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Thursday, 20 June 2013


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Focomat Press? Lulu Editions?


Good luck, Mike. That is somewhat of a dream of mine as well.
For fun, you ought to check out the film,"How to Make a Book with Steidl"(available on Netflix). The documentary follows Gerhard around the globe working on various projects.

I'll get my pie-in-the-sky dream book request in now.

Elsa Dorfman: Poets. She has a book that includes some 70s pictures of writers, but she has some really fascinating stuff of Ginsberg, Creeley, etc. I'd like to see a good selection of them in a book. It's probably not marketable (although I have some ideas), and I doubt it's TOP audience fodder, but you're the one with a comments section and a post about publishing photo books . . .

OPen Mike Publishing (O + P should be bold)

O = Original
P = Poster

Looking forward to this.


Please consider doing a Kickstarter, or kickstarter-type funding model. (Or as I think of it, the "Franklin Mint Collectible Model." This sort of process does an excellent job of escrowing the capital you need to get the books printed. (And presumably alleviates the basement full of books problem!) I can think of countless examples, but Craig Mod's Tokyo Art spaces book (a single run of 'artisanal artifacts') and The Foglio's Girl Genius reprints come to mind. Craig Mod did an incredibly detailed analysis:
The Girl Genius Printing and Reprinting Frenzy is here.

That's great Mike! If nothing else, you'll get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from producing photography books.

I started self-publishing zines (pamphlets, as you like to call them) of my own photography late last year. They are much simpler in scope than what you are doing, but I get get an immense sense of pleasure when I finally get to hold the finished book in my hands. I am responsible for everything but the printing - taking and editing the photographs, the layout and design of the book and finally creating the pdf version that gets sent to the printers.

I'm sure it's been said before, but I think photography is more at home in books than prints that hang on the wall - I know that a photographic print can be of stunning quality that cannot always be reproduced in book form (at a reasonable price), but once a print is hung on the wall - there it stays, to be looked at and admired. The photos in a book are more tangible, they can be held and viewed in varying light, taken with you and of course a book brings a many photographs together, either to tell a story or to show a body of work.

So, well done Mike - I'm sure you'll enjoy every minute of the process!

p.s. if you feel inclined, you can view sample spreads of my five zines at http://www.fistfulofbooks.com

Quentin Bajac, the new curator of photography at MOMA said "Photography is no longer about the wall. The book form is basic to photography." (see WSJ interview). I personally collect photography books, not prints. I'm not impressed by size of print & usually view them hastily at galleries (if you pause too long in front of a print, the sales staff will make a pitch). A print in a book can be viewed at your leisure, and usually has good sequencing. If the book quality is well done, seeing the original may only confirm the photographer's printing skills.

Contrary to your worries about unsold inventory, my worry is to actually get hold of this book, given that, modestly, I have made the heads up call on Mark Surloff, so please, make sure you save one copy for me, even if I cannot pay with Paypal. (Paypal and His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, do not seem to go well together).
Thanks Mike

+1 on the Kickstarter idea. It worked very well for Horace Dediu of asymco.com.

I sort of like "The Offline Photographer" as a press name, but I admit it's on the silly side.

Will you be accepting pre-orders?
I don't want to miss this one.

You may wish to discuss your publishing plans and ideas with fellow publishers Brooks Jensen or Michael A. Smith.

Traditionally, according to Brooks' previous comments written online or as part of his editors notes in Lenswork magazine, a book run of 2 to 3 thousand copies are needed to break even or make a small profit.

Michael's count for his book runs have been smaller, much smaller, though his printing quality is superb and his book prices are higher.

I wouldn't be interested in a Lulu printed book unless their quality has really improved dramatically.

Yes !!!
This is great news.
I have been hoping for this ever since you first posted about Mark Surloff's pictures. I'll be happy to be a sponsor if you go for any type of crowd-funded approach.

Best wishes,

For a name, Offline Press? Works for me. You could add "The" but my ear prefers not. Good luck and looking forward to the first book.

Great news Mike!
I have every confidence in your ability to produce a quality book, and that begins by picking good work which you have done in Mark Surloff. All I need now is the dotted line.

When you do your own book, please use the Sony for landscapes and the Nikon for the aviation stuff.

As a registered publisher myself, just couple of small pieces of advice.
The setup costs in offset printing are so high that it is oh so tempting to print 2000 or even 4000 copies instead of 1000. And printing less than 1000 is not at all cost effective. Somebody with more experience than I have once told me how to identify a self published photographer. It is the one who always parks his car on the street, because his garage is full of unsold books.
The rule of thumb for retail price is to be five times the out-of-pocket costs of the whole setup, paper, printing and binding costs. You can exclude your own time if you wish.
I did my printing and setup in China. I would not have made any money at all from the project otherwise. But it was far from easy and would have ended costing even more if I had not used a foreign owned printer in China who at least had some honesty and could advice me from outside the Mainland.

Very glad to hear it!


If the Mark Surloff image at the top of this post indicates the subject of book one, wow, I'm In.


Mark Surloff works as first book is a great, great thing. I agree with Miserere for the prepayment system.

How about PRINT?

Photographs Reproduced In Nice Tomes?

I'm really looking forward to seeing what books TOP will produce!

Yes, please, add me to the preorder list!

Mike, I self-published a book of 1,500 copies, that is just about to head to it's second printing as the first batch is almost sold out! (Thank you my lovely wife for letting me put our wedding money toward this!) If you have the right market, you can actually make some money doing this. I'm pretty sure you've got the right market!

One thing I found interesting about self-publishing was that when I first mentioned to people that I was doing it, they thought a self-published book actually meant lower quality. It was fun to see reactions of people to my self-published book as their conceptions were altered to realize that with complete control, I could actually create a book of much higher quality than many of the commercially published books.

I'm happy to send you a copy Mike, if you want to give me your address.

I can't wait for this book. The one image looks amazing. You've turned me on to so many incredible books, many of which I've bought (sorry wife!) and I can only imagine that your knowledge of photography books will make this book even that much better.

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