View Full Version : Anyone try "print on demand" books or trad book publishing?

28-Dec-2012, 07:28
Anyone try "print on demand" books or trad book publishing for selling your photography book?

Was it a worthwhile project for you?

What problems did you have? What would you do differently with future books?

28-Dec-2012, 08:28
several threads on the subject of pod

Making money with books? I doubt it!

28-Dec-2012, 10:24
Link does not work nor does pod search

28-Dec-2012, 12:32
huh, try this one:

Eric Rose
28-Dec-2012, 12:33
Check out my blog, I have several articles on POD. http://blog.ericrose.com

28-Dec-2012, 13:14
Thanks Eric. Will check them out.

I didn't vote on your poll. I like all photos with a few pages of intro about the photog and if needed some info about certain photos. Didn't know where that fits in.

Scott Walker
28-Dec-2012, 14:30
I have used Blurb a number of times now and it has been without incident up until recently.
I had a problem with the last project and it had to be reprinted.
Within 8 days I believe it was, I had new books at Blurbs expense.
The two new proline papers are really damn nice.
I can't say enough good about the company.

28-Dec-2012, 15:13
Print on demand is great. I like it for presents for friend and family, and as a great way to present a portfolio. A book is probably the most empowering format for organizing a body of work. I don't think of it as "publishing," because there's no distribution or marketing behind it. If I want to publish, then I'll put my energy into finding/convincing a real publisher rather than trying to take on their role.

Many people do self-publish, and the ones who are smartest and most indefatiguable have success at it. I'm not going to go head to head against them, or against the publishing houses. The market is way too crowded and I'd rather spend my time on other things.

By success, I do not mean money. No one makes money on photo books, least of all self-publishers. Success means geting bookstores to sell enough of them in order to make the project feel worthwhile. This usually means customers that extend beyond your friends and your mom and your mom's friends.

I just did a blurb book and thought the quality was exceptional. The color matched perfectly in 58 out of 60 pictures, and the two that didn't match still looked good. Downside is that it's expensive. My cost was $40 per book. It's a book that if printed traditionally would probably cost $30 retail, at most.

28-Dec-2012, 15:24
Hi Paul. Nice website you got!

I wondered how much money was to be made in the photo book field. I see some famous pros like Elliot Erwitt has many books out there. Wondered if they made a chunk of their living $ with books or if it is just an ego thing to build up ones name.

28-Dec-2012, 16:33
What about small run book printers? Say 100 to 1000 copies?

Any feedback for this type of book production? Who do you recomend?

I was talking with Gorham Printing Co, they looked good for affordable printing. But I found out they are pretty restrictive with their content. (No nudes / off color content - they work with Mennonite / Amish partners.)

9-Feb-2013, 16:52
For Blurb, what size jpegs are you using? What is the point of diminishing returns for image size? I will be using about 5 x 7 picture size for the book. Will 1.2 - 1.5 MB be enough per jpeg?

Scott Walker
9-Feb-2013, 18:23
For Blurb, what size jpegs are you using? What is the point of diminishing returns for image size? I will be using about 5 x 7 picture size for the book. Will 1.2 - 1.5 MB be enough per jpeg?

I don't recall off the top of my head what their minimum suggested image size is but if you use something that will not give good resolution in the finished product you will get an alert, if you use their product (Booksmart I believe) for making the book.
I recently did a booklet using one of their templates and upon uploading one of my imagess I was alerted that the print resolution was poor and it would not print well, turned out that I picked one of the images that I had put on the internet for 72dpi.
I normally upload images at a minimum of 4 MB for their 8 x 10 size book, this gives me good resolution in the finished product and a file size that is not so large that handling 50 or more of them in one program doesn't bring my computer to a grinding halt.

John NYC
25-Feb-2013, 05:50
I just did a book with Shutterfly and was impressed by the quality. The paper seemed a cut above the several blurb books I have bought from others, though I have not made a book myself with them... Maybe you opt for better paper. Shutterfly's interface for designing the books is very intuitive.

Don Dudenbostel
25-Feb-2013, 06:30
I do documentary photography relating to the disappearing culture in Appalachia. A longtime friend and professional writer and I did a personal project documenting moonshine, cock fighting, serpent handling and cross burnings done by the KKK. I have images I made going back nearly fifty years and we put together a documentary that tours museums in the US.

Appalachian culture has gotten to be a hot topic. It's now cool to be a redneck and moonshine is hot. One of the moonshiners my friend Tom and I worked with for three years was the late Popcorn Sutton. I made hundreds of images all in B&W with 35mm to 5x7 and documented his operation and life. Popcorn committed suicide several years ago so there will be no more new material.

Now that our show is touring we do a good bit of lecturing on mainly serpent handlers and Popcorns moonshine operation. We decided there had been plenty written on serpent handling but o real outside look at Popcorn. Tom and I actually spent more time with him than all but one of his twelve wives.

To make the story short my wife who's a retired creative director / graphic designer and Tom put together a book and registered the copyright then proceeded to publish it through Amazon and also get high quality books printed digitally through a printer I've worked with many times and could get what I want out of them.

The Amazon books are just so so quality on cheap paper but ours are quite nice. We price the Amazon books at $24.95 and ours at $27.95 and sell through some stores as high as $35.95. It's up to the store as to how they want to price them.

We're actually had to form an LLC we were doing so well with it. I think royalties in the past eleven months have run around $10k and we have quite a number of regional book stores carrying it plus Tower books and Barnes and Noble carry it on line. We do appearances and sign books and have a lot of fun with it. We've sold books now in about every corner of the world.

We've done well because of the subject. Very few people knew Popcorn like we did and since his death and the commercial production of his whiskey ( it's nothing like his original) everyone wants to know about what he he was really like. The problem with most photo books is there are a million of them and most aren't unique and have no interest to a broad audience. There's simply too much competition in the picture book world. To sell a book you have to have something no other person has if you want to make money.

We've discussed a book on our touring show. We probably will do one but don't expect big sales. Its unique but the there's no big interest like moonshine and especially Popcorn. Museum stores will sell it but beyond that it won't sell many copies.

Our book is "Popcorn Sutton, the Making and Marketing of a Hillbilly Hero."