I LOVE taking pictures, but showing them to people in real life can really get to be a pain in the butt. “Where is my phone? Is it charged?” Or (if you are like me) “I dropped my phone and I didn’t have it backed up.” THE WORST!!! Welcome to 2015, where the struggle is real for our photos. The best thing I can do to make sure I don’t lose all of my memories is to upload as many of them as I can to social media sites. Of all the social media sites, Instagram (IG) had not really been a favorite of mine to use, BUT I would jump on from time to time because I LOVE looking at (and sharing) photos and making new friends. Now, ever since I started receiving my BOOKSTO.ME books, Instagram has become my new favorite. Not only am I able to share my most favorite moments with the world, but I get them sent straight to my doorstep in a sleek and stylish book that my kids will be able to forever cherish.
My thoughts before I signed up: Up until I tried BOOKSTO.ME, I grew VERY tired and frustrated of never being able to find my photos when I wanted to look at them, or show them to the girls/friend/family member. Social media sites quickly became my go to for uploading photos so that I wouldn’t lose them. (Besides, who doesn’t love seeing EVERY moment of my life in their news feed. lol). Early 2015, I opened my@twnmommy101 IG account, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. I knew that IG was a great networking tool for my site, and a great way to connect with others and share our twin-ventures, but it felt so exhausting. Between all the hashtags, square images, and filters I wasn’t sure how to deal.If you know anything about me, I like my pencil and paper. I don’t mind digital, but for me nothing beats HARD COPY! Shortly before tossing in the towel on IG, I discovered there might just be a way for me to have it all!
While at MommyCon Atlanta 2015, I passed by a lot of tables and found myself coming back to this one in particular. (Books tend to grab my attention.) It was there that I learned about BooksTo.Me: A company that takes your IG photos and prints them into a sleek and chic black hardback book. It’s a pretty nifty concept and, because I’m already sharing my favorite photos on IG as it is, they had my full attention. I liked the fact that I had full control of which photos were printed. (If there are any photos that I share on my account that I don’t want printed, I can simply hashtag #nobtm to have it omitted.) And I had the flexibility of either printing monthly or quarterly, with no contract- which is always a plus! I honestly wasn’t sure that this was something that I would be interested in at the beginning, but I do love my photos, so I accepted the offer to team up with BooksTo.Me and see for myself what they were all about.
The first month flew by so fast that I had almost forgotten I was expecting mail. I was VERY excited when my favorite mailman dropped it off, and immediately ripped open the box- well, after taking a selfie with it of course. I loved the way everything was set up inside. SO fun and exciting! The first thing I saw was a letter informing me about the details of my book and who inspected it. Underneath that was my book, and on the front sleeve were my 12 most favorited images from that month/quarter! (Talk about memory lane!) To top it off, the texture and look of the fabric cover made it so inviting and fancy. They did a great job of picking something that would stay in style forever, which is great news for my future grands and great grands.
Now to get to the most important part… THE PHOTOS. You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well between the color and the quality, I’m thinking a million words isn’t even close enough. I have never seen such sharp, clear, and saturated photographs. And NO pixelations! I seriously had to hide all my scissors to fight off the urge to cut and frame. The paper, I noticed, was unlike any I had felt before. I later learned that it is made of archival paper, which is cotton based (vs wood like our standard paper). Needless to say, your photos are NOT going to get ruined any time soon! (The papers shelf longevity is 200 years +) And if that’s not enough to make the eco friendly girl in me happy, the paper is GREEN-E certified! The Green-E rating has to do with the way it was manufactured and the plant it was manufactured in. (In a nutshell, it means that the plant itself is rated as being energy efficient and eco friendly.)
So far: I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! The only thing that I wish they did was offer the option to also have your captions/comments printed under the photos. Yes, the photos are more than enough, but it would be nice to read the thoughts that you had when you were in the moment too. Maybe even get a little note about how many likes and comments it got? You know a little heart and comment bubble with the amount next to each. (I have been informed that they are currently working on improving text availability for future books.)
One thing I like is the flexibility they offer in their plans. Since I post daily to my @twnmommy101 account, I feel like I would benefit more from the monthly plan. But if we were back in the days of when I used my personal account, I would more than likely opt for the quarterly since I didn’t post as often. True, I don’t have the money to buy a book for myself every month, or even quarter. BUT, for occasions like birthdays, family reunions, holidays, etc, I could see myself ordering a book so that I always have the photos in print. It’s WAY easier than taking them and trying to get them all printed myself. And then trying to file them in an album or box; somewhere I will probably completely forget about them. And then, we are back at square one: The phone album. (AND since they offer gift certificates, I have a GREAT gift idea for my IG friends now too!)
Overall, if you are like me and post your most memorable and cherished moments on Instagram, you definitely need to check these guys out! If you use your profile to promote your own business/groups or as a portfolio for your art/photography this is THE BEST thing to happen to you! Either way, unless you are already running back and forth to the photo department at your local drug store, be sure to add these to your Christmas list or list of “must have splurges” for special occasions and holidays. Nothing beats looking back at the good times that are NOT on a phone screen!
We loved it so much we are teaming up with BooksTo.Me to give you THREE FREE MONTHS! (a $72 offer!)! Be sure to follow both of us on IG, and if you follow my blog, you will get instructions on how to get bonus entries throughout the giveway! Official rules and details will be posted Sunday evening (8/30/2015).
It is with a heavy heart that we are writing to you to tell that we will be closing down BooksTo.Me on December 31st (2015). As owners, we have been given an extraordinary opportunity. In January we were asked to acquire and direct a non-profit called the Magic Hour Foundation. At Magic Hour, we connect cancer patients with our network of professional photographers for free family photo sessions. It has been an incredible experience getting the organization back up and running, but unfortunately as it grows we can no longer divide our attention between it and BooksTo.Me.
While we may be closing, there are other companies that can help you with your Instagram printing needs. We suggest Chatbooks, another automatic Instagram book printing company. If you'd like to give them a try, you can use the promo code TKKAY3MR to get your first book free.
If you are interested in continuing to follow our journey, you can check out magichour.org and facebook.com/magichourfoundation.
Jeffrey and Caitlin Lazo