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:
- On Shutterfly, my 10 x 10 hardcover photo book, Myopia in Italy, of 42 pages was $90 WITH a coupon.
- On Blurb, my 10 x 8 softcover photo book and 8th book overall, Myopia in Italy, of 70 pages was $45.
- On Artifact Uprising, my 10 x 10 softcover photo book, Myopia in Italy (limited preview ability), of 40 pages was $54.
[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.
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!