Frequently  /  Asked  /  Questions

What we do at Modern Heirloom Books is essentially simple: We interview you to capture your stories, then design an engaging book that marries your memories with your photographs. Because the process is so customizable, though, the process can seem daunting. No worries—if your questions are not answered here, your free consultation is an optimal time to get them all answered!


General FAQs about our process & our books:

What will my book look like?

Our bookmakers combine the latest in digital printing with old-world, hand-sewn bookbinding techniques to create one-of-a-kind books. Some of our favorite cover choices include Japanese silk, linen, and leather, while our papers range from lightly textured felt to satin matte. It boils down to this: We believe your book design should complement your stories. We will provide 2-3 options for book styles specific to you and your content, from which you may choose or work with us to customize to your liking.

How long should my book be?

Most of our books fall within the range of 100-200 pages. For career retrospectives, family books covering multiple generations and the like, we do have the ability to publish longer books but typically recommend publishing shorter volumes that can be beautifully displayed in a slipcase or clamshell box.

Are my photographs protected?

Your photos and keepsakes receive white-glove treatment and will be handled with utmost care while in our possession. All scanning and photo restoration is done on our premises unless a client agrees to have a large group of photographs scanned by a trusted vendor. We promise to cherish your pictures as if they were our own, and return them to you in the same condition! 

In special instances, we can arrange to bring equipment to your home so that all photo digitization can be done on premises, ensuring your precious pictures’ safety and providing you comfort (fee applies).

How long does the process take?

The full process typically takes between 4 months to a year. For projects where you are very clear on what photos you would like to include and how a story should be presented, the timeframe is greatly condensed. For projects requiring more planning—interviewing multiple individuals, going through generations’ worth of photographs, or searching multiple family members’ computers and handheld devices, for example—the timeframe is likely to be considerably longer.

Once a book is designed and approved, it will take up to two months for finished books to arrive.

Plan ahead, please—especially for anniversary parties or other occasions where you may want to present the celebrant with a book as a gift!

Can I do phone or video-chat interviews?

While the initial consultation is over the phone, I prefer to conduct all interviews for books in person. My experience has shown that face-to-face time is conducive to establishing trust and rapport, keys to having fruitful and meaningful conversations that elicit great stories! I am available to travel beyond the greater New York–New Jersey region (travel fees apply).

Can I give a book as a gift?

Heirloom books are indeed one of the most unique luxury gift options you will find! Please call to purchase a gift certificate, or fill out this gift certificate form and I will get back to you ASAP!

  • Our Dear Daughter, On Your Wedding Day book is a sought-after gift for parents looking to give their bride-to-be something unexpected on her big day.

  • Life story books are treasures for the younger generation. Consider having multiple copies printed for holiday gifting to the kids (and grandkids).

  • Tribute books are often intended as surprise gifts. Hallmark anniversaries, milestone birthdays, and college graduations are popular options.

  • If you would like to hear stories from a beloved family member or friend, consider getting them a gift certificate for a One-Hour Heirloom; we will set up the interviews based on your guidance and create a book both the gift giver and gift recipient may enjoy.

Can I get a digital version of my book?

Yes, no matter what type of physical book we design for you, we can always provide a digital version for social sharing and archival purposes (fee applies).

What is a personal historian?

Personal historians help individuals, families, and organizations preserve their valuable histories, memories, and life stories through oral interviews, curating, and editing. Modern Heirloom Books specializes in creating bespoke heirloom books, though we can refer you to experienced colleagues who will capture your memories on video, as well.

Often it is the journey of being interviewed—having an open-minded, open-hearted listener to your precious stories—that we are told is the true gift.

Watch this brief video to get a better idea of why you should preserve your memories, and how a personal historian such as Dawn can guide you:

How much does a Modern Heirloom Book cost?

We list specific costs on our Signature Products pages. While our books are as varied as the lives our customers lead (there is no “typical” book), projects generally start at $7,000. The One-Hour Heirloom provides a taste of our process and a miniature bespoke book for $1,500, a wonderful introduction to preserving your memories in grand style. Set up a consultation to get a project quote.

How do I get started?

Give us a call at 917.922.7415 to discuss your project, or set up a free in-person consultation to see the myriad options available to you. Read more about our process here, get book ideas here, or sign up to stay in touch with future promotions and inspiration.


Answers to questions about specific products:


Let’s chat! Set up your free consultation.