The organisation ‘Self Publish, Be Happy’ began an experiment after their Italian-born founder Bruno Ceschel, who worked as a photography editor and curator in London, visited New York Art Book Fair in 2009.
The fair, which hosts about 350 booksellers and attracts some 35,000 visitors, made a big impression. “There was a free symposium and people were talking about these amazing publications” he recalls. “I thought, wow, most people in the industry don’t seem to see this material.” Thereafter, when returning from New York, Bruno Ceschel began to make calls for submissions. (On his blog.) This then prompted him to think about what other books were out there. They just needed a platform.
It’s big success so far has been a book of collages and sculptures that was made from debris found at a local market. It used a variety of coloured fabrics for it’s covers and reflected the multicultural nature of the area.
This is just one end of an industry that has capitalized on the advances that digital technology has made to the design and production of visual publishing. Social media has also served as a free advertising network for selling books online.
The new space in the marketplace has been colonized by hundreds of small imprints from a lone photographer offering 50 copies of a handmade book to small presses dealing in editions of 500-1000.
The new audience is served by websites where books are promoted and sold, and recommendations are swapped in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Moreover, ten years ago, there were about 40 publishers around the world that a photographer needed to persuade to take on their book if they were going to get a book out into the marketplace. Now, that has completely changed – all photographers are publishers.
Five years ago when the first iPad was launched, might have been the time when photographic publishing began to migrate to the screen and leave the book behind. But so far digital technology has acted as an enabler, making it possible for individuals to design and print their own books. The attraction lies it the physical “book-object” itself.
SELECTED SPECIALIST PHOTOBOOK PUBLISHERS
Aperture – aperture.org
Archive of Modern Conflict – amcbooks.com
Aron Morel – news.morelbooks.com
Bemojake – bemojake.eu
Café Royal Books – caferoyalbooks.com
Dashwood Books – dashwoodbooks.com/press.php
Dewi Lewis – dewilewis.com
Donlon Books – donlonbooks.com
Éditions Du Lic – editionsdulic.com
Foil Tokyo – foiltokyo.com
Fourteen Nineteen – home.fourteen-nineteen.com/books
Goliga – www.goliga.com
GOST – gostbooks.com
Have a Nice Book – haveanicebook.com
Karma Books and Projects New York – karmakarma.org
Kehrer – kehrerverlag.com
Koenig – buchhandlung-walther-koenig.de
Kodoji – kodoji.com
MACK Books – mackbooks.co.uk
MAPP Editions – mappeditions.com
Oodee – oodee.net/books
Little Brown Mushroom – littlebrownmushroom.wordpress.com
Nobody Books – nobodybooks.com
PHREE – phree.es
SPBH – selfpublishbehappy.com
STANLEY/BARKER – stanleybarker.co.uk
Here Press – herepress.org
Steidl – steidl.de
Tartaruga – tartaruga.co.uk
Trolley – trolleybooks.com
Xavier Barral – exb.fr