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Profits

I would like to know other Blubarians experiencies about profits. Are you making money with your book? Are you selling it online?.

I contacted Amazon.com…but after checking book prices in the market I must confess I’m a little discouraged, the price of a Blurb 7×7 is 22.95$, pus shipping, that makes it like$29, in order to make a little decent profit, let’s say the market price will be $37.00 plus shipping, that will be like $40-41

My question is…besides friends and family members, who will pay $40 for a 7×7hardcover -40 pages book?...and not an art book printing.

My intentions are to profit from my work, not to send the books as a gift for Mother’s Day. 

I like Blurb comunity and I think is a good solution…in some way. I am asking honest opinions. Thanks in advance. Tito Trelles

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
titotrelles
Aug 19, 2007 5:58pm PDT
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titotrelles
 

A great question and one I am mulling over.  I made by book for a singer friend of mine I’ve been photographing for a year and a half as a birthday gift.  When he saw the finished product he and I were trying to figure out how to make this profitable.  And to be honest, we’re still searching for the answer.  I guess the answer is, make it good and people will come. 

Posted by
mcav
Aug 19, 2007 10:14pm PDT
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mcav
 

Hi Tito

I will comment here.  My experience in selling books may be unique.  I have had some success selling books.  I think that it is because of the nature of the books I sell.  For the last 12 years I have been the photographer for a local youth ballet.  As such I have volunteered my time and parents have purchased a moderate amount of photography throughout the years.  This year I stumbled upon Blurb and decided to make a book.  The first book Sleeping Beauty has sold well.  I made a second book, Cinderella.  I have sold a few of that.  I am going to make a third for the ballet Coppelia when portrait season is over.  I expect that will sell average for the Christmas season.  Then I photographed the Full Monty.  I made that books smaller and kept to a promised price point that sold ok.  6 books.  The people that performed in those productions are buying the books.  I think that books of my art alone wouldn’t sell.  I sat in a lecture from Mary Virginia Swanson (Ansel’s Adams assistant) and she me to let your talent pay for your art.  

Tito  In order to sell books you need to find a target market.  I do not have clients that will pay for books because they want my art hanging around.  If I were Annie L,  YES  I will buy books of her art just because she is who she is.  

Making money selling only books is hard.  The people that buy my books now have an anthology of my work.  They show this work to lots of people but,  the motivation to own that book is NOT to have a volume of MY work in their home.  The motivation is to have a book that contains beautiful photography of their child who participated in a theatrical event as a child and the book is a wonderful memory and souvenir of those times.  Just that and nothing more.

Books are a sideline for me.  I sell them as an add-on to other forms of photography.  They are just tools in a marketing plan.  They are great tools but they are only 1 part of a larger marketing plan.

I hope this is helpful. 

Best wishes

Pat T 

Posted by
pattahan
Aug 20, 2007 6:43am PDT
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pattahan
 

I agree with Pat.. it depends on your audience.  I have been creating books for a single client who does poetry but has little computer experience and is happy to pay me a premium to do the books for her.  I include my photography and all the time spent creating the books… I have sold over 60 books to her and have made a decent profit.

 But.. this is a unique situation..  I cannot imagine anyone playing $60 for a book of my photography for example if I created a 80 page 8×10 boo for example.. I’m just not well known enough for anyone outside of friends and family to purchase.  This is the crux of the situation – blurb makes great books for either direct clients (like my situation or Pat’s dance class), but for general selling, I think the price point is too high.

I continue to look forward to the future when perhaps the price point will be lowered and/or further discounts make things less prohibitive. 

Posted by
Jingothecat
Aug 20, 2007 7:50am PDT
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Jingothecat
 

Jingo

Love the poetry!!!  Love the photographs!!! 

Regards

Pat T 

Posted by
pattahan
Aug 20, 2007 9:41am PDT
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pattahan
 

Like the comments on this thread.

Just to inquire, do the parents of the kids in the ballet production sign release forms? Or we covered, as photographers, with our own copyright to the photos to use them for sale? Just wondering. I was thinking that I could combine my talents and 2nd profession w/. my 1st profession, a teacher, and make a yearbook (and make profit) for our culminating 5th graders. Please advise if you can.

Guen

Posted by
QGee22
Aug 25, 2007 12:53am PDT
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QGee22
 

ALL Parents MUST sign a release form, as well as any adults that are invloved in the production as well.  Any body that appears onstage MUST sign, including guest artists.  The ballet company gets a photo release but that may not cover me as I am not a paid employee of the ballet and the copyright stays with me.  I have always obtained photo releases when ever I am in doubt.

