Wednesday, October 5, 2011

USA Radio Network's Day Break Interviews TreeRing

 USA Radio Network's Day Break host Scott West interviews TreeRing CEO, Aaron Greco.  Scott probes into why so many schools are flocking to the new yearbook company.  Aaron's answer: custom pages for each student, no cost for schools and eco-friendly.

A Minute More National Radio Interview with TreeRing

 A Minute More national radio news program interviews TreeRing CEO, Aaron Greco.  Aaron details why schools are choosing to eliminate their yearbook costs and provide a much better yearbook with TreeRing.  LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sprout Savvy Blog: 8 Green Back-to-School Products

8 Green Back-to-School Products
TreeRing is bringing yearbooks into the Internet age. These products allow each student to create two pages online that gets printed in just their version of the yearbook.  That’s right, they’re still printed, however, TreeRing does a great job of keeping the printed books as green as possible by only printing books for those that buy them (sounds simple, but most publishers require schools to buy a fixed number leaving many schools with wasted books that the school had to pay for). TreeRing is also dedicated to printing all of its books on recycled paper and the company plants a tree for every book they sell. www.treering.com  READ MORE

Monday, July 18, 2011

NBC 13 News: Environmentally friendly way to have yearbooks



Remember searching through your school yearbook for pictures of you and your friends? Well, that could be a thing of the past.

A California based company is taking advantage of digital technology to personalize yearbooks. It's all thanks to a new service called TreeRing.
"We use this latest digital printing. So, for TreeRing, we're basically disrupting this multi-billion dollar industry that's been around for a long time with innovation that ends up being better for the student and better for the school," said Aaron Greco, the Co-founder of TreeRing.
TreeRing is different from a traditional yearbook, in that, you're doing it all online, which makes it a lot easier to share pages with other people that are working on the yearbook with you.

You also have the ability to customize the yearbook for your child.
"Our family, what we decided to do, was instead of ordering three different yearbooks, we decided to make a custom page for each of our children so that we could have all three in here, and we added a fourth page with all three of them together so that they could share the yearbook," said Sue Kim-Ahn, a parent.
In recent years, a number of schools in California have cancelled yearbooks because of cost. Now because of TreeRing they're saving a lot of money.

Parents can deal directly with the vendor themselves, and buy the yearbook from the site, only if they want to. TreeRing also plants a tree for every book they print.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CNN Money: A Yearbook That Looks Like Facebook


By Blake Ellis  
Watch the Accompanying CNN Video
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- As graduation day arrives, students will say goodbye to their classmates and teachers. And many are departing without a traditional yearbook to preserve those memories.
State budget cuts and the weak economy are causing elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges across the country to either do away with yearbooks or look for more cost-effective publishing options.
Research firm IBISWorld estimates that the traditional yearbook publishing industry has seen sales to schools decline by 4.7% a year over the past few years.
The decline has come as both public and private schools struggling with insufficient funding put their limited resources toward areas like staffing instead publishing yearbooks -- many of which go unsold, especially in recent years as disposable incomes have suffered.
"Our country is handing out pink slips to teachers right and left, and if it comes down to teachers versus yearbooks, yearbooks are going to lose," said Marc Strohlein, principal at consulting firm Agile Business Logic.
Budget crunch
This is the first year that Indiana's Huntington University isn't offering yearbooks, after budget constraints forced the school to reallocate the $40,000 year it typically spends to publish 750 yearbooks.
"Budgets being what they were and the economy being what it was, forced our hand on this one," said Ron Coffey, Huntington's vice president for community development. "But I think given the economic times, the students are understanding of the difficulties that we and other schools are experiencing."
Students at Mokena Junior High School, in Illinois, won't be taking home yearbooks either, after the school district lost funding for all extracurricular activities this year.
And Blaine High School in Washington is in the same boat, and likely won't be handing out yearbooks next year due to a severe lack of funding for the program.
But while some schools are abolishing the keepsake altogether, others are turning to new online yearbook companies like YearBook Alive, Lulu, Lifetouch and TreeRing.
TreeRing, for example, is an electronic yearbook company that lets schools design yearbooks, giving students the option of viewing them online, or ordering a printed copy for just $12 to $17 per book. More than a million photos have already been uploaded, and more than 50,000 students are using its services.
TreeRing says it is now providing yearbooks for hundreds of schools that would have otherwise eliminated the tradition altogether. Sales have soared 600% since the company launched two years ago.
The company estimates that each school saves an average of $100,000 to $600,000 a year in unnecessary printing costs.
"We just signed on with a school in San Francisco that was losing almost $2,000 a year in leftover books," said Aaron Greco, co-founder of TreeRing. "It's just so crazy, because $2,000 could buy five computers with an education discount."
While the major publishing companies mass produce yearbooks using the traditional -- and expensive -- printing method of offset, electronic printing has improved so much recently that the quality is just as good, said Greco.
The company will also soon introduce an online signing function, so students can digitally sign each other's yearbooks books.
One inner-city elementary school with a large population of lower income students, Alvarado School in San Francisco, wasn't able to afford offering yearbooks at all until it heard about electronic options that don't incur costs on the school.
"Financially, it would have just been ridiculous to try to do it -- the school can't even afford paper and pencils, so to outlay money for a nice-to-have item like a yearbook wasn't even something that was considered," said Tim Smith, a parent and teacher at the school.
This year, nearly half of the school's 484 students bought yearbooks, averaging only about $13 each. The others were still able to create yearbooks, view them online and share them with friends.
Breaking with tradition
Budget crunches aren't the only reason for the shift. Huntington University's Coffey said while the school's budget crunch was the main culprit, students are simply more interested in reliving school memories with photos and comments online.
Electronic yearbooks give students the ability to customize pages, and share them using social networking sites.
"The personalization makes it into something about the student, not just the school," said Greco. "We're seeing a death of the traditional yearbook and an age of the personalized yearbook."
Coffey wonders whether social media and Facebook will eventually replace yearbooks altogether.
"Our view is that interest in yearbooks has waned to some degree," he said. "It's not that no students are interested, but with the advent of Facebook and other social networking opportunities, these are often more readily available and interesting venues than the old yearbook world."
But the disappearance of such a long-standing tradition is always hard for some people to accept.
"The tradition is the biggest factor -- it's always hard for students to think of life without it," said Coffey. 
READ MORE 

