Photo and personal publishing giant Shutterfly, which has been gobbling upstartups in recent months, is today launching its second iPad application called Shutterfly Photo Story, which allows you to build photo books on your tablet using photos from your iPad’s Photo Stream, Facebook, Instagram or those uploaded to Shutterfly itself. You can then choose to share those books to Facebook or order a hard copy.
There are now a bevy of mobile tools for building photo albums that can later be translated to print, including iPhone apps like Mosaic and Simple Prints, for example, as well as universal or iPad-only apps like Printzel or KeepShot (the latter of which is one of the better efforts to date). However, Shutterfly actually steals a feature from one of the newer entrants to the photo book printing space with Photo Story, by adding support for audio messages – something which new iPad app maker Memorability recently launched.
The idea here with audio is that photo albums should be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the iPad, becoming digital creations that reflect the platform they now live upon. In Shutterfly’s case, that means users can record 30-second audio messages to accompany each page of the book – making it more of a “Story” (as the name implies) and less of an “album.”
Today, Shutterfly’s photo books are available in 10 different styles, and three sizes, each with a large variety of layouts to choose from. Books can be themed for the types of stories they include, such as: travel photos, “Pictogram” for an Instagram collection, family photos, an artist’s portfolio, and more. When the books are completed, you can share them via email, post to social networks, or order the hard copies starting at $29.99 for the 20-page 8×8, then going up to $39.99 for the 8×11 book, and $59.99 for the 12×12 book. Additional pages are $1.00 each and you can choose either a soft or hard cover.
These prices make Shutterfly’s options a bit more expensive on the low-end than iPad app competitor KeepShot, for comparison’s sake, but less expensive on the high-end.
In addition, the books include a QR code printed on the back, which users can scan to launch the digital version and the audio messages, if available.
The move into photo books complements Shutterfly’s other efforts on the iOS platform, including with its newer Shutterfly for iPhone and iPad apps, which have now reached over 2 million downloads. The company, also home to brands like Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas, Treat and MyPublisher, has less than a dozen iOS applications live today. Likely the next one to be upgraded is Shutterfly’s dated “Share Sites” app, which could use an injection of startup goodness, like that from recent acquisition ThisLife.