Best wishes

Pat T 

Posted by
pattahan
Aug 25, 2007 4:36am PDT
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pattahan
 

Thx Pat.. appreciate the feedback.. I am currently working on Book 5 and Book 6 for the same client!  I’ll pass along your kind words to the poem author.

Posted by
Jingothecat
Aug 25, 2007 6:53am PDT
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Jingothecat
 

Thanks, Pat for answering my question. I figured so, getting a photo release is always the best bet. Do you know of any websites that have a sample photo release form? I usually just make one up for my personal class, but if this is going to involve more students, and outside my classroom, I will be needing it, for sure.

Thanks!!

Guen

Posted by
QGee22
Sep 9, 2007 12:07am PDT
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QGee22
 

email me  photo@pattahan.com and I will email you my release.  I tweak it for kids vs adults.

Posted by
pattahan
Sep 9, 2007 5:06pm PDT
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pattahan
 

thanks, pat, will do…

guen

Posted by
QGee22
Sep 11, 2007 5:47pm PDT
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QGee22
 

Tito,

Don’t forget you are comparing the single print volumes of Blurb to the volume pricing of books on Amazon. Blurb do offer discounts on volume ordering if you order 10 or more. See:

http://www.blurb.com/create/book/pricing#volume_discounts

macv,

One thought that comes to mind, depending on how strong the core following of your singer is, have you considered signed limited edition copies? This is a great way to have a higher cover price and something fans would value too. You could also have a limited period to order thus allowing you to make use of the volume discounts… a win win situation in my book! Some of the smaler book publishers do two limited edition print runs, one with the signature of both artists, the other with just one and then a volume run based around the paperback version.

Hope that helps.

regards,

David

Posted by
dcragg
Sep 12, 2007 5:34am PDT
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dcragg
 

No one, no person, no store, no distributor, no one, will support the prices of the books that are made here in order for the creator to make a respectable profit. The only exceptions, I believe, are special event books that are made by photographers OR, perhaps, limited edition type books made by artists.

I use Blurb for educational art projects that I do with school kids, and then turn into books, that the school and parents can purchase. I make no profit off the books themselves, but rather the workshops. As a small independent publisher, I pay between $2 and $4 per book (yes, overseas and, yes, print runs that are 3,000 average) and so these prices are a little hard for me to swallow. That said, I think Blurb offers a good alternative to some of the more shady POD companies out there for people who are dabbling.

My biggest gripe is that Blurb makes you pay an additional $10 to not have their logo smack on the first page. I think that is very discouraging to people like me who understand how much real print runs cost per book but would like to use a service like Blurb to do some experimental projects. I would never pay $10 for a book, much less ONE PAGE!

Posted by
Dar_Hosta
Oct 18, 2007 6:54pm PDT
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Dar_Hosta
 

I wanted to chime in as a newbie to Blurb but as quasi experienced utilizer of POD. The last couple years I have used Lulu to print books from events that I shot in the motorcycle industry for different magazines. Drag races, events and the Bonneville Salt Flat races etc. The price was right. $12.03 for a 50 page 9X7 photobook. I could get $19.95 out of one. It was an event momento and cheaper than an event t-shirt (and how many bikers need another black tshirt?) I found Blurb because this year when I went to make my annual Bonneville book, which I just completed with Blurb, the price had gone up to $29.95 (my cost) for a modestly improved book, in terms of print quality, of the same size. NO room to do it and show a profit.

I agree and believe that POD programs like Blurb lend themselves best to smaller target audiences. People like my books because they were there and might be in the book. POD lets them by an old book when they hear they are in the book or they just found out about it. I operate under no illusion that my event books will have appeal beyond those attending the event, but properly marketed you can attain a considerable penetration of those in attendance. I just created my first Blurb book. 8X10 for $21.95 and market it at $27.95 and the hard cover for $39.95. Surprisingly the few people that have been ordering direct or from me have been  the Hard cover ( I have not marketed this book yet but people knew I was there and know what I do or have seen books from past events). I haven’t even recieved mine yet to review quality and my incredibly poor spelling.

My suggestion is carefully evaluate your market like Pat T said.

Thanks for letting me play here.

