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"WETPIXEL" Coffee Table Book???


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#1 NWDiver

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 11:07 AM

On a recent flight to Shanghai I thought, “wonder what it would cost to print a “Wetpixel” coffee table book. We recently shifted the majority of our printing of catalogues etc… to Shanghai. Yes, I am one of those bast***s exporting jobs; with that out of the way…

I’m thinking if we let people contribute 1-2 photos we could cover the costs and give as many as possible motivation to participate.

Here is a very ROUGH breakdown of Costs

Trimmed Page Size: 10”x8” Oblong (binding on 8” side)
Extent: 64 pages + 4 page cover
Stock & Printing: Text printed 4cx4c on 128gsm glossy artpaper (equivalent to 80lb glossy)
Cover printed 4cx0 on 12 Pt. Glossy artcard plus 1/s gloss laminating
Binding: Perfect binding, trimmed to size
Materials Supplied: All arts and high rez images supplied ob CD’s by client, we support Quark in Mac/PC format
Quantity & Prices: 300 copies at US$10.50 per copy = US$ 3150. 1000 copies at US$5.30 per copy = US$5,300.

(THE ABOVE IS DIRECT FROM PRINTER)

Cost Breakdown FOB Seattle (my warehouse)

300 Pcs
Printing: US$3150
Shipping: US$500
Customs Clearance: US$300

Cost per book US$13.16/FOB Seattle

1000 Pcs
Printing US$5300
Shipping US$1100
Customs Clearance US$300

Cost per Book US$6.70/FOB Seattle

I am heading back to Shanghai April 11th and have some time to kill, I can check out other printers, firm up costs. Obviously, I know NOTHING about this kind of thing. Those of you who do can supply me with the questions I should be asking and the answers I should be looking for.

I am happy to organize the printing, shipping, etc… Clearly there are a ton of other issues that would need to be discussed. Just a few that come to mind are:

1. Title
2. How to organize photos? By region? By photo type? By species? Blah, blah, blah
3. What type of text to accompany pictures?
4. Photo submission format?
5. Panel to choose photos?
6. Someone to proof

So what do you think????

#2 MikeVeitch

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 03:05 PM

$6.70 per book for 1000 copies? I think i'm printing my book in China!

Interesting idea, might do well. Keep us posted.
When you are in Shanghai go to Malones Bar and Grill and say hello to my buddy Shawn would ya.
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#3 NWDiver

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:13 PM

Without a doubt it makes sense financially. I think it would be a not too difficult project with a little participation from others more knowledgeable than I. Little surprised at the lack of interest. With all the money we dump into our set-ups I thought 300people $14 each would be a slam-dunk.

#4 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 05:59 PM

Life sure has changed.

My first book, predominantly text with a few line art tip ins and a 4 colour wrap around cover, needed a run of 5000 to make it cost effective. Of course the publisher was doing the "right thing" and kept the work in Australia rather than having it done overseas...

Moving those 5000 books took just a little while ;)

(I still see copies of it for sale on antiquarian and rare book websites occasionally, for about 4x retail :blink:)
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#5 anthp

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 06:00 PM

I'd love to see it - sounds like a great idea!!
Anthony Plummer
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#6 Ponsui

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 10:20 PM

Sounds like a good idea to me too. Keep us posted.

Ponsui.

#7 Tom_Kline

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 11:32 PM

While I think this is a great idea, it would be best to get an endorsement from Eric if this project is to be afilliated with his site.
The editing may end up being the difficult task. Do you have someone in mind? There are presently over 3300 subscribers to the list. Even if only 10% contributed pix there would probably be too many submissions.
Having a distributor lined up beforehand might not be too bad of an idea either. However, it may be possible to e-sell them from this site. Eric may be looking for a revenue source to keep Wetpixel afloat too.
BTW, count me in as a pic contributor.
Tom

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#8 Kelpfish

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 04:40 AM

Doing this is more than getting one's picture published. If all you are asking for is $15 from 300 Wetpixel members, you should get firm comittments via "send in the cash." Most publishers and distributors seek an up-front comittment of buyers. If you don't get any interest from a distributor, you have to distribute yourself. For my book, Catalina Island, All You Need to Know, I had an option to go with Aqua Quest or produce, publish and distribute it myself. I took the hard way and did it all myself, from pre-production to aligning distributors, to having an online merchant account. You need to have a marketing plan and identify your target market. I also tried to get a pool pf photographers to do a California Underwater coffee table book, and all of them said NO WAY. It'll never sell. There have been 1 or 2 done and they were basically not very good sellers. If you go to Borders Books or Barnes & Noble you often see these books on the cheap rack, so be sure that you have a target market and a marketing plan in place or your warehouse will be full of neat books that cost $15 a piece.

