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Photo Books - Large difference in price - is it worth the extra?

PhilAJ 13 108 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2020 4:43PM
I've just done a project of photographing the village and area I live in, and posting the pictures on FBook in small batches. I'm now being asked to produce a Book of the Photo's to sell to those in the area.

I have over 240 pictures - but can whittle these down to about 50 or 60 Pages worth - on either 10x8 or A4 size pages. (Using Lightroom Book Module).

When I come to look at pricing for printing, I am in a quandry of which way to go.

DigitalPrinting.co.uk will produce A4 size books, with 300gm covers and 130gm pages, silk finish, 50 Pages and 30 Copies - for only £5.95 each

Every other place I've looked at, including Blurb, MyPhotoBook, BonusPrint, etc etc ...are looking at from £36 - £45 per book, same size, same paper etc.

Any idea why the big discrepancy - will I be disappointed with Digital - what can be so different?

I'm not looking to profit from this, just cover costs, so obviously I want the price as low as possible.

Anyone have any experience of producing this type of book ?


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dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 675 England
29 Jun 2020 5:22PM
I have used Blurb in the past and they were fine. I have used Vanilla Photo Books for weddings and they are more expensive but definitely worth it for that.
I guess for your purposes Blurb would be good. I have used another firm but I just can't recall them now but were in the same ball park cost and quality wise.
I know a guy who put together a photobook for a charity and sold a few for £20 two or three years ago. I think it was Blurb but can't be sure. It was only about 20 page though.
At £5.95 it's worth a punt to see what they're like. Oh I just read that was if you had a bulk order, but surely a sinble copy won't be a huige amount more.
Maybe you can't outstand £40 ish so yu have a diret comparison.
You'd have to consider how much people are willing to pay and what, if ny, profit there is to be made, even if that profit is to go to local causes (that may help as a selling point).
So to cover postage (from printer to you) you could possibly think of say £6.50 to £7 per book at cost. Mark-up. as covered above, is down to you.

The cheaper option seems a bit lightweight in terms of paper (well, compared to some of the other companies mentioned, for example if you choose a hard back cover) so I guess that's where the saving is, but no more pricey than for example paperback type locall history books so it may suit your needs.

Sorry I can't give a definite reccommendation as there are many aspects to consider and you'll have to weigh them all up for your particular situation.

But do let us know how you get on.
Dave_Canon Plus
14 1.7k United Kingdom
29 Jun 2020 5:35PM
I have only produced one off books for myself not for resale. Recently I chose a hard back large Blurb Book and it cost me around £70 but I thought it was worth it because I included all of my favorite images from all my years of photography. I was assuming that, when I go, all my prints, negatives and digital files will be destroyed but a really high quality coffee table book would not be thrown away. However, it does not sound as if your case is similar so I think you are right to try to find a cheaper version. Ideally you need to see something that Digital has printed. Perhaps they would send you something even an advertising sheet.

At my club in celebration of our 150th anniversary, we had a project based on local images taken over 12 months. A discussion about printing led to some saying that we should use traditional Litho printing but others were suggesting a digital printing company (Catford Print Centre). One of the members had a poster produced by them and we agreed that the quality was excellent so we went for it. We only needed to break even and charged £10 (cost price just over £8) for 150 copies. They sold out in the town and we had a further 50 printed (easy if digital) and have sold all of those as well. We have stopped selling now but made just over £500 profit and many happy customers. Best of luck.


PhilAJ 13 108 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2020 6:03PM
Thanks Dave, yes I can understood as a 1-off it's worth getting the best quality but for volume, as you have done, maybe the cheaper end of the market will suffice.

PhilAJ 13 108 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2020 6:05PM
Dark Lord, yes I think I'll just get a few, maybe 5 - 10 done and check out the quality. I have requested a sample pack so that may throw some more light on it...(no pun intended).

Thanks for your thoughts.

hobbo Plus
9 1.6k 3 England
2 Jul 2020 4:10AM
I have, and am still having a very positive business relationship with..... BookprintingUK .....because they are experts at what they do, you receive exactly what you order, they print.....What you send them.....

First you use any software to create your book.... from templates if you wish...I have used....WORD..... Appleís PAGES...... BOOK-CREATOR..... it doesnít really matter, because once you have everything to your liking, in that particular software.... you save it as a PDF .... THAT...is the key.

