Who will print and sell my photobooks and pay me commission?
December 16, 2007 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I want to produce photobooks for sale. I would like to upload them to a printing site where others can go and see them and purchase them without further reference to me. They would deal directly with the printer. But I would like to receive a commission from the printer for each one sold. Does anyone know of a printer of photobooks who would provide this service or of a way I can achieve my objective?
posted by granma to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
blurb.com offers this service. i believe it works similarly to cafepress.com, where you can set the add-on cost for your cut. buyers can view a PDF of the first few pages of your book at low res, before purchase. i used blurb recently and was quite happy with the results (this was for some gifts, not to sell books, FYI). most of the reviews i researched before settling on blurb were positive - along the lines of "cheaper than i-photo books but just as good" and "better than lulu because they offer hardcover option". i didn't find much/any blurb hate out there.
posted by chr1sb0y at 10:42 AM on December 16, 2007

Best answer: Lulu.com offers this service also. They're the company that Derek Powazek and Heather Champ used to print and sell the first few issues of JPG Magazine.
posted by lia at 10:46 AM on December 16, 2007

Best answer: I printed my book with blurb. I went with a hardcover book with a dust cover, and printed my photographs on a black background. The advance copy of my book looks fine, but the printing has a defect, the bottom 1/8" of the pages on the left hand side (odd pages) is white instead of black. I am following up with Blurb re this issue.

The creation of the book was ultra-easy, select your templates, download the photos directly from flickr into blurb (or from your desktop into blurb) then drag and drop. Printing was quick, shipping was predictable (I live in Canada). If you live in the US, you can set your price for the book and print on demand. If you live in another country you cannot sell through Blurb. They keep promising that they are looking into it, but this feature will be offered in Q1 of 2008 at the earliest.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:41 AM on December 16, 2007

I also used blurb in the past for photo books(gifts) and must say I found it quite easy, and the results were flawless. You do have to follow their templates, but there's a large choice. The online selling option looks pretty decent too.
posted by ddaavviidd at 12:01 PM on December 16, 2007

Asukabook is a very nice option as well . . .
posted by jeremias at 12:08 PM on December 16, 2007

I used Blurb and was very dissapointed with the print quality. Very grainy. Definitely did not look like a photobook...at least any that I would purchase.

This was with well exposed 12mp images, from a pro-slr, btw.
posted by sully75 at 2:18 PM on December 16, 2007

Seconding Lulu.com - the photo books I've bought from there have been ++ on print quality.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:29 PM on December 16, 2007

judging from my experience, the reviews i have read, and from the comments here, i think you probably need to try out some of the services and see how each one comes out with your particular photos. with blurb.com i was using 7 megapixel images, and ended up with books (7 x 7 inches) that looked great - no grain except in a few photos that i knew were questionable (low light) anyway. but i think everyone's going to have their own opinion, and possibly even some combinations of camera and service will give you different results. if you are thinking of this as a business, you can definitely afford to try printing a 20 dollar test book on a few different sites. i believe i got about a 20-25 page hardcover book from blurb for about 20 bucks plus tax.
posted by chr1sb0y at 5:08 PM on December 16, 2007

Best answer: Asuka looks nice indeed, but they do not sell direct to end-clients.

I wanted to see the price list for some formats that looked very appealing and instead of being shown a price list I was asked to register first ... and ... click on "I verify that I am a professional Photographer and will be purchasing these books for business promotion or resale." WTF??? I'll purchase if the price is right, I won't barter my personal information so I can see the price list AND promise I will buy. They lost me from then onwards.
posted by seawallrunner at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you so much all of you for your help. Since I do not live in America Blurb is not helpful to me. Thank you very much seawallrunner for that tip off, and for the one about Asuka not direct selling to end clients.

I am therefore giving Lulu a go. I have taken my photos through photoshop to get the layouts I want. I now just have to adjust my image size so it fits properly onto Lulu's landscape page. They say their book measures 22.86cm by 17.78cm (9x7 inches). But as I discovered that is not the actual page size. My job today is to ascertain what size my image needs to be in order to exactly fill a page. Has anyone already had to sort this one out?
posted by granma at 11:10 AM on December 17, 2007

Best answer: blurb chops a bit off the edges of your images in order to get full bleed - i suspect lulu might have to do that also. so your calculation might not reflect what you see in the final book. you may want to try a test book with several pages, where each is set to a slightly different size, and then compare to the original photos, so you can see exactly how much is being lost.
posted by chr1sb0y at 1:46 PM on December 17, 2007

Response by poster: I think you are right chr1sb0y - thanks for the explanation. Got round it by reducing the size of the image and then increasing the size of the canvas so that I ended up with a border around each page. That way Lulu chopped off the borders rather than my pictures. There are probably smarter ways but it worked so I am happy.
posted by granma at 9:36 PM on December 17, 2007

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