Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

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bakubo
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Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:07 am

This morning I watched a 1 hour webinar put on by Adobe and Blurb titled:

Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Lightroom can make books for Blurb and then it will upload them. The photographer they had to do the webinar went through all the steps in LR to set up a book and it was interesting. Viewers of the webinar watched the guy's computer screen and listened to him talk about what he was doing and why. They had a woman (I think a Blurb employee) who would occasionally make comments also or ask him a question. He had made several books already and it turns out, he said, that the one he made as an example for the webinar was one he had already done.

It all looked pretty cool and very flexible, but I was still struck by the price. His 12"x12" hardback book with 26 pages :!: :o ended up costing $100 plus shipping (plus taxes too maybe). Yes, 26 pages. Since, I assume, he sells his books at something above cost so that he can make some money from all of his work making the books then we are probably talking about a total selling price for his 26 page book of $150-200. Hmmm, does this make sense to anyone??? If it is just a vanity thing to see your photos in a book that you buy one of and put on your bookshelf then, I guess, I can sort of understand it. Or, maybe buy a small number that you give as gifts. But, thinking people who are not your family or your close friends will actually buy a 26 page book for those prices? Okay, if you are a really famous photographer and you personally sign a small number of them and sell the 26 page book for $150-200 then okay, but that is a very special case.

What do you think?

By the way, this is a continuation from some of the later posts in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=7403

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby Birma » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:46 pm

Hi Henry - I agree it seems very expensive. I can't imagine forking out this much for a book I'd want something to hang on the wall for this price.
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby artington » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:51 pm

Blurb is not cheap if you only put in a few photos. However the pricing is very fair for larger numbers. My first Blurb book (10x8 inches) had hard covers with photo-wrap and 20 premium lustre photos and the cost after postage was about £30. Not cheap. However, I later did another book, exactly the same except this time with 60 images and 20 title pages and the delivered cost was just over £40. Now I think that is pretty good!

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:19 pm

artington wrote:Blurb is not cheap if you only put in a few photos. However the pricing is very fair for larger numbers. My first Blurb book (10x8 inches) had hard covers with photo-wrap and 20 premium lustre photos and the cost after postage was about £30. Not cheap. However, I later did another book, exactly the same except this time with 60 images and 20 title pages and the delivered cost was just over £40. Now I think that is pretty good!


Were you very happy with the quality of the book and photo printing?

I went to Blurb and priced the same book that was in the webinar, but instead of 26 pages I changed it to 201-220 pages and the price is $210.83 (plus shipping and plus tax maybe):

http://www.blurb.com/pricing#large-square

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:28 pm

Birma wrote:Hi Henry - I agree it seems very expensive. I can't imagine forking out this much for a book I'd want something to hang on the wall for this price.


I suppose you are looking at it the way many people who make a Blurb photo book look at it. Make some prints for the wall or make a photo book? Which to do? If it is just for you and your family/friends to see then making a book and buying one or two at a high price is okay. I guess Blurb is meant for just that sort of thing because when I go to the bookstore and look at photo books I see lots of them, some very nice ones, usually of 100-250 pages and they tend to cost $15-45. Sometimes more and sometimes less. I guess the Blurb photo books are mostly meant for an expensive souvenir for yourself and for gifts. Is that what you think too?

The photographer in the webinar (I don't remember his name) said he had made several books with Blurb and clearly he knew the ins and outs of it well and knew all the hard to figure out stuff in the LR book module that the average person would probably never figure out. He never said what he did with the books though. The implication was (and, I think, most watchers assumed) that he made books to sell, but after seeing the prices I just can't see how that makes sense. Maybe he also just makes them for himself and to give as gifts. The whole pricing issue was never brought up at all in the webinar.

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby artington » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:34 pm

bakubo wrote:
artington wrote:
Were you very happy with the quality of the book and photo printing?

]


Yes I was, very happy. We are not talking about fine art printing of course. More than acceptable though for a record or a gift.

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby pakodominguez » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:41 pm

bakubo wrote:It all looked pretty cool and very flexible, but I was still struck by the price. His 12"x12" hardback book with 26 pages :!: :o ended up costing $100 plus shipping (plus taxes too maybe). Yes, 26 pages. Since, I assume, he sells his books at something above cost so that he can make some money from all of his work making the books then we are probably talking about a total selling price for his 26 page book of $150-200. Hmmm, does this make sense to anyone???

This kind of services are not designed for print many copies of one book, but single copies of them -that is why cost seams high. Regarding the kind of book you want to make (and the printing quality) it will be probably cheaper to print 1000 copies from a press service than 100 from a "boutique" service.
bakubo wrote:If it is just a vanity thing to see your photos in a book that you buy one of and put on your bookshelf then, I guess, I can sort of understand it. Or, maybe buy a small number that you give as gifts. But, thinking people who are not your family or your close friends will actually buy a 26 page book for those prices? Okay, if you are a really famous photographer and you personally sign a small number of them and sell the 26 page book for $150-200 then okay, but that is a very special case.

