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Question: My interest level (select all that apply!)
I would submit a photo - 47 (49%)
I would volunteer - I don't have publishing experience - 8 (8.3%)
I would volunteer - I have publishing experience - 5 (5.2%)
I would buy the yearbook - 31 (32.3%)
I have no interest in participating in any form - 5 (5.2%)
Total Voters: 54

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Author Topic: Luminous Landscape 2008 Yearbook  (Read 8560 times)
feppe
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« on: February 15, 2009, 08:38:28 AM »
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I was reading TOP where Mike had a post about yearbooks made by other online photo communities. Naturally it occurred to me that LL would be the ideal setting for that! The idea would be to create a book of photos LL forum members took during 2008 - one photo per member. Since we have quite a few eloquent posters, a few articles might be welcome as well.

I haven't talked to Michael about this yet: let's first see if there's enough interest in it.

I'd imagine Michael is quite busy with his pro work, so I would lean towards volunteer-run publishing. I feel the proceeds should go to Luminous Landscape Endowment Fund as a thank you for Michael for providing us this invaluable online resource, and to promote photography.

As an example of what others have created, here's what Leica Users Group has created - a 258-page opus.

So please vote in the poll to show your interest level - if any
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feppe
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 01:48:12 PM »
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Currently 25 potential submitters and 14 people considering buying the book  It's clear there's not enough interest.
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 09:32:14 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Currently 25 potential submitters and 14 people considering buying the book  It's clear there's not enough interest.
This could be a really interesting collection of images.  I hope it's not a very limited edition...  Wait a bit longer to see how much interest builds up.
Andy
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 09:26:51 PM »
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This is a good idea!

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 09:51:18 PM »
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I agree - the idea is a good one, but there are many details that would need to be worked out. This is the kind of thing which may not respond well via polling, because people don't know enough about what they would be buying into. I think the proposal needs more development, and once it becomes more tangible the level of interest may pick-up quite a bit. Let me just enumerate in bullet form the kind of things which matter a lot:

- format
- number of pages
- who prints, where, to what quality standard
- supervision and quality control over manufacturing processes
- technical criteria for image submission
- artistic criteria for image selection
- details about the selection process - selection committe, how organized, etc.
- content themes, organizing principles for the content, or is it totally unstructured
- text and artist information to be provided for each image
- quantity of a first press run
- pricing and margin available to the endowment
- risk sharing in case of sales disappointment
- time period for expected return of costs and margin
- sales and order fulfilment arrangements

See what I mean? Even with good ideas, the devil is always in the details. Enough work-up would need to be undertaken to see whether the idea can fly.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 03:56:05 PM »
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I would love to hear Michael's thoughts on this but find the idea very exciting.  It goes without saying that there is a huge amount of talent amongst contributors to the forums and I think it would be fantastic to collate some of it in book form.

I'm going to use Mark's list as a starting point, reordering for my own little brain!

Printing:  There are various online book publishers with various standards of paper and repro quality.  This would seem the simplest way of doing it as any offer print on demand.  We would need to use a company that shipped worldwide.  In understand that this is a CMYK process - something that some have experience of and many don't.  I therefore feel that someone with the knowledge did the conversions!

It might be an option to use a high end Epson/Canon/HP printer which most of us are familiar with.  I'm not sure of the financial implications of printing like this rather than with offset - it would I suppose depend on the print run.

Layout:  There are templates available for the online printers.  I also expect that we have more than one or two DTP gurus amongst us.  I'm not one of them!

Quality control:  I would imagine that those with serious pre-press experience (ie the design team above) would be able to oversee this.  I suspect that all of this is down to the willing submitting their credentials and stating what they are willing to do.

Content themes:  People here clearly shoot across a broad range of genres.  My feeling is that each of these should be represented in chapters so that everyone can  be represented whilst at the same time, providing enough continuity that it doesn't look a mess.

Selection process:  I propose that everyone be allowed to submit X images where X is determined by the selection committee.  

