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The Future of Photobooks: A cross-blog discussion

It’s hard to deny there are seismic shifts happening in the publishing industry right now. Between digital readers like the Kindle, print-on-demand publishers like Blurb, and the rumored Apple tablet computer, there are a lot of questions right now about what exactly a book will be in the future — especially photobooks.

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Photo by Miki Johnson

Spurred by a feature on FlakPhoto highlighting the winners of Blurb’s Photography.Book.Now contest, RESOLVE has teamed up with Andy Adams, creator of the online photography showcase, to build a month-long cross-blog discussion around the Future of Photobooks.

In order to include as many viewpoints as possible, we asked bloggers to contribute posts, shared some of their best ideas, then brought it all back to a central point where readers could grasp the larger issues more easily. You can see the results in these three discussion posts, each moderated by a contributing blogger.

How did we get here?

We are always eager to experiment with the blog format — we believe it has the power to answer questions collectively that are too big for any one person to tackle. First we asked bloggers to tell us what they thought photobooks would look like in 2019 in posts on their own blogs that linked back to our initial post. We were overwhelmed by the response, with more than 45 bloggers contributing and just as many comments on the post. All the links, plus additional related posts, here:

Taking advantage of the flexibility the blog format affords, we also added two more posts that were suggested in the comments and by collaborating bloggers. The first gathered suggestions for good printers to work with when self-publishing a photobook.

The second called for participants in the inaugural #photoartchat Twitter Chat, also addressing the question of what photobooks would look like in 10 years. The discussion, led by photographer-writers Harlan Erskine and Todd Walker continues every Tuesday. Enter “#photoartchat” at TweetChat.com for an easy way to participate.

As we hoped, a flood of fascinating links poured in from bloggers and commenters. We collected many of our favorites in two posts that provide an exciting glimpse into new modes of production, distribution, and funding for photobooks.

More links and resources will be added here, with the ultimate goal of creating a living, lasting resource that can help photographers and other creatives understand the shifting photobook landscape and their options for producing them. We hope the next revolutionary idea in photobooks might grow from a seed that was planted here!

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