I save all my photographs for the books as JPEGS all 1025 longest side.... at 300 dpi ... Photographs, illustrations and text need to be within margins.

You then send your completed PDF to....BookprintingUK .... to request a quote for the number and quality of books you require....from just one.... to....as many as you like.
Once format and papers etc have been agreed you receive a quote ....then...best of all ...you receive a beautifully printed ....PRINTERíS PROOF... of your book....exactly as all those in your order will look.

Now, this is the ...KEY... bit.... YOU AND ONLY YOU... not them are the editor... YOU proof read.... YOU check placing, margins, spelling, ALL editing... you receive EXACTLY what you agree too, once both parties are happy..
They take an amazing 7 to 14 days to produce a Softback order... and around three weeks to a month to produce your hardback order.... prices include post and packaging .

Example of one of my orders... 10 copies of A4 Landscape Photo-Book 100 plus photos.... 86 pages including covers ....£148 in PAPER/SOFT-BACK ..obviously extra for hardbacks. ...for a very small extra cost each book can be plastic-film sealed for delivery.

Remember that...THEY DONT EDIT.... YOU do...so what you receive is solely your work.

I honestly canít fault them.... except for production, all staff are currently working from home...

I have nothing to do with BookprintingUK .....I am just a very satisfied customer on my fifth book with them.

PhilAJ 13 108 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 11:04AM
Thanks for that insight Hobbo, but this does seem a bit expensive for my needs.

I'm looking to sell this Photo Book to locals in the village and wanted it to be circa £10 max.

I have found Mixam.co.uk who can do a 52 page A4 book with 300gm cover and 130gm pages - for around £5.50 ...reducing with volume. They also do an 8 page sample book for the price of postage (£1.80) - so I have ordered one with some of my pages to see what the quality is.

It does sound too good to be true - but fingers crossed.

SteveAitch 2 30 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 12:53PM
A small point, not totally on topic, but if you are selling copies, do you not have to provide at least one copy to the British Library (Legal Deposit Libraries Act, 2003) and make provision for copies for the other copyright libraries (5, I think)?

Which probably also makes faffing about with ISBNs necessary too.
PhilAJ 13 108 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 1:06PM
Steve - that's something I'd never thought about. Was thinking of it as a local Photo Book, for residents of the village, but I'll certainly look into this.
Dave_Canon Plus
14 1.7k United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 1:40PM
An ISBN number is only necessary if you sell via a bookshop or library (or Amazon). For my club we paid for a block of IBSN numbers and plan to use the rest for a new project shortly. We were obliged to send a copy of the book to the national library but that was an attraction to our members who took part in the project as their image will be stored forever in the National library. Obtaining ISBN numbers were not that expensive and it was not too difficult to do. As a result, the local Waterstones were prepare offer our book for sale in the local branch as did the local library/Museum.

SteveAitch 2 30 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2020 3:26PM

Quote:... We were obliged to send a copy of the book to the national library but that was an attraction to our members who took part in the project as their image will be stored forever in the National library....

AAMOI, did the other five libraries ask for copies too?
keithh 16 25.6k 33 Wallis And Futuna
2 Jul 2020 3:35PM
Prob not. With library submissions and ISBN's, you are going to struggle to sell for a tenner.
Dave_Canon Plus
14 1.7k United Kingdom
3 Jul 2020 11:09AM


AAMOI, did the other five libraries ask for copies too?

I cannot remember in detail but we donated £32 worth of books to libraries etc. but I am sure it was not as many as 5 libraries. The success depends on how well you can sell the books. Selling books from Waterstones and the local library was not itself profitable because each took most of the profit. However, most of our books were sold to or by our members or from our website and also at public events we were holding anyway. We sold all 250 copies of the one book over about 4 years and made £500 profit though we did not plan to make a profit but were just aiming to break even. I am not sure what type of photos the OP took but ours were of local events over 12 months. This appealed to public vanity. People picked up the book to see if they were in it (even if in a crowd) then they would buy copies to send to friends and relatives. I attended the final dress rehearsal of a The Mikado performed by a talented local group to take photos. They were all very enthusiastic when they saw the book and had to have a copy.

It is best to take an attitude that the project may become a donation to the local community (is that so bad) but I hope it turns out to be a success financially or otherwise.


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