What do you think?
I find no vanity in printing books with my photographs. It is just another (nicer ) medium. I had the chance to work in photography since I was 17 years old. For me, photography is a print, a piece of paper. I always printed my best pics, 8*12 or 12*18 -now it is cheap to print at 20*30, and digital allows you to do so, both quality and cost wise. Photo books is a wonderful medium for showing my work. And the biggest the book, the better it looks! Than, you have to pay for it, of course...

I did my first book by 2005, with MyPublisher.com the first one, with pictures from a photoessay I did in Peru, looked quite good (offset machinery, hard cover, 8*12...) Then I prepared a second book with pics from a trip to West Africa, initially I printed small, 6*7 or so, soft covers: the book felt apart the second time I opened it, Costumer Service told me that they couldn't do anything, that it was probably mishandled or so... In the meanwhile I did order a 8*12 hard cover book (that turned out OK) and after that I never placed an order with them anymore.

AdoramaPix started doing photobooks about 4 years ago (on photo paper, no press) and, thanks to the need of sample books, I've been printing my own books "for free" (well, my images are used for these sample books...) so I made a small collection ob books, easy to carry with me, nice to show around...

I only feel some sort of "Vanity" when I get published -paid or not....
Last edited by pakodominguez on Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby artington » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:57 pm

Bravo and well said, Pako. You and Henry do great work in livening up this Forum

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:26 am

Pako, thanks for your perspective on the way you use the books you make. For those sorts of uses and the ones I mentioned earlier it all makes sense.

Blurb and the others try to convince people that their book service is good for selling books too though:

http://www.blurb.com/publishing

Well, as I have already discovered and written about here it is hard to see how that makes any sense for most people. When the cost to the book author of a 26 page 12"x12" photo book is $100 + shipping + tax and a 201 page book is $210 + shipping + tax then the selling price (assuming you are not selling at cost) is even higher. By the way, for people who don't know, photo book prices vary by size, cover type, number of pages, type of paper, etc. The prices mentioned here could be lower or higher depending on exactly which characteristics you choose.

Pako, books made for your purposes, as mentioned in the link below, make a lot of sense:

http://www.blurb.com/business

And books made more for personal use (put on your bookshelf, give as a gift, etc.) also make sense:

http://www.blurb.com/personal-books

To me, it is only the selling (which Blurb and the others make a big deal about) that doesn't seem to make sense. Maybe for non-photo books (novels, etc.) the pricing does make sense, but I haven't checked that.

By the way, this is what Blurb says about the quality of its books:

http://www.blurb.com/make-books

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:19 pm

bakubo wrote:Pako, thanks for your perspective on the way you use the books you make. For those sorts of uses and the ones I mentioned earlier it all makes sense.

Blurb and the others try to convince people that their book service is good for selling books too though:

http://www.blurb.com/publishing


Look at this example (not Blurb, but similar service from a subject we all know very well) http://www.lulu.com/shop/gary-friedman/the-complete-guide-to-sonys-nex-7-mirrorless-camera-color-edition/paperback/product-20216918.html;jsessionid=8D0649A806400AFA48684EA561E5424A
And I don't think Gary is making much money from a "real" book.
bakubo wrote:To me, it is only the selling (which Blurb and the others make a big deal about) that doesn't seem to make sense. Maybe for non-photo books (novels, etc.) the pricing does make sense, but I haven't checked that.

Put it this way: a FF camera with a couple of G and Zeiss lenses don't really make sense on the hands of a (rich) novice. But there is a market for that, bigger than what we can imagine -the RX100 and RX1 are selling like hot cakes!
If you want to mass-market your book, you need to print a high volume with a certain quality. Not this boutique services -but those big press services will never print just one book because their workflow is not prepared for that, and it will cost even more.
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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:57 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Look at this example (not Blurb, but similar service from a subject we all know very well) http://www.lulu.com/shop/gary-friedman/the-complete-guide-to-sonys-nex-7-mirrorless-camera-color-edition/paperback/product-20216918.html;jsessionid=8D0649A806400AFA48684EA561E5424A
And I don't think Gary is making much money from a "real" book.


Is this a book you own? Yes, $151.50 is pretty high for a book explaining the NEX 7. It does have 495 pages though and not 26. :lol:

I have no idea how much money he is making from this book. This doesn't appear to be a photo book though.

pakodominguez wrote:Put it this way: a FF camera with a couple of G and Zeiss lenses don't really make sense on the hands of a (rich) novice. But there is a market for that, bigger than what we can imagine -the RX100 and RX1 are selling like hot cakes!
If you want to mass-market your book, you need to print a high volume with a certain quality. Not this boutique services -but those big press services will never print just one book because their workflow is not prepared for that, and it will cost even more.


Oh, turning this into a camera gear discussion. :lol:

Okay, it sounds like you are sort of agreeing with me while seeming to disagree:

bakubo wrote:Okay, if you are a really famous photographer and you personally sign a small number of them and sell the 26 page book for $150-200 then okay, but that is a very special case.

