PDF Publishing

Blurb now offers the choice of selling books as PDF versions, and I’ve now made six of mine available in that format. The obvious advantage is cost, and you can now get any of my books for a fiver (£4.99 to be exact) for the 8×10 volumes and a bit cheaper for the one smaller volume I’ve produced. They really are better bargains than paying the £26.99 plus carriage from Blurb for a printed copy, or even the £25 including carriage that I charge for direct orders to UK addresses.

Although I can’t deny there is something about the physical object, being able to hold it in the hand, leaf through the pages, open it at random etc, if you have a good quality screen the images probably look better on it than in print, and it’s certainly good to be able to see them a little larger, particularly the smaller ones.

As well as the cost of the actual book there are other advantages – virtually immediate delivery and no carriage costs, and also although the cost is much less, I get a far larger proportion of it. Buying the books as PDFs means you are supporting the photographer, while the printed book supports the printers and all the others involved. Blurb of course takes its share in both versions, and I don’t begrudge that as they make it possible and handle the sales.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

1989: 20 photographs  ISBN 9781909363014  PDF £3.99

© 2012, Peter Marshall

Before the Olympics: The Lea Valley 1981-2010 ISBN 9781909363007 PDF  £4.99

© 2012, Peter Marshall

Photo Paris: 1988 ISBN 9781909363021  PDF £4.99

© 2012, Peter Marshall

In Search Of Atget: Paris 1984  ISBN 9781909363045  PDF £4.99

© 2012, Peter Marshall

2006: My London Diary ISBN 9781909363052 PDF £4.99


London’s May Queens.  ISBN 9781909363069  PDF £4.99

If these sell I’ll think about making other volumes available as PDFs and also it gives new opportunities for publishing. With one exception I’ve limited my books so far to 80 pages simply to keep costs down to reasonable levels. It’s sometimes meant that I’ve had to use some pictures rather smaller than I would have wished and publishing as PDF removes most of the cost limitations.  So perhaps some of my future volumes will have more pages.

Of course I don’t need Blurb to produce or sell PDFs. I can make them directly in InDesign (which I can also use to give greater freedom of design with Blurb) and could fairly easily set up a system using PayPal to sell them myself. But Blurb has some advantages and saves me a little hassle, and their charges for PDFs are at the moment reasonable.  It’s useful to be able to produce print copies, and it is these print copies that I’m now currently assigning ISBNs to and depositing with the National Library.

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