Monday, August 9, 2010

Article: The School Photographer - Made to Order, Companies Say Personalized Yearbooks Are A Growing Trend

Yearbooks have been a part of the school experience for decades. While that tradition hasn't changed, the content of the yearbook has certainly evolved. Today, students and parents can customize the yearbook with meaningful, personal content. Established companies such as Minneapolis, Minn.-based Jostens Inc., as well as newcomers such as TreeRing Corp., are enabling students to put personal touches on their yearbooks.
  "Not much has changed in yearbooks over the past 100-plus years other than color pages, but we think the time has come," says Aaron Greco, co-founder of TreeRing, Redwood City, Calif. The company launched in 2009 and began printing and shipping books this spring.
  "It's so incredible seeing students' custom pages with all of their personal memories from the year that currently are lost on peoples' hard drives and flash drives," Greco says. "Although the yearbook is an ideal memento of one's childhood, it's amazing how poorly the current yearbook model actually captures it.  "We certainly think personalized yearbooks will become the 'norm' for schools," he adds. "It is the primary reason we founded the company."
  At Jostens, over the past two years, the company has developed and tested proprietary technology that allows students to make their own memories a part of their yearbooks. Jostens Personal Yearbook Pages enable students to publish photos and stories of themselves, their friends, and events and add those pages to their own copy of the school yearbook.  Says Tim Larson, president and CEO of Jostens, "Enabling students to publish their own content, along with the entire school story, encourages self-expression and allows students to add their own unique personalities.  "We are ushering in an entirely new era for the timeless tradition as we introduce even more ways for students to personalize their yearbooks."  Beginning in August, Jostens will provide online tools at to design, review, and order custom yearbook pages. The website provides an easy way to design four-page inserts that are bound into the book to personalize every student's yearbook.  
 TreeRing works in a similar fashion, as schools create a traditional "core" yearbook that includes the entire school. The school yearbook team assembles a collection of student head shots, faculty pictures, and images that commemorate select school events such as athletics, arts, and more. Parents and students can then customize their own pages at TreeRing prints each student's custom version of the yearbook.  The company says it saves schools money by having families order online directly from TreeRing; so schools don't have to place deposits for yearbooks, have no minimum purchase commitments, and have no leftover inventory at the end of the year. The company adds that due to its on-demand printing, schools have a later publication date for their yearbooks.
  The company also promotes itself as eco-friendly. Through its partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future, a tree will be planted for each yearbook purchased.  
  "We've had an incredible response to our product in our first year," says TreeRing co-founder Kevin Zerber. "For something that has been around for as long as the school yearbook, it's incredible how out-of-date the current publishing model is and how much technology improves the entire process."  READ MORE

Thursday, August 5, 2010

TR Press Release: Earth Times - TreeRing Corporation Partners with Trees for the Future to Plant 7,000+ Trees for Yearbooks Purchased this Year

Redwood City, CA (PRWEB) August 5, 2010 -- TreeRing Corporation is planting more than 7,000 trees via its partnership with the nonprofit organization Trees for the Future. A tree will be planted for each yearbook that has been created through TreeRing’s innovative, easy-to-use software that enables families to customize their student’s unique copy of the school yearbook.     Nature’s inspiration goes beyond TreeRing’s company name. Because families order their yearbooks directly online, schools no longer have to pre-purchase and then resell yearbooks. This relieves schools of any financial burden and the work involved in managing book sales, and also prevents the wasted paper, ink, and space of leftover books.
TreeRing’s founders harnessed the power of new digital printing and social networking technologies to build a tool that is elegant yet simple, allowing schools to create a traditional “core” yearbook, and then inviting parents and students to customize their own pages with a combination of personal photos and favorite memories. Like the concentric rings in the cross-section of an ancient redwood tree that signal years of growth, each student’s copy of the yearbook will capture the memories, accomplishments, and activities of that year.
“We want to protect the earth that our children will inherit by planting a tree for each book we produce,” says co-founder Chris Pratt.    "Our goal is to integrate environmental stewardship into our business and through Trees for the Future we are helping replenish natural resources and investing in environmental education around the world.” According to Conservatree, around 300 books can be made from one tree.
TreeRing considered several partners for their tree-planting initiative, and ultimately selected Trees for the Future, a leading nonprofit organization providing economic opportunity and improving livelihoods worldwide through seed distribution and agro forestry training. Over the years Trees for the Future has assisted thousands of communities in planting millions of trees, which have restored life to land that was previously degraded or abandoned. The trees provide food, fodder, fuel, fertilizer, and medicine for the farmers as well as biodiversity for the landscape.  READ MORE