510 Families Blog: Good idea: DIY yearbooks


Good Idea: DIY Yearbooks
As my son's preschool years get further behind us, I can see that some of the special memories we had are beginning to fade. One of his teachers produced a very sweet photo album for each graduating child in which there were many group pictures, but also greater focus on the child for whom the album was put together. We get it out now and then.
Isn't a personalized yearbook for each kid the ideal scenario? When I look at my high school yearbook, there are only a few pictures of me and my friends. TreeRing.com is a Bay Area start-up that is addressing that issue. There are a certain number of pages that are for everyone in the school and then some that are dedicated to -- or designed by -- every  child. The resulting yearbook is an actual printed book, but a different version is ordered for each student.
For example, everyone's book would have the school picture or class photo pages, but only Julian would have the page that I create all about him. If his friend Maia's mom makes her pictures public in the TreeRing system, I can add those to my book for Julian. Parents can insert numerous personalized pages.
Three schools in Oakland have begun using TreeRing to produce their yearbooks: Ress Academy,Joaquin Miller Elementary, and North Oakland Community Charter School.
It may be too late this year for many schools, but if your preschool runs through the summer, perhaps exploring TreeRing is worthwhile.  READ MORE

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cathy Brooks of Blog Talk Radio's The Conversation covers TreeRing Yearbooks


by Cathy Brooks on The ConversationThe Conversation takes a seasonal bent. Memorial Day has come and gone, which means it's time to start thinking about summer - the end of the school year and the start of fun and frolic. Today's guests tackle two interesting summer-oriented themes.
One of the most emblamatic things about ending a school year is the yearbook, but sadly due to costs many schools are reducing or even removing this staple of school life. Not if TreeRing has anything to say about it. CEO and Co-Founder Aaron Greco joins the show along with literacy specialist Petey Berman and an 8th grader, Daysi, to talk about the way this old time school practice is getting a new life.

TeachStreet: Personalizable School Yearbooks at Zero Cost to Schools

Posted by Sophie Lange.  Managing our school yearbook on top of my teaching responsibilities always used to feel like a chore.  It was stressful to use the antiquated computers and design software available at my school, and ensuring that we included enough photos of each student was stressful. But new book design technology from yearbook company TreeRing.com has changed everything. TreeRing's design software is very intuitive and there are all kinds of beautiful page backgrounds and templates to choose from and customize.  Additionally, the software is web-based so my yearbook team can work on the book from home if need be. TreeRing delivered our school’s yearbooks last week and so many students were elated.  As usual, our yearbook features all the school-wide activities, campus highlights and a class portrait of each student.  But there’s a twist – each yearbook is personalized to include a few pages dedicated to the student receiving the book. This option was available to all families, and more than 90% of those who ordered a book decided to personalize it.
It is palpable how much more excited and proud of their yearbooks our students are this year. Students have fun exchanging notes and signatures as always, and now they can also share photos of family trips, Halloween costumes, and holiday traditions that are specific to them.  It’s like each student’s own experience is validated. TreeRing’s process makes it possible to capture individual memories in this collective school artifact.  It’s not necessary to be the most popular or pretty girl – and the boys don’t have to be captain of the football team – just to have their experiences represented.
Another plus is that our school no longer has to pre-order or pre-pay for yearbooks - all parents order them directly online.  It's been wonderful to be taken out of the check collecting business!  They have a very easily to understand website in case you want more info.
It was easy for me to convince our principal to switch yearbook providers because signing up with TreeRing.com is no cost to the school.  And the company even plants a tree in a partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future for each book purchased.
What a fantastic way to bring the yearbook tradition into the current era of technology, and to make sure each kid’s experience is represented in the copy that they take home!  Thank you, TreeRing. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

