Earlier, I discussed photography as a hobby well-suited for GEEZERS. But if you get involved in this activity, you will soon find yourself having taken a lot of great photos, but the only person who has seen any of them will be you. While this may not matter to some photographers, most people find that the enjoyment of taking photos is infinitely enhanced when they are shared with others. There are several ways to accomplish this, but for now we will just talk about one—publishing a book that displays your photos.
In a past life, my job required that every year I oversee the publishing of several pamphlets, booklets, or books. I remember that the key to keeping the cost per copy as low as possible was to print a lot of copies. I can’t remember any press run of less than 2,000 copies. Printing one, two or a dozen copies was never done as the cost was prohibitive. But today, digital publishing and printing has made the price of printing a book of photos so ridiculously low it is now feasible to print a single copy.
Now you can take any selection of your photos and, using a custom or template format, layout a page of your photos in any of dozens of different configurations. You chose the size of the pages, the number of photos per page, the size of each photo, background colors, accompanying text, and, depending what company you chose to publish your book, a long list of other options.
There is a good site at Top Ten Reviews to compare the most popular publishing outfits, but be wary which one you chose. The company that will work best for you depends on what features are most important to you. For me, the most important thing was how easy it was to understand and utilize their templates. I want the process to be easy and foolproof (yes, cannot even be screwed up by GEEZERS) and yet still provide a choice of design options. In the end, this criteria became the deciding factor in making my choice of a publisher.
The cost of each book varies depending on dimensions, number of pages, type of cover, quality of paper, and several other choices. The first copy will be the most expensive and most of these publishers will decrease the cost of each additional copy as you purchase more and more. This is also a world of “50% off sales,” “Special offers,” and “Today only” bargains that you may have to wade through until you find the best price. As a rough guideline, in a run of five copies, a book with good quality paper, approximately 30 pages, hard covers, in a protective box cost me about $30 each.
It does take some time to get everything laid out correctly, but really this is a big part of the fun in creating your own book. For some of us, this will be the most creative thing we do all year.
I have done photo books for both family and friends and find that doing separate books on exclusive topics works best. Think of the possibilities:
• Best Landscape Shots
• Our Trip to Iowa
• Our 50th Anniversary
• The Grandkids Birthdays
• My Daughter’s Wedding
• Backpacking in the Grand Tetons
• A Year in the Life of My Granddaughter
• My Grandson’s Graduation
• Fishing in Yellowstone
• Most Interesting Rocks Found in Texas
• Trees that Look Like Animals
• Animals that Look Like Trees
These books are the scrapbooks of today—books of memories that no one (except retired GEEZERS) has the time to make any more, but anyone would cherish forever. Publishing your photos in book form is one of the best ways to leave your work to posterity—they will become instant heirlooms. Give it a try.