Friday, October 09, 2009

Bookmaking for Fun and Profit

The world is set on custom bookmaking. Not the 'betting' kind, the 'reading' kind. In the face of digital everything it just keeps getting easier with services like Blurb and Lulu, and even UPS getting involved in online print. One-up, custom books made to order via a website, either using their text and photo page templates or designed from scratch using your preferred software that you upload as a PDF. 

Surging interest in online print (POD) is dramatically changing the relationship between print buyers and print service providers. According to Barb Pellow, group director at InfoTrends, the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the document technology industry, print jobs that moved through the Internet made up 14 percent of the total U.S. printing market last year, and that online printing is projected to grow at an average rate of 24 percent per year from 2008 to 2011.

Traditional offset lithography could never produce a cost-effective, one-up book but with new HP Indigo digital presses it's not only reasonably priced but turn around time from upload to doorstep, even with regular ground shipping, is under 10 days.

Blurb a a whole slew of so called 'book' artists that help folks lay out and assemble books from precious family photos, weddings, anniversaries, vacations—just about anything.

The upload service is already so user friendly it's hard to imagine that a person would pay someone else to do it for them, but I figure its a bit like going down to WalMart and snatching a picture frame off the rack and sticking down the Salvador Dali with a hot glue gun compared to having your print professionally matted and framed by Aaron Brothers or Michael's.

Maybe a person wants more than a template, but lacks the skill to take it to the next level, or just really doesn't have time to do it for him or herself.

As a freelance designer with a couple of traditionally printed books under my belt I am thrilled by the potential of my every whimsy made real by ink and paper so easily and cheaply, whether I try to sell that whimsy through Blurb's online bookstore (with its own promotional software tools); or a client based extension of my own freelance business, hanging my shingle with the others, some of whom, if their stories are true, claim to make enough money designing books for other folks to be able to quit their old jobs.

1 comment:

Ana Rivera said...

I actually prefer using InDesign to layout my book templates rather than using Blurbs templates because some of its interface is actually not as user friendly as you think. There are a lot of problems with sizing and getting a good spread across two pages. The book I printed from them came out way darker than I anticipated, but the quality of the paper is really nice.