John and Abigail Adams famously exchanged more than a thousand beautifully written missives during their courtship and marriage, referring to each other as “My dearest friend” and “Miss Adorable,” and writing things like “My bursting heart must find vent at my pen.” Since then, our society has lost a bit of that “bursting heart” poetry in our everyday exchanges, but a few new companies aim to show that love letters aren’t extinct—they’re just shorter, digital and often emoji-filled.
Lovebirds can now create an IRL book, magazine or scroll of texts to memorialize their most romantic online interactions. These services are described by their creators as a take on the modern day love story, even if modern-day exchanges aren’t quite as swoon-worthy as the Adams’. Though reading older, flirty texts may sound frivolous at first, these products act as a true account of our personal love affairs. From the initially uncomfortable “Hey, what’s up?” and “I’d love to get together sometime,” texts, to the first “I love you” message, you can now have a documented, detailed and tangible record of your relationship.
Here are some of the current offerings:
Creates: Hardcovers, paperbacks, magazine and digital books
Price: A PDF digital book creation is $68 for iPhone users and $1.99 for Android users (a disparity that reflects much more difficult the process is for the iPhone). Binding then begins at $10 for magazine covers with more expensive options for paperback and hardcover books.
Best for: The former English major who secretly wishes to live inside a Jane Austen novel.
Txt-book takes your love story and attempts to make it better. Aside from the standard option of turning your texts into a book in “conversation” style (as in a text message screen with conversation bubbles), you also have a “storybook” option which makes your story similar to a novel by adding in phrases before and after your messages:
Worried the storybook version of your love story may seem ridiculous with your not-quite Hemingway writing abilities? Txt-book co-founder Tyler Barnet said it’s less awkward than it seems. “It’s almost funny because you never intended to have [your texts] read that way,” Barnet said. “But to see how effectively and well it works, it really does flow and turns some really poor writers and text messages into a conversation that is actually lovely.”
However, iPhone users be warned: According to Txt-book officials, IOS software does not play nice with the technical requirements to extract text messages, so it can be a much more complicated and expensive process than for Android users.
Creates: Hardcover, paperback and digital books
Price: Digital books start at $9.90, paperback at $29.90, and hardcover at $49.90
Best for: The long-distance lovers who didn’t shell out for an international texting plan.
With Memeoirs, paramours can document those trying times spent laboring over lengthy emails and trying to get to know one another’s deeper intellectual side while separated by great distances. Now they can look back years later and laugh at their adorably naive outlooks on the world and all the little lies they told each other to sound smarter and more sophisticated.
“For deeper, more thorough, long-distance stuff, people still do fall back onto email because it is a more pensive, thorough medium where you get more time to write and do longform stuff,” said Fred Rocha, Memeoirs co-founder. “Which is also what we consider really valuable to put in books.”
Available for: Android and iPhone text messages and Facebook messages
Creates: Individual scrolls, rolled up in a wooden box.
Price: One tome starts at $12, a three-tome box starts at $24
Best for: The hipster who is already so over the mainstream text message books.
Tx.to lets you “scroll” IRL, as you turn up to three conversations into miniature paper scrolls and have them neatly packaged in a little wooden box. Each scroll can fit up to 50 messages.
Tx.to is also hoping to get into the game of taking your conversations further, looking into the analytics of your text messages. The company is working on providing users with an analysis of their text messages with a significant other. For example, customers may soon be able to put in a certain phrase and see how many times it appears in their conversations. That is still in development, though , so for now you’ll have to settle for just the scroll—and maybe use this time to get those “I love you” counts up in your texts!
Illustration by Max Fleishman