Mixi spins off popular photobook printing service as wholly-owned subsidiary



One of my favorite made-in-Japan mobile applications is Mixi’s Nohana photobook printing service. Of course, being a new dad I’m somewhat biased towards applications like this. But still, the service has enjoyed some popularity in Japan lately, briefly becoming the number one free iOS app having been recently featured on national television.

And now it looks like Nohana is being granted a little bit of room to maneuver from its parent company Mixi, as was announced today that it is being spun off as a wholly-owned subsidiary this coming September, to be known as Nohana Co., Ltd..

Mixi noted in its announcement that because Nohana has many customers right now, this change was made to ensure that the venture can operate and make decisions rapidly as it continues to grow. The incorporation will also mean that Nohana’s staff will expand from its current total of four to 10 or 15 [1].

For those not familiar with the service, the Nohana app lets you upload photos from your smartphone, assembling them into 20-page photo-booklets which are then printed and sent to your door. The first book you order in a month is free (except a shipping fee of 90 yen, or about $1), but subsequent copies cost 525 yen. It seems the company is hoping that many parents will input their grandparents address as place to send second and maybe even third copies [2].

Mixi noted in the announcement that to date there have been more than 100,000 photobooks published by over 200,000 people, with a total of 3.8 million photos uploaded.

Nohana was originally launched back in February of this year as a product of Mixi’s internal Innovation Center.

  1. I had a chance to pop my head into their office when I visited the DeployGate team over at Mixi. It’s not a big room, so I expect they’ll be given a little more space as well.  ↩

  2. As a new parent, this is a feature I plan to use frequently.  ↩