View Poll Results: Self-published v. traditionally published book. Do you feel... ?

87. You may not vote on this poll
  • more respect for self-published book than traditionally published book

    7 8.05%
  • less respect for self-published book than traditionally published book

    22 25.29%
  • equal respect for self-published book and traditionally published book

    40 45.98%
  • more likely to buy self-published book than traditionally published book

    4 4.60%
  • less likely to buy self-published book than traditionally published book

    15 17.24%
  • equally likely to buy self-published book and traditionally published book

    41 47.13%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

  1. #1
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1997
    San Jose, CA

    Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    If you learn that an author/photographer self-published his book, does that make you respect him more or less?

    Are you more likely to buy a self-published book v. a traditionally published one?

    See attached poll for voting, and feel free to discuss reasons in this thread.

    Clarification: For the purposes of this thread, traditionally published means that the book was published by a publishing company which is not owned by the author and which doesn't systematically charge the authors for publishing. Self-published is the publication without involvement of an established publisher, and includes publication using one's own publishing company if that company publishes a single author. A self-publisher may or may not use outsourced services equivalent to those used by established publishers, including design, printing, marketing, and distribution. If a book lists no publisher, it is clearly self-published, but most serious self-published books do list one. The only real way to tell if a book is self-published (by this definition) is to research the listed publisher and find out if they are associated with the author. So you may ask what is the real difference? To get a book traditionally published, you need to convince the publisher that your project is worth it to them. They will then take care of it and pay you royalties on sales. To get a book self-published, you have to pay upfront for all expenses and manage the project: risks, rewards, and responsibilities are all yours.
    Last edited by QT Luong; 12-Nov-2017 at 13:58.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Ex-Seattlelite living in PNW

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Never thought of it this way. It's the quality of subject at hand....and content. Whether the book was prepped by 1, 2, 3 or 200 people is irrelevant to me.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2016

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    I've seen some weak self published efforts, also some good. Self publishing does make me suspicious, but then again established publishing houses print junk too (for example, Taschen printed "Terryworld", which they may be coming to regret these days).

    I don't think I respect works based on the publisher, or publishing method, so voted equal. The work itself decides if they are respected or not. A famous publishing house does get people a look, but not automatic respect.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    I'm indifferent as to the publisher. What matters is whether the content appeals, the production values are at least adequate relative to the concept, and the price is within reason in the context of my available budget for discretionary spending. I'm not a huge photo book buyer, but several of the books that I have purchased in recent years have been self-published.

    Have you seen Hester Keijser's "The Independent Photo Book" blog?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    South Bend, Indiana, USA

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    It depends on the book. Traditional books work well in the traditional publishing model, but traditional publishing companies won't work with material that isn't going to make them money. Thus, self-publishing is a legitimate way to get your book out there.

  6. #6
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    Lots of variables. I read reviews. I make choices.

    These days I buy mostly Art books and repair manuals.

    I used to subscribe to 12 or more printed magazines.

    Now an online magazine is better.

    Picture books will follow.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    There's a lot more variability in the self-published work, and since I often have to buy sight unseen, the self-published books are more of a risk. I think that can be overcome with adequate description, satisfaction guarantees, etc.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Arlington, Mass.

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    None of the poll responses quite captures how I feel about it. Professional publishing (generally) provides a certain level of quality that can be expected, ranging from the selection of the material in the first place through to the quality of the printing. But not always. Self-publishing does not seem to me to yet have the same average level of quality of either, but there are certainly exceptions. So in general, I have lower expectations of self-published work, but in considering it I do look for signifiers that particular attention has been paid to the content itself and to the quality of publishing. A Blurb book is capable of being pretty decent, but I haven't seen one yet to the standards of the best professionally published books. Compared to the average professional book? Getting closer.

  9. #9
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    hi QT

    i think years ago there was more stigma attached to self published books
    maybe i am wrong ?
    i don't say this out of personal experience
    ( i self publish 1 edition books by making them myself by hand but that doesn't count )
    but i have a cousin who is a novelist and IDK 15-20 years back he self published a book
    and did the book signing thing all over the place at every bookstore you could think of.
    things went well but from time to time interested people would ask who his publisher was
    ( since they had never heard of it ) and when he told them, they would do the equivilant of
    dropping the book back on the table, backing up slowly and then run away .. well maybe not exactly like that, but still ...
    i am guessing as long as the quality is good the buyer doesn't really think about it ..
    and these days with POD books ... the person making the book doesn't need to have 50,000 books in his garage ..

    good luck !
    enjoy your coffee

  10. #10
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chillicothe Missouri USA

    Re: Perception of self-publishing v. publishing

    A fine publisher and a great photographer make a strong team, such as Ansel Adams and Little Brown & Co. Adams was right to claim that their reproductions did justice to his original prints. I compared 27 of these prints to the original photographs in an exhibit curated by his daughter in Peoria years ago, and found this usually so. Many other books on Adams by other publishers are awful in comparison. Another example is Portraits of Greatness by Yousuf Karsh. The first edition printed in Holland in sheet fed gravure is magnificent when compared to later editions. However, we can interpret much of a photographer's intent even through mediocre publishing, just as we can appreciate great music poorly reproduced. I continue to buy books more for information rather than for the quality of publication. Emil Schildt's little Blurb book, From My Universe, is more inspiring than many coffee table publications by lesser artists.

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