CW News: Create your own yearbook with treering.com

Morning News show, Everyday w/ Libby AND Natalie, on KWGN-CW in Denver, CO discusses how cool TreeRing yearbooks are.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kleinspiration Blog: Personalize your own Yearbook with TreeRing


Have you ever noticed that school yearbooks only have about 2 photos of your child? Recently, I’ve discovered a company that is trying to change that and personalize yearbooks. It’s calledwww.TreeRing.com, and it allows the yearbook team to create a bulk of the yearbook online, and each student or parent creates their own personalized pages with photos and memories from the past year. Upon completion, parents purchase the yearbook and hard copies are delivered to the school to keep up with the school spirit.
Because families create and order their yearbooks directly online through TreeRing, schools no longer have to pre-purchase and resell yearbooks, an antiquated and wasteful practice that regularly leaves schools with unsold books and lots of wasted money. TreeRing’s innovative automated process eliminates the financial burden on schools to pay upfront fees for conventional yearbooks. TreeRing even plants a tree in honor of each yearbook sold.
Like the growth rings of a tree, each memory in a TreeRing yearbook is marked in a student’s personalized copy. The memories, accomplishments and activities of each student's life are capture and preserved, so that years from now they'll look back at their TreeRing yearbook and remember all of their great times they had each school year.  READ MORE

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FastCompany: Yearbook Dorks Lose Iron Grip on Content With Customizable, Crowdsourced Books


Crowdsourced, personalized, and cheap--it's a yearbook for the Internet age.
Technology gives, and technology takes away. The digital age has brought us so much--tablets! Facebook!--but as a result, old and declining technologies seem to be walking around with targets on their foreheads. This is increasingly true in schools, which have been jumping on the digital bandwagon of late. Each day seems to bring a new report of how the iPad, for instance, will be ousting an obsolete paper-based technology: the textbook, thenotebook.  
And what of the yearbook, that paper-based technology that almost seems designed to be obsolete? When we flip through them, it's to laugh at the past, its funny fashions, its dated buzz phrases, its unfortunate braces. Surely Facebook, which keeps people in touch and helps them share photos and memories, has delivered the fatal blow to that annual compendium of awkwardness that is the yearbook? 
Think again. A company called TreeRing offers what it calls "yearbooks for the Internet generation"--actual, printed, physical books, albeit with a digital twist.  
A traditional yearbook is made entirely by a school's self-selecting squadron of nerds. TreeRing's yearbook brings everyone in on the fun. While 80% of the yearbook is still made by the school's yearbook team, 10% is crowd-created.  
The books that go out, then, are 90% identical. What about the remaining 10%? At the high school I graduated from before Facebook was a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg's eye, only the seniors counted themselves lucky enough to get half a page to create themselves (with maybe a bit of extra vanity content in the form of embarrassing advertisements bought by grandparents). Underclassmen got nothing. But in the Facebook-enabled age of self-casting, such a meager fraction simply won't do. To that end, the final 10% of TreeRing's yearbook is personalized, created entirely by the individual who will wind up with that particular book.  
It's all managed online, with simple drag-and-drop tools, and you can source your photos from places where they're already likely to be: Facebook and Flickr, for instance.  
The Internet, vanity, social media, crowd-sourcing--TreeRing has all the major bases of modernity covered, then, right? But something's missing... Oh, right: green cred! Don't worry: TreeRing plants a tree for every book sold. 
The whole scheme winds up saving everyone money, too, because TreeRing only prints as many copies as are demanded. A slim, 20-page softcover can cost as little as $10 or less (though a more standard bulky hard-cover, hundreds of pages long, can run up to $60 or considerably more). A virtual copy of the book lives online, meaning even if they lose their printed copy, your classmates can still laugh at your dated hairdo years hence.  READ MORE