In the ever-evolving landscape that is self-publishing, photo e-books and iPad apps remain largely a do-it-yourself proposition. While several companies offer e-book and iPad app design and development, they vary wildly in competence and experience. Similarly, though DIY services keep costs low, less technically inclined users might have trouble navigating in and around the “easy” interfaces.
To that end, here are a handful of recommendations—some do-it-yourself, some here-you-do-it—for photographers hoping to publish e-books and iPad apps. Our top picks: Blurb if you’re DIY and proud of it; Wind River Creative if you need a hand; Wix if you’re big on sharp visuals and next-gen tech infrastructure; Apple’s iBooks Author if, like many photographers, you’re an Apple lifer; and Baker Framework if you’re tech savvy and want to save money.
The best reason for would-be self-publishers of photo books to use Blurb’s do-it-yourself tools is the most simple one: Blurb was founded to serve would-be self-publishers of photo books and them alone. And now Blurb has gotten into the e-book space, which has prompted a few tweaks to the company’s traditional print-book products. Though the e-book service only debuted this summer, it has generated user enthusiasm for the same reason Blurb’s printed books have: The product looks good and just about anyone who can successfully turn on a computer should have no problem using it. Indeed, asked to explain Blurb’s appeal, CEO Eileen Gittins responds, simply, that, “Blurb can be easily understood and used by all types of people with varied knowledge of publishing.”
Gittins touts a handful of basic tools, among them easy-to-use templates and a range of customization options. She also stresses the creative control that Blurb users have over the product. Though Blurb offers some basic level of support, it’s not going to hold users’ hands throughout the process; some less experienced users could take issue with this.
Pricing starts anywhere between $4 and $50, depending on the book’s physical dimensions. Print and e-books with higher page counts, not surprisingly, cost more.
Price: Starting at $4
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