A book!

Your thoughts on a book?
[poll type=multiple max=6]

  • I’d totally buy the book
  • I wouldn’t buy the book
  • I’d like an eBook option
  • £35 is about right
  • £35 is too expensive
  • I’d pay more than £35
    [/poll]
    So at the end of last season Matt enthusiastically waved his arms about and went ‘we should make a book of this year’. I agree! Books are awesome.

I have some time to lay out a book over December/January but I’d like to know if anyone is even interested before I commit too much time to it.

I’m looking at print-on-demand options at the moment and it looks like I can produce a soft cover 10x8 for about £35 or so. I’d be looking to include not only photos, but also perhaps things like some of the songs and parts of ceremonies that took place.

If I had some idea of how many people would be interested (and I mean, would actually buy it, not just ‘thinks it’s a nice idea’) then I could approach some printers and get quotes from them to compare. It would mean having to make a bulk order but I see no reason why this couldn’t work. This way I could look at options like a hard cover or a premium paper upgrade, depending on how many would be interested.

Does anyone have any thoughts, suggestions, comments? I’m all ears!

What kind of book? A book of images, like a photo album, or a story?

Or an illustrated story book?

Or like a ‘best of PD’ compendium? Or a canonical bestiary or a book of the wiki?

£35 is well steep for any kind of book, it’s what you’d pay for a technical manual or compendium of, say, Red Dwarf or Father Ted or something. So what exactly did you guys have in mind?

Sorry to post twice in succession but this also just occured to me. This runs a very real risk of only being bought by us.

Now that could be fine and dandy, especially if its like an official Empire rules/addendum book with illustrated how-to guides for costuming, what the beasties look like, what different examples of armour, resources, coins, positions, dignitaries, etc etc etc…that would be one hell of a resource and probably worth £35.

That kind of thing would also serve to illustrate to those not already of our noble order of freaks and weirdos to see what LARP is about and what PD in particular can offer. But would someone not already involved be prepared to pay £35 for it?

[quote=“Ataraxia”]Sorry to post twice in succession but this also just occured to me. This runs a very real risk of only being bought by us.

Now that could be fine and dandy, especially if its like an official Empire rules/addendum book with illustrated how-to guides for costuming, what the beasties look like, what different examples of armour, resources, coins, positions, dignitaries, etc etc etc…that would be one hell of a resource and probably worth £35.

That kind of thing would also serve to illustrate to those not already of our noble order of freaks and weirdos to see what LARP is about and what PD in particular can offer. But would someone not already involved be prepared to pay £35 for it?[/quote]

Nonono, sorry I didn’t make that clear. Like an artbook, a yearly review. A glossy photo book of memories from the last sason.

All of the ‘official’ stuff is kept on the wiki where it can be updated if it ever changes.

It’s really a book for people who were there or have some vested interested in the game.

The price point is difficult. A glossy art book costs money to produce, it costs even more when you’re only doing small runs. But then art books cost alot of money to buy in the shops - as an art history student it’s not unusual for me to drop £25 on an exhibition catalogue and £50 on a big art book on a specialist subject.

Brian Wells has something like that from a German LRP event he went to a few years back and its really good - very inspirational to look at for somebody who wasn’t there as well.

However, I’ve voted for £35 as too expensive - partly because there are so many good pictures available on the 'net for which you don’t pay :confused: Not quite sure what I’d pay for such a book though*, which isn’t helpful I’m afraid :blush:

  • also speaking as somebody will happily pay that much or more on hobby related books (mainly history stuff for my wargaming in my case)

[quote=“nikgaukroger”]

Brian Wells has something like that from a German LRP event he went to a few years back and its really good - very inspirational to look at for somebody who wasn’t there as well.

However, I’ve voted for £35 as too expensive - partly because there are so many good pictures available on the 'net for which you don’t pay :confused: Not quite sure what I’d pay for such a book though*, which isn’t helpful I’m afraid :blush:

  • also speaking as somebody will happily pay that much or more on hobby related books (mainly history stuff for my wargaming in my case)[/quote]

Yes that’s the one, Matt said something about one of the German LRP’s making books.

I’ll get in contact with some printers and see what sort of volume/prices they can do. Perhaps this might be another project for kickstarter, because if we go down that route it’ll have to be ‘all or nothing’ rather than the print-on-demand which of course can be one offs.

Ideally I’d like a casewrapped hardback on lovely, thick photo paper of about 75-100 pages. But that’s expeeeeeeensive!

