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Sign of the times: Minnesota company trims yearbook publishing

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Quick, where's your high school yearbook? On a bookshelf, in a box in the basement, or in your mom's attic?

In the future, high school students may answer that question by saying their yearbook is on their laptop, on a jump drive, in the cloud – or that they simply never got one.

The Associated Press reports Eden Prairie-based Lifetouch Inc. plans to cut back its yearbook publishing; a company statement says the evolution to more digital and self publishing prompted Lifetouch to make the change.

The Kansas City Star reports the jobs of 75 of the 100 employees who work at Lifetouch's yearbook publishing plant there will be eliminated as of Dec. 1. The shutdown also will cut about 300 seasonal jobs between December and June, the "busy season" for yearbook publishing. The company will consolidate its yearbook publishing at its plant in Loves Park, Illinois.

Earlier this month, the Nashville Tennesseean reported that when fewer than 5 percent of the students at Antioch High bought yearbooks in 2012-13, the school stopped putting one together. The principal said school surveys showed "students didn’t find the yearbook relevant to their high school experiences." The school replaced the traditional yearbook with souvenir books that focused on specific popular sports or events.

Lifetouch is best known for publications covering kindergarten through junior high, and for publishing church directories. It also provides student portraits at schools, sports activities and dances. Lifetouch also operates portrait studios in some retail chains, including Target and J.C. Penney. The Business Journal reports that the company, which is employee-owned, is the state's 26th largest privately-held company by revenue.

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