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View Full Version : Short Run, High Quality Art Book Printing?



Richard M. Coda
28-Nov-2012, 11:59
I had been using Edition One in Berkeley for the past few years, but their quality is taking a big hit. I need sizes up to 11.5x11.5", hard cover with dust jacket and foil stamp. Quantities as low as 25. Any suggestions? Thanks.

polyglot
29-Nov-2012, 00:13
gandolfi had some books made recently; he might know.

mdm
29-Nov-2012, 00:33
Your inkjet printer and a special book binder from somewhere.

Jim Jones
29-Nov-2012, 08:31
gandolfi had some books made recently; he might know.

The first of his books, From My Universe, is a very well done 8" square 126 page book published by Blurb.

Richard M. Coda
29-Nov-2012, 10:19
Anyone have experience with Bookmobile (http://www.bookmobile.com)?

I have samples coming from them.

JBelthoff
29-Nov-2012, 10:32
You may want to check out http://www.blurb.com/.

I have not used them but it's a source. Maybe...

Michael Alpert
29-Nov-2012, 10:57
All the suggestions thus far are for on-line digital reproduction. You'll never get good duotone reproduction using those "printers." What you need for high-quality work is a printer who works in fine-screen duotone or tritone lithography. (I am assuming that you are working with black and white photographs. For color work, you'll probably need to look to Italy or China for reasonably priced fine printing.) The printer should be able to Smythe-sew your edition in an in-house bindery or with a bindery that is closely allied with the printer.

For many years I was a customer of Stinehour Press in Vermont; but, after the business was sold by Roderick Stinehour, the company went out-of-business. More recently, I have worked with Studley Press in Western Massachusetts. They printed Todd Webb, a Photographer's Welcome Home, published by the University of Maine Press (I am the director of the UMaine Press). Studley's work is excellent. Perhaps other forum members can suggest good, traditional book-printers nearer to your location. Wherever you go, I don't think you can have a press-run of 25 copies that is reasonably priced. A minimum press-run of 300 copies would be more reasonable.

You also will need a trained designer if your book is going to be what I assume you want. Most self-published books look the way they do because photographers (and others) don't seem to realize that book-design in a rigorous discipline that requires schooling. It is a field that is not the same as "graphic design." It's not something you can do acceptably by simply buying the software.

Richard M. Coda
29-Nov-2012, 11:10
Thanks for all the replies so far... I know blurb... I've used them... but they want $108 per book (12x12 x 30 pages) That's out of the question.

And this is for 25 books only (very limited edition) and not for me... for a client who is very concerned about costs and doesn't want to deal with overseas.

My day job (the one that supports my photo habit, my mortgage and my daughter's CMU education) is self-employed graphic designer (20+ years) ;) I have designed all of this client's books.

I'm thinking about the inkjet/binder route...

Thanks Michael A. for the informed reply :)

jnanian
29-Nov-2012, 11:41
hi richard

have you looked into paperchase printing ?
they might be an option, i don't know about gold foil though ...

if money were no object i would suggest
providing your prints with a deep left margin / gutter
to a bookbinder and they would help you out.
or if you have time and resources / tools you might want to
try making books on your own. the tools aren't that expensive
and they aren't really that hard to make, even a traditional hardcover, closed spine book.

i have made maybe 20-25 books starting with one i made when i was in high school ...

just the same i can understand if you need them done by a professional with experience.

good luck !
john

C. D. Keth
29-Nov-2012, 11:54
Frank Petronio did a blurb book and I think I remember him posting about it and the testing he did beforehand.

Scott Walker
29-Nov-2012, 14:46
Thanks for all the replies so far... I know blurb... I've used them... but they want $108 per book (12x12 x 30 pages) That's out of the question.

And this is for 25 books only (very limited edition) and not for me... for a client who is very concerned about costs and doesn't want to deal with overseas.


Did you figure the volume discount with Blurb because with an order of 25 books you will likely get a decent discount.
I just ordered 21 books and the discount was about +/- 23%. I had a 25% coupon so I didn't use the volume discount, unfortunately they couldn't be combined.
I have made a few Blurb books for clients and their quality over the last little while has really increased.
Their new proline paper is really nice, pricey but nice.
One of the best things about Blurb is if your client decides that they need another 1 or 20 copies they are only a week or so away.
In the past I would set up a Blurb account in the clients name and once I had a proof copy & got paid, I would give them the password and they could order to their hearts content.
I have discovered that if I put them all under my own profile and just make them not visible to the general public I can retain control of any future profit, and the client has to call me which of course could lead to more work.

Darin Boville
29-Nov-2012, 15:20
More recently, I have worked with Studley Press in Western Massachusetts.

Hey Michael. Can you offer any ballpark sense of what sort of cost we are talking about (in your experience)? I see they have a request for quote feature at Studley Press but I don't want to even inquire before I know if I'm even remotely in the ball park...

