Over the last few months a client of our shop - a friend who also posts on my Facebook link - has been showing me an unfolding saga of photobook publishing. It has been quite a surprise.
He's well qualified to make a judgement on the subject - an expert photographer with a large body of work completed - and a large variety of subjects covered. I've seen the pictures and they are glorious. He is also a person with long experience in the printing industry - he knows good from bad and the technical aspects of the trade.
He decided to get a number of his images printed in a short book run. Contracts were signed, images were sent off, and samples of the proposed product came back - came back from a recognised publisher. The publisher might have been recognised but the result that came back wasn't.
Wasn't good paper, wasn't good printing, wasn't good binding. Wasn't good to hold, wasn't good to feel. Would not have been good for the buyer and my friend certainly realised that it would not have been good for him as a seller. Major bummer.
Then he tried another publisher - this one in Victoria. Long hours spent uploading images to the publisher following their templates. Note: burning the midnight oil is all very well but it leaves a greasy film on the screen of the monitor - we recommend electric lights...
The difference? Night and day. Chalk and cheese. Cabbage water and champagne. The new book is clean, clear, with good quality paper and well bound covers. The effect is of a professional product rather than an instant candidate for the remainder table.
Moral of the tale: There are good people right here in Australia that can do the real job and do it well.