The Good and the Bad

Those that self publish books using on demand publishers like Blurb, Asuka and My Publisher should know that one one of them is going out of business. My Publisher has announced they will no longer fill orders after May 6. This is bad news for us as we have made 6 books with them.

I chose My Publisher because they offered a 15 inch book and printed on heavier stock. This was bad in that the books were expensive, usually costing us anywhere from $85 to $100 to have made, but good as the books were gorgeous, certainly of the highest quality of any of the other publishers I had seen.

So, where does that leave us in terms of filling orders for these books? In truth, we don't really know. The company is allowing downloads of the folders that were used to make the books, leaving us with the existing designs and templates to continue with the books. My Publisher has a sister company called Shutter Fly that can be used but they do not make books of the same size.

So, yes, this is bad news. How will this affect sales of my books? Well, it will effectively end them in their current form. Andrea Greitzer, the designer of these books, and I will work to transform the downloads into new  books with the same  titles and content as before, but yes, they will be different books. 

I can see a couple of upsides to this end of My Publisher. One is that in the efforts to make new  books of these photographs of mine we will work to make them less expensive and more modest. For the new series of books we are making now, to date the Oakesdale, Hershey and Yountville books

we have switched printers from Blurb to a local printer with great success. Our costs are less, there are no shipping charges and proofing takes days not weeks. These are very different kinds of books, of course, small, modest and very cheap at $25 each. I will approach the local press, called Ambit Creative, to see about having them take on the bigger books in the future.

One of the advantages of My Publisher was that I needed no inventory. When I got a sale, I would order the book from My Publisher and have it sent directly to the buyer. This usually took about two weeks. In the new small books we are using the proceeds from the sale of one to pay for the printing of the next, as twelve are planned.

Is there profit here, have I made money from the sale of the My Publisher books? No, not really. That was never my intent. I used the books as a marketing tool to get my work seen in an accessible way. What they really were was a repeatable form of portfolio. I have left books behind to represent my work in meetings with curators, for instance. 

A brief story as an example. Anne Tucker is quite simply the most revered and respected curator in the USA, with a career that spans many firsts in her field. She is now retired but was the curator of photography at the Houston Art Museum for many many years. Several years ago I was spending most of the winter on an extended shoot in Yuma and took a day to see the Rothko Chapel in Houston, a few hours drive away. On a whim I called Anne the day before, asking if I could come see her. I had shown her work many years earlier and she had written a recommendation for me for a Guggenheim Fellowship. She said sure and so, after an hour or so at the Chapel,  I went to the museum with nothing other than my Wheat book under my arm.

This would not be a formal presentation, I wasn't trying to get her to acquire my work or show it, I was just coming to see her and show her something of what I'd been up to recently. We had a great time. She was in fine form, enjoying herself    as her graduate student intern joined us and she was telling stories.  She looked at the book, liked the work and chose two photographs she thought would make a good addition to the Museum's collection. Just like that. No prints needed. I was in shock. She had just accepted two of my photographs into a very prestigious museum's collection from a book I'd shown her. When I got home I made the prints she'd chosen and sent them to the museum. Done.

Wondering if I got the Guggenheim Fellowship? I did not.

So, can you order any of the My Publisher books from me before they close up shop? Yes.Take a look at the "Books" heading on my site, email me and I will place the order and have the book(s) sent directly to you. You will need to send me a check before I place the order. You have until the first week in May. My email is: here 

One more thing. I will be at the Griffin Museum this Sunday, March 26 at their Photo Book Fair from 2-4 with copies of all these books to show and to sell.

For more information about My Publisher closing its doors? Go here

Topics: Books

Permalink | Posted March 23, 2017