Today I received the proof prints of my new publication “Touring the residual landscape” which is now ready for purchase on Blurb.
Blurb has done a good job again. The print on the creme white uncoated paper imitates the original look of the ink drawings on handmade indian album paper with little specs of plant parts very well, much beyond my expectations. I like the booklet a lot, it’s kind of cool to have it in hands and leaf through the pages.
The layout is very simple, the same as in the original. Only the semi transparent silk kraft paper sheet between the pages is missing. The drawings are scaled to the format of the Blurb book using the maximum width. Those drawings that have been drawn in landscape format with the book turned by 90° are reprinted the same way.
Just in case you have the idea for a photo book this video might be of interest. I haven’t paid much attention to the Blurb blog as most of it seemed mere promotion, but found via Blurb on Google+ that Daniel Milnor however is giving a great lecture and really compressed tour de force through many aspects of creating a photo book.
Photographer Martin Bailey has a long podcast interview about a fascinating self-publishing project titled “Self Publishing Sky Crystals with Don Komarechka (Enhanced)”
Most photographers are very occupied with the technical,numeric standards of their work. They always want the super top printing quality and best resolution and reproduction of their files and fiddle with their colors specs with no end. After having assembled a book on Blurb they find out that the price tag on a 200 page landscape format in colour is way too expensive for the market.
As a result Martin Bailey and Don Komarechka come to the conclusion that self-publishing for photographers is not possible with Blurb unless you just want to go for a small edition or a personal project, an exhibition catalogue or portfolio book to hand out to clients for example.
I question that printing an edition in a conventional way is cheaper in the end unless you print a rather big edition with the risk of selling only a fraction. In fact Komarechka admits that after having sold about 1000 copies he is reaching break even now, i.e. the cost for a book copy are at ca. 35$, I guess about half of the costs of a paper publication on blurb. However I do not know whether his calculation includes not only the costs of shipping the books to buyers worldwide, but also the time and effort spend on communication with buyers,handling payments, packing each and every copy ,wrapping it taking it to the post office and so on.
The hard copy is one thing, but Blurb as other POD companies offer also the e-book version, which I would consider the most important version of a high-resolution photo book in colors these days.
Another cost factor is that all the time that is spend with administration and physical handling of a mail order business is lost for the creation and development of new work. That are the real bad costs.
I like publishing my projects in relatively cheap paperback form, if possible in black and white. The idea of the cheap artist book goes back to Ed Ruscha and his notorious 26 gas stations. I always have that in mind and ask myself when planning a new book: Is this possible as cheap (black and white) paperback?
Blurb has made a great change to their e-book feature. In the past e-books had to be a one to one copy of the print versions. I had problems with that because there was no good solution for double page pictures. In the print version I prefer to leave some extra space in the middle to avoid that a part of the picture gets lost in the center. In the old ebook version that extra space would show up as doubled picture areas.
Now Blurb has an online ebook editor that allows you to convert your print book version online into an ebook. You can re-align images,edit text and adjust text boxes to your ebook format. That allowed me to get perfect double page pictures in the forest diary
This is the original “paper back print version”. In the printed book there is no duplication of the center area because of the center fold that eats up some of the image in the center. Unfortunately the book preview of the print version still looks like that, which might be irritating.
This is how I aligned the images for the ebook version with the online ebook editor. I find this new possibility great because I can get a “perfect” reproduction, a real facsimile look of the original sketchbook. The ebook in addition can be offered cheaper than a printed version can ever get. It is not only the price of paper and print, there are also no shipping costs.
At present Blurb allows only a limited page count for preview. Some authors think that their book sales will suffer if visitors are able to see the entire book on the computer screen. Having the content compiled and with some extra text in hand as a book makes a difference. Why do people buy a blog book? There are famous examples like the “Satorialist” by blogger Scott Schuman or the WeiWei blog book.
Anyway for those who prefer to see pictures books on a computer or the Ipad now there is an Ebook version of the forest diary available.
Everything sucks, more than ever… design spam is a common desease on POD sites. But what can you do???
It is getting harder and harder to make your way in the POD world. Design spam, tag spam and last not least terrible, bad site performance turn POD sites more and more into painful experiences for shoppers and artists. Is there a way out of the dilemma ? Possibly yes, IF you can code.