Errata Editions Publishing Diary

A couple of weeks ago, I referenced the announcement of Errata Editions, a publishing partnership that will produce studies of classic and contemporary photography books. Jeffrey Ladd of 5B4 Photography and Books is the leading force behind this venture, and last week he blogged from China about being on-press for the first run of the Books on Books series.

On Day One Jeff discussed the genesis of the idea behind Errata Editions, including the initial idea and the first steps he took to bring it to fruition.

The idea of doing exact facsimiles was less interesting to me for several reasons. First and foremost I wanted these books to include additional scholarship from a contemporary stand point in the form of essays that discuss the book and its impact as an object. If doing a facsimile these additions would be an odd inclusion and basically go against the idea of a facsimile completely. So I decided to try to make these books studies that would not try to replace the original but to sit alongside it as a companion.

Day Two saw the beginning of the press run, including Jeff’s feelings as he checked his first press sheet. He also continued discussing background, focusing on the deciding on a production process and commissioning the essays that will flesh out each volume.

On Day Three Jeff started to realize what a job he was in for, with regular (sometimes less than an hour apart) press checks. The lack of sleep begins to show… He also talked about the process of scanning the original books and proofing the initial output.

Day Four was largely more of the same, production-wise. Jeff also talked about the final stages in the pre-production process, and gave an accurate if slightly discouraging overview of the economics of the photo book publishing industry.

Day Five held some drama as Jeff found himself less than pleased with a cover scan. Though it ended up working out, his tension over what he initially perceived as a fault is a reminder of what a stressful process this can be.

While Jeff’s diary will certainly be of interest to those interested in publishing, I think it would be just as entertaining and informative to anyone who cares about photography publishing. I know that reading it made me even more excited about receiving my own limited edition set from Errata, and I concur with several commenters that a bound copy of the diary would make a great value-added piece for inclusion with the sets.

Errata announced yesterday that the initial press run was complete and the first books will be in retailers February. Reservations for the limited edition sets are still being taken, but they’re running low, so I recommend you contact them through the website soon if you’re interested.

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~ by David Cupp on October 2, 2008.

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