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:05 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Look at this example (not Blurb, but similar service from a subject we all know very well) http://www.lulu.com/shop/gary-friedman/the-complete-guide-to-sonys-nex-7-mirrorless-camera-color-edition/paperback/product-20216918.html;jsessionid=8D0649A806400AFA48684EA561E5424A
And I don't think Gary is making much money from a "real" book.


I just checked lulu.com and his cost is $98.08 per book. Selling price is $151.50 + tax + shipping.

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:18 pm

bakubo wrote:
pakodominguez wrote:Look at this example (not Blurb, but similar service from a subject we all know very well) http://www.lulu.com/shop/gary-friedman/the-complete-guide-to-sonys-nex-7-mirrorless-camera-color-edition/paperback/product-20216918.html;jsessionid=8D0649A806400AFA48684EA561E5424A
And I don't think Gary is making much money from a "real" book.


Is this a book you own? Yes, $151.50 is pretty high for a book explaining the NEX 7. It does have 495 pages though and not 26. :lol:
;-)
No, I don't have this book, nor the electronic version or any of the printed versions (you can printed color or BW), I got once Gary's A700 book as part of a deal with him, but that was it, I'm not a very good client, sorry Gary...
bakubo wrote:
pakodominguez wrote:Put it this way: a FF camera with a couple of G and Zeiss lenses don't really make sense on the hands of a (rich) novice. But there is a market for that, bigger than what we can imagine -the RX100 and RX1 are selling like hot cakes!
If you want to mass-market your book, you need to print a high volume with a certain quality. Not this boutique services -but those big press services will never print just one book because their workflow is not prepared for that, and it will cost even more.


Oh, turning this into a camera gear discussion. :lol:
We can talk cars or something else, there are rich amateurs for everything...
bakubo wrote:Okay, it sounds like you are sort of agreeing with me while seeming to disagree:

bakubo wrote:Okay, if you are a really famous photographer and you personally sign a small number of them and sell the 26 page book for $150-200 then okay, but that is a very special case.

I don't disagree with you, or your vision of this business. I didn't understood your post as a statement or criticism, but mostly as a curious approach, so I'm telling you about my experience as former client of this services, and as a provider of this service.

David Bergman (http://www.tourphotographer.com/) is our client. He sells 6*6 books of Bon Jovi's tour -he creates one for each presentation. We had deliver hundreds of this, showing his high quality photographs of the rock band. He sells also prints and other products. AFAIK he doesn't offer big books, but I'm sure if he want to, he will be able to sell 12*12 books to rich Bon Jovi's music lovers
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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:18 am

I did a quick look at some of the photo books on blurb.com and saw some that look like they might be pretty good. The 26 page book in the webinar that the photographer recreated for the sake of teaching is still a headscratcher for me though. Of course, no doubt one reason he did the webinar was that it was good marketing for him in addition to getting paid to do it. Maybe he will sell some of his books that way too. Good for him.

I also spent just a few minutes looking at some of the photo books for sale on lulu.com. I immediately found books where the pricing is weird though:

This photo book is selling for $44.99, but it costs the author $89.99 for each book:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/r-thomas-berner/tamaqua-then-and-now-second-edition/paperback/product-16540295.html

This photo book is selling for $18.84, but it costs the author $25.49 for each book:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/will-woods/the-road-less-travelled/paperback/product-923803.html

This photo book is selling for $14.99, but it costs the author $30.99 for each book:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/kathleen-iwasyszyn/poisoned-apples/paperback/product-16296177.html

Are these vanity books and the authors are selling each one at a big loss? Maybe they hope no one will buy one since each sale means money out of their pocket? Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this since I am all for people choosing themselves how to spend their own money. I am just trying to understand what is happening. It is perplexing to me.

It reminds me of the joke going around in about 1999 or early 2000 just before the internet bubble crash. In those days every time you turned around there was some new internet company with some ridiculous sounding business that was getting gobs of investor money. The joke was that there was a hot new internet company that was selling $1 bills for $0.85 each. They were losing money on each transaction, but not to worry because they were going to make it up in volume. :lol:

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Re: Using Lightroom 4 to Create your Photo Books

Unread postby bakubo » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:30 am

By the way, one really good thing I learned in the webinar was unrelated to making books, but was something about LR. In the metadata section in LR for an image you can add a caption. Probably many or all of you knew that already, but it is something I didn't know about. I have my photos with keywords and star ratings, but I have often wanted to add some information such as the name of a place, a person's name, or some other info. For example, I have captions on most of the photos on my website and that could be the start of information to be added to the metadata. I need to investigate whether LR will allow searching on stuff in the metadata caption.

In the webinar he only mentioned this tangentially when he was talking about adding captions to the book he was making. The blurb book module in LR allows you to pull out the captions in the metadata and use them for the book and that is what he demonstrated.


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