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Printing a book

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#1 loftus


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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:26 AM

I have been having a discussion with a photographer friend (not an underwater one) about creating a coffee table type book, but with the one important criterion that the images maintain the same quality as those we print ourselves. It's really more a photo album that looks like a book that we have in mind. Anyone have any experience with quality photo papers that can be printed on both sides, binding ideas etc.
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#2 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:40 AM

As a general comment to achieve similar quality CMYK printing (as used for books and magazines) to photo prints usually requires plenty of cash.

We can talk about this when I see you in a few weeks.


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#3 pmooney



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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:59 AM

I use this Paper and print on a Epson 3800.
My binding is taken care of by a local guy.

These one-off pieces are not cheap to produce

I also use ASUKA book publishing for small runs were budget is a consideration. They have a very high standard of finish and are fairly rapid in turnaround.

#4 rtrski


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Posted 06 January 2008 - 07:10 AM

At the risk of being laughed off the site, why not at least try out Flickr's "Blurb" book printing? I have no idea how good the resolution and print quality are, but at $30 or so for a hardback at least it's probably much cheaper than you can print and bind yourself...so no real loss if the quality isn't what you had in mind.

They claim to use 80 pound, coated, semi-matte paper. I can't find anything that describes the DPI or max pixel resolution, without downloading their layout software.

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#5 Mak_Jing



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Posted 06 January 2008 - 07:37 AM

I was also a little hesitant in suggesting blurb.com given that loftus wanted quality print, but i have used blurb for two photobook (hardcover) and was reasonably satisfied with the colours, quality of paper and binding. but it uses sRGB and would not take CMYK, will not load the large file sizes.


#6 loftus


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Posted 06 January 2008 - 08:53 AM

Thanks guys. I think the two sided paper mentioned above, is where I want to go. I have used book sites like Apple's before. I just found Cranes Museo II for double sided printing as well, found this side of the pond at inkjetart.com.
I'm thinking of this as more of a personal craft project, maybe looking into doing some binding etc as well.
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#7 james


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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:08 AM

Kevin Kubota's Asukabook is really very good.

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#8 scorpio_fish



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Posted 06 January 2008 - 11:45 PM


The quality is pretty good. It isn't photographic paper off a 3800, but still the best of the lot. It's a one-off process, so your $30 coffee table book will cost a $100.

Luminous Landscape had a nice article about publishing in China.
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#9 underwatercolours


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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:13 PM

I've recently done a presentation at OCUPS about creating Photo Books. I used the Apple iPhoto program and I was blown away by how easy it was to create and how good the quality was. My first hard-cover book cost me about $50 and was on my doorstep in about a week from the time I clicked the send button.

On the recommendation of some friends I also investigated ASUKA books, signed up for their program and found their options to be three to four times more expensive than what Apple or MPix.com offers. At that time (maybe 2 months ago) they also offered no creative templates (only blank Photoshop files with guides in place) or an interface to put the book together. So I didn't even both to send anything in to them. It seems they are catering to wedding photographers who might be able to justify higher prices. By the looks of their website the quality is excellent, but so is Apple's.

So I asked myself "Can't I do this myself?"...

I realize your question wasn't specifically about printing your own book, but someone reading this might save themselves the pain and expense of making same of the mistakes I did.

Printing your own Photo Book is not as easy as it might sound. In my obsession, I bought a Unibind "Create A Book" binder ($99 at Samy's Camera), which includes the cover plus the device to heat-seal the pages into the cover. Very nice! However, they did not include the paper to print onto. I bought more covers at Office Depot on sale for $2.50 each. Unibind is also coming out with a book cover that does not require the binding heat unit, but once sealed you cannot un-do anything.

You can also buy the Epson "Story Teller Photo Book Creater" for about $20. I haven't put this book together yet, but the paper they include is more like photographic paper, which can be printed only on one side, than it is like book paper. So I would not buy this kit again unless I was in a real hurry to get a book done, as the kit includes everything you need.

Next I needed to find paper for my book. That wasn't easy either. Don't bother to go to your local office supply store. I've spent at least $50 investigating those options. You really need paper that is THIN and can be printed on both sides. I ordered two complete paper sample packs from Digital Art Supplies and Red River Paper. Both have excellent options for photo books. I especially liked Mitsubishi dual-sided semi-gloss or matt and Tetenal 130 dual-sided (hard to find in the US).

Next I needed a printer that can print the quality you would expect to see in a book. This isn't hard these days as most printers do well, but if you don't want a white background on all your pages you'll need a printer that can print borderless 8.5" x 11" prints. Again...simple and cheap, but wasn't the one I was currently using. So I bought a cheap Epson printer on Ebay ($35 +shipping) and it does great. Just what I needed was another printer.

Now you need the patience to print your book. I used the templates that Apple and MPix provided to do my layouts, but you could use Quark, InDesign, or any other program that does page layout. If you're a perfectionist like me, you'll need to print some of the two-sided pages more than once, so you'll go through a bit of ink and lots of paper. Finally when its all done, you've got about the same kind of book you could have printed using Apple or MPix (or possibly some of the other online options others have suggested in this thread).

By the time you find all the pieces to print and put together your own book, you could have bought three or four of them from Apple or MPix. Of course now I've got all the tools and supplies to put together 20 photo books, so by the end of 2008 I should have a whole library of nice samples.

Hope this helps to answer the question of doing it yourself anyway.