Who of my countless readers believe in coincidence?
Well, then, wouldn’t you know, on the same day that Borders announces the closing of their remaining retail stores and the laying off of thousands of brick’n’mortar booksellers… my eBook of photography for the iPad—Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption—is finally available in Apple’s iTunes bookstore! Yes, 135 pages of splashy digital color, filled with behind-the-scenes photos, sketches and in-depth analysis of the photos I shot for my first large scale solo exhibit at Distinction Gallery in 2009.
I’d place this particular coincidence in the category of “painfully bittersweet,” as I absolutely LOVE to wander the stacks of a sprawling bookstore, and find the mounting closure of neighborhood stores disturbing in a way reserved for fears of the apocalypse. On the other hand, it would have been quite impossible for me to publish (and sell!) the book I’ve just released without the benefit of electronic distribution. Oh, not that I wouldn’t have liked to produce a lavish coffee table tome… and, I actually did just that! In the weeks leading up to the original exhibit I designed and printed a quite superb 100 page hardcover book that chronicled all the work that had gone into the exhibit.
Note to art collectors of the future telepathically browsing eBay in the year 2525 for an original printed copy of Plastic Prophets of Vinyl Redemption… At the cost of $120 each in the year 2009, I printed exactly two copies: one to be on display during the exhibit, and one for the owners of the gallery. So any other copies you might see advertised are likely (gasp!) forgeries. Be forewarned!
So why not mass produce the original book and sell it through my web site or local independent bookstores? Uh… as mentioned above, just one copy of the book—full color, full-bleed—cost 120 bones to print. Repeat… cost. That means I’d have to retail the book at around $150 or so, or (to bring the price down to, say, $40) print it in China at sufficient quantities that my otherwise safe and comfortable home would become a warehouse firetrap of unsold inventory. I mean, people like my art and all, but I think it would be difficult to find thousands of people who might be willing to plunk down forty or fifty dollars for a printed copy.
On the other hand… I thought there might be quite a lot of people who would quite happily pay a wee bit of cash for a version of the book they could enjoy on their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Just think… hours of artsy browsing pleasure for the price of a heavily sweetened cup of coffee!
I took the original 100 page book and expanded it greatly, with tons of additional photos, more insightful prose, and images of the installation I’d constructed in the center of the gallery. The original hardcover had been slapped together in two weeks while I was working full time. As such, sacrifices were made and the bar I’d set for completion was that ol’ standby of the Time Constrained… good enough. This time around, with no deadline gripping at my collar, I spent close to four months on design, layout, and figuring out the hitherto mysterious (and grossly under documented) features and capabilities of Apple’s new illustrated book format. Yes, it’s good to have an engineering degree!
An electronic coffee table book on a bright, shiny screen filled with glorious color pages that can be…
Panned all around the screen!
And the very best part? No printing costs. No distributor costs. No unsold inventory piling up through the hallways of my home. In fact, apart from the reasonable percentage Apple takes from each sale… no split of the revenues with a billion people. And this means I can sell my beautiful book for whatever price I want.
How does $3.99 grab you?
Note: The grabbing will be 2.99 euros in France and Germany, and 2.49 pounds in the UK, but still $3.99 in Canada and Australia.
Yep, no big profit game here. I just wanted to be able to share my work as widely as possible and provide people a fun, interesting, and engaging way to experience and explore what lies behind each of my photographs.
Did I mention there’s a link to the book? I should do that… Check it out in the iBookstore!!
Wanna see some screen shots? Of course you do!