You also can save some money by doing 4-color every 2 pages, inserting text and B&W pics on the non color pages. That is how I did it, and you'd never know. Although I have 100 plus year old photos on those B&W pages. Hard cover or soft cover? Editing is the hardest part...design is fun and pretty easy compared to the text. You have to look for word usage errors, spelling, flow, run-on, punctuation, content, etc. I had several proof reads on my manuscript and still find stupid errors now and then. I find errors in other books all the time and it's just something you will have to live with.

Now, like I said, if you can get 300 or more up-front committments, maybe those are the ones who get their pics in the book....could that be an incentive to lock in sales? If I had a pic in the book I'd pay $15.

Let me know if you need any further advice.

Joe
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#9 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 05:05 AM

I think a photobook on the best of digital underwater photography would be very interesting. It will be interesting to see what Eric thinks, as the owner of the Wetpixel brand, when he returns from the sharks.

Also remember that there are some very good UW photographers who are members of wetpixel - who don't post much. I'm sure that they will have some excellent images to contribute.

Most important is the need for an experienced editor. To select the best images, and also a good variety.

Just a few thoughts.

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#10 markprior

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 06:51 AM

I'd love to see something along those lines.

What I particularly like to see in photo books is info on the equipment used, aperture/shutter speed and any interesting comments on how the shot was taken. - much like is done in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year books.

I find this is really interesting in trying to learn

The key thing with a book like this would be to avoid traditional distribution channels where sale or return is the standard. Book Retailers order based on their expectation of sales but if these do not materialise will seek to return the books for a credit, usually six months after purchase. With a not for profit book like this a significant return rate and therefore unsold stock would be fairly undesirable.

Sales through an online distribution mechanism would be much more effective for this type of book.

The question is with a venture like this - Who would take the up front stock risk ? This would be a significant cash investment that would have to be backed. Of course if each person who had a photo in the book could be persuaded to part with some money then this might not be a problem.
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#11 NWDiver

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 07:04 AM

Good some interest. I was looking to do this "at cost" having no intention to make a profit. Thus I was not thinking of a publisher or distributor. I have a warehouse and guys always looking to make a little money on the side so without too much effort I could handle shipping. Since we have time service contracts with the ocean carriers, FedEx and UPS the rates would be excellent and the volume will help my negotiations next year with the carriers. IMHO it is important to put as many pictures in as possible, from as many people as possible to insure we cover cost. Maybe even a page of thumbnails for "honorable metions".

I have no clue on the formatting side and would look to others to be involved in how pictures should be submitted and then sent on to the printing company. What I see is a book where everything is done digitally, no hard copies. Without a doubt the picture selection process would have to involve several people. I have no intention of doing this on my own. I see this as a “labor of love” with many of you needing to volunteer your time and expertise. Regarding affiliation with Wetpixel that is to the powers to be.

#12 Tom_Kline

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 09:35 AM

People will most likely submit via CDs that they burn on their computers. So the editor needs to be prepared to deal with possibly hundreds of these disks showing up in the mail. Since computers are independently calibrated there will be a need to check for color consistency by sending proofs to the photogs. Thus there may be need for revision. Text portions could be handled via email or web site. I think the editing will be a full-time job for several months and should be budgeted for accordingly.
Tom

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#13 danschmitt

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 12:39 PM

I think at $15 for a chance (at about 128 pics out of 300 folks) to have one picture
on one page it is going to be tough to compete with

MyPublisher Hardcover Books

Where you can have gaurenteed 20 pages of your stuff, hard cover, for $30.

I'd either push it as a fund raiser for wetpixel (if that's what eric is looking for, and
I bet wetpixel T-Shirts a la cafe-press might be a bigger seller) or set the buy
in target for a section level (16 sections of 4 pages, $250 a person, with some %
royalty from the sales; probably just set the price at cost+$16 and send everybody
a $100 check when 100 books sell.) With enough responses you could go volumes
of alpha by name, or by location, or by subject matter (PotW subject list would
be interesting.)