Selection commitee:  Should Michael agree to this venture, it seems obvious he should be king of the judges.  Panels take time too....I would not object to Michael selecting the images.

An alternative is that each person who wishes to, submits 1 photograph and all are published.  

Text/artist info:  This needs to fit a standard format.  I personally object to pretentious BS - and think that this should be kept as short as possible.  

Technical criteria:  I would argue against equipment limitations - good cameras don't take good photographs, good photographers do.  There should be guidelines on size, profiles blah blah for submission - and there should be a point of contact if someone, for whatever extraneous reason, struggles to meet that criteria.

I'm not going to comment on the others as I don't feel I have anything useful to have.  I do hope that someone else does.

Charly
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feppe
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 06:04:17 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
I agree - the idea is a good one, but there are many details that would need to be worked out. This is the kind of thing which may not respond well via polling, because people don't know enough about what they would be buying into. I think the proposal needs more development, and once it becomes more tangible the level of interest may pick-up quite a bit.

I agree. The point was to see if there's enough interest, and take it from there. Currently at 35 interested in submissions out of 481 who read the post. Although it's been a very slow trickle of votes, we should be well on the way if we get 100 submitters, which doesn't sound unreasonable when we start fleshing this out.

Since this would be the first LL Yearbook, I strongly feel we should go the Keep It Simple, Stupid -route. Off to your list, and expanding on Charly's post:

- format
- number of pages
- who prints, where, to what quality standard

Unless we have some people with publishing experience (according to poll we do) and who would be interested in layout, pre-production, printing, etc. (ie. lot of time), we should go for the tried and true.

Leica Users Group used blurb.com, and it seems to be a decent product online - no idea how it pans out in book form, though. Would be glad to hear from user experience. Googling for reviews gives fairly positive reviews, although I was unable to find any with obviously high photographic printing standards.

- technical criteria for image submission
- artistic criteria for image selection
- details about the selection process - selection committe, how organized, etc.
- content themes, organizing principles for the content, or is it totally unstructured

I'd prefer to keep this simple: everybody who submits an image gets an image published. To make this more interactive and fun, we could set up a sub-forum where people could submit up to, say, three photos, and members could vote for their preference.

Alternatively, if we limit strictly to 1 submission per person, we could vote for the top 10 images which would open the book, with Honorable Mentions for some categories (Best Landscape, Best Abstract, Best Macro, Funniest Image, Best Pixelpeeping, Most Extravagant Gear...). That would also open the forums for some Academy Awards -style lobbying which surely would make things more... interesting around here

And I feel the cover should go for Michael

Leica guys had a book with 258 pages, which I assume is 200+ images, and given the interest here I think we'll be around that level in the end - so there should be no need to limit the # of participants.

- text and artist information to be provided for each image

This should be limited to X number of words, freeform. Some people want to provide technical details, some explanation of the shot, some background information, some poetry. I don't see a compelling reason to tie people's hands on the content.

- pricing and margin available to the endowment
- risk sharing in case of sales disappointment
- time period for expected return of costs and margin
- sales and order fulfilment arrangements

Here's blurb's pricing for large-format (13" x 11") books.

Blurb.com offers printing as needed, so there's no need to have anyone of us to physically ship anything or tie us to a fixed printing run. Nevertheless, somebody has to handle the transactions, and donate the proceeds to the Fund. We might be able to come up with a smooth arrangement with blurb if we approach them with this - it might be possible that they manage all the transactions without us having to do any heavy lifting.

Depending on blurb (or whoever we choose) pricing structure, we should be able to set the price so that there's an X% markup on each book which goes to the fund. This might get complicated from taxation POV, so that's something whoever manages the fund has to figure out (Michael?).

I'd be interested in the large format landscape version with Premium Paper. We can set up a poll about this later, but I'd be interested to hear what you guys think - they don't come cheap, going for upwards of a hundred bucks depending on the page count, although smaller books with soft covers are quite attractively priced.


