Thursday, November 17, 2011

Flip-Pal Project #2 -

Post #5
Project  #2   Photo Books

I’ve tried several photo book companies over the past few years, and I’m going to recommend my favorite two companies at the end of this post.  When using your Flip-Pal scanner for a book, you can create a folder full of photos or documents just for your special book project, and also add images you may have downloaded previously.   Here are some fun examples of photo books I’ve created with scanned images.
Scan and download photos, tickets, etc for vacation books
Here is our trip to California last summer!
Vacation Books:  Scan or download all your photos from a vacation 30 years ago, or one you took last month.  If you shared a vacation with cousins or family, publishing an extra book is simple.  If the vacation 20 years ago included children who are now grown up with their own families, it would be fun to gift one to the whole family to “remember when!”

A Mother’s Book:  This could also be a New Mother’s Book, or perhaps a Grandmother’s Book, or even a Godmother’s Book.  In this case, I scanned images of all my mother’s maternal lineages, and also images of her as a young mother, and then her grandchildren.   This book turned out so nice I made a version for my sister and for my mother-in-law, too.  Someday I’ll make one for me!
Every Father's Day we take a photo by the same tree
This book for my husband contained 22 years of photos scanned together
A Father’s Book:  If you read my blog you know that every Father’s Day I photograph my daughter and husband under a tree that was planted on his first Father’s Day.  It’s become a very popular subject for our family.  Perhaps you have a similar tradition?  Do you have photos of an annual Father’s Day cook out?  Ball game? Trip to a family spot such as the beach or favorite park?  It’s easy to fill 20 pages with images, scanned tickets, game programs and text pages filled with written memories.

Some of my Blog Books
Do you recognize the cover photo?
Blog Book:  Regular readers know that every once and while I put my blog posts into a Blog Book.  This is a popular Christmas item in our family since my blog is full of family stories and photos.  You can publish all your blog posts or perhaps just all those that have to do with a particular branch of the family, or about a town or location for your gift recipient.  If you have a Civil War buff on your gift list, why not put all your Civil War blog posts into a book?   For your gravestone loving friend or family member you could publish all your gravestone photos or blog posts.  This idea can be stretched a million ways.   Blog2Print will automatically "slurp" your blog posts right into a project. 

Genealogy Books:  Most of these companies allow photos or PDF files to be used.  If your genealogy program doesn’t export charts in PDF form, you can use one of the free online conversion websites such as or    These charts can be imported to books, just like photos, and text can be written or also exported from your genealogy program.  I know that Family Tree Maker exports genealogy reports as text, you can check your favorite program for the same features.

There are many companies on the internet specializing in self published books and photo books.  I’ve found that I prefer  and     Of these two companies, I prefer Blurb because the project is saved on a file at my own hard drive, and I can print whenever I’m ready.  Other companies have you save the project at their own cloud on line, and have deadlines before erasing your project.  I’ve been most happy with the quality of the paper and bindings at Blurb, too.   However, Shutterfly often runs great specials and coupons.  Blurb rarely has discounts.
Step #1 Scan your favorite photos for your project and then
download to your computer.  You can edit the photos (repair spots, turn
them black and white, change ovals to rectangles, etc.) or leave as is.
Step #2 This is the Blurb BookSmart software
You upload your photos to BookSmart and they appear in the left column.
Drag and drop them into the pages on the right.
Add text (or in this case, it downloaded my blog posts)
All the companies have websites or downloadable software that requires you to download the photos chosen for your project.  The blog books require you to enter your blog URL and then select the posts you want included in your book.   Editing then includes moving the photos around in a pleasing way and adding text.  Most of the software is simple to understand, but then again, I’ve only used a few of these companies listed below.

Cost               *****   (very expensive, but some small paperbacks run under $10)
Difficulty        ***       (you need to be somewhat computer savvy)
Wow Factor   *****   (the books look great, especially the larger format size!)

Caution!  Be sure to order early, because printing slows down during holidays and you want your book by Christmas or Chanukah or Three Kings Day!   During slow times your book can go into a queue and be ready in a week.  During holidays such as Christmas or Mother’s Day, the queue can take several weeks from the day you submit your order.   Start your projects soon, and get them into the printing queue!

Special offers:

Blurb is offering 15% off your total order on books ordered by 30 November 2011 with the promo code HOLIDAY at checkout.     Books that are text, photo books, cookbooks, etc.

Shutterfly:    check  for coupons at the special offers page

LifePics :  I learned about this option through the Flip-Pal website. offers printing of your photos and photo books at locations near you.  Choose a location from the website, download your photos and pick up your project later.  I saw that there was a location very near me at my local CVS store, but this location didn’t offer the book option.  There was a second location at Ritz Camera in Derry that does offer books within an hour.  Very cool!

Snapfish:  check for special offers at this link

My Publisher photo books has special offers at

Lulu  photo books, calendars, cookbooks, etc. at

Blog2Print   specializes in black and white books for blogs that are mainly text, starting at $10.95!  They also produce pricier colored books for blogs with photos, with easy to slurp applications for Blogger, TypePad and Wordpress.

Disclaimer- I was chosen by Flip-Pal to participate as a blogger in the Simple Gifts Genealogy Blog Hop event, and I received a Flip-Pal scanner to use and evaluate.   I was not compensated by any of the book publishing companies listed above.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Flip Pal Project #2", Nutfield Genealogy, posted November 17, 2011, ( accessed [access date]).


  1. Perfect timing with this information, Heather! I've been thinking of printing my blog to give to my mother for Christmas since she doesn't use a computer. And now that seems much more achievable after reading this post. Thank you!!!!

  2. Ah, photo books! I've created several in Blurb, but... well, haven't gotten around to actually having them printed yet.

    Thinking of creating a small one of my parents to give to Dad and my siblings (Mom passed away in '99). Thought it would be nicer and more meaningful (and cheaper) than sweatshop-produced crap from China.

  3. I'm desperate to get hold of a Flip-Pal but they don't ship to the UK. I'm so jealous.

  4. I just downloaded my blog and put together a book to give to my mom (no computer access) for Christmas. It took awhile to format and get it just right but it's done and I'm so excited to see it. Thanks so much for introducing me to blurb!

  5. And it arrived 8 days (including Thanksgiving and a Sunday) after I ordered it!

  6. Debi, I hope it looks great! I'm glad you ordered early.

  7. Heather, I'm glad to see these posts. I have a tabletop scanner so I wasn't sure if the FilpPal would be worth my time, but I can see now that it would be. Thanks!