PSR: Publish Photo Books Cheaper


What problem was I trying to solve? Independent publishing of printed photo books is expensive. For example, I experimenting with the same book on 3 different services and the average cost was $63:

[Note: this post is about printed matter. Blurb also offers iBooks, Amazon, iOS and Android compatible digital versions as well as PDF.]


While searching for alternatives I found the Alliance of Independent Authors and they review and rate self-publishing services. For example, they recommend Blurb as well as Apple iBooks and Amazon CreateSpace is a partner member.  AIA also have Watchdog Advisory and Caution categories and they use them.

While researching other publishers, I stumbled upon a prolific photographer who recommended switching from photo book to magazine format to bring down the cost significantly while keeping the photo quality up.

Indie magazines have experienced a renaissance lately in part because of the availability of technology. Blurb got into magazines in a big way in 2014 by licensing MagCloud, HP’s web-based publishing platform invented by HP Labs in 2008 that created a network of users publishing magazines on-demand using HP Indigo commercial printing presses.


I published a 37 page soft cover magazine, Myopia in Britain, on Blurb for $10. Versus an average of $63 for a book. That’s 6x difference.

Magazine Cover

Next week I will have an actual physical copy in my hands and will let you know how the quality stacks up. In the meantime, my next post will be about the things I learned about the differences between creating a book and creating a magazine. The medium really does matter!



  1. Interesting! I look forward to hearing your experience with this. I publish my own comics, in softcover, so I suppose that might be somewhat like making a magazine. I use two different local printers, depending on whether I’m doing colour or black and white, and depending on the binding I need. Do you have any good local printers who do short-run books near you? It might be worth a try.

    • Hi Karen, that’s an interesting point – comics are a bit like magazines in terms of the paper, spine, and paper surface. Maybe Blurb’s magazine format would be useful for you. Thanks for sharing your experience on using a local printer. I never thought about that so I will check it out.

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