by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
I was one of the first 2000 to pledge to buy the book, which I did. The book is "nice" but it's not the greatest thing since sliced bread. First, the book and the photos are disappointingly small--about the size of a large coaster or a small trivet. And the lack of a hard cover make it a less-than-ideal coffee table book. I'm sure you posted the specs where you plug the book, but I must have not paid attention. (I do agree with your readers that the book is well-introduced and well-organized--the chronological feature is a very nice touch.)
Having said that, I am happy to support the site and even happier to participate in the community experiment around crowd-sourced publishing. That was cool, and my econ professor would have been proud. But if I saw this book in a store, I would not purchase it....especially not for $30. (Which would also make my econ professor proud!)
Initially we wanted to do a more traditionally-sized coffee table book, but the file size of the amateur photos we receive are simply too small to print in a larger format and maintain quality. (And, in my opinion, too large of a size would differ too much from the window views we publish daily.) We also intended to have a hardcover option, but we really liked the flip-book feel of the softcover version and wanted to have uniformity with the books we sold. Plus, we would have had to print separate offset runs for a hard- and softcover version, thus greatly increasing our financial risk.
But most of all, a hardcover book larger than our seven inch format would simply be too pricey for most of our readers. Since our goal for the project was not to make any money, but rather get the book to as many readers as possible and prove we could create a new model of publishing, the smaller softcover size was the only feasible option.
Still, $29.95 is a decent price for a bookstore quality, 200-page, four-color photo book, especially if you or a loved one is a fan of the Window View feature. (And we may yet do another offset run for another batch of books at $16.25 each.) Keep in mind that the Dish is not the typical Blurb customer; 99% of the people who create and buy books through Blurb are individuals using their own personal photos. Thus, 30 bucks is a bargain for someone making a high-end scrapbook containing their own stories and memories (in fact, I'm in the process of doing two myself: a book of autobiographical vignettes written by my grandfather and an illustrated account of my dad's tour in Vietnam).
If, like the reader, you are not a big fan of the Window View book, we have many different projects coming down the line. And the vast majority of our books will be text only, so their prices will be dramatically lower. Stay tuned!