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Re: [BKARTS] Blurb Books vs. Artist Books

Great topic! I've been wondering about these issues myself.

I have done three LuLu books and one Blurb book and one Apple iPhoto
Book. For me they all have different capabilities and quality levels
and not one of the services works for every book.

Initially, my plan was to make SPOD books (love the acronym) of my
books after the handmade edition sells out. Once the handmade edition
is gone I can call the SPOD book my "second edition" and sell it for a
lot less money. My Colorado Wall Dogs book sold out first and became a
LuLu Book and the new edition has been selling very, very well.
Everyone who wanted the book at $475 but couldn't afford it is now
thrilled to be able to buy a copy at $30.

But, now my thinking on SPOD books has evolved. Just sent a new book
to Blurb yesterday. This new title will be a Blurb book first and a
more sculptural, handmade version will follow.

I greatly prefer Blurb's quality for photos, but I like LuLu's ability
to take a PDF file for all you pages which results in better
reproduction on the text. Just to make things confusing, each of these
services have different sizes and different binding methods. There is
rarely one that is perfect for each book. You also have to watch the
quality level. I recently sent the same book to three different
services to see which one was best. Blurb won for quality of the image
reproduction but lost for the quality of text printing and because
they apparently print the soft covers with the paper in the wrong
grain direction which resulted in a cover that curls terribly. This
was a big turn off.

Photographers have really adapted to this technology like crazy. In
fact, I am going to hold a national juried show in the gallery next
March that will be all SPOD books made by photographers.

I hope a few librarians will weigh in on this topic. I had not even
considered selling these books to librarians. I'd love to hear their

Happy creating!


Laura Russell
Portland, OR

Visit my art gallery, 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland. More info at www.23Sandy.com

Or check out my personal web site to see my latest artist books:

Find out about book arts events in the Pacific Northwest by joining
the NWBookArtsList at: www.groups.yahoo.com/group/NWBookArtsList


> Date:    Wed, 17 Sep 2008 07:42:41 -0600
> From:    Kevin Thomas <ktbooks77@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Blurb Books vs. Artist Books
> Hello Fellow Book Artists=2C
> I'd like to open up a discussion of self-published=2C on-demand (SPOD?) boo=
> ks such as Blurb=2C LuLu=2C iPhoto or any other on-line book system. I've b=
> een dabbling with making a few of these books and and wondering how they mi=
> ght impact our world of artist books. I must admit that they have really ma=
> de me think. Of course=2C a SPOD book can never be a substitute for a pop-u=
> p or sculptural books=2C but for my own work=2C I may never make a case bou=
> nd book again. It is just so simple to have a SPOD made and then be able to=
>  move on to making the more fun books. So here are few things I've been won=
> dering about lately in regard to SPOD books:
> --Can a SPOD book be called an "artist book"?
> --Have many book artists dabbled in SPOD books yet? If so=2C what was your =
> experience? Are you happy with the results?
> --Can the process of making a SPOD book be as satisfying as making a lovely=
>  hand-bound edition?
> --Are SPOD books any less collectible than handmade artist books? Is it the=
>  content of the book that is important or the method it is made?
> --How do libraries feel about these books? Are the suitable to add to the c=
> ollection? Would they be house in regular stacks or in special collections?
> --Have any artists shown SPOD books next to handmade books at book fairs or=
>  sales? What has the response been from viewers?
> I'd appreciate any other thoughts you might have on the subject.
> Have a good day=2C
> Laura

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