I have visited with Michael about the cost of producing a photo book. He tells me that the one of the most important aspects is the sequencing of the images. Interestingly enough the same sentiment was voiced by one of the publishers in an article in View Camera Magazine.
Michael mentioned a book that someone was wanting to do. The book was to include about 100 images and the cost was going to be in the neighborhood of $100, 000 for that book.
Michael and Paula consult in all phases of the book production. The fees that they quoted me were $1,500 per day. He mentioned that they do work with photographers in arranging financing for a project, if needed. Additionally they work in seeking publishers that may want to take a book on. They told me of a publisher that may want to take a look at my "Exodus" body of work. Additionally, aside from that contact, I have since come into contact with a NYC based publisher that produces photo books as well. I don't know where this will end up at this time.
I have spoken with a doctor in Florida that works in platinum, bromoil and silver large format. He self published a book several years ago. His wife indicated that they produced an initial printing of 2000 at a cost of $75,000. She said that in retrospect they wished they had printed half that number. They benefitted from a big press release in Shutterbug Magazine and their book was listed as the best of it's type for that year. Yet, marketing their own book, is not proving to be a windfall.
The problem, even if one has the finances, is one of distribution. Book stores like to have a Library of Congress number and additionally an ISBN number here in the states. It is my understanding that in order to gain an ISBN number one needs to be in the business of publishing. I have no idea what the distribution considerations are in other countries.
Getting back to Michael Smith, he self published a book over 15 years ago. The binder screwed up a major portion of that run. He ended up with a small fraction of the intended printing. I believe that the remainder of that printing is just now being sold out by Michael. Perhaps it is now totally gone...a year ago the price per copy was $1,500.
Ego building though it may be to see one's name and work in a publication, the reality of the matter is that it is not easy...in fact it is damned risky. If you have the money to fund this thing, let me know because I have some prime beach front property to sell.