--Darin

Mark Sampson
29-Nov-2012, 19:29
Talk to Eric Kunsman at BookSmart Studios in Rochester NY.

Sylvester Graham
3-Dec-2012, 16:16
All the suggestions thus far are for on-line digital reproduction. You'll never get good duotone reproduction using those "printers." What you need for high-quality work is a printer who works in fine-screen duotone or tritone lithography.

You also will need a trained designer if your book is going to be what I assume you want.

Even if all this snobbery were able to create a photobook as superior as it sounds, I can guarantee the cost will not be even close to reasonable for the independent photographer.

It is perfectly possible to bind your own book of great quality, especially after a class or workshop in bookmaking (art school now sometimes offer classes on the photobook itself), and have a print on demand of good quality, too. (http://www.phaidon.com/the-book-of-books/) The book will impress everyone except the very few old timers who are too stubborn to embrace different forms and technologies. And, most of all, it will certainly impress friends and family, since they'll know you did it yourself. With a small run (and even an overly ambitious big one) those are the people the book will end up going to, most likely.

As someone been as seen quite a goodwill printed books in his time, and spoken with some great printers, I can say that, for sure, the quality will be less than a hand pulled photogravure. But if you don't think the power of your images can survive mass production, maybe you should wait before making a book!

Iluvmyviewcam
6-Sep-2013, 20:02
Anything new to add to this thread?

I'm looking for 20 to 25 books. They can be up to $250 per book for limited edition artists books. About 160 to 200 pages I am giving Blurb a try and will see what happens. Just ordered some sample books of their high grade line. But I had heard their BW work can have color casts. We will see when I get my books.

In the past I hand printed my artists books with ink jet duo paper and spiral bound them. But it is too much work.

Edition One looks good. The OP said there was some problems with them. Any updates on Edition One?

jharris
15-Mar-2014, 17:33
I apologize for showing up late to this discussion. Anytime you are going for quantities as low as 25, your going to run into pricing issues due to the scale issue (unless your going on-demand). It might not be exactly what your looking for, but it would be worth getting a quote from an off set printer for something truly amazing and one of a kind. They even have a free book they send you if you request a quotation (no charge). The book is fantastic and even includes sample materials. Even if you don't use them for your books, the book they send you alone is worth the couple minutes. You can order one here (http://artbookprinting.com/art-of-artbook/).

ROL
15-Mar-2014, 18:39
Well yeah (no apology from me), I think the difficulties have all been well described. I hope the OP found what he was looking for and might return the favor if he did find one to his liking.

Failing any of that, as has been my recent experience as well, and recognizing that there is no substitute for a nicely printed fine art book, I'm going to suggest a hard left, out of the box, turn here – a year counting hence. The quickest way to deliver specific books, virtually anywhere in the world, per your design, with minimal cost is to produce an e-book. Heresy, I know, but no more so than representing fine art GSPs by inkjet or lithography. I'm not going to shill here for the two 'fine art' iBooks I wrote this previous fall, but I have written a basic tips article (http://www.rangeoflightphotography.com/pages/making-an-apple-ibook) for producing photography oriented Apple iBooks for my site. I believe the electronic option will only become more palatable to the classical artist, as it becomes increasingly and inexorably difficult to obtain reasonable printing economies, and digital becomes the necessary default means of communication.

Nathan Potter
15-Mar-2014, 20:05
ROL, your e-book article is very useful, thanks for posting. The idea is excellent when one considers a population that is increasingly dependent on e-communication. I wonder if the e-book layout in its digital format could be easily converted to hard copy, if later required; that might be quite useful in some instances.

Going back to the OP who seems to require hard copy, I am starting to put a small book together using 8 1/2 X 11 paper for images with text on the facing page. My cost per copy using a 3880 Epson for the images is about $3.50 per page. That would be about $90.00 per 25 page book. Of course the image quality is superb if ones printing skill is superb. The text on the facing page I do using an inexpensive HP Deskjet 4200 in B&W mode. There are limitations using the text but in principle text can be mixed with image using the 3880 if necessary.

Price wise small runs using inkjet is hard to beat. Of course ones labor is considerable and there is the problem of getting a professional binding job if that is required.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

matthew blais
16-Mar-2014, 07:10
You might try A and I in LA...I think they still use an indigo digital press.


http://aandi.com/photobooks

ROL
16-Mar-2014, 15:36
Much appreciated Nate.

Mathew, I had thought immediately of A&I when the jharris post bubbled this thread back to the top of the cue. I have had very good results (for inkjet printing) with short runs and notecards from them, better than Blurb, but I could not find on their recent menu any hardcover options even though there is a picture of one. I believe 'lay flat' is paper cover. I am unsure whether the books measure up to the "high quality" standards of the OP. Their 'Book Creator' software was quite easy to use, along with the option to submit from PDF or InDesign.