Friday, July 30, 2010

Article: Orange County Register - San Clemente School is Rewriting the (Year)book

By Fred Swegles
What if parents could order a school yearbook, knowing it would include at least four pages custom-built for them and their children?  What they could contribute photographs they love?
At Our Savior's Lutheran School in San Clemente, this is the year they reinvent the yearbook.
Our Savior's is teaming up with a new company called TreeRing that aims to use digital technology to change how yearbooks are conceived.  Aaron Greco, a 1995 graduate of San Clemente High School, is a co-founder of TreeRing.  He tells how originator Chirs Pratt came up with the idea:
"His daughter came home from school and said very proudly, 'Look, Dad, here's my yearbook,' and pointed out her one head shot, and then she was kind of in the back of another picture."
Dad wasn't as proud.  He was in the digital printing business. his first thought was, "There's got to be a better way of doing this."
TreeRing came up with a website that promises schools an easier, more cost-effective, no-surprises way to produce a yearbook that can be personalized for each student.
"We've signed up dozens of schools all over the country," Greco said.  "We're growing pretty fast.  The idea is really catching on."
Dunya Shaw, principal at Our Savior's, said the school traditionally has charged $20 for a 60-page black-and-white yearbook.
"We're going to be able to offer color for about the same price," she said.  Because of digital printing, "we have the opportunity to customize the pages.  Every parent wants to see lots of pictures of their kids in the yearbook.  In fact, I've had some of the parents take the yearbook and look at it and count the number of pictures of their child.  This way, they can customize up to four pages of their own child, and they get to choose the pictures that will go in there."
The other pages, as in years past, will be under the direction of Patrick Wallace, a local professional photographer.  He will continue to take most of the photos, but because the book will be conceived online with templates and there will be more parental involvement, there could be some interactivity.
"We can preview the pages," Shaw said, "instead of just waiting until it's print time and print off all the pages.  It'll be evolving."
Wallace and parents who signed up to work on the yearbook will decide which pictures go into the master book.  Wallace will have access to parents' photos, and Greco figures it'll make for a better yearbook.
"He's not at all of the events," Greco said.  "He's not in 50 places like all the parens are, taking shots.  Even though he's a professional and most parents are not, there'll just be more options for him to choose."
Bringing parents into it is easy, Greco said, since people already are using Flickr or Myspace to upload photos.
"It's not a major behavior change," he said.  "Parents are already using SmugMug to look at school pictures every day.  It's just combining these two things that people are already doing out there into this huge space that has been completely ignored."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Article: Chicago Parent - Introducing the 21st-century yearbook: digital and personalized

By Liz DeCarlo
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

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.  READ MORE

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Article: Invention & Technology News - TreeRing Yearbooks Offer Individualized, User-Created Pages

Author: Ann Delphus
If you have a problem finding enough photos of your son or daughter in the school yearbook, you may want their school to switch to TreeRing, a company that offers schools and families a unique personalization capability. TreeRing is a new, just-in-time publisher of competitively-priced, customizable yearbooks that are designed by customers completely online, a concept known as cloud computing.
While a school's yearbook team creates the layout for most of the pages in each book, at least four pages are reserved for kids and/or their parents to fill with their favorite digital photos to commemorate the school year. If more personal pages are desired, they can be included for a surcharge of about $5 for each set of four additional pages. READ MORE