Categories:  Behind The Scenes  

How we personalise your books

We created Annabee's Books with the aim of equipping our children with empowering tools and self-belief they need to make their contribution to the world.

Through allowing our stories to be personalised, we create a high level of engagement and ultimately improve the chances of conveying these important messages to our children.

From the moment a book is ordered, to when it is delivered to your door, it is one big smooth process. The end result is a fun and creative experience for parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and a gorgeous gift for any child lucky to be on the receiving end.

In the beginning, there are illustrations.


This article picks up when the creative process of writing and illustrating a book has ended. At this stage, our illustrators prepare and organize the illustrations as different layers within the design files. For example, 5 different hair colours will be 5 different layers of the same hair outline but with a different colour.

By hiding/showing these different layers we can already create the different family compositions and appearances we want in the books.

From illustrations to our platform.


Part of the magic happens here.

Once the design files are uploaded to our platform, we have built programs that run through the files and do two things:

  • Extract every single layer as a separate file. They do this twice, once in high resolution (for use in print) and once in low resolution (for use on the website).
  • Extract information about every single layer. They extract the size of the layer, its coordinates versus the background and its place in the layer hierarchy (the ones at the top will be added last).

The files and data are transferred and stored on our servers. We keep track of where each layer/image is stored, so we can quickly retrieve it when we need to create a new book.

Where you make your own choices.

You may have already seen our book configurator, used it to preview a book and even order a printed copy! The algorithms used to create and preview a book are the same ones that we use to create the high-resolution versions that we send to be printed.

When you preview the full book, our algorithms compose each page in turn, doing the following:

  • Retrieve all images for the given options chosen
  • Load the background image
  • In the order of composition, layer every image over the background, using the coordinates information to place it in the right spot.
  • Once all layers are placed, create the text paragraphs and place them in their final spot.
  • Ta da! We have composed a page, onto the next one!

And so on until the entire book has been composed.

Sent to print, shipped and delivered.

When you place an order, you have 12 hours to make any final changes to it before it enters our composition system. When it enters, the books are composed in high resolution and we output a print ready PDF (with crop marks and everything). This is quality checked by a team member and if it is fine then its automatically sent across to our printing partner.

Our printing partners (more on them in a future post) handle the printing, eliminating, binding, quality checking and shipping of our books.

Depending on the shipping method you choose, your book should take 24-48 hours go get to you.

Et Voila!


You now have a much better idea of what happens behind the scenes and how we go from illustrations and story, to a gorgeous storybook delivered to your door!

We'll get into more details in other articles but if you have any question please do not hesitate to contact us, we love to hear from you.

If you have a children’s story that you would like to see illustrated and published, get in touch with us at publishing@annabeesbooks.com. We are excited to work with authors to see their empowering stories published via our platform.

If you want to use our personalisation technology to publish your own stories, get in touch with us at platform@annabeesbooks.com. We are building a self-service approach to generating personalised storybooks and can help you bring your story/idea to life.

Written by Chris, Co-Founder. (Follow him on IG @mostly_dadding).