Self-Publishing a book on the cheap

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Jeremy, May 1, 2005.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does anyone have any experience with the online self-publishing companies such as www.lulu.com?

    I have always wanted to add a book of my own photos to the bookshelf and if I could get quality equal to that in a magazine like View Camera I would be happy.

    Just curious....
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I tired a similar company, they sent me samples and the picture quality left a lot to be desired. The pictures looked like bad xerox copies.

    Brooks has a blog on a small quantity printer, but you need to pay at least $8500 for a run of about a 100 books if I remember correctly.

    Mike Pry published his book I beleive, drop him a line and ask him how he went about it.
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    LULULU?

    That's funny Jeremy because I've been perusing that site now for awhile. I have a beautiful little book selfpublished by Doug Beasley. His handle is www.VQPhoto.com The book is called Japan -A Nisei's first encounter. He made the original prints then had them scanned as Tri-tone images. Then the book was published in Hong Kong by Norman Graphic Printing Co. It has two covers but it is held together by an outside stitch. Simple yet elegant.
    I bought it directly from Doug. Go to his website and you will see an accomplished photographer. I bought the book firstly because I like photo books but also because I try to support other photographers in their endeavors.
    Regards, Peter
     
  4. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Another Idea

    Jeremy-you could always run off 20 or so copies each of your Platinum prints and then find yourself someone who does binding with a saddle stitch or whatever. I was going to take a class in NYC onetime to learn how to do it but I'm busy enough with what I do.
    I was personal friends with Leonard Baskin-truly one of the 20th centuries greatest artists. Google his name and you will be enlightend. Leonard had THE premier fine art press: THE GHENNA PRESS and made the most beautiful books in the world with his artwork inside. He used only the finest handmade papers from Italy and ran his etchings through his own press. Then they were bound and he used a gentleman name Grey Perot to make the outer coversand slipcases.Absolutely exquisite! If you go to one of the bigger art libraries at a major university you might find one of his books. I have some so when we meet I can show you.
    With all your computer knowledge you might be able to at least produce something resembling a book-no?And then find someone to bind it up. Think creatively! Just a thought.
    Regards, Peter
     
  5. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,360
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    check out "www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Bwxm "
     
  6. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
  7. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Peters,

    thanks for the link to Doug Beasley. I really liked his website and his vision.

    lee\c
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,999
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    jeremy -

    if you have a little patience and time, you can hand stitch your own books.
    i have been making hand stitched books of my photographs since the early 1980s. i worked with a bookbinder when i was in high school to learn the craft of bookbinding with signatures + spine, and then since i couldn't afford thousands of dollars in binding equipment i learned other simple and elegant ways to make books. a few books to get you started are:
    http://www.keithsmithbooks.com/mybooks.htm
    and http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0830634835/ref=sib_dp_pt/104-6371827-4431900#reader-link

    supplies are pretty cheep ( string, paper, bookboard + leather/cloth, PVA and flour/wheat paste ) --- you can get some of them at places like http://www.paper-source.com or http://www.gaylord.com.

    -john
     
  9. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just my 2 cents. I think a more elegant solution if you only want something for yourself is to mount the images and design a portfolio box that would look attractive on a coffee table or shelf. You could include a seperate text in the box with the image titles, narrative etc.

    I have been doing something similar for my two daughters. I have a pair of boxes a friend made from mahogany that hold an inside archival box. Each one holds about 16 images. Some images are unique for each girl, and a few are the same. Sometimes I add new images and take others out. All the images are matted the same and I will get a couple of frames made that can be included with each box so they can display images when they want.

    It just seems that for what you will spend to make a single book, you could put together a portfolio of actual prints and box that would elegantly display your work and passion.
     
  10. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,936
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2005
    Location:
    south centra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Jim

    I have a boxed set of Fred Pickers photos from Iceland and really enjoy the format rather than a book.

    Mike
     
  11. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't afford to have it printed at a real print shop and only wanted to make a few (say less than 10) so this may be an area where printing the images with an "archival" ink jet printer onto a heavy art stock would work well. It won't go up on the wall, exposed to light 24/7, so it shouldn't have much in the way of stability problems.

