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Alternatives for book printing — or make a zine?
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Nowhereman
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Alternatives for book printing — or make a zine?

My understanding is that Blurb and similar print-on-demand companies use Fujifilm Indigo digital printers or the equivalent, which don't allow for page-by-page image control and easily fall out of calibration during a print run. As these printers simply don't provide the "professional" quality of offset printers they are best for printing personal books or book dummies. In contrast, offset printers rival photo prints in quality but require minimum runs of 250-500 books. That obviously requires a substantial upfront printing cost as well as posing distribution and marketing issues, if you don't have a publisher.

For printing only a few copies one could get good quality with inkjet printers like the Epson SCP800 or SCP5000 and double-sided paper, though that would involve dealing with "imposition" (arrangement of the printed product's pages on the printer's sheet or roll) and with binding and covers.

I've been thinking about printing a book project on an inkjet printer and breaking it up into three issues of a "zine" that I would print on demand. Instead of binding, the zine could be stapled. Also, I thought that the third issue could be sold with the option of buying a plastic slip case with the title on the spine. But these are only thoughts...

Any suggestions or thoughts?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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Just curious, are you thinking of doing this project to generate money? Or, just to publish for the sake of "publishing", i.e. vanity publishing?

You might consider consulting someone like Elizabeth Avedon if serious publishing is your goal.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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PKR - the goal is to find a publisher or, failing that, to get the work out to an appropriate audience.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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If you are using InDesign, I thought imposition capability was built in. If not, I'm sure there's a plug-in. Of course, PDFs can be imposed. But if it's few enough pages to staple, I would probably just lay it out in the imposed flow.

I've created books of poems like this. Rather than stapling, I sewed the binding, which looked really nice. You'll also need to be concerned with trimming because of what happens when you fold a stack of paper. Kinkos trimmed mine very precisely.

How many pages are you thinking? I'm not sure how folding good photo paper would work.

Good luck with it. Handmade books are very special, and you'll be guaranteed the print quality you want.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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I know a lot of people who've made their own books, printed, bound, trimmed, at home. It can be fun if you enjoy craft and really want to create a limited edition art book that you have complete control over.

Other than that, if you're printing B&W and want true monochrome prints, look for a short-run printer that specializes in printing comic books, they will print true B&W. I've used Ka-Blam in the past with mostly good results.

A friend who is a print consultant recently suggested I look at Smart Press, who are also able to do true B&W printing, but give more options for paper and formats.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
PKR - the goal is to find a publisher or, failing that, to get the work out to an appropriate audience.
I have some friends who have published photo books. The huge advantage with a known publisher is their distribution network. Doing your own distribution is difficult.

Jeffery Fraenkel publishes often. He's a gallery owner and has had really good success because of the talent he's publishing and because of the gallery/collector value of the books. Maybe publishing along with a gallery show(s) would be another avenue?

I've had some luck with printing posters. The Graphic Designer and Printer share in the cost, distribution, and profit. I've always paid for the paper. Big printers often have a big distribution network, same as publishers.

The printer sees me as the client. So, I do the press check/proofing during the print run. It's given me a lot of control over the finished product.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Have you actually seen and studied the Blurb output?

I deal with Web offset in my main life, via magazines and have had a good number of books published by upmarket folks... but my wife and I used Bobbooks for a recent project (she designs magazines for Aston Martin and other companies). Bobbooks is said to be slightly better than Blurb... but it's capable of very good quality. Better than you'd expect of an upmarket book a decade ago.

Personally, I'd say the issue of proofing (and files) is more crucial than that of output.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul T. View Post
Have you actually seen and studied the Blurb output?

I deal with Web offset in my main life, via magazines and have had a good number of books published by upmarket folks... but my wife and I used Bobbooks for a recent project (she designs magazines for Aston Martin and other companies). Bobbooks is said to be slightly better than Blurb... but it's capable of very good quality. Better than you'd expect of an upmarket book a decade ago.

Personally, I'd say the issue of proofing (and files) is more crucial than that of output.
Like Paul, I work in publishing, and agree with him that Blurb's print quality is perfectly acceptable - as with output from all modern high-end commercial laser printers. These days, laser printing is very, very good and gives offset printing a run for its money. Offset printing remains the gold standard and is capable of exceptional quality but is very expensive, costing thousands of pounds.

