Web Features

Locked Not so sure about Full Book Preview

Regarding the full book preview BETA, I have concerns about those of us who are really serious about selling our books, that previewers will use the site as a library instead of purchasing. If my books, which take time to produce, use my copyrighted fine art photography, are very expensive (due to large format and premium paper) and is intended as a source of modest income becomes fully available online, then what is going to entice the previewer to invest in it? I was not aware that the full preview would be available for those books entered into the competition and I have announced my book to several hundred on my contact lists, as well as many galleries, museums and other interested parties in the art business. I have garnered numerous hits the first two days. It is expensive to purchase, but why should someone buy when they can return at any time to browse? At a bookstore, one can sit and page through the book for while, but must purchase it  to take it home for casual reading anytime.

I am curious to hear from others who are serious about their work  and really do try to sell books for profit and recognition.

Posted by
charlescrain
Jul 22, 2009 2:11pm PDT
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charlescrain
 

i’m gonna put your mind at ease…..hopefully. as an avid art/photography book lover, looking at a book on a monitor is not even close to holding it in your hand. i really doubt that someone who likes your work would rather look at it on their computer. i personally prefer looking at every page. what if the one image that speaks to me the most and convinces me to invest in your book is on page 16, or 30, or 52? in the online shopping world, seeing more is always better. i am new to blurb, but it did kind of bother me that i couldn’t preview the whole book. especially when you can’t return it if it’s not what you expected. also, i have many photography books that i like because i could never afford an original work from that photographer, so having a book is my way of having a piece of something i like. no computer monitor can replace that. my two cents…

Posted by
janechika
Jul 24, 2009 12:20am PDT
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janechika
 

I agree with janechika. As often the first few pages of a book are taken up with introductions, contents and forewords, many standard 15pp previews only show 2 or 3 photographs. Not much to see if you’re going to take the plunge and buy a copy of the book. Now it’s possible (with PBN entries at least) to browse as you would in a shop – and then make a properly informed purchase decision.

Blurb books aren’t the cheapest. I can pick up a book by Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller or Martin Parr for less. If you’re going to take a punt on an unknown photographer – it’s only fair to see the full body of work.

Posted by
benjamlee
Jul 24, 2009 1:04pm PDT
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benjamlee
 

I wasn’t happy with the original option (first 15 pages preview) since that usually included empty pages, index, intro’s etc and wished for a 15 page "window" that the authur could pick within his book so as to target the essence of the book better – its a preview after all.

So I agree with charlescrain, a preview of the whole book is giving away too much. Plus lets not forget, that someone using a 30 inch screen previewing at full screen and with the use of the zoom in feature can get some pretty good screen captures.

 

 

 

Posted by
deoxygen
Jul 30, 2009 2:50pm PDT
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deoxygen
 

The fair solution would be to let the author decide if the preview should be the 15 – 20 first pages, a few highlights or the entire book.

Posted by
MortenR
Jul 31, 2009 12:37am PDT
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MortenR
 

Honestly, I think I am far MORE likely to buy a book if I can see the whole thing — just like in a physical bookstore. As for getting images off a 30" monitor, they are still lo-res and in general artists rarely steal from each other. Sure it happens, but I think it is the exception rather than the rule.

Also if I have a “Library” of books available to me on Blurb, that is to my mind a great plus. I seriously doubt that I’d lose a sale because someone can see the work and likes it. I think the reverse is far more likely. JMO of course!

I am both a fine art photographer and publisher BTW, and I am embracing the changes, because I feel strongly that fighting them is fighting a turning tide. As Bucky Fuller said “Don’t fight forces; use them.”

Posted by
meridian
Aug 12, 2009 9:38am PDT
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meridian
 

I agree to having full view – really… in spite of the copyright-issue and all that…. I have my "dramaturgic line" in the order that I present the book, and it certainly isnt the first 15 pages that are the absolute highlights in the collection… the more exciting thimgs might come later in a surrounding of other shots that make them more justice… and I find it quite irritating not to be able to view more than the first 15…. so Im for a full preview.

Then, just make it a choice if you want it or not. Click the box if you do.