    Or I could go all out and hand-bind pd prints, but making 10 books with (at a guess) 35 images in it--350 pd prints total--that may cost more than having it printed at a print shop :wink:

    This has been a goal for quite a while now so I will make a note of the best options while I am still getting together the images. There are so many small negatives that I have printed or proofed when I was working without a darkroom (just shooting, rolling it onto a reel in the closet, and developing) that I wanted to revisit them with this project. Think retrospective :smile:

    The idea in my head has been to do pd prints on watercolor paper with interleaving sheets of vellum (like clearprint) with text and then hand-bind it. I guess I was just looking for a way to get off cheap and w/o all of the work, but thinking about it, I would never be satisfied. To keep the cost down I could go with a more intimate book size (like 7x9 instead of the larger books that you see a lot of today) which would also mean smaller (and cheaper) pd prints. The killer at this size would be the square images which I don't like on a panoramic book like this, but if I printed 2 on page--choose them so they play off each other well--I could actually coat the paper in 2 4" sections and have 2 4" square images on the page.

    Hmmm, this would also be a great way to make another book I want of the stack of images I have of my girlfriend--of course with the last page being a picture of me on one knee with a ring asking her to marry me (shhh, don't tell her!).

    Damn you, Nanian; it looks like I have a new skill to learn! I can't afford to get all of those books at one time, John, but are there one or two which would start me out in good stead?
     
  12. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In regards to the portfolio box:

    I am gathering my favorite (not necessarily the best, hey, it's for me I can pick what I want! :smile: ) toy camera images together to see how many I have because I want to do the portfolio box with them.

    But for the other projects I have in mind I really want to do a book--it has always been a photographic goal and I think my work is getting there that I would be proud to have it on my shelf.
     
  13. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Jeremy the link I sent charges about 40 dollars per book I think.

    lee\c
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,999
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile: sorry 'bout that <gg>

    the smith book "non adhesive binding" is pretty amazing -
    he gives really good diagrams of basic and intricate stitches. books boxes /portfolios is very helpful as well for info on paste/glues, making covers and the best way to do "stuff" without a book-press &c.
    you might also check out this website:
    http://staffcentral.brighton.ac.uk/graeme/Bookbinding web site/bookart/ba_sewn.html

    i often make a stab binding and do a simple stitch , but i have seen others make absolutely stunning books with coptic stitching.

    have fun!
    -john

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2005
  15. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

    Messages:
    3,049
    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dang it, John... you just HAD to put in that link to the Paper source... Cripes... here I am with a dead serious addiction to paper, and now that! :wink:

    This is a very interesting subject to me... hm... bookbinding. Yes, I do think one more hobby is in order. :D
     
  16. PaulH

    PaulH Subscriber

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2003
    Location:
    Hudson, New
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
  17. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Nicholasvill
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I ordered one of those books from Apple through their iPhoto program. It was a laser printed book in a hard cover like these self-publishing places. The image quality wasn't good enough to sell in my opinion. It would be great to show a gallery owner in a pinch, but that's about it. It cost $40 after shipping for a 9.5x11 inch book with ten images.

    -Greg
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,999
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    jeanette -

    paper source is pretty nice. not only do they have paper + bookmaking/scrapbooking stuff, but wacky ruber stamps.

    sorry again for feeding the addiction :smile:

    - -john


     
  19. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I've seriously considered dry mounting two FB prints back to back and spiral/coil binding them into a book. Not as elegant as hand-stitched but very functional and aesthetic. There is the Akiles Coilmac binder which is pretty affordable and seemingly not junk. The Rhin-o-tuff one looks awesome!

    Not that you'd want to crank out 100 copies of a book with 10 photographs in each book.. 1000 pictures is a lot to print!
     
  20. bjorke

    bjorke Member

    Messages:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    SF & Surroun
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you can find a copy, I'd also recommend Bill Owens' mid-80's Publish Your Photo Book. By "publish" Owens means runs of over 1000. The goal is not to make money, but to attract interest. It contains insight based on his experiences and letters from other people who had published their books, such as Larry Sultan.
     
  21. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    I am currently at work on a series of articles about making a book of photographs that will appear in Camera Arts beginning this fall. The emphasis will be on self-publishing.

    My wife, Paula Chamlee, and I have published 9 books of our own work and 7 books by other photographers, with 4 more on the way this year and about a dozen each year thereafter. We also consult with photographers about their books.