I probably wouldn’t buy the book. That’s not a never, but it’s unlikely based on the information so far.

What would make me more interested would be if there was a photo of each group. That way I can see myself and my friends in context. That would be a better momento for me than 75 pages of people I don’t know or events I don’t recognise.

I acknowledge that’s a bigger job, but maybe something for the coming year?

Also, check out:
doxdirect.com/online-printin … rices.html

A4, 75 pages, double sided, full colour 280gsm spiral bound - about £26.79 for a single copy. If you order 100, the price drops to £13 each.

[quote=“dave.lowry”]Also, check out:
doxdirect.com/online-printin … rices.html

A4, 75 pages, double sided, full colour 280gsm spiral bound - about £26.79 for a single copy. If you order 100, the price drops to £13 each.[/quote]

Ugly though, and most likely not good enough quality paper for good quality photographic reproduction.

[quote=“dave.lowry”]I probably wouldn’t buy the book. That’s not a never, but it’s unlikely based on the information so far.

What would make me more interested would be if there was a photo of each group. That way I can see myself and my friends in context. That would be a better momento for me than 75 pages of people I don’t know or events I don’t recognise.

I acknowledge that’s a bigger job, but maybe something for the coming year?[/quote]

We can’t even get everyone to GOD for an individual portrait, let alone whole groups! Plus the space and equipment required for something like that would be quite intensive.

And then of course the consideration that I’m shooting there for fun and for my portfolio, and the more time I spend doing ‘required’ things like that, the less time I get to shoot for myself (or maybe - sometime - play my character!). :slight_smile:

A yearbook sounds like a fair idea but not for £35.

I’m a disgusting skimflint who buys books from The Works when they’ve been reduced to about 30% of their original price. Unless its a book I simply must have that is just too obscure to be affordable, I believe the most I ever paid for a book was £20 and it was an imported copy of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

A yearbook that contained group portraits would be nice, and worth paying for, but such a book would also have to virtually guarantee that there would be images of significant events - The retaking of Skarsind (perhaps campaigns could have their own chapters throughout the year?), the treaty and visit by the Jotun, etc etc. Otherwise it would be a collection of images from events that most of us could gain access to online as mentioned earlier.

I would definitely not pay £35 for it. As it stands, I’d have trouble justifying £15 for something like this, and even then, it would only be to show my family what we’re about and how boss we all look. Personally I think PD would stand to gain more from a publication that reached outward, than one aimed at us, who are already in attendance.

What about a calendar?

A friend of mine did (or used to do) a calendar for his LT faction using pictures from across the year. I understand that it was occasionally political as there are fewer pictures and people want X included and want to know why Y was instead.

Still I suspect its quite possible to theme the months by Nations/Realms, as folk look back on the last year whilst looking forward to the next?

I think this is the crux of it with many people.

Personally this argument to me, is like saying ‘I don’t know why you’d go and stand in a field to roleplay with others, as you could just do it online’.

A book is a totally different experience to viewing images online. Physical prints are something to immerse yourself in. Plus also, most people viewing images online will never have their displays set up correctly (my mothers has a wonderful blue tint and no real blacks) and so seeing a print is a way to get a better idea of what things look like.

Plus of course, there’s no telling how long images will stay online. For instance I think I have over 1000 images online from this years six events, but if I decided to close my business tomorrow I’d close my facebook page and everything would go with it. Now, that’s extremely unlikely to happen admittedly, but I think in todays world we can be a bit too reliant on digital technology sometimes. It’s like at weddings, when you’ve eaten the cake and put the dress back in it’s box, all you have left are the memories and the pictures. A 900pixel wide photograph on a facebook page is not the same as viewing a 10x8 print.

But then I’m a photographer, so of course I’m going to say things like that!

They do hardbacks too. I’m happy to contact them if you’d like to find out what other paper options there are?

[quote=“dave.lowry”]

They do hardbacks too. I’m happy to contact them if you’d like to find out what other paper options there are?[/quote]

Just taken a closer look at the pricing calculator - looks like for similar options that I put in the other suppliers they’re the same price.

They’re all floating at around the £30ish mark depending on exactly what you want.

I broadly agree with this.

My comment on the availability was in relation to the £35 price mark, however, I would caveat it by also adding that despite the online pictures I think a book such as Charlotte is suggesting will inevitably cost a reasonable amount as she is talking about a high quality product - and rightly so for good photos. Having thought a bit more I certainly wouldn’t baulk at £25, so for me perhaps the £25-30 range would be OK.