Scooter

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 19, 2007 8:17am PDT
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Grubb
 

Thx Scooter for the update and info.. I agree – the best way to make a profit with Blurb seems to come directly from specialized sales.  For me, I have a few clients that LOVE the way the books are put together and combine their "data" (poetry, recipes, children’s stories), with my photography and illustrations.  They are willing to pay a premium to receive a completed book that they could not create by themselves with full access to my large database of images. 

I have used these books a marketing tools for my photography business with varying degrees of success.  If it is a large event or group photoshoot, I have sold many copies.. if it is just a family portrait, there really isn’t a way for me to sell it.  But, by leverging past books of various types to clients, I am slowly building an additional piece of my business.

Stay tuned for more exciting options and ideas….   

 

Posted by
Jingothecat
Oct 20, 2007 8:24am PDT
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Jingothecat
 

Jingo, I, too, have used the books to promote other work and it has worked relatively well. I have also done something new for european clients. I change the cover and put the image of thier choice on the cover. I just did it for some Swiss clients and they loved it … they will buy books for promotional purposes even tho the guts of the book are the same. It is no big deal to change the cover, as you well know, and I might offer the same to other clients who would order multiple copies.

Scooter

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 22, 2007 8:01am PDT
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Grubb
 

Scooter,

How does blurb pricing and quality compare to lulu? Just discovered them recently and like the fact they provide an outlet to sell pretty much ANY sort of digital content.

I published a small 7×7 book of my photography but it hasn’t arrived yet. Has yours? 

Posted by
skiphunt
Oct 22, 2007 8:22am PDT
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skiphunt
 

Skip, The reason I’m at Blurb is as follows. Last year I made a 50 page, 9X7 softcover photobook for the event you see on my page here. The book cost me $12.03 and I sold it for $19.95. This year they, Lulu, came up with a new software program and did indeed increase the quality of the print and paper, for which I was grateful. The problem, the same book now cost me $29.95 for the same 50 pages. A 149% increase in my cost. People from the event expected the book and expected to pay about the same price. Numerous inqueries went unanswered at Lulu and the unsatisfactorily when I did hear from them. The thought of increasing the price of my book 50% just to break even didn’t work for me. The increase in the cost of the book was 149%. They didn’t seem to have a problem with that. I just published my book at Blurb, 80 pages, 8X10 so it is bigger sizewise and bigger on page count for $21.95 price to me. I haven’t seen it yet, tho it should be here this week. Surprisingly people are buying the book site unseen and most want the hardcover. As long as the quality is there I am shifting all my work to Blurb. I will keep you posted.

Scooter

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 22, 2007 8:52am PDT
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Grubb
 

Cool. I’ve noticed the few that have bought my 7×7 book sight unseen are going for the hardcover version. I would have guessed they’d go for the cheaper option.

I noticed your site is on smugmug. Are you using them for one-off prints as well? I just started with Fotki for prints because a friend of mine sent me a print and it was pretty decent. I haven’t tried any other option yet though. Who are you using for resale photo printing?

So far I like blurb and their layout app. I just think the shipping is is a little unreasonable and wish I could publish without buying a book myself. Most of the time I wouldn’t have a problem buying a copy for myself, but it would be nice… once I know blurb’s quality… to just publish without buying at all. 

Posted by
skiphunt
Oct 22, 2007 9:02am PDT
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skiphunt
 

I have had really good luck with Smugmug for the past 3 or 4 years selling images from the All Harley Drags, which I shoot pretty regularly. Never a complaint on quality or timeliness either one.

Doing event based books I really need to get them out in a hurry. Small target market but dependable. The Salt Flat book that is up was my first go around with Blurb. I shot 2500 images in 5 days. After I narrowed them down and cleaned them up in PS it only took me a day to create the book and have it up and running. That is real important to me. As mentioned, a couple racing teams agreed to buy quantites because I offered to place am image of them on the cover of the same book. This is so easy here and I figured  ... WHY NOT???..

I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of my books. I ordered one each soft and harcover. I will let you know what I think when they arrive.

Scooter

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 22, 2007 9:11am PDT
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Grubb
 

 

Will check out smugmug too.

Thought you’d dig this.  

http://www.jpgmag.com/stories/1452

Do you ride too? 

Posted by
skiphunt
Oct 22, 2007 9:50am PDT
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skiphunt
 

I have ridden for over 35 years now.

S

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 22, 2007 10:10am PDT
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Grubb
 

www.scootershoots.com is my Smugmug site

Posted by
Grubb
Oct 22, 2007 11:40am PDT
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Grubb