This Automatic Photo Book App Is a Busy Parent’s Dream

This week a video for a photobook service was all over my Facebook feed. So I finally watched it, and it was really good. The video captures what it’s like to be a mom in the middle of a chaotic household. She’s snarky enough to be funny but not so over the top that she’s ridiculous. She’s not precious about her kids, but obviously still loves them and would love to have some keepsakes of them. But who has the time?

Enter the service that the video is selling.Chatbooks takes the work out of making photobooks. In fact, it pretty much automates it.

Chatbooks converts social media photos into printed photo books.

Chatbooks converts social media photos into printed photo books.

You connect Chatbooks to either your Facebook account, Instagram account, or the favorites on your phone’s camera roll. At its most simple and basic, Chatbooks sends you a photobook automatically every time you’ve posted 60 pictures. You get an email three days before your book is going to print, and you’ll have the opportunity to move pictures around, remove pictures, or add captions.

All of the formatting is done for you. If you simply leave it as is, the photos print in chronological order. If there’s a video in your feed, the thumbnail becomes a picture in the book. Each book costs $8 ($13 for hardcover), with free shipping. Simple. Quick. Set it and forget it. And suddenly you have beautiful photobooks to put out on your coffee table.

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If you have a ton of pictures already posted that you’d like to include in your Chatbooks series, but don’t want to buy them all at once, you can set up a monthly subscription plan where you’ll receive either one, five, or ten books per month until you’re caught up to your current pictures.

If you’d rather your photobooks be created by subject than simply chronologically, you could set up different Chatbooks series for different hashtags. So, for example, a book would only be printed every time you’ve uploaded 60 pictures with the hashtag #Vacation, or #FoodPics, or #Sunsets.

You can even send other people a code so that they can become contributors to a Chatbook. Everyone in the group can see the group book, but if they want to order one for themselves they can customize it by deleting pictures, choosing a cover photo, etc. Those changes will only be reflected in their own personal book.

If you’d rather make Chatbooks manually instead of having them printed automatically, you can get a Custom Chatbook. The cost depends on how many pages the book has, and custom books have the same simple layout that the automatic Chatbooks have. Like the mom in the video says, if want to spend hours on layout, this isn’t the service for you.

I haven’t tried Chatbooks yet myself, but I’m going to. I’m one of those people who takes tons of photos and never does anything with them. It would probably take me only ten minutes to go through my phone’s camera roll and favorite all of the photos that I’d want in a book.

Would I prefer something fancier that I’ve planned and formatted just so? Sure. But I think history has proved that I’m never actually going to do that on a regular basis, just for very special occasions. Chatbooks sounds like the perfect way to have the work done for me.

You can hear us talk about Chatbooks and much more on the latest episode of Parenting Bytes.

Amy Oztan blogs at and co-hosts the Parenting Bytes podcast. She can usually be found on her couch in Brooklyn with her husband, two kids, and cat.