FAQ

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QUESTIONS ABOUT PRICING

How much does FromABirdie cost?

We offer options that range from $ 65 to $ 175, to give you exactly what you're looking for:

  - Our soft and hardcover books ($ 65 and $ 90 respectively) are automatically laid out by our algorithms, without requiring much involvement from you (although you will have access to edit the letters, re-order them, add photos, create new sections, etc.). Our staff in the US and Barcelona will still look at every single page before printing to remove duplicate letters, rotate images as necessary, improve text layout, and check that the final design looks great... However, these options don't offer previews or full customer support.

  - By choosing our Premium service ($ 175) you get the same as a hardcover book above, plus full customer support. Our staff will work with you as much as needed: we'll give you previews, make adjustments following your instructions, enhance images, adjust fonts to special occasions, help you improve the cover image, and whatever is needed to make sure that the book is perfect! There is a reason why this is our best-selling option...

  - There is also a free basic, online-only version. We started it as a birthday present / art project, and we have made sure that it retains that spirit as the service grows into a larger business. (We believe that these albums of letters are a great and rare way to express genuine care and affection for someone, and we feel privileged to be able to make a little contribution towards a better world...)

  - Finally, there are cases when there's not enough time to have a book printed and shipped. You can download a PDF version of the letters to print them yourself, for $ 25.

(We also offer luxury handmade books — Contact us if you are interested).

Does the cost of a book increase with the number of pages?

Definitely not: all costs are flat and depend on the type of book and the service level that you choose. We do not want to discourage people from sending long letters and attaching pictures.

There is a 260-page limit for our books, however, determined by the binding technology — that's how many pages our covers can comfortably hold.

Do you ship internationally?

Yes, we do.

How much does it cost to ship the books? Do you offer expedited shipping?

We offer the following shipping methods:
   - Regular Shipping (printing + delivery in 12-15 days) at $5
   - Fast Shipping (printing + delivery in 11 days) at $40
   - Rush Shipping (printing + delivery in 10 days) at $85
   - Canada (printing + delivery in 15-21 days) at $35
   - International (printing + delivery in 18-28 days) at $50

The shipping times above are counting from when the book is ready for us to work on (and, in the case of Premium service, when we have your approval to send it to the printers). They include the time to print, plus the shipping time.

Expedited international shipping is also available (to get your book in 11 days or so), although quite expensive. Drop us a line if you're interested in it.

Is it possible to receive my book in less than 10 days?

Unfortunately, no. The printing process takes between 6-9 days, and we have no control over it. If you need your book urgently let us know (or choose expedited shipping) and we'll make sure that it goes to print as soon as possible... but we cannot shorten the printing time.

How long do you keep the album online?

We keep online albums for 30 days after the delivery date. After that, we send a reminder to the receiver to let them know that the album will be taken offline, and giving them the option to turn it into a book (or keep it online forever).

Albums that have been turned into a book, on the other hand, are kept for at least 2 years, in case you want a new copy. In any case, we'd let you know before deleting an album.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROCESS

How much time do I need to create a book?

We recommend starting the book 30-45 days before the delivery date. The first month will give you enough time to collect all the letters, and then we need 14 days to print and ship the books to you. That said, we have had very successful books created in a month, and even less if the letters had already been collected.

Also, in case of urgency, you may select expedited shipping to get the book faster than in 14 days.

How many albums can I create?

As many as you want.

How many people can contribute to a book?

There are no limitations. For the 2012 campaign, Obama´s collaborators created an album with more than 600 letters (for which we made a 14-pound custom artisan book). Our book prices hold for books with up-to 260 pages (which is a lot!).

Will I be notified every time someone submits a letter?

We will send you an email for the first 3 letters that arrive, and then after that we'll notify you every time 5 more arrive, to avoid filling up your inbox. You can always go to the admin's page on your site and click "Letters Received" to see all the letters that have been submitted.

Can people start a letter and then edit (or delete it) later?

Yes, they can. When they first submit their letter (and provide their email address), we'll email them a link from where they can edit or delete the letter at any time.

Can people attach images to the letters?

Yes, they can. Any contributor can add as much text and as many pictures as they want. The limit is only their imagination.

While there are no hard limits to the number of pictures that may be posted with a letter, we remind people that they are putting together a book of letters rather than a photobook: we don't recommend that they upload all the pictures that they have, just the good ones ;-).

Can people attach images to a letter but not write any content in it?

They definitely can. In fact, people do this a lot, for example to create galleries of photos that they want to scatter around the book.

How do I add collections of photographs to the book?

