We offer options that range from $ 65 to $ 195, to give you exactly what you're looking for:
- Our soft and hardcover books ($ 65 and $ 95 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 ($ 195) you get the same as a hardcover book above, plus full customer support via email. Our staff will work with you as much as needed: we'll give you up to three 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.)
We do not want to discourage people from sending long letters or inviting more contributors, and that is why our prices are fixed and not per-page. However, and since we do the design and layout work for you, the difficulty for us does increase with the number of letters and pages. Our solution is to offer a flat rate up to 250 pages, which is enough for most books, and charge an extra fee for books up to 350 pages ($ 30 for paperbacks and hardcover, $ 70 for premium books.), and $ 15 more for up to 450 pages.
There is also a maximum 450-page limit for our books, determined by the binding technology — that's how many pages our covers can comfortably hold. If you have more pages than that, we can split your book into two volumes (pricing based on the size of each volume, following the formula above.)
Yes, we do.
We offer the following shipping methods:
- Ground (printing + delivery in 12-16 calendar days) at $12
- FedEx 2nd Day (printing + delivery in 11-12 calendar days) at $40
- FedEx Standard Overnight (printing + delivery in 11 calendar days) at $85
- Ground (printing + delivery in 15-17 calendar days) at $35
- Rush (printing + delivery in 12-13 calendar days) at $70
- Regular (printing + delivery in 18-28 calendar 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.
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.
We keep online albums for at least 30 days after the delivery date. After that, if we need to make room for more books we will send a reminder to the administrator 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 always let you know before deleting an album.Back to Top
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 16 calendar days to design, print, and ship the books to you (within the US --international orders take longer to ship, obviously, depending on the destination).
Also, in case of urgency, you may select expedited shipping to get the book faster than in 16 days.
For Premium orders, please add at least 3-4 business days for design time, as we go back and forth with you with previews and changes. (If there are fewer changes, the book goes out to print faster; if more changes are required, the processing time is naturally longer.)
That said, we have had very successful books created in a month, and even less if the letters had already been collected.
As many as you want.
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 standard books can hold up-to 450 pages (which is a lot!).
Yes, we can. We have printed books in the Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and other languages. However, since not all fonts transfer from digital to print format smoothly, books that contain text in any of these, or other languages, will require generating and sending you a preview. This usually adds time to book production, and depending on which particular fonts have been used, may not work.
We are constantly working to improve our font base, to be able to print in as many languages as possible.
No, emojis cannot be printed. Please only use characters that you would find on an old typewriter. ;-)
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.
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.
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 ;-).
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.
Yes, you can. Here is how to do it:
- For each separate letter, follow the Contribute link that we send you via email when you first set up the album online.
- Enter writer's name in the name field, and either leave the Email field blank, use yours, OR - if you want the writer to have an opportunity to edit their letter - use THEIR email address.
- Then, copy and paste the text of their letter into the letter field, OR - if it's a scan of a letter - leave the letter field blank and attach a high resolution scan (600dpi at 9 inches across the longest side) to the letter. You can also upload images as attachments.
- Repeat for each letter, using the same link. Remember to Save each letter.
You can add a picture of the handwritten letter, absolutely. Simply scan the note or letter and upload it as an attachment to your submission. You can leave the text field on that page blank.
Please scan your letter at a high resolution of 600dpi at around 9 inches along the longest side, and save it as a JPG or PNG file of high quality. Limit file size to 5Mb.
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.Back to Top
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.
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 brief caption). Occasionally, and especially for longer books, we can combine images in a fixed grid of 2, 3, 4, or 6 images per page. In some of those cases, we may not be able to show captions with the photos, as there is obviously less room for them on the page.
You can see some pictures below with sample letters and pictures
Please check out our gift book design and sample PDF for full details.
We do not, but you can create your own collages and upload them to your album as JPG images, and we will print each of them on their own page.
Many of our users have used either Powerpoint, or PhotoCollage, an easy-to-use web-based tool for creating photo collages, which you can find at https://www.photocollage.com.
Yes, on the front cover (only, not on the back). You can also specify the title for the book. Here are some examples with and without pictures:
We cannot combine photographs and text on the same page, nor do we recommend it. But if you absolutely must have it that way, what you can do is create a Doc/PDF that combines the text and the photo(s), export it as a high-resolution JPG, and upload it as an image for the letter. Then leave the text field on that letter empty.
We do not recommend it. But if your book has a lot of very brief messages, you can combine them manually by copying and pasting multiple entries into the same letter field.
Please keep in mind that the Header (name field) only has space for one name, so you may want to omit the names from top of such pages entirely. 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 messages 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.
By default the letters are sorted by date of arrival. Yes, you may re-order them any way you want.
To see submitted letters and photographs, go to your Administrator's page and click on "Letters Submitted". Next to each letter you'll have a "Edit" link, allowing you to view and edit each one, and also a "Delete" button in case you need to remove a it.
Yes, with our Premium Service option.
Once you place the order and tell us that the letters are ready, we will prepare a PDF file and send it to you for previewing. You can then make changes directly to the on-line album, or ask us for help, and we will generate an updated preview. We will repeat the process up to three times to make sure all looks just right for printing.
We will send you a PDF file with the book design, as it will eventually go to the printers. We suggest that you preview the book file as a 2-page spread, just like you would the real book, to get a better idea of its layout.
- In Adobe Acrobat: go to View, click on Page Display and select Two-Up. It is important to have the Show Cover Page option checked in Two Page View in the same Page Display dropdown menu.
- In Preview: go to View menu and select Two Pages from the dropdown menu. You may need to add a blank page before the title page. To do that, go to View -> Contact Sheet, then Edit -> Insert -> Blank Page. Now, when you return to the 2-page view, the title page - as all odd numbered pages - will display on the right hand side.
We do not, and should not. Different people write in different styles, and we do not want to police the style. So if you are concerned about that, please make sure you check the letter contents for spelling and punctuation so they match your preferences (you can do that in "Letters Received" section of your Admin page.)
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.
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.
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.Back to Top
No need to panic. Just click on the My Birdie link at the top right of this page, enter your email address, and we'll safely send you all that information.
Notice that we only send information related to the email address that you provide. The reason we email you instead of giving you that information directly on the website is so that nobody else can pretend to be you and get your information.
We know that our upload tool does not work with older versions of Internet Explorer. Can you please try again with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Opera?
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.
If you have questions or comments not addressed here, feel free to contact us!
We are a very small crew, and don't have anyone designated to answer calls, so the best way to communicate is via email. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, let us know what your questions are, and we will do our best to answer. We usually get back to you on the same day, or the next day at most.