This has been a project I have been working on for a very long time. Not so much this specific project or book, but I have been looking for a long time for a company that would print a high quality photography book at a reasonable cost. I have seen the books from Costco, WalMart and Apple, and I must say that I was totally unimpressed. So much so that I never bothered to print one of my own. Why would I want to print a book with my photos, that I take a great deal of pride in, and put it in a book with a crappy binding and even crappier printing? I wouldn’t! But that has all changed.
Two weeks ago a design friend of mine sent me an email asking if I have heard of this online book company that specializes in photography books. I seriously almost discounted what he was saying, and coming from someone else I probably would have. But this guy is one of the best designers I know and he is insanely particular when it comes to quality and detail. We went back and forth about the details of the book he had seen and the book he was building and I knew I had to check it out. I got on their website and started to read about their process and was immediately impressed by the design and function of their website. (For all of you non-design types out there. This stuff seriously matters.) Aside from his recommendation, what really sold me on this company was they accepted PDF files and provided InDesign templates. You have no idea what this means to a designer. This is everything. It is control! You aren’t bound by someone else’s thought process or design ideas. How could I go wrong with a company who understood this?
I have been dying to make some of the photos from our Thailand trip into a book. All of the photos were processed and ready to go. Patiently waiting among the nether regions of one of my hard drives for this moment. So that evening I got to work and completed the above book in a few hours. Of course, this entire time I was a little aprehensive. Is their quality going to be good? Am I going to regret throwing $75 out the window? Then again, $75 is a mediocre night out, so what did I really have to lose? So, I uploaded the book without a problem, ordered overnight shipping by accident and began the wait. They estimated the book would ship on November 20th. Two weeks. Not bad, in my opinion.
Yesterday, I was shocked and surprised to receive an email from them saying that my book had shipped and I would receive it today. (Remember, I accidentally selected over night shipping. All for the best, as I am the most impatient person out there.) Well, I received the box this morning and I quickly cut it open. I was beyond excited. Who needs Christmas? It is Christmas for me all of the time. The book was wrapped in a nice white padded paper kind of material to keep it from dinging corners. I appreciated that. Once opening that I found that the book was individually shrink wrapped. That was pretty cool too. I could see the slip cover and it looked good. I quickly ripped open the plastic cover and began looking through the book. I WAS SHOCKED! It was amazing. It looked so good. The colors were vibrant and nearly spot on to my monitor. The slip cover was very nice and pages were good too. I, of course, upgraded to the premium paper and was really pretty happy with them. Not flimsy and cheap. The binding was really nice also. It wasn’t a sewn binding, but for that price I could hardly expect it to be.
Beyond all of this, what truly matters to me is the way I felt about the book. I must say that I am very, very pleased with it. I must of looked through it a dozen times today and relived our trip each time, remembering things that I hadn’t thought of since last year. That is was is important to me. Reliving the memories. It was fantastic.
The best compliment came from one of the people I showed it to today. I went up to him and said, “Hey, do you want to see something super cool?” as I held the book out to him. He graciously took the book and immediately opened it to the first page of pictures. “Is this where you guys went in Thailand?” he asked. I said it was and was honestly kind of taken aback by his lackluster interest in the book. I thought it was incredible! He continued to flip through the pages (a little too fast for my liking) and got to the ninth or tenth page and stopped. On this page were pictures of Susan and I, and our friends Ryan and Crystal. He looked up at me with a confused look on his face and asked, “Are these your photos?” I was a little surprised and responded that they were. He looked back down and said, “Wow, wow! All of these are yours?” I smiled and said that they were. He immediately went back to the beginning of the book, looking at each photo with renewed interest. He would ask me about certain photos and the story behind others. It was fun to share the memories. He finished looking through it and began going back through to certain pages for a second look. When finished he told me that he thought that this was a book I had bought in Thailand. WOW! Now that is a compliment.
For those of you that are interested in a similar book, here is the website for the company: www.blurb.com. They have their own software so you don’t have to use InDesign and their prices our downright cheap. I have spent most of the evening tonight working on another book. I am so excited and addicted. I can’t wait to get my next one!