Photo Books, Zines and Newspapers / by Nigel Rumsey

Previews from my New York photobook. Do you ever think that you've remembered something but can find absolutely no record of said memory. Such is the case with my visit earlier this year to the Tate's William Klein + Daido Moriyama exhibition. I'm sure I remember seeing a copy of a newspaper style zine William Klein printed and sold featuring shots from New York. No matter how much I search I can't find any mention of it anywhere on-line. Such is the authority of the internet that if I can't find it on Google it probably doesn't exist, right? It bothers me so much because it was the original inspiration behind my New York photo book. If you have a link, to afore mentioned zine, I'd really appreciate you sending it over. I'm slowly beginning to think I imagined the whole thing - in which case 'great idea Nigel'.

Previews from my New York photobook.

The photozine idea was further jolted into life by the 'books & zines' feature on the Japan Camera Hunter site. The original plan was to produce a low quality b&w photocopied zine. If you're from the USA you'll be very familiar with the Kinko's type copy shop where you, the punter, can get hands-on with the copy machine to lovingly produce your work yourself in-store. I had a rather romantic vision of doing this late into the night only fuelled by strong coffee and the idle chatter of my fellow photographers. A small thing called the Atlantic ocean put the brakes on that plan, it seems we're far too distrusting in the UK to allow customers anywhere near the green button on the copy machine.

Previews from my New York photobook.

When I worked out the cost of photocopying all the pages, for me to then assemble the booklets at home it worked out a very similar cost to having a A5 booklet printed and finished. Printers seem to refer to a 'book' with a perfect bound spine (think expensive fashion magazine) as a 'book' and a folded spine (think Sunday supplement) as a booklet. The lure of professional printing, full-bleed (which you can't achieve on a photocopier) and trimmed pages drew me away from the down-and-dirty world of the copy shop.

I came across Inky Little Fingers, who have a very useful on-line configurator which allows the novice publisher to modify numbers of pages, paper finishes, paper weights etc. to their hearts content without bothering some poor soul with far better things to do than keep revising their quote. The convenience of the configurator and the clear instructions on their web site was one of the main reasons for going with Inky Little Fingers (ILF) - surely an important lesson to all businesses, make your web site easy to use the customer will hang around. We all like a keen price but we still want good service to go with it.

Previews from my New York photobook.

So after teaching myself the basics of Indesign, I uploaded my PDF to the ILF web site and waited nervously for the results. One point to note ILF suggest you can upload your PDF either in CMYK or RGB (and they'll convert to CMYK). I don't know if it's because of the way I have Lightroom configured but my images looked a very strange colour when I exported a CMYK file from Indesign. I got a much better result by uploading an RGB and letting ILF do the conversion.

Previews from my New York photobook.

I ordered 25 A5 size books which arrived, as promised, in about five days. Generally I'm very happy with them. I like some of the page layouts more than others but that's more to with my lack of graphic design experience than anything done by the printers. I'm selling my books using an Etsy store, which works very well as far as removing the hassle of administering the store and taking the payments, but I haven't actually had any sales generated Etsy searches. I'm not sure if that's because customers searching Etsy aren't looking for photo books or they just don't like the look of my book!

Previews from my New York photobook.

I still have a hankering to produce the photo-newspaper, that either William Klein (or I) came up with. I've found a printer who will produce very short runs, so that may be my next project. Either way I've been bitten by the publishing bug, my New York book certainly won't be my last.

You can see a preview of the complete book here, and buy a copy for £3 - yes, three pounds, what do I know about pricing! here.