Dan

#14 NWDiver

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 01:19 PM

Since this is just mental gymnastics at this point, still coming from a “not for profit” perspective. Rather than choose who “gets in” you could set it up that everyone gets 1 picture published, but of course they must be required to buy one book each. Submit pictures w/money order.

Set 5 categories. Each person can only submit 2 pictures for 2 of the 5 categories, their choice. Only one picture will be chosen from each submitter.

Assume 1500 people submit photos = 3000 photos ½ are chosen = minimum of 750pages. Cost per Page about US$0.22. Break it into 3 volumes of 250pages x $.22 = $55/book.

Ok have to get back to work now….

#15 Drew

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 08:38 PM

Why not make it profit for charity? With the number of quake victims the last few months in Iran, Indonesia etc, a donation to say UNICEF or some other worthwhile organization wouldn't hurt at all. All it takes are a few volunteers to work distribution and then paypal and bank accounts. Be a good xmas gift. It could even be for coral conservation or something.
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#16 scubag

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 07:58 AM

What about a different aproach? Photographers wanting to show off their work can buy a page or perhaps a 2 page spread at say $100 /page for a total of 250 pages. This would make the book the "Wetpixel U/W Photographers Directory" much like the "Black Book" is for commercial photographers. Images would still have to meet minimum standards and be accepted by Wetpixel editors. Copies would be sold to the public at say $30 a copy ($15 wholesale) and have profits donated to releif efforts. I will commit to buying a page right now.

Eric, where do I send my check?

Doug

ADDED: If you want put a free "Best Wetpixel Images of 2005" in the first say 20 pages of the book and hold a contest under a variety of catagories. Charge a minimal entry fee say $20/image to cover costs. And of course do this every year.

#17 NWDiver

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 05:02 PM

First let me say, I feel a little stupid delving into this subject. Just started in the hobby over a yr ago and still figuring out f-stops and apertures. I know shipping, production, pricing in China and nothing about publishing. There are many here like Joe/Kelpfish that have actually done this.

The original idea was not an Underwater Photography Opus. Just a logical expansion of this site, give members something to bore friends and family with. Simple introduction; maybe a paragraph or two at the start of each section. Just get it done. Everyone sees the costs, everyone gets one picture in. People share (meaning volunteer to take on) the workload, don’t get bogged down in too much detail. Take the pictures as they come (no editing) as long as they meet some minimal standard. I naively assumed people would Photo Shop their own pics and send them in an email to “volunteer editors” who are just making sure they are in the right format and meet the pre-ordained standard.

Funds from copies that are sold beyond the minimum needed to cover cost could go into an account to pay for future versions free to all contributors. Contributors agree they loose all rights to pics that go in book. My concern is once you and “profit” into the equation things can get messy.

Main thing is to get the workflow figured out and get things started. Here are some general ideas, feel free to add your own….

1.Choose categories maybe 5-6. What categories??
2.Come up with theme, general look, agree to some text, get something arranged you can just “plug photos into”. Maybe someone has a book we could model ours after?
3.People volunteer to review each category, to insure pictures meet minimal standard. Possibly sub sort them into some “theme” within the category
4.Set basic guidelines for picture submission, format, camera settings, maybe one line about picture etc…
5.Allow people to submit 2 (some limited number) pictures total, their choice of categories. Each week open a category for picture submission.
6.Editors review pics, organize their category, and submit to “Master Editor”

Have no clue if any of this would work. But some of you do…

#18 Kelpfish

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 05:09 PM

Get the ideas, then get comittments for doe or you will be screwed. I am telling you Martin, I have a lot of experience in this. Get all the ideas you need but decide on your market (wetpixel, broader, etc.) but either way you better have firm comittments for money.

Joe
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#19 NWDiver

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 06:01 PM

Right now I'm thinking just Wetpixel folks. Best cost it out to cover cost with those who contribute photos, contribute picture W/MONEY ORDER. Might be able to give a page or two to Wetpixel Sponsers for a contribution to publishing.

#20 echeng

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:11 PM

This would be fantastic, guys. Let's continue to brainstorm!

I would love to endorse something with the Wetpixel brand, as long as I agree with everything we decide, and don't lose money as a result of the project.

It does sound like a huge amount of work, though. Who is going to manage the project? I like the idea of putting proceeds into non-profits and discounted or free copies for participants/submitters.

Unfortunately, I'm out until the 28th of April. I suspect that this idea will start to take form in the coming weeks, and regret not being here to participate...
eric cheng
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