Self Publishing via the Web
For many independent photographers the arrival of PC opened up the opportunity to produce short runs of hand made books. Initially individual prints would be glued onto pages. However many people wanted include text and graphics to the image and produce one continuous surface. These pages would then be bound by hand or by a local printer. For those who wanted a professionally bound hardcover the only option was, until recently, to self publish at considerable expense. However a number of companies have started to provide a self publishing service for limited runs of books even just one.
The two companies I’ve had personal experience of are - MyPubisher and Blurb. Both these companies use design software that can be downloaded from their websites. Each provide a range of book sizes and templates for each page and both packages are very easy to use. The only real difference is that Blurb gives more control over text, while with MyPublisher you can only use black. This can be frustrating, as many of us would want to use grey text. However I found the templates provided by MyPublisher more flexible, especially for the cover. Blurb does act like a real publisher and you can view other books online as well as placing orders for your self, with the option to show the first 15 pages. Some books are very impressive, there is also a forum where you can discuss your ideas with other Blurb users.
Your pictures need to be resized before you insert them into the pages and both companies provide lots of advice and help to get you started. Once you are happy with the design you can then upload your file and order your book. Both books arrived in about a week, were well packaged and very well printed. The differences are small but worth considering.
Both books printed on quite a glossy surface and all the images were black and white. The MyPublisher book had a very slight green tone in the print, so when I did prepared the image files for Blurb I added a small amount of red. This seemed to help remove this but in both cases some image colour change was noted under different lighting conditions. The Blurb book images seemed to be slightly over inked and the shadow areas quite dense, on a second printing I lightened the images slightly and this seemed to solve the problem. However there was some slight banding on some of the pages. Both companies provided generally an excellent product, for the low costs involved, spend a little time and explore their potential.