Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Book

I have completed the process of creating a photo book using Blurb's BookWright application.  I uploaded my efforts to the Blurb site and received the proof copy about two weeks later.  It all looked pretty good, but I decided to adjust the contrast in a few of the pictures and corrected a couple errors in the text.  I resubmitted the material and ordered three copies for my own use, along with a pdf which I will redistribute myself.  The book is now listed in the Blurb bookstore where it can be previewed and purchased.

I have no complaints about the quality of the results I got from Blurb.  The images look as good to me as what I could do myself on a good quality inkjet.  The layout and design seems exactly as I specified.  Most importantly, as a newcomer to self-publishing, I think the Blurb experience provided a very good basic introduction to the process of book design.

Where Blurb comes up short in my opinion is in regard to economic feasibility.  Going much beyond the 32 pages of the book I produced results in a product that will be priced beyond what I think most people are prepared to pay for a photo book.  I think a book of the size I made could be used effectively as an exhibit catalog, and that is actually something I had in mind in its creation.  For something more substantial I think I would look to other possibilities.

I have put together a page on my book on my blog with a link to the Blurb bookstore.  I also made the pdf ebook available on the page which contains all the text and illustrations of the hardcopy at a cost of five dollars.  However, for the remainder of the month of January I will email a copy to anyone interested at no charge.  I would suggest that people wanting the pdf contact me directly by email rather than posting a message in the blog comments.  My email address is mike dot connealy at gmail dot com.

The pdf file of the book is viewable on any device, though big screens are going to be a better choice.  Web browsers can handle pdf display, but a dedicated viewer like Adobe Acrobat Reader will do a better job of displaying two pages simultaneously as the book was designed to be viewed; there is one double-page photo spread where that is particularly desirable.


Jim Grey said...

This is making me want to try making a book myself, mostly out of curiosity, but also out of wonder whether this is something I could get good at over time. I wonder if I could build an audience for books as I have for my blog. Maybe it could help fund further film photography.

Everything you've described about the process and result sound good -- except that the printed pages look like good-quality inkjet output. But I guess you can't expect miracles from simple self publishing.

I would love to dust off my old book design skills. Early in my career as a technical writer and editor, I used to design interiors of software manuals. It's a little different from designing art books, I'm sure, but I would like to both dust off those old skills (which I very much enjoyed using) and see how they transfer to a different subject matter.

JR Smith said...


Happened across your Flickr post about this and then saw that your blog is active again. Yay! Really missed seeing new posts here. Nice to have you back!

Mike said...

Thanks for the comments and the visits to the blog. I've not done much with my cameras over the past year, but the time and energy I've gained as a result has helped me focus better on doing more with my existing store of photos. I have thousands of negatives that I've made over the past ten years and it seems worthwhile to take some time to explore how they might be used beyond just posting on the blog and on Flickr. Not that I've given up entirely on making new images, of course. I did recently put a couple rolls through the Agfa Synchro Box, and I presently have a roll in my pinhole camera.