Last week F+W Media hosted the second digital Book World conference in New York. By all accounts this was one of the best and most successful shows of its kind in the country and saw a 100-percent increase in attendance over the inaugural show of 2010. The focus, as you may imagine, is on digital publishing of e-books. The interest and growth of this event shows how publishing has changed and will remain a viable part of our lives, despite the negative outlook forecasted over the past few years.
You may ask yourself, what does this have to do with the photography market? And why would we want to cover publishing issues on this forum? The answer is twofold. First, if you shoot for any publication, whether books or magazines, e-publication is the future, so get on board or get left in the dust. Second, as we have discussed in the past, technology is driving how images are being used, delivered and stored. Many of the wedding and portrait photographers I know have seen the orders for prints disappear and turn into a request for a disk instead. At some point a bride with an iPad may ask to have the wedding photos and video sent to her via the Web. I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t happing now. You have now entered the world of e-publishing, and you need to make a plan to recover this lost revenue.
The self-publishing issue has also made an impact on the wedding photographer in recent years. If you use a third party partner to deliver proofs to your clients, you may be aware that many these companies offer an on-demand album component. This is self-publishing, running one-off or very limited run books that you deliver to your clients. Commercial photographers have also adopted self-publishing as a vehicle to present a portfolio in a very professional manner.
The long and short of this is that events such as Digital Book World are the type of forums we should be aware of and attend as the landscape of professional photography continues to evolve. Creating creative packages that include e-delivery and custom books will be one avenue to consider in the chase of lost print orders. To stay on the cutting edge of our industry, you must stay ahead of the technology curve.
As always, I look forward to your thought and replies.