Your kids' yearbooks probably look a whole lot like yours looked 25 or 30 years ago-same old headshots and all those photos of that one kid who seemed to be everywhere. But now a new digital yearbook company lets parents customize some of the pages in their child's yearbook so there's no more searching to see if your kid made it into the fuzzy background of a shot or two.
TreeRing is a digital publishing company that uses technology to create yearbooks for schools that parents can customize. The process starts with the traditional yearbook design, but then invites parents to participate and create their own pages. Throughout the year, they can add photos to their child's book, or upload photos of an event other parents also might want to use.
And don't be intimidated by the new technology; if you can send an e-mail you can use the product, says Aaron Greco, co-founder of TreeRing. "It's really, really simple. Plus each book is absolutely unique."
The full-color books average about $15 for elementary school and about $45-$50 for high school yearbooks. Your first two customized pages are included in the price. If you want to buy more, it's $3.99 for each additional two pages.
Greco says an added benefit to the customized yearbooks is that schools don't have to pay for yearbooks upfront, as they do with traditional hard copies where the school buys and sells them to students. With TreeRing, parents order directly and books are only printed when someone orders one. "In traditional print models, they were having to print huge runs of books and they have to get a commitment way in advance. I talked to a school administrator who was losing $2,000 every year on yearbooks that would sit in a closet or be given away," Greco says.
For more information on the yearbooks and to see a brief demonstration of how it works, visit treering.com.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.