to start deleting (some of) them but needed to find a way to keep them forever and always first. ;)  

So I started investigating Instagram photo books.  I started with my go-to printing company Shutterfly but was unimpressed with their options.  They required far too much effort on my part to make a book, primarily because Shutterfly's program was unable to sort my photos by date taken.  The thought of manually figuring out the order of my many hundreds of photos (300+ at the time) was daunting to say the least, so I gave up on Shutterfly.


Next I went to Prinstagram, also known as Print Studio.  This company offers a variety of ways to print out instagram photos including two sizes of books (tiny! and 7x8.5), poster sheets, stickers, framed prints, calenders (with tiny tear off pages), t-shirts, magnets, cards, etc.  I ordered a hardbound "Photobook" that was 7 x 8.5 inches large.

Prinstagram had two main printing options.  1. 319 images in a book or 2. 38 images in a book. (for the 7 x 8.5 inch size).

At $25 a pop (plus s/h) it seemed like a better idea to go with the 319 image book.  Prinstagram uploaded my photos (you grant them permission to use the IG app) and placed them in a 38 page book in random sizes and placement.  

Pros - Book looks lovely, can fit 319 images.
Cons - Cost is higher than other books. You cannot select where to place the images in the book or what sizes they print.  And the most annoying; no hashtags, dates or entry words print on the pages. (note: photo labels/hashtags are available on the 38 image book).  You also have to use exactly 319 photos.

Because the book did not have any dates or hashtags I manually spent time after it arrived writing them in myself. 


Shortly after receiving my Prinstagram book I heard about Chatbooks.  Chatbooks are soft bound photo books that are printed on a subscription basis. Each book is 60 images and 60 pages.  Chatbooks will print a new book for each 60 photos you put on your IG account.  Basically you grant them access and when you get to 60 (new) photos they notify you that another book is ready to print/ship.  You can choose to opt out any photos as well as select the cover image for each volume.

Since I had hundreds of photos in my IG account already I had to option to print them all at once, or print them slowly (1+ a month).

All of this for only $6 a book (shipped).  They also have options to make more customizable books (30 to 365 pages), but I have not tried one of those yet.  A customizable book would be perfect for a grandparent gift, best friend (year in review perhaps) and of course a coffee table book on all your coffee drinks. Ha!  Perhaps I'll make one that just has my vintage Fisher Price toys in it.

Pros - Books are inexpensive, well printed, show hashtags/date and descriptions (no comments though).  They are a perfect size for little hands and easily replaceable if those same little hands wreck them. :)
Cons - None for me!

So clearly I am a Chatbooks fan.  To get your first book free just use the code above!

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