Then eventually sales will tell what effect it had. 

Because – I think sales-figures will speak litterary louder in hard cash than any suspicion of how much a potential  image-thief will make when fencing your photo… I reckon that will be less than what you sell for… there are high-risk goods and there are hiogh-risk g oods… I just dont tjink the attraction of photos are even close to the attraction of an old iPod or and old laptop…

 

Posted by
Gurrah
Aug 12, 2009 11:54am PDT
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Gurrah
 

To the OP: Charles, give a look to Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: the Future of a Radical Price.” The audiobook is available on iTunes (for free) and online here (also for free)

http://books.google.com/books?id=lLZbXN2odVYC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Basically Blurb is providing you (and us) a free service with the idea that the free content will drive sales, not kill sales.

Sales may not be immediate, but may help you with sales of your limited edition signed and numbered prints. You might also consider creating a less expensive, shorter “selected works” book at 7″×7″ to provide a low(er) cost alternative to the “big book”. Just a thought. HTH

Posted by
meridian
Aug 13, 2009 6:21am PDT
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meridian
 

I wish we could choose between two options: full preview or partly. I would choose partly. I think people will feel less curiosity if they can view the whole book online.

Posted by
moggierocket
Oct 7, 2009 4:49pm PDT
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moggierocket
 

Ineke,

you can choose! The first 15, all pages or you can specify a selection of spreads that do not need to be consecutive. You’ll see the option in Edit Book Settings. See screenprint below. I have used the custmmize option in this book preview to add a few of my two-page spreads to the first 15 pages of the preview.

,,,,,Tony

 

Posted by
tfrankland
Oct 7, 2009 10:25pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

Oh thanks! I searched for this option but just couldn’t find it! So I thought there were no options. I am glad. Thanks again!

Posted by
moggierocket
Oct 8, 2009 3:53am PDT
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moggierocket
 

When you say "It is expensive to purchase, but why should someone buy when they can return at any time to browse?" it seems to me that this is not a person you would sell to under any circumstances. You lose nothing by showing them this work for free. They might even spread word about your work to friends who will buy. It’s free word of mouth advertising, the strongest kind for generating sales.

I am just starting to sell my work, but I’ve found that offering 720×480 or 720×576 images on my website free (for whatever use people can make of them) drives sales of prints of those images. I push out a "photo of the day" on twitter and facebook for the same reason.

So I’m doing the same sort of free promotion with my books. I’m shortly going to start adding books of street photography and I have chosen blurb because this site allows me this free preview promotion aspect. I can’t imagine trying to sell the book any other way.

If for some reason the thought of theft of your work paralyzes you, then by all means do not use the preview. But to my mind you should be letting your work of art speak for itself as loudly as you can.

Posted by
uccemebug
Oct 19, 2009 9:50pm PDT
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uccemebug
 

Ok, I’m glad Tony posted that, because I was confused by all these posters saying you are forced to show the whole book.  I hoined the beta a month or two ago and you always had the customize choice.

I can certainly see the point of the original poster, but the quality of the preview is nowhere near what you would see if the book was in hand.  There is really no comparison, especially for the bigger books.  I can’t even read body text in my 13×11 preview.

Also the customize choice is a must for true marketing.  Most people arent’ going to flip through 147 pages.  Your job is to choose the pages that aren’t going to waste your potential customer’s time. Which pages show your book is not just another amateur photobook?  Which ones are the ones that might actually make a person open their wallet? Don’t waste time showing endless filler pages, get to the point. Because if you don’t grab the attention in the first few, they’ve probably moved on. 

Posted by
royalef
Oct 27, 2009 11:50am PDT
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royalef
 

I like the added feature. Thanks Tony for showing me how to change the preview.

Posted by
wyrm
Oct 28, 2009 11:54pm PDT
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wyrm
 

Tony,

When I go the my books and edit book setting it does NOT show those option.  I only have turn on book preview.  Is there something else I need.

