Artist Book Project PL – update


Untitled (Interior of custom made wood frame) copyright 2013 Douglas Stockdale

Back in August, I thought that I was posting the most boring photograph about Pine Lake, my artist book project, which I had taken to call by a code name: PL. Perhaps in first glance that appears even MORE boring, but I beg to differ as I see that this object now has a more refined elegance. Okay, as to the object, it is the an interior view of my custom made wood frame for my artist book (dummy version #2). This is the base of the frame glued to the hardwood framing. Gone are the belts & suspenders and this frame now appears very clean and nice.

I have let the PL project set a little while pondering the next question, how to attache the cover without using another set of belt and suspenders? For my first book dummy, I had used double stick tape to hold the top cover in place. The problem is that in about an hour later the top cover was starting off the frame, as the double stick was not doing the job. So then after some aesthetic contemplation, I used two more 3/8″ staples to hold the cover in place (not shown), which worked but looked like crap. The corner edges were still lifting and I did not like the appearance of the staples. Similar to my concerns for the bottom of the frame, I did not want those staples to inadvertently bung-up another book that might be placed in close approximation.

And then I arrived at another elegant solution which is being tested out. I am using the same wood glue for the hardwood frame to glue the top cover on. To ensure that it will stay in place, I am also gluing the top cover to the frame spine and then wrapping it around to glue on the one frame edge. I will use the bone tool to provide a double crease to allow the top cover flap to open easily. More about that later.

So now I have some other issues to consider for this project and hopefully obtain some nice feedback.

First is the edition size of the artist book? Initially I was thinking of an edition of 100 books but now thinking that this may be too many for my first artist book. I have noticed that others have keep the edition sizes at about 25, so this is now my current thinking. I had been targeting a couple of artist book stores in Europe, but with the recent shipping of a book to Europe, the price has increase about $10.00, almost doubling the cost to $23.00. Yikes, this is going to be an expensive artist book outside the U.S. So now I am looking at four or five artist/photo book stores in the U.S. which reduces that amount of books I might be able to sell.

Second question is do I need to obtain an ISBN for this artist book? I have frequently seen the ISBN for editions of 100 but not for small edition artist books. The issue is that obtaining an ISBN costs about $125.00 and then when that is amortized over 10, 20 or even 25 books, it starts to raise my cost and reduce my margins for book store pricing. Especially if I plan to produce 25 books but actually sell less than that (early supporter gifts, maybe a review copy or two and one reserved for exhibitions). The one upside is that acquiring the ISBN provides a little more visibility for the book.

Last question is the most delicate one, the price. I am sure that my collectors would like this to be as low as possible while other artist point to all of the indirect costs of producing the book that should be incorporated. There is a lot of my labor in these books; constructing the outer shell, printing the interior cover and pages, the hole punching and the finally assemblies. Especially since I am thinking that this artist book may be available only through a few select artist book stores, so I need to discount the cost of the book to them. Or maybe sell half of the edition through bookstores and sell half myself. Just not sure at the moment.



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