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Old 09-11-2005, 08:11 AM   #1
Molly/CA's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Central California
Posts: 235
Default Cost of color?

My husband's colleague is in the process of dealing with UC Press's Science division for a book he's written, sort of a summation of his life in science. The editor (should be an acquisitions editor but we haven't seen that title) with whom he's afflicted first told him that the division and/or the press didn't do color pictures and that any photos could only be included en masse in the middle of the book somewhere (as photo sections were routinely done several decades ago). This is odd because the current output of the Science and Natural History divisions, where two other books by the same author are in process of being published, now consists almost entirely of coffee-table fluff with minimal content and color pictures on every page, with many interleaved color plates in addition.

This editor then told the author that they could publish a limited number of his color photos if he would pay for them. The price they quoted was $22,000 for about 25 photos. I believe that the press --the Natural History division, which is sometimes under the Science division and sometimes independent of it-- has already processed some of the same pictures for other books. The remainder would be supplied as slides --UCP's NH division's SOP.

So far as I know the photos would be quite small and fairly low-res in the printing (if the NH guides we were given as samples are anything to go by). "Quite small" --a couple or three at most inches to a side? Several to a page but we don't know the proposed size of the pages.

This man is the top of his field in science and a well known wildlife artist in his own right, and has published important books in the field with UCPress and the definitive field guides in his field with Houghton Mifflin. If this country had living national treasures he'd be one. He's also 90 years old and the most unconfrontational person in the world. We think that the press is taking him for a ride --extortion would be a better word. We believe that the editor has figured out that he would really like to see this lifework in print and that he can be bamboozled into almost anything.

So here's the question: does anyone here have a guess as to what the actual cost of binding in 25 color photos --probably 4 or 5 additional pages-- might be? The usual stated press run for the Natural History series is 700 hardback and 1500 trade paperback --assuming they're lying only to the same extent that other publishers do, that might mean 400-some hardbacks and 1000 softcover. As we understand it all the graphics work is done in China, from the processing of the slides to the setting up to the actual printing.

Thanks, all. This author has been a major influence in my husband's career from the time he was a wet-behind-the-ears grad student right into the now, when my husband's pride is that he's co-authoring the other book now in process. We've told the author, his researcher has told him, everyone to whom he's spoken of it has told him, that they're treating the jewel among their authors like dirt, that is to say, like all their other authors, and trying to cheat him out of money as well. It occurred to us that a few hard facts might delay the wobbling pen from signing the contract.
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