There are my thoughts on this. If somebody has contacts in Leica Users Group (or is a member), I'd be very glad to hear from you so I could ask some questions from their experience in setting it up for themselves, as well as on blurb.com. Send me a PM.

Let's keep brainstorming on the ideas above and in earlier posts!
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krasi
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 12:51:22 AM »
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Great idea!

Some thought about the selection of the images – in my opinion - there are two approaches:

1 – already mentioned – “everybody who submits an image gets an image published”
pros – easy to be done;
cons – didn’t reflects in a best way the spirit of LL – pursuit and achievement  of the finest possible level of the craft and the art of photography

2  –  tight selection of the submited images
pros – the opposite of the cons above, and the selected images will become another referent point for everyone how’s looking for perfection;
cons – difficult to be done – in short,  here we asking for professionals that have to spend a valuable time on that selection


Maybe somebody will see another “con” at p.2 – someone’s images have to be rejected, but nevertheless, rejection is just another reference point   – at least for me.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009, 01:49:35 AM »
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My view is that we should use this: http://www.blurb.com/

The great thing about blurb is that books can be made available for sales through the blurb website. We could decide that benefits from the sales of the books would be paid back to Michael for LL endowment fund for instance.

What needs to be done then is:

- Select number of price/size/target price: I would suggest to use standard landscape (25x20 cm) on premium paper and 160 pages at 56.95 US$
http://www.blurb.com/create/book/pricing#standard-landscape

- Select the selection process for the 150 images to be included in the book, I would suggest:
  - one image per person submited as 2000x2000 pixel jpg through mail to a given mail address (for instance yearbook09@luminous-landscape.com)
  - no theme
  - submission date by Apr 30th
  - one month for image selection by jury (jury should be led by Michael with a few other photographers.)
  - selected people need to send high res image by June 15th together with payment for 10 books + a given premium for shipment (let's say 600 US$).

This would fund 1500 copies of the book (150 photographers multiplied by 10 books per photographer) out of which 300 copies would be sent to luminous landscape (2 per photogrpaher). These 300 copies would be shipped to the 150 photographers using the 30 US$ gap between actual price of the books (570 US$) and the amount paid at picture submission (600 US$).

- Once the images are available, someone with layout experience should layout the book and order it on blurb.

- Books would be on sales for 80 US$. The benefits (70-57 = 23 US$ per book) would be used as a safety net, and the remainder would go to the LL endowment fund.

How does that look?
 
Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2009, 08:13:13 AM »
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Bernard - I totally understand where you are coming from but I'm sure I'm not the only one here who has been credit crunched - I simply would not be able to find $600 at present.  Perhaps it is obvious from this that I am not good with money but I cannot offer a constructive alternative.
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michael
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2009, 10:30:39 AM »
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I think that the idea has merit, but there's a great deal of work involved, and it's not something that I have the time to pursue.

Having experience in producing both commercial and on-demand books I can tell you that this is a non-trivial task when it's just one person's work. When it's numerous people from around the world the logistics and workload would be daunting.

Sorry.

Michael

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Wally
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2009, 11:05:55 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
My view is that we should use this: http://www.blurb.com/

The great thing about blurb is that books can be made available for sales through the blurb website........selected people need to send high res image by June 15th together with payment for 10 books + a given premium for shipment (let's say 600 US$).

How does that look?
 
Cheers,
Bernard


I don't get why anyone would need to send in $600. That just makes no sense. If you are going to use Blurb and sell through Blurb why send in $600? Blurb is a Print on Demand outfit. They don't maintain any inventory they just print and ship when people order something. They also do not charge anyone anything until you print out a book.

If anyone really wants to do this they should keep it as simple as possible, and try and to keep costs down as much as possible. Blurb would be a great choice to do just that, but not by having the people you want to submit content to also have to front $600 per person
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2009, 12:23:36 PM »
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Quote from: michael
I think that the idea has merit, but there's a great deal of work involved, and it's not something that I have the time to pursue.

