Costco is eliminating its online photo center services, according to an email sent to customers Thursday.
Those services included reprints, custom book printing, greeting cards and canvas prints. The move comes a year after the Issaquah-based big-box retailer disbanded its physical photo center kiosks in 800 warehouse stores nationwide.
Now the company is encouraging members to transfer photos in its system to Shutterfly, a popular online photo services company. Costco members will get a discount at Shutterfly, according to the retailer.
For many Costco users who appreciated the photo center’s relatively inexpensive services, the news came as a blow.
“No! Shutterfly is so much more expensive than the current Costco photo center,” wrote Anna Bailey on the Facebook fan page Costco Finds.
Costco’s photo reprints and services center were a boon for customers seeking discounted prices for bulk-printed holiday cards and invitations, large-scale prints and customized calendars.
“Dang, I got their canvas prints last year and 3 of them were cheaper than just 1 at Shutterfly,” wrote customer Lisas Fidler on Facebook. “The quality was very, very good.”
In its letter to customers, Costco wrote: “On January 28, 2023, products and services previously available from costcophotocenter.com, costcodvd.com, and costcobusinessprinting.com will no longer be available. Costco members are being offered the opportunity to transfer their photos and address book to Shutterfly.”
The retailer also told its photo center users that projects such as books, calendars, greeting cards or collage prints saved to its site would not be transferable to Shutterfly.
“Projects saved on costcophotocenter.com will not be available at Shutterfly,” Costco wrote. “If you’ve started a project at costcophotocenter.com, costcodvd.com, or costcobusinessprinting.com or would like extra copies of earlier projects, your order must be placed prior to January 28.”
Costco said its members will get a 51% discount at Shutterfly and free shipping on orders priced above $49.
Customers should expect an email around Jan. 11 with details explaining how to transfer photo libraries at Costco’s website to Shutterfly.
Costco-stashed photos also can be downloaded to a personal computer through Jan. 31, 2024.
A year ago, Costco said the rising use of digital photos on social media had led to declining demand for photo reprints.