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  1. #11
    noblebeast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reellis67 View Post
    I would certainly attribute the same level of credibility to a self-published book that I would on a web page - which is to say very little....

    - Randy
    One only has to refer to "A Million Little Pieces" or "The Secret" to be reminded of what great bastions of credibility the traditional publishing houses are.

    Joe
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    "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive" - Howard Thurman

  2. #12
    Curt's Avatar
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    I should add that years and years of Popular and Modern photography and every photo book in the University library was my education in excess to the classes. I used to spend hours and hours in the basement reading the back issues of Popular photography. I loved the ads and the prices. It is a history adventure and I would encourage anyone with the opportunity to do so.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt View Post
    I was at a "Half Price Books" chain and found some photo books by a Roger Hicks at less than half price, a give away. I didn't buy them but some one will get a deal.
    Dear Curt,

    Which ones, as a matter of interest? Sometimes (for example) they'll put a hardback out of print, and 'out' it at next to nothing, while leaving the softback in print at full price.

    To go back to the OP, though, quite a number of things have hurt 'real' books. One is immediacy. I'm currently updating my book Motorcycle Touring in Europe (Collins, 1985). A specialist travel book like that might have enjoyed a life of 10 years in the past; now, with the chance to check if it's up-to-date on the web, 10 years seems like forever. So what I'm planning is a combination web-plus-paper approach: subscription on the web, plus print-on-demand for a copy you can carry with you.

    Rather more of a problem is the change in publishers themselves. Twenty years ago, there were far more of them and they were far more independently minded. Publishing was famously 'an occupation for gentlemen' and everyone knew the best way to make a small fortune in publishing (start out with a large one).

    Today, many small publishing houses have been Hoovered up by big, accountant-run conglomerates who have a Hollywood mindset: never mind originality, can we copy this book? It's the 'Star Wars VIII' or 'Rocky VI' approach to publishing. The old model was that your successes paid for your failures. The new model is that you rarely lose money on a book (except celebrity autobiographies) but you rarely have many unexpected major successes because you won't take ANY risks at all on ANYTHING out of the ordinary.

    The accountants have also strangled the authors. Twenty years ago, 10% of cover price was the standard royalty. Today, plenty try go get away with 10% of net receipts -- and discounts on cover can go as high as 60%, so with (say) a $30 book, instead of $3, you see $1.20.

    Then there are the booksellers. Again, a few big chains control far more of the proportion of books sold, and as far as I can see, there's a good deal of luck involved in who chooses what.

    Repro quality on the web is crap, there's no doubt, and a lot of what's 'published' on the web is illiterate garbage. Most of it is also free, which is pretty bizarre: people prefer free rubbish to paid-for information that is well-researched, well presented and coherent.

    Then again, the decline of repro houses has led to a decline in publishing image quality too. Most authors submit book pics as electronic files and (surprise, surprise) these are not of the same quality as a drum scan made by a master printer. A friend of mine who is a master printer (and taught drum scanning) taught me a lot, but unsurprisingly, my scans aren't as good as his.

    So yes, 'real' books have declined grievously -- but it ain't just down to the web.

    Cheers,

    R.

  4. #14
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davetravis View Post
    On the surface this question might appear to have an obvious answer.
    I'm just not certain.
    Anyone can "publish" their portfolios onto their own sites, or any number of sites like APUG.
    I'm curious about these questions:
    Are book publishers doing fewer photo books?
    Are photogs as motivated to get a book publisher, now that they can put them on the web?
    Is the quality of web photo material equal to book photo material?
    Has the prestige of being published by traditional means been increased, or decreased, by web publishing?
    Before the web, every piece of technical advice from the likes of Roger Hicks and the other APUGers who are acknowledged technical experts would have appeared in a magazine and attracted a fee!

    I personally am a full-time industrial journalist, 99% of what I do involves ghost writing, editing, etc. on an anonymous basis, so I like every now and then to publish a magazine article under my own name. In recent years, this has become so unprofitable in comparison with the day job (by a factor of 3 to 4) that I have more or less stopped doing it. The British magazine "Amateur Photographer", for example, recently changed payment for readers' portfolios from £50 a page (low) to £50 per portfolio (even if it covers 3 pages - ludicrous!).

    Is it still prestigious to have a photo book published? Yes - or more like miraculous in view of the many projects which publishers are offered and the very small number which make it into print. If I wanted to do a book project, I would certainly self-publish - I couldn't care less whether it's vanity or not, it's the only way to get a decent return (which will still be modest in the extreme).

  5. #15

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    When I started out in photography you learned the technical stuff by taking a course in college and adding to that base by reading the latest magazines or books. Today, you still need the hands on jumpstart that a photography class can teach, but after that you can get all the information you want free off the web. At one time I subscribed to magazines that prvovided a lot of technical articles, now I look for publications with good reproductions of images and articles about the artists and their art. The only exception to that rule would be View Camera. I don't subscribe to it, but find enough good technical content pertinent to LF to compel me to pick up 3 or 4 issues a year off the news stand.

    As far as books ar concerned, I think the web may help some folks get books published and sold. A person can preview images on a web site and gage interest in a potential book, and web sites and participation on sites such as APUG provides free advertising and fosters discussion about such books for the authors. Web based publishing ventures such as Lulu, provide a niche so artists can at least get a taste of being published for a fraction of what it would cost to get a small run of books made.

