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Homemade DIY books a unique, inexpensive gift

December 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Many people this holiday season are turning to Internet photo services to give a unique and inexpensive present with a personal touch.

While were not exactly in last-minute shopping mode, we're getting close, and a homemade do-it-yourself book just might be the perfect gift for a loved one.

"We're seeing people go beyond telling their milestones to these specific use cases, like DIY books and telling their food stories," said Heather Madden of shutterfly.com, which helps users enhance, share and store digital photos and convert them to print format.

"You can do a top 10 book or a year in review," she said.

Catherine McCord created a cookbook picture album of daughter Chloe making Mexican wedding cookies.

"It was so much fun shooting her, she was so involved in it and it didn't take any time at all," McCord said. "I'm not so savvy on the Internet."

Get your concept, shoot the pictures then upload your photos to your computer. Once you've done that, upload the photos to Shutterfly, where prompts help you place pictures and wording. They do the rest.

A 20-page book takes about an hour to create. Base price is around $13 and the average is about $24.

Celebrity trainer Gary Kobat takes pictures of marathon clients at 10Ks and training runs, then compiles them for memory books.

"I love the story possibilities," he said. "We can create a whole section right on food, a whole section on movement, a whole section on mind over body."

"The change, the transformation from when they began three or four months ago until the finish line," Kobat said.

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