Having experience in producing both commercial and on-demand books I can tell you that this is a non-trivial task when it's just one person's work. When it's numerous people from around the world the logistics and workload would be daunting.

Sorry.

Michael

Thanks for input, Michael. I understand your position completely. That's why the whole premise from the start has been to run this on a volunteer basis, with as little involvement necessary from you. I dislike panels and would prefer one image per poster, or popular voting if absolutely necessary - this is a Yearbook of LL contributors, not a photo competition.

The only items we'd need your involvement is setting up a sub-forum here, and in taxes and invoicing of the endowment donations. For us to be able to donate proceeds to your Fund, you would need to figure out are the tax implications of donating proceeds from selling the books, and invoicing of it. If you think this is infeasible, we could run this entirely volunteer-based with no profits from sales of books.

And Bernard, I don't see the point of forcing people to buy a certain number of books, when blurb offers on-demand printing. Sure, we could get a 10% discount that way, but it's not worth it.
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2009, 02:45:23 PM »
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Fun idea, but as Michael said, more work than one would imagine.  I am on my 5th Blurb photobook and might share my experience:

Printed quality is "good", not great.  Better than say, Time Magazine, but not nearly as good as the the carefully printed $100 cocktail-table book.  Most consumers think the quality is wonderful, but LL photographers are likely to be more picky.

To do a book you download Blurb's software, pick a format, and start page layout.  When done you upload the book and make it available for purchase from Blurb's website.  You set the price.....at what Blurb charges, or at a higher amount (then as books are ordered you get the difference).  It really is publish-on-demand as the books are ordered and printed one at a time, no need to upfront anything.

Some size/price perspective:  the Standard Landscape book format is 10x8 inches and with 120 pages costs $42, with 200 pages it costs $57.  The Large Landscape book is 13x11 and priced at $77 for 120 pages and $105 for 200.

The "work" is in image preparation and page layout.  The Blurb software has a selection of page templates for photos, and some common resizing tools. I have found these to be too restrictive, and thus create each page in Photoshop and paste it into the Blurb layout as a full page bleed. I've got complete graphic control, but have added a whole bunch more work.  Blurb wants the photos to be 300 ppi, sRGB jpeg's. They need to be sharpened appropriately for their 175 lpi halftone printing process.
So it's a choice, use their templates and resizing tools with not-so-nice results, or build each page in Photoshop with the highest possible quality.

The project would need a thick-skinned editor, with a good deal of free time, and also experienced in herding cats.

Mike Coffey
Prescott, Arizona

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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2009, 03:11:53 PM »
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Quote from: azmike
Fun idea, but as Michael said, more work than one would imagine.  I am on my 5th Blurb photobook and might share my experience:

Printed quality is "good", not great.  Better than say, Time Magazine, but not nearly as good as the the carefully printed $100 cocktail-table book.  Most consumers think the quality is wonderful, but LL photographers are likely to be more picky.

To do a book you download Blurb's software, pick a format, and start page layout.  When done you upload the book and make it available for purchase from Blurb's website.  You set the price.....at what Blurb charges, or at a higher amount (then as books are ordered you get the difference).  It really is publish-on-demand as the books are ordered and printed one at a time, no need to upfront anything.

Some size/price perspective:  the Standard Landscape book format is 10x8 inches and with 120 pages costs $42, with 200 pages it costs $57.  The Large Landscape book is 13x11 and priced at $77 for 120 pages and $105 for 200.

The "work" is in image preparation and page layout.  The Blurb software has a selection of page templates for photos, and some common resizing tools. I have found these to be too restrictive, and thus create each page in Photoshop and paste it into the Blurb layout as a full page bleed. I've got complete graphic control, but have added a whole bunch more work.  Blurb wants the photos to be 300 ppi, sRGB jpeg's. They need to be sharpened appropriately for their 175 lpi halftone printing process.
So it's a choice, use their templates and resizing tools with not-so-nice results, or build each page in Photoshop with the highest possible quality.