    Of course quality is somewhat lacking when compared to John Sexton's latest book or the series of books Michael Smith is publishing on Brett Weston. But at least it is a start and with the web publishing industry in its infancy the quality will only get better.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  6. #16
    Curt's Avatar
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    Dear Curt,

    Which ones, as a matter of interest? Sometimes (for example) they'll put a hardback out of print, and 'out' it at next to nothing, while leaving the softback in print at full price.

    To go back to the OP, though, quite a number of things have hurt 'real' books. One is immediacy. I'm currently updating my book Motorcycle Touring in Europe (Collins, 1985). A specialist travel book like that might have enjoyed a life of 10 years in the past; now, with the chance to check if it's up-to-date on the web, 10 years seems like forever. So what I'm planning is a combination web-plus-paper approach: subscription on the web, plus print-on-demand for a copy you can carry with you.

    Rather more of a problem is the change in publishers themselves. Twenty years ago, there were far more of them and they were far more independently minded. Publishing was famously 'an occupation for gentlemen' and everyone knew the best way to make a small fortune in publishing (start out with a large one).

    Today, many small publishing houses have been Hoovered up by big, accountant-run conglomerates who have a Hollywood mindset: never mind originality, can we copy this book? It's the 'Star Wars VIII' or 'Rocky VI' approach to publishing. The old model was that your successes paid for your failures. The new model is that you rarely lose money on a book (except celebrity autobiographies) but you rarely have many unexpected major successes because you won't take ANY risks at all on ANYTHING out of the ordinary.

    The accountants have also strangled the authors. Twenty years ago, 10% of cover price was the standard royalty. Today, plenty try go get away with 10% of net receipts -- and discounts on cover can go as high as 60%, so with (say) a $30 book, instead of $3, you see $1.20.

    Then there are the booksellers. Again, a few big chains control far more of the proportion of books sold, and as far as I can see, there's a good deal of luck involved in who chooses what.

    Repro quality on the web is crap, there's no doubt, and a lot of what's 'published' on the web is illiterate garbage. Most of it is also free, which is pretty bizarre: people prefer free rubbish to paid-for information that is well-researched, well presented and coherent.

    Then again, the decline of repro houses has led to a decline in publishing image quality too. Most authors submit book pics as electronic files and (surprise, surprise) these are not of the same quality as a drum scan made by a master printer. A friend of mine who is a master printer (and taught drum scanning) taught me a lot, but unsurprisingly, my scans aren't as good as his.
    Roger, I am not sure which books they were but the book store is a used book store chain. I believe it was a "series" of books? They don't dump new books, the books they have are by people who take them in for sale and the book store sells them used at a very nice price.
    Curt
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  7. #17
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Dear Curt,

    Which ones, as a matter of interest? Sometimes (for example) they'll put a hardback out of print, and 'out' it at next to nothing, while leaving the softback in print at full price.
    Cheers,

    R.
    Roger,

    I've seen several of your books at Half-Price Books over the last couple of years. Usually multiple copies that may have been remaindered. The only one I can recall specifically was on medium format photography, on my last visit, in softcover if I recall correctly. I think I also recall one on darkroom techniques a bit earlier, and there were two or three on other topics. However, an Aperture hardback of Weston portraits won out on the last visit at $7.98 (list $40). Much of Half-Price Books stock is "new", but they do sell used as well.

    Lee

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Rather more of a problem is the change in publishers themselves. Twenty years ago, there were far more of them and they were far more independently minded. Publishing was famously 'an occupation for gentlemen' and everyone knew the best way to make a small fortune in publishing (start out with a large one).
    I've heard recently that there are more and more big companies owning smaller publishers today, and so on, much like what we have seen in other media fields (TV, radio, Internet, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Today, many small publishing houses have been Hoovered up by big, accountant-run conglomerates who have a Hollywood mindset: never mind originality, can we copy this book? It's the 'Star Wars VIII' or 'Rocky VI' approach to publishing. The old model was that your successes paid for your failures. The new model is that you rarely lose money on a book (except celebrity autobiographies) but you rarely have many unexpected major successes because you won't take ANY risks at all on ANYTHING out of the ordinary.
    You mean the "Disney" model?

  9. #19

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    I have a small Lulu-type of self-published (postcard) book out in the Japanese market (mostly online circle), but I don't put the digital images from the book anywhere else because I don't think it helps. The book is a book, and basically the front cover of the book and a little description of the content show what it is.

    Meanwhile I can sell the prints of the same images separately, and I need to keep working on that. The more I get sucked into the traditional photography, the more I feel to stick to the thinking of providing actual photo prints as my work (even though I'm not a pro), rather than a book copy, etc to the people who want to see them.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    I've heard recently that there are more and more big companies owning smaller publishers today, and so on, much like what we have seen in other media fields (TV, radio, Internet, etc).....
    Actually, print media publishers have always bought smaller "imprint" names. It is the nature of the hard copy print business - and has been for at least a century or so.

    BTW: Microsoft is seeking to buy Yahoo. I think that answers the OP's question more than most of the above.

    Follow the money.....

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