Firstly I hope you are all well as we navigate our way through these hard times. I just want to update you all on the progress of the winners 2019 book. I've not forgotten about it, I have just came up against the odd dilemma that I will share with you here.
The book has been edited for some time now and thank you all for contributing again, it would make such a negative difference if we couldn't get all the winning images together in one book and so far this makes 3 years in a row we have had a full compliment of images.
The problem unsurprisingly is the effect of the Coronavirus, lockdown etc we are all suffering from in so many different ways. But here is the story so far.
I have been conscious of the price of the books each year previous, using Blurb the price has ranged from £20- £30 before delivery. The quality has always been good though and being print on demand it avoids any expense, time on packing and sending by myself. As you all know this is 100% non profit on my part with only the printer rightly getting anything from it. But I have always felt it was too expensive and had looked at other options this year.
So I had lined up an experienced local printer where we had agreed to print 100 copies, with a soft touch laminate cover, perfect bound and high quality colour paper. There was also an opportunity to use a distributor to take orders and send out the books taking away further pressure on myself. The cost of these books would be around £12-£13 including delivery which I felt was much more acceptable. The main aim of this book is to share in a tactile fashion the wonderful work of the talented photographers from the Twitter community and promote it in a positive manor so the price I believe has to be appealing to those that might be interested in buying it. The initial obvious drawbacks to using the local printer is the cost to myself in the upfront payment required which is a bit of a risk and how long it would be for me to recoup it through sales. I had thought about setting up preorders etc to combat this but in the end I was going to go with it until this outbreak of COVID-19 happened and things are now a little more precarious for everyone. Along with this, the printer had intimated to me a few weeks ago that they were restricted to what they can print at the moment and didn't know when the restrictions would be lifted.
So during this time I have explored other options and think for this year at least I have come up with a compromise. After watching a youtube video by Street Level Photography ( https://youtu.be/PZbXJyndbcA ) which I found accidentally while looking for the Oscar Marzaroli presentation ( https://youtu.be/I2Naa-RCl6A ) by Street Level Photoworks (and you can see where I made the mistake) I got the idea of using Amazon. So I went onto KDP and set up the book there. I've since received a draft copy and I have added a few photos below. The pros to using this platform are the on demand feature, removing the financial risk to me, the price at £6 without delivery which depending on where you are I think is about £2.50 max and distribution is world wide meaning you can all promote it wherever you want. The main con is going to be the colour print quality. The image quality is good but they are matte and lacking slightly in the shadows meaning they are not quite as punchy as say Blurb has been or the Local printer would have been. The cover though is a lovely soft touch laminate (same as was planned) and the paper is very tactile with a lovely smooth finish, it is just the that little bit of snappiness that's lacking slightly and this has been my dilemma.
I've now mulled over this for the last few weeks but think I've made a decision. I know there are other POD platforms like Ingram Spark which would have been about the same price as the local printer if not slightly cheaper but again it would be the risk of expense to me upfront and the distribution issues that at this late stage are my biggest concern.
So unless something drastic happens in the next few days I think I will be going with KDP for this year. It allows the book to be available throughout the world where all your work can be viewed at a cost that is much more acceptable to everyone especially in these times where money is perhaps less readily available to everyone. Once the order is set up on my part all I will need to do is some promotional work, sending copies to magazines etc but no worries about getting money back from any outlay I'd have made as well as time receiving orders then packing and posting them. It just seems to make a lot more sense to go this way and I hope you will all understand my reasoning for it. There will also be a Kindle version available.
It is such a wonderful collection of work and will be a great addition to the other 2 books. We have came a long way with this simple competition and I hope we can asses the number of books sold this year and be able to plan for next year on those numbers, but this might be a good way to go for all the reasons given. There is an excellent Foreword by Mark Littlejohn in this edition too where he gives his valuable insight into sharing our work and the images in the book. Here are a few images of the draft book I received and please keep an eye out for information of how to purchase the book as it will shortly be available.
Remember this book is all about your work and getting it seen by more people so please promote it in that way individually. We don't have big publishers to do it but we can be just as successful if we all do a little.