As Paul also says, care in creating the press-ready files is the crucial factor here - choice of paper, knowing how colour and tone in images are affected by the paper, working in the colour space (CMYK, not RGB), using appropriate colour profiles, using a colour-managed workflow (i.e. calibrate your monitor), applying the correct image resolution, etc. Some of this is not straightforward - converting a colour image from RGB to CMYK can result in colour shifts which you may want to compensate for as best you can (you can never "fix" it as CMYK has a reduced colour palette compared with RGB). Even B&W images can print poorly if not processed correctly.

Many people think putting a photobook together is straightforward. But it's actually pretty technical, coupled with skill and experience in processing images - like taking a good photo, you just "know" when an image has been processed appropriately.

I suspect many people unhappy with their Blurb books are doing it wrong! That said, there are plenty of on-demand printers, and Blurb is the best known, not necessarily the best quality.

Unless you know what you're doing and familiar with InDesign (don't use Blurb's software - it's too basic), I strongly suggest paying for a designer familiar with photobooks to put your book together.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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PKR - the goal is to find a publisher or, failing that, to get the work out to an appropriate audience.
Original poster, Nowhereman, is talking about finding a publisher or some other way to get his work out. But most of the responses are about printers and printing technology, not publishers.

If he is successful in finding a publisher, then that publisher will lead to their chosen printer.

Nowhereman, if you do not have success in finding a publisher, I suggest you consider using the web to get your photos out to the public.

Real publishing requires a significant up front expense. That is a high hurdle for someone starting out regardless of the quality of the photographs. Remember that Robert Frank could not find a US publisher for "The Americans" to start out.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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If you are using InDesign, I thought imposition capability was built in. If not, I'm sure there's a plug-in. Of course, PDFs can be imposed. But if it's few enough pages to staple, I would probably just lay it out in the imposed flow.

I've created books of poems like this. Rather than stapling, I sewed the binding, which looked really nice. You'll also need to be concerned with trimming because of what happens when you fold a stack of paper. Kinkos trimmed mine very precisely.

How many pages are you thinking? I'm not sure how folding good photo paper would work...
John - I am using InDesign. I wouldn't print a whole book but a series of three zines, which I would staple. The last time I sewed anything was in second grade in Stockholm, when we all had to sew a Swedish flag — many years ago, although I still have the flag.

The first zine would have, at this stage, 32 pages, including the cover and back page. That would mean 8 two-sided sheets. Just thinking: could I simplify this by printing full-bleed on a 17 inch roll, so that the page size would be 11.0 x 8.5 inches? I would probably use paper of 90-120gsm weight, and print in one run and then the second run on the back of the paper. If I use the Epson SCP 5000, I would think, on the basis of experience with Epson 24 and 44 inch printers, the positioning and cutting would be exact. Do you think this approach would work? Another issue is whether the price I could sell the zines at would cover paper and ink cost, US$10–15 per copy?

I was asked above why I want to get this work out. In correspondence with a Brazilian photographer and teacher (of fotografia autoral), I wrote that I was trying to figure whether the world needs this book. He responded that a more relevant question is whether I needed this book, rather than whether the world needed it. On the media to use, I think I need something printed, book or zine, and not an e-book.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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HP Indigo, not Fuji. Quality is every bit as good as any offset press.

HP sold their MagCloud magazine printing service to Blurb. I have never tried it myself but it has a good reputation.

Many photo book services offer a photo paper lay-flat option, like AdoramaPix. Even Costco got into the game, and the prices are very reasonable for personal use, less so for commercial distribution.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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My own - very unscientific - experience with Blurb books (that I use to print one-off books of personal images) is that the quality is actually very good. It's definitely not Steidl, but with care in output from your image program, and by selecting the right paper and format, then Blurb does a very adequate job.

When I was starting out with them, I made a few ten or fifteen page test books in softcovers to check color, layout and paper-choice. I'd recommend doing this if you decide to try Blurb.

Incidentally the softcovers are really awful: glossy and easily damaged. I always choose the charcoal hardcovers, and I'm pleased with those, and the quality of the internal binding.

I tried one of their magazine formats once, but the glued binding simply fell apart the first time it was opened. So I'd warn against those - from my limited data-point of just one attempt. Blurb credited the entire cost of the failure.

These days I use the Lightroom Blurb module for my books. This is simply because the workflow was faster than inDesign to Blurb, and - for my purposes - the end result was good enough.

I'm always interested in hearing what other people use in Europe though. I'd be willing to try another printer - especially one that offered nicer softcovers (something that a lot of Blurb users have asked for over the years - pleas that have fallen on deaf ears, unfortunately).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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majid - Looking at the myriad of web articles on digital vs analog (offset/litho) printing, you'll quickly see that the discussions sound a lot like "film vs digital" discussion on RFF. Comparisons of HP Indigo (digital) and Heidelberg (analog) presses abound. As example, the following statement:

Just a small note, regarding HP Indigo’s “ink” – it is a common misconception that the toner sinks into the paper as in offset printing. Actually it doesn’t. When the toner reaches the blanket, all the carrier liquid in it is evaporated, leaving a sort of polymer, which then gets transferred onto the paper. In other words, it is no longer liquid, and therefore can’t sink into anything.

Indeed, HP calls it's [liquid] toner for the Indigo "ink", and there are arguments that it isn't ink, but toner. More broadly, many of these discussions are about generic books, as opposed to high quality photo books.


mani - I can only go by personal experience of having had three different photo book dummies printed on an HP Indigo, both color and B&W, by a small print shop where individual attention was given to the jobs. While test prints of a couple of individual pages, in each case, were relatively good, the three printed books were nowhere near the quality of good photo book printed by offset — certainly not Steidl quality, but also below the quality of good photo books below the Steidl level. Same for a couple of Blurb-type books I've seen. At this stage of digital press technology, I don't see how one can expect a photo book printed on the HP Indigo to be anywhere near the quality of offset printing, where you get to approve each individual sheet of the test run. (BTW, there is an interesting video somewhere on the web showing Jacob Aue Sobol doing just that ar Super Labo in Tokyo.)

That's the reason I don't want to go the print-on-demand route, and am now considering the self-print zine idea, if I cannot find a publisher.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Again, I think you're worrying about output medium when you should really be more concerned by proofing.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
I was asked above why I want to get this work out. In correspondence with a Brazilian photographer and teacher (of fotografia autoral), I wrote that I was trying to figure whether the world needs this book. He responded that a more relevant question is whether I needed this book, rather than whether the world needed it. On the media to use, I think I need something printed, book or zine, and not an e-book.
I am in a bit of a similar situation. However, I am in a bit of an unusual position having had a long career in business financial management, so having the advantage / curse of forcing myself into hard financial and marketing analysis with real money. I concluded there was no financial viability in publishing what I wanted to do but did want to do it for personal reasons.

My photographic work has a reason and a message. That is best disseminated by "prints on the wall" exhibits, talks, and an active website. But I wanted something tangible as well. I rejected the one off printers such as Blurb, and committed to a print run of 100 copies. I spent a lot of time working with a photo editor that I hired. She was brutal but that was what I really needed. I am very happy with the result.

77 friends and family members have copies of my book. Each was specifically chosen and received it as a gift with a personal inscription inside. My book is not available for purchase. If you have a copy, it is because I wanted you to have a copy. It was not an inexpensive effort but one I am happy with.

Edition One in Berkley CA www.editiononebooks.com/ did the printing. They are short run photo book printers, not publishers. The do all their printing in house with nothing subcontracted. They were great to work with. My print run of 100 copies was a small job for them but I still has my own project manager who was very responsive. We exchanged many samples and proofs with them completely understanding my comments and requests. They offered me a variety of choices including prints from one press vs. another. But I never asked what type of printing press they used just as they never asked me what lens or film I used.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
...Edition One in Berkley CA www.editiononebooks.com/ did the printing. They are short run photo book printers, not publishers. The do all their printing in house with nothing subcontracted. They were great to work with. My print run of 100 copies was a small job for them but I still has my own project manager who was very responsive. We exchanged many samples and proofs with them completely understanding my comments and requests. They offered me a variety of choices including prints from one press vs. another. But I never asked what type of printing press they used just as they never asked me what lens or film I used.
Edition One printed a very small run for me a few years back. Could not have been happier with them. So easy to work with, and they do magnificent printing.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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I don't see how one can expect a photo book printed on the HP Indigo to be anywhere near the quality of offset printing,

Can't agree more, HP Indigo comes not even close to Offset, and you don't have to print with Steidl to see the differences in the quality.

But as mentioned before, the proofing is the really challenging part.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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I don't see how one can expect a photo book printed on the HP Indigo to be anywhere near the quality of offset printing
We have one of the better HP machines in our media center and I've always considered it to be BETTER in photo quality than the commercial offset printing methods used for short runs, the weekly magazines, etc.

Now I have not worked in a print shop for decades, so my numbers may be off here, but IIAC most commercial 4-color offset is (still) done with 133 or 150 line screens. These won't be obvious at normal viewing distances, but you can sure see them close up. I sure can't see any obvious pattern at all in the HP printed photos, either on bond or coated stock. I'm sure the resolution is greater than 600 lines per inch.

We've compared the HP photos to those in People and the HP wins.

If I were to do a vanity-published short run "Collected Works" type of thing, which I've considered, I'm sure I would be happy with any of the demand shops which used a well-maintained production quality printer.

And, as an aside, and not to be argumentative at all, I've always considered rotogravure and not offset to be more of a "gold standard" for printed photos. I'm sure that the fashion mags and National Geographic, for example, are still using this.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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And, as an aside, and not to be argumentative at all, I've always considered rotogravure and not offset to be more of a "gold standard" for printed photos. I'm sure that the fashion mags and National Geographic, for example, are still using this.
You're absolutely right. Many publishers pay a significant amount more for gravure for exactly that reason in high end magazines.

You're also right re offset - the use of a screen will instantly render photos... not necessarily worse, but different. Let's say, usually worse.

I know that a good scan, with good proofing, on nice paper, will look better to me than typical offset. If you insist on offset, with InDesign you will have to spec your output format very carefully as things like dot gain will make a significant difference. Don't try and do it yourself unless you have lots of experience. That's why the suggestion of a small run printer like Edition One is good, because you are eliminating some of the variables re speccing and proofing.

I honestly believe that the Blurbbook we produced recently is equivalent quality to some high end print jobs we've worked on. But again, all the devil is in the detail. Thinking about what printer is used at the end, is like getting obsessed with a particualr lens, and getting your prints done at a supermarket. The weakest link in a chain will always have the biggest proportional effect.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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A few years ago my wife and me made a dummy for a book about Prague printing it with inkjet and induing the page with Tesa film.

It was not intended for publishing but to make an experience about selecting, editing, sequencing and all the work required.

A few images of the process here and here.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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@johnwolf - exactly.

@Paul T. - on one level, it seems to me we’re talking about the same thing: you’re saying “proofing” is the most important thing; and I’m saying that unless you have page-by-page control, you’re not going to get a high-quality photo book. But we’re discussing printing a book by a print-on-demand service vs printing a minimum run of, say 200-500 books. Print-on-demand services largely use the HP Indigo press, for a which proofing page-by-page is impossible: the shop will print every time you place an order; printing by offset allows you to accept a proof for each page — and you’ll have the quality you’ve approved for the whole 200-500 book run. Also, as mentioned earlier, the HP Indigo will often not stay in calibration during any given day.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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I honestly believe that the Blurbbook we produced recently is equivalent quality to some high end print jobs we've worked on.
I find many blame blurbs quality on their poor post processing and the fact that they don't do any tests. When I first used blurb, I did many small test books to make sure I knew how to post process my images specifically for their printing. After using them for 5 years, I know how to make most of my photos look right in their books.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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Originally Posted by Paul T. View Post
Again, I think you're worrying about output medium when you should really be more concerned by proofing.
I feel your audience is a principle concern. Friends and family likely will be wowed just to have your book in their hands. Other artists, galleries, etc. -- that's a different story.
No one's listening to people like Paul who actually have experience!

Yes, offset printing can achieve very high-quality results - but way too high for most needs! Digital printing is definitely good enough for most needs, including photobooks. It's far more important to ensure optimal quality for the press-ready files - such as image resolution, sharpness, tone and colour.

I personally have no qualms about using digital printing for high-end photobooks - I made a digitally printed photobook that has been in several exhibitions and which I sell for £250, and have sold 5 of the limited edition of 15, including to a Magnum photographer (who collects photobooks and is very picky about quality!): http://www.richcutler.co.uk/photogra...cta-photobook/.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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...You have the paper size concept right. Print on a large sheet and fold and stitch. As I recall now, I had Kinkos do the folding on their folding machine. You really can't get a sharp fold by hand. Here are some thoughts from Red River on best photo paper weights for binding.

I'm not sure you're using the "zine" term correctly. It really refers to the magazine size and relatively lightweight gloss or semi-gloss paper typical of magazines. Zines usually also include text and are not seeking stellar photo quality. Is that what you mean?...
Thanks, John. In the Red River link, all double-sided papers only come in sheets; I would need rolls.

I think that the zine concept has been greatly extended in the last couple of years. It used to be that photo zines would be xeroxed from photo prints. Now, zines are often only photos and use the higher quality of an inkjet printer, or a print-on-demand service or even offset. David Alan Harvey is working a zine of a project he called Beach Games, and says that he considers that the difficulty, quality and cost will be the same as making a book. Incidentally, another thing DAH has said is that most photographers assume that the main cost of a book is printing, but that marketing and distribution usually cost more — and that is the reason many unknown photographers may have to pay the printing costs even if they manage to find a publisher.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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.................. But as mentioned before, the proofing is the really challenging part............
I look at things from a very different angle. The selection of the printing press and the proofing, hell even the post processing, are thresholds that must be met. But the gains beyond that threshold quickly reach a point of diminishing returns. Those have similarities to lens or film selection. All are tangible, easy to debate, but none can make work great.

The real key is just like everything else in photography. What you photograph, how you edit and sequence the photos, to what extent the overall body of work evokes emotion, and communicates information will always be what sets the really good work apart from what is technically perfect.

BTW, I had previously printed every image in my book. I followed Edition One's guidelines for color space EXACTLY. The proof of my book had every image match exactly my b&w prints.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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I feel your audience is a principle concern. Friends and family likely will be wowed just to have your book in their hands. Other artists, galleries, etc. -- that's a different story.

John
I guess this is the internet so one opinion is just as good as another. But I have produced illustrated books for Penguin, Hamlyn/Octopus, Chronicle and others, nearly all of them internationalised, plus magazines for the UK's second biggest publishers, working with prints from people like Jim Marshall, William Eggleston, Val Wilmer, Penny Smith and many more.

And my mum has only ever bought a couple of my books.

I can see how you have an outcome in mind, and if that's what you're sure you want, then go for it. But you did ask people for opinions, so it's polite to at least pretend to appreciate them.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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Paul T. - You say you've produced illustrated books and magazines for major publishers, but that would seem to be quite different from the quality concerns of a high-quality photo book. As I wrote in post #24, and repeat here: we’re discussing printing a book by a print-on-demand service vs printing a (low) minimum run of, say 200-500 books. Print-on-demand services largely use the HP Indigo press, for a which proofing page-by-page is impossible: the shop will print every time you place an order; printing by offset allows you to accept a proof for each page — and you’ll have the quality you’ve approved for the whole 200-500 book run. Also, as mentioned earlier, the HP Indigo will often not stay in calibration during any given day. Not sure how you're addressing this basic issue, notwithstanding the smiley.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
Paul T. - You say you've produced illustrated books and magazines for major publishers, but that would seem to be quite different from the quality concerns of a high-quality photo book. As I wrote in post #24, and repeat here: we’re discussing printing a book by a print-on-demand service vs printing a (low) minimum run of, say 200-500 books. Print-on-demand services largely use the HP Indigo press, for a which proofing page-by-page is impossible: the shop will print every time you place an order; printing by offset allows you to accept a proof for each page — and you’ll have the quality you’ve approved for the whole 200-500 book run. Also, as mentioned earlier, the HP Indigo will often not stay in calibration during any given day. Not sure how you're addressing this basic issue, notwithstanding the smiley.
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I think we've covered all the issues now. I don't accept that we're talking about a different quality universe; the fact you're discussing a small print run would actually make this even more of a digital project.

I would be interested in seeing if you can, as you suggest, get an offset job run off a few copies at a time. It is an intriguing idea, although again the time your printer can devote to it will be the key criterion, along with how you're speccing the output from InDesign. Do price up your offset job and report back - good luck with the project, I will be fascinated to see the results.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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Paul T. - I don't understand the reason for your continued sarcasm. It's obvious that one can't do an offset run for less than 250-500 books, and preferably substantially more. Also, I have found that I can't get page-by-page control from a print shop with an HP Indigo press — and certainly not from an online print-on-demand service.

I stated clearly from the outset that, unless I had a publisher for marketing and distribution, I couldn't get enough volume for an offset press; that I couldn't get page-by-page control with a small print shop using an HP Indigo; and that, therefore, if I couldn't get the quality of a good photo book, I was considering breaking the book up into three issues of a zine that I would print myself on an inkjet printer — and asked what people thought. Essentially, the only thing you've said is that one need "proofing" and that you've had a lot experience. Not that helpful.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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Originally Posted by dmr View Post
We have one of the better HP machines in our media center and I've always considered it to be BETTER in photo quality than the commercial offset printing methods used for short runs, the weekly magazines, etc.

Now I have not worked in a print shop for decades, so my numbers may be off here, but IIAC most commercial 4-color offset is (still) done with 133 or 150 line screens. These won't be obvious at normal viewing distances, but you can sure see them close up. I sure can't see any obvious pattern at all in the HP printed photos, either on bond or coated stock. I'm sure the resolution is greater than 600 lines per inch.

We've compared the HP photos to those in People and the HP wins.

If I were to do a vanity-published short run "Collected Works" type of thing, which I've considered, I'm sure I would be happy with any of the demand shops which used a well-maintained production quality printer.

And, as an aside, and not to be argumentative at all, I've always considered rotogravure and not offset to be more of a "gold standard" for printed photos. I'm sure that the fashion mags and National Geographic, for example, are still using this.
I have to agree with Rotogravure as being the best mass production printing I've ever seen. The ink is thrown on to the paper from pockets in the plate. I think many plate changes are necessary during a big run. With lithography the blanket transfers the ink from the plate to the paper. An added step and saves plate wear. NatGeo printed this way long ago. A few high end photo magazines would sometimes include a few pages as tip-ins.

Last two posters I did were: 4 color + spot varnish on 6 bay Heidelberg, B+W Duotone plus black and spot varnish, two passes through a 2 bay Heidelberg. Color was 24x36 before trimming, b+w was 18x24 trimmed. I don't remember the sheet size. Really great printing by two different printers. .
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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I followed the link to Edition One and was intrigued to find that they seem to use digital printing for runs up to 500 copies:

http://www.editiononebooks.com/process/printing/

Their service looks really good, and the attention to detail exemplary - with proofing and personal settings for all stages in the process. Doesn't this contradict what some people have said in this thread about digital printing?

Anyway, absolutely no axe to grind in this thread. My experience with printing is very limited, and I had no involvement in that side of the business even when I was working in advertising. I can only say that looking at some of my art/photo books beside the output from Blurb, the differences aren't really as great as one might expect. Naturally my experience there doesn't extend to color consistency over an edition of more than one - so worthless data in those terms...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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Edition One gave me several rounds of proofs of a selection of pages as I was unsure of how things would look after having used blurb or Magcloud before with B&W images and finding shifts in color between print runs (second orders of a book). I also wanted to match the toning of my prints, so had three tweaks of image color that I wanted to compare.

The pages I got as proofs matched my calibrated screen, each other, and then matched the finished book precisely. I only ordered 5 copies. Not sure how they printed it, but they did it in such a fashion that it was completely consistent.

If you are looking for a publisher, then you might want to have cheap dummies printed. My two cents is that a mock-up or dummy can take many forms: a looseleaf binder, hand bound book/zine, blurb/magcloud, etc. if you are using InDesign, the blurb plug-in makes for quick layout as a test, and having a single or two books (even partial ones with a range of images that you feel could be problematic) printed as a test would be well worth the money. Plus, there are often free offers found for printing a new blurb book, or a single book. Despite the shifts in color I used to get from blurb, books printed in the last five years have been vastly more consistent. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend blurb or magcloud for printing dummies. Plus, perfection in a dummy seems overkill.

Having inkjet printed and stapled or sewn several copies of a few things myself, the time, handwork and space requirements involved in making 200 copies of anything seems pretty off-putting.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
I only ordered 5 copies. Not sure how they printed it, but they did it in such a fashion that it was completely consistent.
May I ask how much did this cost?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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What about books or magazines that offer true monochrome printing for B&W photographs?

My concern is even with a source file that has zero color information, a color printing process could result in an undesired tint. Perhaps in 2017 this concern is obsolete?

I guess that's where proofing comes in as well.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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@jsrockit - The Edition One website has a price calculator. For my book — 6.75 x 10 inches (HxW), hard cover, 58 B&W pages, 28 color pages and 4 blank pages the price would be $476 for 5 books, the minimum order quantity.

@willie_901 - I wrote asked wrote to Edition One an hour ago asking about proofing B&W and color and got the following response, impressively quick:

We print offset for quantities of 500 or more copies generally. We do not do press level adjustment for digital or offset orders. Instead, we hard proof in both cases and allow the customer to then adjust his files as he sees fit - if further hard proofs are needed, we will make them. As such, the process is really the same in both cases. If you want total neutrality with black and white images, the only way to achieve that is to use grayscale image files. However, there is a trade off with the density of the blacks and the overall resolution as only K will be used. Mixing grayscale and rgb/cmyk images in one file is not a problem.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
Edition One gave me several rounds of proofs of a selection of pages as I was unsure of how things would look after having used blurb or Magcloud before with B&W images and finding shifts in color between print runs (second orders of a book). I also wanted to match the toning of my prints, so had three tweaks of image color that I wanted to compare...

...Having inkjet printed and stapled or sewn several copies of a few things myself, the time, handwork and space requirements involved in making 200 copies of anything seems pretty off-putting.
Thanks for the information on your experience with Edition One.

I was wrong writing earlier that an offset press would allow page-by-page proofing and control. Instead, one can have sheet-by-sheet control on the sheets that come off of the press.

The highest quality, and most expensive, printing with offset/litho would allow press level adjustment, in which you approve a proof for each sheet. The video of Jacob Aue Sobol at Super Labo in Tokyo shows him doing that, as the sheets come off the press.

On the three-issue zine idea, I was musing about this possibility and couldn't handle more than 30 copies — and even that would be a huge chore that I don't think I would like to attempt. Another issue is that I had a landscape format book in mind, with images facing each other on a two-page spread. With a zine, I would have to change to portrait orientation, with one (landscape-orientation) image across a two-page spread.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #37
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My book was done in back in 2012, the price calculator will give current prices, but know they are not priced like blurb. However, you are not constrained to any particular size - my book was 8¼ x 9 inches - and you get magnificent customer service in addition to higher quality printing. I recall calling to discuss the proofs and having the person who answered the phone step out of the room where a press was running. They are very hands on.

Edit- of course book size will be constrained by their press, but for my project being able to do something other than 7x7, 8x10 or 12x12 was important. As was a matte paper cover.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #38
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The advantage of on-demand printers like Blurb is that you can have them ship your book directly to anyone who buys it. The disadvantages I would think are the limited size and (paper options?) and lower quality printing, resulting from (mainly?) less proofing.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
What about books or magazines that offer true monochrome printing for B&W photographs?

My concern is even with a source file that has zero color information, a color printing process could result in an undesired tint. Perhaps in 2017 this concern is obsolete?

I guess that's where proofing comes in as well.
Whatever process you use, four colour black and white will give better mid-tones than black and white, but will often add a colour cast. This will vary even across an offset run.

For high quality books you need to investigate printing as tritones with grey as well as black inks. This gives better midtones without a colour cast, but is harder to set up - traditionally in the UK we'd get these jobs done in Italy by printers like Mondadori, as they know this technology better. WE haven't done this in ages. Again, you need an experienced printer to explain how to spec your output files.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
@jsrockit - The Edition One website has a price calculator. For my book — 6.75 x 10 inches (HxW), hard cover, 58 B&W pages, 28 color pages and 4 blank pages the price would be $476 for 5 books, the minimum order quantity.
Thank you...
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