 Janet

Posted by
JanetC826
Oct 29, 2009 5:54pm PDT
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JanetC826
 

Of course, when I walk into a book store and pick a fine art photography book off the shelf, I will start leafing through it. If I like what I see on the first few pages, I may well page through the entire book. Ultimately, the fact that I’ve looked through the entire book will not stop me from buying it if I like it enough to add to my collection.

On the other hand, I’m not inclined to buy a photography book in which I can only look at the first few pages.

It’s hard to see how viewing it on the web is all that different, at least in terms of deciding whether or not to buy something. If I like what I see I will at least be tempted to buy it. If not, then obviously I won’t. And if I can’t see it at all … well, I almost certainly won’t buy it.

I can see why you’d want to give yourself the best possible chance of making a sale. But the real question is whether keeping a blindfold on the viewer is going to help you any. I mean, instead of letting yourself be ruled by fear, put yourself in the position of a potential customer. How likely are you to buy the proverbial pig in a poke?

As to someone trying to steal your book photos off Blurb to sell them because they are so unique and great … I wish I could seriously flatter myself that much and believe it.

Posted by
novalightmik
Nov 6, 2009 10:13pm PDT
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novalightmik
 

Same here tony I dont see that option to VIEW ALL pages????

Posted by
twj
Nov 9, 2009 3:59pm PDT
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twj
 

I didn’t realise it when I posted above, but to get those previewing options the book has to be public AND part of the set-your-price programme. Mine was so I got the options.  Kathy pointed me to a FAQ on this, you’ll find it here.

Sorry for the confusion I obviously caused.

…..Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Nov 10, 2009 2:05am PDT
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tfrankland
 

I still have doubts that a lot of people are selling their books on Blurb. The pros like Tony probably are but I’m not convinced that amateurs like me are. Don’t think photobooks are a top priority for people with so many people out of work.  My books are in full preview so my friends in other states can see what I’ve been up to since I moved away. No one has bought any & I’m not surprised. I’m not doing the books to make money anyway. Paying the taxes on any books sold would be a hassle to – especially since Blurb keeps part of your profits. 

Posted by
loricherokee
Nov 24, 2009 7:47am PDT
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loricherokee
 

Lori,

you overestimate my talents – but thanks for the thought. I’m also an amateur in terms of both photography and book making, , though a very enthusiastic one. Through the Blurb web site I have managed to sell just 2 books with a grand profit of £12 ($20) so far. But there again I have made no attempt at all to market those books, those sales were just serendipity (I would love to know who bought them).

I have sold others but I have done that by showing people my books and ordering one for them. I have made only two of my books public – for one of those I have extended the preview to include some of my best two-page spreads, I was curious as to what difference that might  make.

Like you I think a good photobook via a Print-on-Demand service like Blurb has  a high price and would be difficult to sell. It would either have to be spectacular and/or targetted at a niche audience and supported by a lot of effort in marketing the book (or you would need a large circle of family and friends). There are people here who have done that though, there was a thread on here some while back where people were saying how many books they had sold.

But I have no problems not selling any, they were all originally targetted at just me or intended for friends and family.

…..Tony

 

Posted by
tfrankland
Nov 24, 2009 9:37am PDT
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tfrankland
 

I would like to be able to show my entire book as a preview, however when I enroll in the Set Your Price in order to get that option, it bumps the price of the book up to $19.95, rather than the $12.95 for the 15 page preview.   That seems completely wrong.  Did I miss something?

 Thanks.

-Angie

Posted by
angiedawnf
Dec 10, 2009 6:19pm PDT
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angiedawnf
 

oops, my bad, that was the example.  Ugh, I need more coffee! :-)

Posted by
angiedawnf
Dec 10, 2009 6:31pm PDT
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angiedawnf
 

One thing that would rock in regards to turn off the "Full preview" to eliminate the concern of those who may want to show all pages and minimize risk.

Posted by
sestevens75
Dec 30, 2009 12:59am PDT
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sestevens75
 

it would be quite easy for blurb to make all of us happy: just offer an option to put a watermark on the online preview (as you do in our pdf-prints). Then we decide, if we want this protection or not … and all are happy

Posted by
philllie1
Aug 13, 2010 2:16am PDT
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philllie1