11 July, 2007

Book Project Update

The book project is on the front burner. Better not say: "burner". That reminds me too much that today will be another 100 degree Farenheit scorcher. Where I come from originally, it's much like I think the Northern U.K. is: the "foggy land" of myth. 70 degrees was considered hot, and we still put on our coats to go outside. We didn't have seasonal clothing, given that we only had one season!

I reviewed Lulu, MyPublisher and Blurb, but found some areas wanting. Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools has this great comparison of POD outfits. Here is a UK blog that did an extensive test of 3 brands of photo book. Mavie did a wedding book review between MyPub and Blurb. She agrees that Blurb's pages are too lightweight. WeddingBee has a user that loves her MP book. I felt Specifically, the business plan of Lulu is nice, but their printer is the same quality as my in-home printer (dry ink). They receive high marks from the world of writers seeking to publish and distribute their novel or whatever text-centric vehicle they choose. Hello, Twenty-First Century!

I did find this tidbit: you may browse for creative commons images to use on this page at Lulu.

Another issue is formatting. The various POD, one-off (meaning that you may print one book at a time), services have you download a simple program with templates. You drag and drop your jpegs, and the formatting is easy-cheesey.

Me being a fan of monkey-business, and always trying to re-invent the wheel, have decided that the next time I do a layout, I want to do it all myself. This method is also necessary for me when I produce low-quantity layouts such as a brochure for my packet or for my booth. I'll cover self layout issues that I have researched, or suffered personally, in a future post.

Blurb and MyPub use a much better printer, the HP Indigo 5000, which is a 7 color liquid ink offset look digital printer. Much better choice for image-centric books. Also costs more than Lulu, and for good reason, I think.

I am, so far, pursuing MyPublisher for a few reasons. The day I went to "pull the trigger" on laying out my book, I couldn't get the Blurb download to work, had trouble with my member log-in, and also didn't like the paper stock in my example book from Blurb. The photos "bled-through" from the reverse side of each page! They use an 80 lbs. paper, apparently, but the example book they sent me seemed lighter than that.

So, I spent all day Sunday early morning to late night formatting my pages for MyPub, and am just in the clean-up stages. Especially trying is my slide list. Unlike some complainers on the web, I found their interface pretty easy. All text pages, partial text pages, 1-6 images per page, no problems. Photo uploads - easy.

I also have a reader in Valhalla, NY (MP's address). The MYPublisher product, if I understand it correctly, is printed in the USA. The UK people who tested it on their blog, referenced above, did receive theirs from the US.

I cannot find any information on self-pricing or marketing a MyPublisher book, so I am currently in limbo on this. I resist the low quality paper and reverse bleed-through of Blurb, which also won't even download to my computer, so they're a non-starter, anyway.

Now, I am in the throws of Googling everything and anything on MyPublisher, etc. The research continues...

Review of findings:
  1. Lulu uses dry ink printing, poor for images
  2. Those that use the HP Indigo 500 are best, like Blurb or MyPublisher
  3. Complaints exist for all of these publishers, with a wide variance of satisfaction. There is ample evidence of people happy with the quality of MyPub's pages and photo quality.
  4. Most will use these services for "vanity" publishing, which means essentially not for profit purposes
  5. MyPublisher is not savvy to the for-profit guy like an artist trying to publish a portfolio style book
  6. A few bad eggs come out of the basket from time to time, such as page cuts off, photos not present or flipped, even wrong address delivery
Addendum: I pulled the trigger and ordered an 8.5" x 11" tome that will be 22 pages and contain about the same number of images. The hardbound volume, with shipping, comes in at just short of Fifty dollars (I opted for 2 day air/UPS). If I re-order after I approve this draft, then shipping will be cheaper for a multiple purchase. I think the final book may still come out to retail too expensively, at whatever plus @ $40. Hopefully, the margin on softbound can make up for that. On pins and needles, folks...


Lisa B. said...

Try photoworks.com or shutterfly.com. York photo may offer something similar as well.

Try a search using "photo books" instead of self-publishing and see what pops up.

Good Luck!

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Lisa. I did see a few of those, but they seemed to lack enough room for text. I will look at these 3 links, though.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism