Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Self-Publishing: Photo Books.

Photo books are great for use as both an advertising tool and as a product, and there are many websites out there which allow you to easily create your own with a range of options to suit any project that you might be working on. They can even be used as a way to show your portfolio. 

Photo books come in a range of sizes and formats, with different types of paper and cover options. They are great as part of wedding packages - bigger copies for the newly-weds and smaller copies for their families - and families will love them as a part of their family portrait sessions. 

Today our aim is to look at some different sites, see what options they have available, compare prices and the like. 

Momento are a well-known site for creating photo books. They offer books in three different sizes (small, regular and grand) and three different formats (landscape, square and portrait). They offer three different paper types (Satin 170g, Art 140g and Kodak Digital 220g) and also offer a range of professionally finished boxes as housing for your new book. 

Their prices start as low as $50 (small classic book with the first ten pages included). For photo books, their standard delivery time is fourteen working days. Priority shipping (seven working days) is available, but it doubles the cost of your order. 

Blurb are another well-known company. They offer five different sized books: small square, standard portrait, standard landscape, large landscape, and large square. They offer four different paper types: standard paper, premium paper (lustre or matte), proline uncoated, and proline pearl photo. 

Their prices start as low as $15 (softcover book with twenty pages). Their delivery, including printing time, is seven to eleven working days, but they can also ship faster if required. 

AsukaBook are a company that I had never heard of before today. They offer the widest range of sizes that I have seen so far and also appear to be a company solely dedicated to photo books, which is making them look more professional than the already researched Momento and Blurb. They offer many different ways of binding your book, and even offer "DVD Presentation Books". 

To get their price list, you first have to register to their site. When clicking on their prices page, this is the first thing that comes up: "AsukaBook products are available to professional photographers and designers creating books for resale or promotions. Please register as a professional user and you will be able to review our price list and place your AsukaBook order." 

I find this a turn-off. I would rather see prices before I register for anything, knowing that websites could take my email address and continuously send me emails to try and gain me as a customer. A sad fact, because this looks like a great site. 

I did a Google search of "compare photo book websites" and came up with a list of twelve compares sites (of which Blurb came last!) and Mixbook came as the best rated. They offer seven different sizes (mini 6x4, pocket landscape, classic square, classic portrait, classic landscape, deluxe square, and coffee table landscape). The only thing I can find on their paper is this: "Mixbook uses only the highest quality, heavy-weight papers that are ethically sourced from sustainable forests and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance." 

Their prices supposedly start at $7 (mini softcover book with twenty pages), but when I click to start making a book the lowest price I can get is $20. They print their books in four days, and standard delivery takes twelve to sixteen days for international shipping. 

In Conclusion... 
Having researched these four websites, for my own business I would likely go with Momento. Whatever the price of the book ordered, I would then charge an extra 50% (including the shipping cost to myself). So if the entire order came to $50 for me, I would charge the client $75. 

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