You can create "collections" or "galleries" of photos by putting them together inside a letter, under a common heading. And you can do this as many times as you want (i.e., you can create more than one collection)

The way to do it is simple: just start a new letter and attach your images to it. Instead of specifying your Name, enter a header that will allow you to identify this galler. If you prefer to leave the header blank, please type “***” (three asterisks), followed by a space, followed by a reference text — this will tell our systems to group the pictures but skip the heading when it makes the book. Don't just leave the field empty: having a heading, with or without the asterisks, will serve as a reference for sequencing of the letters before you have it printed.

Just like with a regular letter, after saving it, you will receive an automated email from us with a link to where you can make changes to this submission at any later time.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT CUSTOMIZATION

Can I customize my printed book?

We strive for simplicity, and thus minimize the number of details that can customized in a book. Our books have a standard format (see question below) with one letter per page and one image per page (see question below for details).

There are several other ways in FromABirdie actually encourages you to customize the book. You may:
  - Choose a title and add a picture for the book's cover
  - Control the order of the letters in the album
  - Add introductory and closing remarks
  - Set and change the delivery date for the album
  - Write introductory and thank you notes for the people you have invited to collaborate in the album.

How are letters and pictures laid out in the book? Can I change that?

Designing the book for printing is an interative process that involves both a human and a computer algorithm. The algorithm lays out the letters and pictures on the printed page, following a set of rules, and the human revises and checks the quality (e.g. making sure that the layout is consistent across letters, that paragraphs stay together on a page, that a letter doesn't overflow to the next page unnecessarily, that the images are cropped and rotated as needed, etc). The process repeats itself until all issues are ironed out.

These are the rules that the algorithm follows:
  - Each letter goes on its own page (extending to more pages if they are longer)
  - The first page each letter has the name of the writer (and optionally a location where they wrote from)
  - There is a default font-size for each letter, but it may be increased if the text is too short
  - Each picture goes on its own page (they may include a caption)

You can see some pictures below with sample letters and pictures

Please check out our gift book design and sample PDF for full details.

 

Can I put a picture on the cover of the book?

Yes, and you can also specify the title for the book. Here are some examples with and without pictures:

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QUESTIONS ABOUT PRIVACY

How private are the letters and albums?

From what we have observed, users of FromABirdie tend to write thoughtful, careful, and personal letters, which makes them quite private. We ensure that only the intended recipient will have access to them (e.g. by password-protecting the album).

People who contribute to the album are NOT able to see each other's letters, although at the end of the process we may share the names of those who wrote with everyone, to enhance the communal experience that these albums are (the organizer has an option to turn this off and NOT share the names of contributors.).

Once a phyisical book is printed we can no longer protect the privacy of the letters, of course. There are also (many) cases in which the book is shipped to the organizer of the book, so they can give it as a present at a party or ceremony. We ask them to respect the writers' privacy, but again have no control over it.

Finally, there are cases in which the creator of the album wants to have complete editorial control, for example to ensure that the final book is perfect. We do let creators see all the letters, but we ask them to let writers know that that will the case. We have never had a single issue or complaint with that.

In summary: while the letters are not really fully private, since the creators may choose to see them and they may be printed in a physical book, they are also not intented to be public either. People tend to write honestly and to address the recipient directly (rather that feeling that they are posting on public channels), but they also knowing that the letters may be seen by others.

What kind of private information does FromABirdie ask for?

We do ask for private information with the letters, but only to make the service richer. For example,


  - We ask for the name and email of the person who creates an album so we can communicate with them over email.
  - We ask for the name and email of the recipient of the letters so that we can send an email on the specified day and announce the surprise (this feature may be turned off)
  - We allow the people who write letters in an album to leave their name, email, and location so the recipient can see who wrote, and can easily get back in touch with them.

Will you sell that information to third parties, or use it for spamming?

Absolutely not. We DO NOT (and NEVER WILL) sell or otherwise share any of the information that we gather – names and emails of recipients and letter writers, aggregate statistics, or anything of that sort. We are trying to offer a useful service and grow an honest business, and we see those values as non-negotiable.

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TROUBLESHOOTING

I am trying to add photos to a letter but it will not allow me. I click on "Add photo" and nothing happens.

Are you trying to add photos from your work computer? We have heard from a few customers who were not able to add photos from their work computers due to various security blocks (firewalls) in place at their companies, but were later successful at doing it from their personal computers.

If this is happening to you, we recommend that you write the letter from the work computer, if you have to, and then edit it from home to attach the letters. (When you first submit your letter we will email you a link, so you can edit it later).

If all fails, you can send us an email and we'll be happy to attach the photos for you.

MORE QUESTIONS?

If you have questions or comments not addressed here, feel free to contact us!

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