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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Melissa's query
- From: "Stephen J. Chant" <schant@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 08:40:19 -0400
- In-reply-to: <199805160406.AAA10942@moose.uvm.edu>
- Message-id: <199805161240.FAA16530@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: On the web at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Sat, 16 May 1998, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> I think I may be getting into a bit of trouble here...and sure could use
> some advice from any and all view points. :)
> This morning I was contacted by a gentlemen who wants me to publish and
> bind 60 -100 copies of a book of poetry he has written. Now I have done
First off, the advice that all the other folks have passed along is great.
But there are a couple of useful points I hope to add to the conversation.
You say, he is asking you to "publish and bind" his book. Do you mean
print, or do you in fact mean publish? Publishing is a whole different
animal than printing. When you publish the book, you are assuming the
financial costs and risks of production and promotion. When you print a
book, you are simply doing the manufacturing of the book, to be sold to a
publisher who is assuming the risk of selling them.
> He explained that he has sent his manuscript to some publishing houses and
> the cost and number of books is highly prohibitive.....thus he called
> me...curious. I was honest and told him that I have never worked in this
> magnitude before, but he remains undaunted by that. I also explained that
> I bind by hand and it would take me quite a bit of time....he says a year
> would be fine if I needed it.
If he sent the book to publishing houses and the "cost and number of books
is highly prohibitive" then he was talking to vanity houses. If you are
working in a craft/artistic setting and bill yourself out at more than the
minimum wage, there is no way you are going to come close to their prices.
They, even with an unreasonable profit, can do it with DTP, poly plates,
cheap paper and mechanized bindery a whole lot cheaper than you can.
You say "curious". I would be too. First question "Show me the money."
> Basically I tried everything I could think of to talk him out of it...but
> he insisted on sending me his manuscript for my review....and a price
> quote. Never thinking that anyone would EVER call me and ask such a
Review? If you review it, you are judging its merit, and might be expected
to assume some or all of the risk. If you give him a quote that will
fairly and adequately compensate you for supplies, time and include a
small but fair profit, for 60-100 copies of a 100-page book, you are
talking multi-thousands of dollars.
> Because of his insistence, I promised only to review the work (100 pages of
> poetry) and to let him know if I could feasibly undertake such a job. On
> the one hand, it would be very exciting to take on such a challenge...and I
> feel as if I would be "up to the task" so to speak, but I know there must
> be other things that I should know....think about...do.
Two final points, one from the old and one from the new. If the guy is
looking for a hand crafted book, and if he has the money, and (insert all
the other points raised by the good BookArts folks), why not consider
just printing the sheets, and then binding them as he needs them.
And, if he's not looking for a hand crafted book, send him (or better yet
subcontract the work out yourself) to a commercial shop that is set up for
the work, with a copier and some short-run case binding equipment.
It seems like there is more here than meets the eye. Be wary, I just have
a suspicion that this guy is looking for a deal that is a lot cheaper than
what you should fairly get.