The project would need a thick-skinned editor, with a good deal of free time, and also experienced in herding cats.

Mike Coffey
Prescott, Arizona

I think this sums-up the situation quite well:

I also believe that to undertake such a project, there should be quality control, when you think of all the aspects and logistics which need to be covered-off it would be a major amount of work, and in the final analysis the sales volume may not justify the effort. Some may be surprised about how long it can take to sell even a few hundred copies of a fine-art volume costing in the 60s~70s.

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2009, 03:28:36 PM »
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Thanks Mike for the good input. It confirms what I read between the lines of other reviews: quality is ok, but not up to high standards unless extra effort is taken.

Which paper did you use for your books? Do you know if the Premium paper makes a difference?

Quote from: MarkDS
I think this sums-up the situation quite well:

I also believe that to undertake such a project, there should be quality control, when you think of all the aspects and logistics which need to be covered-off it would be a major amount of work, and in the final analysis the sales volume may not justify the effort. Some may be surprised about how long it can take to sell even a few hundred copies of a fine-art volume costing in the 60s~70s.

Rather than looking for reasons why it can't be done, I'd prefer to look for ways how it could be done.

It appears that selling for profit and donating proceeds to the LL Fund might be either too cumbersome or produce a trivial sum of money. Therefore a more appropriate direction would be to go for the vanity book route, and create a yearbook for us - and whoever might be interested. I believe that's what the Leica guys did. I would much prefer to see the work of fellow LL members in nice book form, rather than seeing the occasional shot or two in Recent Works threads.
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2009, 03:37:09 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Rather than looking for reasons why it can't be done, I'd prefer to look for ways how it could be done.

Harri, very positive thinking on your part, but it's not a matter of "looking for reasons why it can't be done" - rather it needs a serious reality check about what's involved and WHO will do the heavy-lifting.

Mark
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2009, 03:58:38 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Harri, very positive thinking on your part, but it's not a matter of "looking for reasons why it can't be done" - rather it needs a serious reality check about what's involved and WHO will do the heavy-lifting.

Mark

Agreed. That's why I put the option in the poll on who would actually be willing to contribute time. The question is how much time, and how we can distribute the work load so that not one person has to take sole responsibility of, say, editing and layout.
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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2009, 05:07:46 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
And Bernard, I don't see the point of forcing people to buy a certain number of books, when blurb offers on-demand printing. Sure, we could get a 10% discount that way, but it's not worth it.

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that Blurb will put on sales on the websites the amount of books that have been ordered by the publisher. If they have changed that approach and indeed agree to print books on order, then things are even simpler.

Get rid of the pre-payment in my proposal above, and just proceed with the rest.

If the jury idea is too annoying, we can just say that the first 150 images are part of the book. Easy isn't it?

This whole thing is less than 2 days of work done this way.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2009, 06:16:13 PM »
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Harri, regarding your question about premium paper: I've only done one book with it. It is heavier, less see-through, but I thought it was less white than the regular paper and the printing had a slight color cast. I haven't specified it since.

Sorry to have seemed a wet blanket.  Here's a suggestion. You could simplify the workload by distributing the complete page preparation to each contributor.  That is, the editor & cat herder specifies that (for example) it will be a standard sized landscape book and each contributor may send to him/her one 2888 pixel by 2475 pixel (that's the Blurb dimension of a full page bleed for the 10x8 book) high-quality, sharpened jpeg in sRGB.  And the editor just page loads these.  Each contributor could do with the 2888x2475 as he/she chooses (image(s) and words).  The editor might offer suggestions toward content consistency, etc. The editor would do the cover and intro, etc and have the Blurb account.  That sort of addresses the workflow issues.

Editorial content decisions, etc. are another matter.

Couple of final thoughts:  At $50-75 I doubt there would be too many purchasers beyond contributors.  And if this book were to carry the Luminous-Landscape reference (as opposed to "Harri and Friends Yearbook") you're gonna need Michael's blessing.

Mike Coffey
Prescott, Arizona


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