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Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: digby
Date: February 28, 2022 05:01PM
Really hope someone knows someone who's done this...

My mom's been writing up a history of her life (and her ancestors'). I've been editing it and scanning photos from her extensive shoeboxes of yellowing snapshots.

So I've got it down (from 120+) to about 50 pages. Set up in InDesign, with scans color-corrected and placed.

So now I need to get 6-8 books made by mid-April (her Almost-100th-Birthday). Would love to have hardcover or quality heavy paper covers, perfect-bound. But all of that is optional, given costs and time frame.

So... are there online options? Some place that could print from my PDF? (or InDesign file)

Places like Shutterfly seem to be set up for using their templates. And ordering thin books (anything over 20 pages gets expensive). Or should I be trying to find a short-run mom'n'pop print shop?

Thanks for ANY help you can give!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2022 05:03PM by digby.
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: jonny
Date: February 28, 2022 05:11PM
My niece just self published a book through Amazon. Quality looks good. She says that soft back author's copies are four dollars apiece.
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: digby
Date: February 28, 2022 05:46PM
Wow, four bucks? But I need good paper for photo reproduction inside, either coated or smooth ("highly-calendered").

I'll look into it, though, while I'm waiting for more responses. Thanks!
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: jonny
Date: February 28, 2022 06:33PM
Yeah…The paper is just standard paperback paper, so you might need to halftone the photos. It could take some research.
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 28, 2022 08:01PM
We've published several things using the Amazon platform. One was an academic festschrift that was several hundred pages and paperback. It sells for $12.99 with Prime free shipping; at that price there's virtually no profit, but we didn't plan on making any profit. I can order author copies for $4.47 plus shipping. The cover is in color but the several pics inside are black and white. Doing color inside the book would have made it much more expensive. My wife has done 3 books, much smaller (40 or so pages), that are all color and cost between $10-13. My wife can order author copies for between $3.65-$5.00 plus shipping. They were really done for our grandkids and so they aren't designed to sell, although they're on the Amazon site and have sold a couple of dozen books. We can pull them off at any time if we want to.

It was pretty simple to set these up. The festschrift was more difficult than the other books simply because it was going to be read by academics and so really had to be right. There's a lot of specific formatting that I had to figure out to make it right, although I started by copy/pasting chapters into one of their pre-existing formats. The books that my wife wrote for the kids were very simple--I really just uploaded pdf's of text and drawings that she had done and fiddled with until she liked them. Then we ordered an author copy and found she needed to change some colors and a few other things. We redid them and ordered another author copy to make sure it was what she liked and then it was done. As the kids wreck them we bring new copies out.

You might go to kdp.amazon.com and play with it and see how it goes. When all is said and done you can simply abandon it if it doesn't work out. I think you'll know pretty quickly if it's a path you want to take.
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: March 01, 2022 12:06PM
I've had good success with Lulu.com.
You can upload a "camera ready" (if that's even still a term...) PDF distilled out of whatever software you want (including InDesign) with their minimum margins, etc.

The only caveat is that they use whatever printing house is cheap at the moment, and that means you may get decent paper, or not so white paper. Pretty fast to bang up a PDF, dummy up a cover, and have a couple copies printed and see how it looks, though.



Paul F.
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A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: jonny
Date: March 01, 2022 01:49PM
Quote
Paul F.
I've had good success with Lulu.com.
You can upload a "camera ready" (if that's even still a term...) PDF distilled out of whatever software you want (including InDesign) with their minimum margins, etc.

The only caveat is that they use whatever printing house is cheap at the moment, and that means you may get decent paper, or not so white paper. Pretty fast to bang up a PDF, dummy up a cover, and have a couple copies printed and see how it looks, though.
Nice to kick business to not Amazon.
What's the cost like?
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Re: Need good quality book of my mom's life printed soon. Recommendations?
Posted by: digby
Date: March 01, 2022 04:43PM
Thanks for the ideas! I'll look into Lulu (I mean, she did a good job on To Sir With Love...).

A friend recommended Bookmobile (great name), and I filled out the specs, got to pick quality of paper and binding, and got a decent per-copy quote ($14)... and then it mentioned "Minimum Quantity: 25". Grrr - - I've checked and only six people really want a copy... (Now, if I throw away 3/4 of the books...)

There have got to be other "Print a book online" places... I wonder if they're all lower-quality places set up to print academic tomes in the dozens, or cutesy photo books ("The Jablonski Clan Goes To The Seashore!").



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/01/2022 04:48PM by digby.
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