A book all about You and Your Work
TL/DR: It’s cheaper and way more profitable to print through ME than any Print on Demand system/ avenue out there.. the profit margin is just way too good! Read on (it’s not an epic novel of a read but there is a bunch of info to cover) to learn more.
I’m sure that many who visit this page will be familiar with the simplicity of Print on Demand options such as Blurb, Amazon.. et al. They are awesome and choosing to go that route with publishing your own book has purpose and validity. If that’s the route you want to go.. great. Far be it for me to speak otherwise of your choice. But- before you make the choice (and it’s not a “written in stone” kind of choice).. let’s go over some of the “Deets.”
First and foremost..
If you are wanting to offer your customers a quality example of your work.. then PoD isn’t your avenue of appeal. Seriously- when I was working on a project to take place during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver I ordered three different copies of one document.. at three different times (proofing- I proof with hard copies). All three had very different colour casting and layout structures.. and selling people a book of photographs that might be off coloured is a horrible mistake- IMHO.
The Per- Unit price is waay overpriced, IMHO. A simple magazine is coming in around $20.. that means you have to mark it up ABOVE that to make your money. And that’s just a magazine. Hard cover books are even worse, OBVIE. To be specific: according to Blurb, a 120 page 8×10 hardcover photo book will cost $88 (approx.) with Premium Paper (don’t go with “standard” it’s not just opaque it’s… basic). And the customer still has to shell out SHIPPING fees on top of that. And remember: $88 is YOUR COST for the single unit printing.. you need to mark it up above that to make anything.
What’s my plan?
To start with- my objective is to turn your Photographic Work in to a real side- hustle income! In order to do that.. the ‘Profit Margin’ needs to be realistic. But- the print volume needs to be quantifiable otherwise distributors won’t look at you.
It’s like this: Printing on Demand is “cheap” because the cost of the One Unit is passed off to the consumer but you won’t ever get included in distributional catalogues because you can’t fulfill their two concerns: 1) Quality will be wildly all over the board and 2) Quantity on request won’t be there (you think it could be but when they ask you how many copies you have on hand.. it’s gotta be 1000u or more for them to be interested). So.. you have to promote the work you laboriously pushed out.. all over the place.
What if there was an easier way to make more money?
I mean.. more money is better.. right?
According to the above calculations, Blurb is asking for nearly $90 on a copy. What if that was brought down to about $10 or $12 per copy… and you could say that you were donating $10 from the sale of EVERY BOOK to the not- for- profit ecopunk venture “Ocean Cyclist???” With pricing going the way that it is.. your book will still sell, or have a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP for short) in the same neighbourhood as the blurb option. Nice neighbourhood to be in. If Manufacturers Cost is $90 then retail would be, in the old days, about $180. Today, that comes down to about $100 or $120. If your book cost you $12 and you were retailing it for $120.. your costs are 10%.
And you are already willing to promote your book yourself.. why not make over $100 per copy instead of pennies.. it’s a more realistic income structure than PoD.
So you get a BOOK.. cheap.. laid out professionally.. printed professionally.. and the Lions Share goes to… YOU. Worth a $25 application fee? I think so.
And there’s more.. obvie.
I’m already researching shipping and warehousing options! This means.. if it all comes together- The Book will be printed overseas and then sent to a warehouse that will deal with any and all single orders on a one- off basis (don’t worry- they’ll also deal with volume orders)..
I’m a SEASONED Market Vendor and have been working the online retail angle for almost ten years and in the last 12 to 18 months I’ve seen a massive shift in certain things that make it massively more difficult for The Little Business to make it.. particularly: SHIPPING COSTS. In Canada, shipping costs are going up but there’s this hidden thing- the Fuel Surcharge- that isn’t included in the shipping costs till you’ve commited and it’s a done deal. Right now, the Canada Post Fuel Surcharge is over 30%. That means a 15$ shipment grows to about $20… and books weigh a lot (and can’t slip through the Slot of Death.. so it’s Parcel Rates at best). Shipping in to Canada and the US from an offshore location allows for cheaper rates from the originating source and it allows you to avoid customs and it allows you to avoid the little “Printed In…” designation and a few other things.
So.. In A Nutshell…
The book gets printed overseas.. sent to a warehouse, overseas, and mailed out from said warehouse that is overseas but all the profits come back to you. Kind of like you are running your own aliexpress product manufactory or something.