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Thread: Selling Landscape photo books?

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    Selling Landscape photo books?

    I have search the forum and the net looking for answers but have found none yet

    I'm thinking working on and putting together a coffee table style photo book (from the likes of blurb etc) filled with landscape photos I've taken. It got me thinking about commercial use of photography and if this is considered commercial use IF I were to sell these books.

    At this stage I'm simply going to make a book for my own use but I did want to know if it would be safe to sell in the future if i desired. I know that simply selling the photos themselves as art (to hang on wall etc) is not considered commercial use but what about a book of photographs? am I still just selling multiple photos that happen to be joined together in a book? or am I selling a book as a commercial product?

    It could get complicated with photos taken in national parks etc which would require a permit and fee payable. The book may contain some text regarding where the photo was taken etc

    Any advice is appreciated

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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    Some uninformed comments from me !
    I've had one go at selling a landscape book as part a group of 10 authors ,and I have created lots of our own photobooks for memorabilia - my points are:
    - the book would have to be pretty special to sell from an unpublished / unknown author (Momento put our iceland book for sale on their store which won their yearly landscape prize - it has sold a total of 0 copies haha)
    - the book would be far more likely to sell if it is of local places (the book I was inovlved with was a Tasmania based book - the Tassie contributors sold all of them quite quickly, I still have 40% of my books left!)
    - if you actually want to make money from it , using photobook companies to produce them probably isn't that viable , especially if you want to sell through stores with the profit margins involved - the Tassie book for instance was 170 pages and RRP $50 - cost price to me personally was about $20 per book for a mass produced book (ie. printed for 100 copies per contributor)
    - selling the book takes alot of energy which I found I didn't have - shameless self promotion too! After dropping by about 5 stores last year, i found I just ran out of energy and the stores which buy off you to sell instantly always want a super special deal (ie. I 'sold' my books to them for $25 each but at least I made money whereas some stores I've dropped my books off - the books are still just sitting there lol)
    - If you have the time and front up investing power to do this, it is however, a great experience but I wanted to share some of the caveats above ! Hope it doesn't put you off.
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    Thanks for the reply dtoh, you have some very interesting information which I can take on board.

    The truth is I'm not looking to make any huge profits or distribute in bookstores, I was only really concerned with possible ramifications of including photos taken in National Parks etc which require permits for commercial shoots (which I haven't got)

    I'm still not sure if a book featuring such landscape photographs is a commercial use or not? I still don't believe I'm selling or advertising a product other than the photos themselves

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day RF

    Mixed thoughts here ~ there have been times when I have seen someone else's photo books & perused and passed it by, vs yet others that I have bought as an upcoming Christmas gift for someone

    Like dtoh - I know all too well the costs & difficulties of producing anything ... I am currently negotiating with both Aussie + o'seas printers for a 128-page book and the costs & CMYK issues seem to go on forever. The o'seas printers all seem to have a min order qty of 1000 books too > and at $10 - $14 or thereabouts a book it soon adds up to big numbers

    I would suggest that
    a) you do it via one of the on-line photo-book mobs, and
    b) you keep it to your half-dozen close family or mates and just do it for the hell of it as a gift

    Regards, Phil
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redfox View Post

    The truth is I'm not looking to make any huge profits or distribute in bookstores, I was only really concerned with possible ramifications of including photos taken in National Parks etc which require permits for commercial shoots (which I haven't got)
    Be aware that the rules for National Parks varies from state to state, and in some cases, park to park. Commercial gain is different to commercial shoots. In some states/parks, publishing of the photos requires the permission of the Parks Service. It is not just about shooting commercially in the parks.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Just a quick update.

    I live in WA so my first port of call was the Department of Environment and Conservation, who are the government body for state parks in WA. I mentioned I had taken some photos in the past in some state National Parks and that I would like to possibly use in a commercial sense (giving examples). I wanted to know if I could do anything retrospectively in regards to getting permission and paying possible fees and costs. I also asked about future photo shoots. I did mention that it was just myself with a camera, sticking to tourist paths...(which it is!)

    The reply I received from DEC was I could use the photos taken for commercial purposes and no fees were payable now or in the future including future photo shoots as long as I am taking photos as described. I was informed in writing that the fees stated are for larger film 'crews' and those needing special access off the tourist paths.

    So I feel good about this :-)

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