a conversation about the future of photobooks

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Miki Johnson, one of the editors of  LiveBooks  blog Resolve, recently posted an interesting open question for everyone to attempt to answer: "What do you think photobooks will look like in 10 years? Will they be digital or physical? Open-source or proprietary? Will they be read on a Kindle or an iPhone? And what aesthetic innovations will have transformed them?"

To kick off the conversation they said that they have:

contacted fellow bloggers and asked them to post about the most prescient innovations they've seen in the photobook and publishing industries. We'll add links to those blogs within this post as they go live, so over the next few days you'll be able to see the "research" for our final post developing in real time.

A list of those who have participated in this crowd sourcing has been added to the post and there is a twitter hash tag. So we have a conversation that is pertinent to altfotonet because the future of photobooks, not withstanding the continued existence of printed photobooks, will increasingly be a digital one viewed on yet  to be invented platforms. 
Part of the current photobook renaissance is the increased ease of DIY printing and distribution. Just as musicians no longer require professional studios to cut an album, photographers have the ability to make their own books without going to a traditional publisher. Associated with this will be the many more  artistic collaborations that  will come onto the market in diverse  publications that will feature photography related projects, interviews and articles.

This an industry-in-transition. Presumably,  the barriers to quality on-demand publishing will continue to fall over the next decade, and we will be more able to produce high quality DIY books.  The current design templates of Blurb, and similar Printing On Demand service  publishers, are  just the beginning of this online technology. We now have photobook festivals

The next step at altfotonet is to build on the three/four exhibitions each year by bringing them together into an annual online publication that can then be downloaded onto a computer or television screen; and/or the ordered as printed book for those who love printed books.

This step, which has been taken by  the haphazart Flickr group, is attractive because it is affordable and available to anyone who wants to purchase. If you make a traditional book that's just images on each page, then your content will easily translate to the computer screen.

My guess is that we will see more and more artist photographers jumping into the band waggon of self-publishing and exploring innovative and alternative way to fund their projects. The main problem is the distribution of these books since most bookshops do not carry artists' books and most specialized shops do not carry print-on-demand books.

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Sauer-Thompson published on December 14, 2009 2:34 PM.

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