A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: ZoomAlbum, Kirkland
Who: Doug Rowan, 69, chief bookmaker
Mission: Make it easy for people to share photographs.
Picture book: The standard ZoomAlbum is a 3-inch-square book that can hold 13 pictures. The software is downloadable and output is on standard paper, and assembly requires a rudimentary form of origami.
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Zoom for improvement: Anyone with a Windows PC or a Mac and a standard-quality photo printer can make a rudimentary book free. The random paper becomes a Zoom Album through insertion into the custom hardcover binder, which is sold in a kit. This defines the product and protects the pictures.
About face: One fulfilling market for the albums is the military, because soldiers deployed overseas can carry along a ZoomAlbum in the pocket of their fatigues. “This has become very popular with both the soldiers and their spouses,” Rowan said. “It’s a lot more durable than the standard 4-by-5 shot.”
Handsome prints: Digital technology has become the default for picture distribution, but Rowan says the print market is still vital. “There are more pictures being printed today even with the popularity of digital photography,” Rowan said. “Prior to digital, you would print every picture. Now you take a lot more pictures but make the same amount of prints.”
Financials: The private company does not disclose any financial details. Rowan said the company has been profitable for the last two quarters. It has a strong retail presence, and makes most of its money from paper. “As a company, we are being very conservative regarding expenses and projections of sales,” Rowan said.
Slide projection: Even with all expected cutbacks, photos are a still affordable. “People are continuing to take pictures at an increasing rate despite the economy,” Rowan said. “They appreciate ZoomAlbums as a low-cost way to preserve and share their pictures.”
— Charles Bermant