If you’ve never heard of storybooking, you’re not alone. The most common ways to preserve pictures these days –getting them out of digital form and into your hands– is through photo books or scrapbooks. Photo books are made digitally through online companies including big box stores. You usually choose from a few pre-designed styles, plug in your pictures with a caption, and you’re done. Scrapbooks are hand-made using papers, scissors, stickers, pens, and the like. What, then, is digital storybooking, and how is it different from more well-known methods like photo books and scrapbooking?
This month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts showcase several different methods for preserving your photos and the stories that go with them, along with opportunities to win each one! It’s a fun way to celebrate our one-year blogiversary! Don’t miss the grand prize at the end of the month, too–it’s worth over $100 and comes with an extra special bonus.
Learn how to enter each week’s giveaway, then read on to find out if preserving your pictures using digital storybooking is right for you–and how to do it.
- A minimum of 10 comments on the blog post by April 2, 2018 qualify the item to be given away. In the comments, tell me something you like about or learned from this blog post or another #familyhistoryfriday post over the past year.
- After April 2, 2018, the 10+ commenters will be entered into the drawing IF YOU ALSO e-mail me (Jennifer) so I can contact you if you win. Your e-mail will not be kept, shared, or used for any other purpose. Because that’s rude. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org just to give me your e-mail address.
- Winners will be drawn at random and contacted immediately via e-mail.
- Share this post and the giveaway with someone you know who would love to win! (That has the benefit of helping the post get 10 comments, too!)
What Digital Storybooking Is
In the early 2000s, a young mom named Candy May realized that her kids didn’t know her hero, her grandfather, as much as she wanted them to, so she decided to do something about it. About 1,000 miles separated them, and Candy had an idea to bridge the gap between the generations: she would write her grandpa’s life story as a bedtime story for her kids.
Candy interviewed Grandpa Wozney, asking him about his younger years and his memories of his life. At first, Grandpa resisted a little because he didn’t think his life story was anything special. Don’t forget this great lesson: Every life story is special to someone else.
This little storybook, “My Great Grandpa,” became Candy’s kids’ very favorite book. They could quote from it! They got to know and love their mommy’s hero, their great grandpa, just because she took the time to bridge the distance between them.
And this is actually the story of Heritage Makers! This experience would lead Candy to start the Heritage Makers business a few years later, giving others the opportunity to easily write their own family stories from their own online accounts, then have them published on the Heritage Makers printing press on heirloom-quality materials. And so the term “digital storybooking” was coined.
By the way, that black and white picture is Candy reading her storybook to her son, Teague. After Heritage Makers was born, she reprinted the book as shown above.
What’s the Storybooking Difference?
With common photo books, there’s often a place for a caption or two. A Heritage Makers storybook has no limits on photo or text placement, so you can really tell the whole story. Simply writing “Cape Cod 2011” doesn’t tell the story of the picture.
Was this a special trip, or an everyday one? Who was there? How long did you stay? Where did you stay? What happened that was fun, funny, enjoyable, unique, or memorable? Who was with you? What did you eat? Why did you go? What was your favorite part? What do you want to always remember about the trip? Would you go again? What’s the whole story behind the photos? Why did you take the photos in the first place?
So digital storybooking is much more than a “photo book” because it tells a whole story. It gives words to your experiences, memories, and life. And it’s something you can go back to again and again!
If you’re not sure what it really looks like to create a digital storybook, you can watch me doing digital scrap pages with Heritage Makers right here in this video. Digital storybooking looks exactly like this, only your final product will be in a hardbound book (and it might be a different page size, depending on your preference).
You Might Love Digital Storybooking if…
I’ve found that digital storybooking is the preferred method of preserving pictures and memories for those who:
- believe strongly in journaling and want the space to do it
- want a digital method of preserving their photos and stories
- want multiple copies of their books without any extra work
- are looking for a streamlined way to preserve all the photos and memories from one year in one place (“family yearbook”)
- need a high-quality way to showcase and remember a special event
What I Love About Digital Storybooking
Note: I have been using Heritage Makers digital storybooking for 13 years, and this review reflects this brand. It may or may not apply to other digital books.
I really love digital storybooking for all the reasons in the bullet points above. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I personally love the looseleaf method of preserving my everyday photos and memories, so I use digital scrap pages most often. However, I adore digital storybooking for highlighting special occasions and being able to give copies of the books as gifts. There’s just nothing more meaningful.
Pretty much THE MINUTE my mom was diagnosed with the disease that would take her life, she said, “I want to go to the coast.” We arranged a family trip to her Happy Place, the Oregon Coast. I take a lot of pictures anyway, but I also suspected that this would be the last time she would be well enough to make this trip. (Unfortunately, I was right.) I documented as many moments of that short trip as I could and made a really lovely digital storybook, recording all the details of our time together. It was how I could give my mom Oregon. She had those memories and those gorgeous photos to go back to as her health declined. And we still have a beautiful, meaningful keepsake of those moments.
And, truth be told, this is why I can’t say enough about why I love digital storybooking. It’s one of the most valuable tools I have for my family. It’s so much more than a “photo book”–I can tell the whole story, record all the memories we make.
If digital storybooking sounds like the thing for you, comment below (don’t forget to e-mail me, too) to be entered into the drawing for A FREE 8×8 STORYBOOK FROM HERITAGE MAKERS! The 8×8 storybook comes with 21 pages. If you would like to add more pages, you can do so for a minimal charge (about $1.50 per page). You will need to pay for shipping when you are ready to publish the book. You can access a beginner video tutorial about creating digital storybooks using Heritage Makers here, plus a more detailed but still beginner one here.
This prize is a $30 value. (If you don’t win, by the way, you can create your own digital storybooks by clicking here!) If you are the winner, you will be notified on April 2.
What Are Other Options?
If digital storybooking doesn’t sound like your way to preserve photos and memories, don’t worry. I have two more options with giveaways coming this month! If you missed the digital scrap pages option, click here to find out why it’s a great option for some people. If you missed the easy scrapbooking kits option, click here to find out why it’s a great option for some people. You’re bound to find a favorite, doable method here on #familyhistoryfriday posts this month!
- Heritage Makers. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). Evolve. Retrieved from https://www.livegrowgive.org/one-solution-many-photos-family-yearbooks/
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). Life Tales Books & Personal Publishing. Retrieved from https://lifetalesbooks.blogspot.com/2017/08/interview-questions-to-help-write-life.html
- Wise, Jennifer. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xwyf-hBPeY&t=195s
- Wise, Jennifer. (2018). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnjKeoinCyU