Turning digital services into physical products is big business, with people gladly paying for a copy of their Instagram photos as fridge magnets or their pets on a tote bag. But new company Zapptales is taking it a step further, letting you order a print copy of your WhatsApp chats, if that's something you'd ever want to do.
Founder Daniel Vicen Renner explains it thusly:
"The idea was created when my nephew was born and my sister and family were sharing so many messages and images on WhatsApp. We realised that we wanted a way to capture and keep these conversations, but there wasn’t a way to do it. So we created zapptales to provide a unique and simple way for anyone to save their digital memories in the real world."
As ever with startups, the fact that one person wanted something doesn't mean it's a brilliant idea with mass appeal. However, to be fair, the company's already been going for a while in Germany and has sold 10,000 books worldwide thus far. One of those was apparently 4,000 pages - 20 volumes! - long, and we have so many questions about that.
The books are created by emailing your WhatsApp chat to Zapptales (using the email option in the app, and including media), then editing and customising, including the background, cover, title and type of book. As with most of these create-your-own book services, the price varies enormously depending on what you go for and how long your chat is, so it could end up costing a fair bit more than the headline price of £24.90 plus P&P. Additional copies are half price, though, so you can buy one for yourself as well as the giftee for a fair bit less.
Sexting fans will be relieved to know that chats and photos can be deleted, and you can also choose to emphasise important ones. So maybe lose the argument about who's bringing the bins in and play up the bit where you decided to become Facebook official.
Zapptales launches in the UK today, so if you're really excited to turn your end-to-end encrypted chat into a piece of paper that you literally leave around the house, have at it. But for the love of everything, edit carefully. Especially if you're giving a copy to your mum.