self publishing photography book

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by stella_blunt, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. I want to self publish a book of my work. Im familar with Blurb.com and apple books.
    I want to have the best quality as far as reproduction etc .
    Can anyone recommend other publishing companies?
    Thanx
     
  2. >>> Can anyone recommend other publishing companies?
    MagCloud
     
  3. Brad, that looks nice! Can you detail some experience with them?
     
  4. >>> Can you detail some experience with them?.
    Sure...
    I've been using Magcloud for a little more than two years. Here's my latest publication. Another photojournal is being released next week.
    I like MagCloud's pricing better than other print-on-demand services that are based on HP Indigo digital press printing (Blurb, Apple books, MyPublisher, etc) . Cost is 20 cents per page. A perfect binding option is available for $1 extra. Like other companies, MagCloud handles all order fulfillment including credit card processing and shipping for customers ordering your publication.
    An aspect I really like about MagCloud are their shipping options. They're the only provider that offers a regular first class mailing option - usually around $2. More expensive shipping with other providers can become a significant cost, in relation to the cost of the publication..
    There are a couple downsides. Unlike the other companies mentioned above, MagCloud does not offer any hardbound cover options; but that's in keeping with serving their audience of magazine publishers. Also, there are only two print sizes available 10 3/4" x 8 1/4", and a recently offered 8 1/4" x 5 1/4" digest size (at 16 cents a page). Another downside, that comes with *all* print-on-demand printing using the HP Indigo press is the possibility of incurring slight color casts with black and white images. The majority of the time that's not a problem. I can go into much more technical detail on the why, if needed.
    Overall I'm very happy with MagCloud's quality and service.
     
  5. brad-
    thanks for the fleshout. i like the points you make about page cost and shipping cost.
    their logo made me think they're owned by HP, but perhaps they are just showing that to indicate their use of hp equipment.
    how have you found conversion rates compared to other hosted print or download solutions?
    do you feel that the magazine format promotes purchasing more than individual photos sets? (i.e., a set of 30 photos for sale, vs the set of 30 photos, integrated into a self-pub magazine with text-- what are the implications for buy rate?)
    heck, if you have time to kill, i'd love the technical details...
     
  6. Just look at the magcloud.com website, they list all the details and have templates for using different software to compose the magazine, then you output to PDF and upload. I am working on a project that I will publish using this, looks great and very reasonable.
     
  7. >>> their logo made me think they're owned by HP ...

    Yes, MagCloud is the creation of HP Labs and HP Corporate Ventures.

    >>> how have you found conversion rates compared to other hosted print or download solutions?

    The conversion rate on my above mentioned publication is 12%. That's pretty high, but more so because of my project's marketing
    and front page coverage in the Arts Section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Without that, it would have been much less.

    >>> do you feel that the magazine format promotes purchasing more than individual photos sets?

    That's what the pub released next week will be offering, limited edition prints. Have no idea how that will turn out.

    >>> heck, if you have time to kill, i'd love the technical details...

    This speaks to the small color casts in B&W images I mentioned above, and can occur with all HP Indigo output, no matter the
    company doing the printing.

    Publication files are submitted to MagCloud online in RGB format. They are then converted to CMYK, as the HP Indigo digital press
    employs a CMYK liquid toner system for printing. For black and white images, tones are mapped into K along with some C, M, and Y
    added to create deeper blacks. The problem is, is that it takes only a *very tiny* amount of imbalance in the Indigo's CM&Y liquid
    toner delivery (which apparently can't be controlled precisely) to create a noticeable cast in B&W output. Small imbalances and resulting casts are not
    noticed with color images.

    Casts are usually very small and can vary from very light magenta, to neutral, to very light green. They can't be
    controlled, unless you tone your B&W images to overpower the slight casts introduced at the press. But that's not something I want to do.
    Casts can also change hue in different lighting; daylight, tungsten, and fluorescent.

    Because it's important to me, I can spot very small casts that others won't likely see. As I mentioned above, most of the time it's
    fine, but when it's bad enough for a customer to spot right away, then that's a problem. To MagCloud's credit they have promptly
    reprinted and shipped issues where there's been an issue.
     
  8. Brad-Thank you for taking the time to get into some of the details. Even though I'm not yet ready to do a self pub rag (late next year at the earliest), this is very insightful and courteous. BTW, enjoyed the Tenderloin project.
    Regards, Randall
     
  9. Hi Brad, I really enjoyed looking at the images in your Tenderloin project. You have a fine eye for composition.
     
  10. >>> Do they provide any color management help, such as profiles?

    If you mean profiles for soft-proofing, I haven't found any. I don't soft-proof in general, but rather rely on my well-calibrated
    display set to an output 110 mcd. Works great for me. Also, as the casts mentioned above are random with time, printed
    from the exact same document, that wouldn't solve the problem.

    With respect to getting calibrated, I recommend anyone starting to print with MagCloud (or any other print-on-demand
    service) to prepare a small test document with say 20 pages containing multiple photos each with bracketed exposure.
    That will help get you dialed in, and would only cost $4.00 with MagCloud.

    On the internet, some people mention MagCloud images coming out too dark. I suspect that's because some are using
    uncalibrated displays, and/or with display outputs set much too bright.

    Randall and Andrew, thanks!
     
  11. After checking out the MagCloud site, I have a few questions:
    - It seems like the binding can only be along the long side, and not on the short side. That's fine for a magazine, but not necessarily for a photo book. This limitation would be a deal breaker for me.
    - I can't get a handle on the thickness of the paper, with reference to, say, Blurb's.
    - What is double sided printing like?
     
  12. >>> It seems like the binding can only be along the long side, and not on the short side.

    That's right, and speaks to their business, *Mag*Cloud. The look and feel is an aesthetic I like and serves well
    those who publish magazines and photo journals, rather than "fine art" coffee table books. That's an aesthetic I'm
    intentionally trying to avoid. Blurb has a fine book product, but for me, their books have kind of an odd in-the-hand
    feeling, It's difficult to explain...

    Also being sensitive to cost, I like MagCloud's pricing structure much better. My last pub, at 52 pages with perfect
    binding and sized at 10 3/4 x 8 1/4", cost $11.40, allowing for a reasonable profit to be added. Shipping, paid by
    customers, was around $2. For Blurb it would have been $28.95 for 10x8" and standard paper. Adding a profit and
    imposing their cheapest shipping of $8 on customers would have been a huge non-starter. I think Blurb is great for
    personal books to show others, and for higher-end fine-art coffee table like books, where a much higher price is not a
    detriment.

    >>> I can't get a handle on the thickness of the paper, with reference to, say, Blurb's.

    I haven't made a Blurb book in a couple years, or have used their extra-cost premium papers. Aside from that,
    MagCloud's paper feels the same.

    >>> What is double sided printing like?

    It's great. No bleed-through, if that's what you're asking.

    Hope all of the above helps...
     
  13. That would be a very cool idea, publishing your own book. Keep it up!
     

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