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Thread: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

  1. #1

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    Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    So, I want to print a few books of my black and white photographs. I'll be scanning finished prints using an Epson 10000XL scanner. I've been looking into using Blurb or some similar service but worry about the problems inherent in CMYK printing. I found this article from LensWork:

    http://daily.lenswork.com/2010/01/le...-duotones.html

    with says:

    " Any of you who have done a black-and-white book from Blurb.com or Lulu.com know what I'm talking about. A dead neutral grayscale is almost impossible to achieve."

    and then:

    "Instead, we use duotone printing which employs only two inks black and, in our case, Pantone Warm Gray 11. "

    BUT

    "Duotones are tricky to use because they cannot be proofed except on press."

    So, are there any services that specialize in printing black and white photography books that don't use color printers? It seems like providing a service to print duotones is kind of an impossibility given the problems of proofing. For an individual who only wants a few copies, what is the highest quality way of printing black and white photo books?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    For the highest possible quality I suggest not going with a commercial printer and instead talking with a custom bookbinder about producing books using prints that you make yourself. You have a great many options available and would wind up with a truly unique book. New York must have many to choose from.

  3. #3

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wasserman View Post
    For the highest possible quality I suggest not going with a commercial printer and instead talking with a custom bookbinder about producing books using prints that you make yourself. You have a great many options available and would wind up with a truly unique book. New York must have many to choose from.
    Well, Richard, I think it's a problem of cost. I don't believe any custom book binder is going to talk to me about printing a few books, even at $250 per book. Print on demand came about as a result of the ability to scale up volumes on the internet.

    I don't think there is any good way of binding prints into a book. Of course, loose portfolios are an option, but I really do want a book.

    I found this article:

    http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2009/05/...y-blurb-books/

    which bashes Blurb quite a bit and offers a few other options such as Paper Chase and White House. Still, I would like to hear about how people have had high quality black and white books produced, so many of the companies seem geared to color work, I guess because of the wedding trade.

  4. #4

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    I don't know current costs, but doing this is quite feasible. Custom bookbinders are happy to do editions of one (although I'm sure they prefer larger quantities.) Way back in the dim recesses of time I had just this kind of book done and the cost was not great. Photos were mounted back to back and then bound into a finished book.

  5. #5

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wasserman View Post
    I don't know current costs, but doing this is quite feasible. Custom bookbinders are happy to do editions of one (although I'm sure they prefer larger quantities.) Way back in the dim recesses of time I had just this kind of book done and the cost was not great. Photos were mounted back to back and then bound into a finished book.
    Well, you've piqued my interest, so, what kind of paper did you use for the prints? RC? Fibre wouldn't work because of the stiffness, I assume. Do you remember how the binding was done?

    You mentioned that the prints were counter mounted, a technique that Paul Strand used in his early days to get flat prints. At one point, he mounted an Atget print given to him by Berenice Abbott to the back of one of his one prints!

    Perhaps I will look into going this route, even if the costs are significantly higher. I'm more than happy to support small local businesses, I just didn't think it was possible.

  6. #6

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    OP yes, true. All my POD books are off color for neutral BW. Duotone for small runs? You must be rich for that.

    A few books? Hand print and they become works of art. I've done many hundred of them. They are in a number of pubic collections around the world. Don't scan prints, scan negs if you can.

    nsfw

    http://portfolioartistsbook.tumblr.com/

    http://bikermardigras.tumblr.com/

    http://twentysixroadkills.tumblr.com/

    http://encyclopediainkjetmedia.tumblr.com/

    Nice thing about spiral books is the book can be unbound, original prints framed and displayed, they you can rebind it in a couple of minutes and the book serves 2 purposes.

    BTW, the Encyclopedia is the largest set of hand printed artists' book in the world from what I can tell.

  7. #7

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Fiber Base

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Kellogg View Post
    Well, you've piqued my interest, so, what kind of paper did you use for the prints? RC? Fibre wouldn't work because of the stiffness, I assume. Do you remember how the binding was done?

    You mentioned that the prints were counter mounted, a technique that Paul Strand used in his early days to get flat prints. At one point, he mounted an Atget print given to him by Berenice Abbott to the back of one of his one prints!

    Perhaps I will look into going this route, even if the costs are significantly higher. I'm more than happy to support small local businesses, I just didn't think it was possible.

  8. #8

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Kellogg View Post
    Well, you've piqued my interest, so, what kind of paper did you use for the prints? RC? Fibre wouldn't work because of the stiffness, I assume. Do you remember how the binding was done?

    You mentioned that the prints were counter mounted, a technique that Paul Strand used in his early days to get flat prints. At one point, he mounted an Atget print given to him by Berenice Abbott to the back of one of his one prints!

    Perhaps I will look into going this route, even if the costs are significantly higher. I'm more than happy to support small local businesses, I just didn't think it was possible.

    It is expensive for side stitched hardcover. Cost about $125 for high grade work. I had couple books done, but more as tests. Test your paper, a lot of inkjet paper curls. I've had to buy and waste thousands of $ to find flat or kinda flat paper. RC paper is flat but ugly. Fibre is not always flat. Print and let it sit in the air for a few weeks. Then see what hap. Humidly and temp changes make paper warp.

    I use matte and plastic interleaf. One of my signature features.

    http://portfolioartistsbook.tumblr.c...ge/70388454832

    From: http://portfolioartistsbook.tumblr.com/

  9. #9

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Kellogg View Post
    Well, Richard, I think it's a problem of cost. I don't believe any custom book binder is going to talk to me about printing a few books, even at $250 per book. Print on demand came about as a result of the ability to scale up volumes on the internet.

    I don't think there is any good way of binding prints into a book. Of course, loose portfolios are an option, but I really do want a book.

    I found this article:

    http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2009/05/...y-blurb-books/

    which bashes Blurb quite a bit and offers a few other options such as Paper Chase and White House. Still, I would like to hear about how people have had high quality black and white books produced, so many of the companies seem geared to color work, I guess because of the wedding trade.

    Book binders bind. You give them the pages they bind it. $100 to $150 does it per book.

    When you have them bound you must allow for trim and gutter loses in binding. To much hassle for me. I spiral bind.

    I believe I am the world leader in hand printed, hand bound artists books. I'm producing another 4 or 5 books down the road. But it is a lot of work printing 3 or 50 books then binding. But, the places that collect my work won't collect them otherwise. (Unless it was a super rare commercially printed book.)

    Someone mentioned that Adorama makes books. They rave about them. Never tried them, but give them a look see for your project. Some of my pix have 45 revisions like this one. (This is actually number 42 or something like that. The final version has better cloud detail.)

    nsfw

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._Teoli_Jr..jpg

    From: http://bikermardigras.tumblr.com/

    I need total control and can't fool round with printers mass printing my work.

  10. #10

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    Re: Black and White book printing, what is the best quality option?

    I should have mentioned that I'm not interested in inkjet printing. The day I sold my Epson 3880 was a good day for me. I hated the printer and its output. I'm also not going to scan negatives. I love working in the darkroom producing silver gelatin prints and I'm not going to redo all that work in Photoshop to only have it come out looking different when printed on an inkjet printer.

    So, the question is, how can I get a book to look as close to my silver gelatin prints as possible? I'm afraid that bound fibre prints is not really what I want, and that duotones are only for the rich, as someone pointed out. Where does that leave me?

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