Second *Prototype*

WARNING: This is *not* typical of what I might expect from a precious printed book. I’m sharing this mostly for myself to capture the evolution of the project, which includes things not going as hoped or expected. WARNING

What happened here is this one particular networked-age printer (Blurb) seems unable to get a reasonable binding for softcover books. The first one fell apart just like this one and so I contacted their customer service who promptly offered to send another one..which fell apart just as quickly as the first. ((That is to say — immediately. The video shows what happens after the *second* flip through.))

Now — why am I prototyping? Just as one might with any project that is meant to be a way of learning, in this case I’d like to learn about making photography books. It just so happens that I’m doing this at a time when there’s a vast amount of upheaval in the book publishing world. I have some friends and chums who are doing some remarkable, transformative things with books and how they are created and shared. So starting naively, making a book is a great way to learn about making a book. And thence from there, other book-y things may follow. But for now — an operation like Blurb provides a less-expensive option for trying out book-format printing, although I would likely go with a slightly larger scale of things, taking orders ahead of time rather than print-on-demand in order that I have more control over quality (paper, color, binding, cutting, etc.)

And with an operation like Blurb I can prototype book design and layout and such all, to an extent. It has its boundaries and limits — this is one. They can’t adequately bind a softcover book, even after trying twice and even after basically saying they can. But — for prototyping purposes, it’s so-so. Like building an electronic circuit with hook-up wire and breadboard. You don’t expect it to do much more than test a few things and such. I’d never sell such a wreck as you see in the video above. Only — I would expect a going concern like Blurb to not sell it to *me as if it were the final-final. Or at least it should come with a warning sticker like — device is for prototyping purposes not use in life-support equipment, or some such.


Now, beyond the printing mishegoss, what happened with this second prototype? I went to a small square format to try it out. The first prototype in the large landscape format had lots of text. What I feel is a bit too much although people seemed to like the stories. I went austere with this one focusing much more on photography with basically no text except what might become a kind of introduction and captions.

Now —it’s a prototype so lessons are meant to be learned. In this case..austere may be too austere. I’d like to play with two things for the next prototype. First — the book should try slightly larger pages somehow and short stories / longer captions to go along with the photos. Try to be a bit more technical with the captions (name, of course, place, date, trick, photo specs — maybe a schematic of the locale or map? maybe a schematic illustration of the trick)

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