[quote=“Charlotte”]

I think this is the crux of it with many people.

Personally this argument to me, is like saying ‘I don’t know why you’d go and stand in a field to roleplay with others, as you could just do it online’.

A book is a totally different experience to viewing images online. Physical prints are something to immerse yourself in. Plus also, most people viewing images online will never have their displays set up correctly (my mothers has a wonderful blue tint and no real blacks) and so seeing a print is a way to get a better idea of what things look like.

Plus of course, there’s no telling how long images will stay online. For instance I think I have over 1000 images online from this years six events, but if I decided to close my business tomorrow I’d close my facebook page and everything would go with it. Now, that’s extremely unlikely to happen admittedly, but I think in todays world we can be a bit too reliant on digital technology sometimes. It’s like at weddings, when you’ve eaten the cake and put the dress back in it’s box, all you have left are the memories and the pictures. A 900pixel wide photograph on a facebook page is not the same as viewing a 10x8 print.

But then I’m a photographer, so of course I’m going to say things like that![/quote]

But you can always print off a 10x8 print from the facebook page. For free, most of the time.

Meanwhile you pay £35 for a bookful of pictures and get to say “I was at that, I was there, thats me at the back.” When your friends are bored of that story, when does it get looked at again?

A book should be a resource. And I’m struggling to think what use this will serve.

Maybe…maybe if you go round the camps, capture people’s costumes or anything you think is interesting, then get them to submit (online, where its free) how they did it, you can create a plethora of inspirational ideas for not just costume, but set-dressing, features, interesting ways of doing Mana, herbs, potions, etc. That way you could take a wide variety of pictures - group portraits if you can be bothered, individual shots of interesting folk, scenes, whatever - and people could also share their knowledge on the same pages.

Kind of like a craft annual - you could make it a yearly thing thereafter and people would still keep buying as the techniques improve and styles within the game - yes, Empire will even undergo trends and fashions - change. What was in that delicious wintermark stew? How on earth did you make those impressive horns? That dress is fantastic, where did you get it? Whatever posessed you to bring an Accordion to the battlefield? Where did you guys learn to fight?

Now, you may be thinking “Why is this person droning on about how free the internet is and then telling me to make something that’s already available on the net?” Well, because on the net it definitely isn’t collated. Even on this forum, though useful advice is partitioned into a section of its own, its not exactly comprehensive and none of it has (your) brilliantly photographed examples for ease of reference.

That would be a resource worth buying. Maybe even worth £20 or so.

It would also serve as a “how to” guide for anyone outside the circuit wondering how on earth people get involved. At empire we have a veritable nest of delicious creativity - brewers, bakers, tanners, armourers, musicians, singers, there’s a motherfucking blacksmith (or three), the costumiers, caterers, setpieces, set dressers, make up, ritual performances, we have trouping actors…its actually bloody hard work explaining to other people how this all fits together.

Such a book as outlined above, well…we could just throw it at them. I find it harder to imagine the kind of dullard who would be unimpressed by how much is going on, than thinking of people who would suddenly light up at the ideas this mess invites.

A book like this if I’m being brutally honest probably only has limited appeal. I would sugest that people will probably only buy it if they, their friends or their group appear. I’m sure there are people who are the exceptions to this but I would think that that is your core market.
When you look at the price tag attached £35 is a bit much for a great many peoples budgets (i may be wrong in thinking that a sizeable % of the player base are uni students or those with a smaller income) certinly for myself £35 represents a sizable proportion of my monthly grocery spend.
Having said that and looked at the quality of your work, compared to the price of other photographers books or art books £35 is very reasonable.

Perhaps the inclusion of a link to download non bannered or watermarked copies of the photographs at high resoloution or a DVD of them.

Splitting the book into nation sections with a background image of the map perhaps including some of the concept art and photographs from each nation very much like the visual companions offered for some films.

[quote=“nikgaukroger”]

I broadly agree with this.

My comment on the availability was in relation to the £35 price mark, however, I would caveat it by also adding that despite the online pictures I think a book such as Charlotte is suggesting will inevitably cost a reasonable amount as she is talking about a high quality product - and rightly so for good photos. Having thought a bit more I certainly wouldn’t baulk at £25, so for me perhaps the £25-30 range would be OK.[/quote]

That is the range I would hope to get it down to. When I’ve written my current couple of essays I’m going to start pulling images and laying things out. It’s only then I can start to get more of an idea of the cost.

.