One of the biggest questions I’ve had so far is “Will there be a print version”?
I am completely open to exploring possibilities. I made a demo magazine through Blurb last week and thought I’d share my thoughts on Print On Demand.
Print On Demand services are great because they allow you to do just 1 book or 1 magazine. They can handle larger print runs as well, but are really optimized by doing 1-offs. The biggest tradeoff is format. You are limited in paper selections, everything is full color (which can be problematic with black and white images) and you have a handful of sizes to select from. On the printer end - they have machines set up for the formats, they feed the paper in and go. That’s how they do just 1 copy. There’s no press check, no customization and no frills.
But what is the quality like and what price-point can I get the magazine for?
The quality is better than I expected. The resolution is just okay. Font size becomes important because you start to loose resolution if it gets too small. Its not as good as any of the leading art photography magazines you’ll find on the newsstand.
One positive is the black and white images rendered pretty well. I’ve done photo books through Blurb before where the rendering was more “purple-black” than black. I happy to say the magazine color was very good.
Here’s the sticker… The price point is likely the deal breaker for me. The base price on these is too high for an actual magazine. Once you add on any markup to cover income and the mysterious shipping costs at checkout (minimum of $6 for 1 magazine) - it gets to be more expensive than the competition which is a much higher quality. That won’t work for the long run. People might love the content, but if its more costly they won’t buy issue after issue.
Blurb seem to target the “self publisher”. I’m getting the feeling that the vast number of these people are self publishing “wanna be’s” that are living in the dream of wanting to do it. The pricing structure is just too stifling to use in a real business.
Wired has a great article on Blurb
Its not out of the question yet. Blurb offer fulfillment and are easy to use. I still want to compare this with a local printer though and look at alternatives for fulfillment.
I’ll keep everyone posted as this all unfolds…
The Art of Photography