HotPrints Launches Totally Free Photo-Book Printing

Early this year we were introduced to HotPrints, a startup that lets you print out color photo books at a very low price. Where other photobook printing services cost around $20-$30, HotPrints sells its books for a mere $2.99 plus $0.75 shipping to the United States. Given the low price it’s little surprise that the service has started to get some significant traction, with over 20,000 books printed. And tonight, the company is sweetening the deal even more: HotPrints is now offering everyone one free photo book per month (you don’t have to pay shipping, either).

The new free program is advertiser supported, which means books will come with removable inserts from sponsors (none of the ads will actually be printed alongside your photos). To help make the deal more appealing to advertisers, HotPrints is using demographic information from Facebook, like your region and profile content, to pair users up with appropriate brands (it can also use contextual data like the theme a user chooses for their photo album). However, while HotPrints does its best to match advertisers with users, the company says that sponsors are never actually given anyone’s private information. The ads themselves will be placed as full-page removable inserts in the center of the book.

Building a HotPrints book is easy: the Facebook application will pull in photos from your Facebook friends, which you can drag and drop to place (there’s also a Bebo application available). Books consist of eight sheets of glossy stock paper, or 16 printed pages, each of which can fit multiple color photos. You can also tweak the background colors, titles, and borders. My only issue with the process is that it can take some time for the various designs to load, though it was never more than a few seconds.

Don’t be surprised if the service takes off quickly — these photo books can serve as great gifts or mementos, and only take a few minutes to make. And that $0 price tag won’t hurt either.