First Impressions on Flickr’s New Book Publishing Service

I Just Published My First Book

I just published my very first book.

I’ve been meaning to do a book forever and today I finally did it. Flickr launched their new book publishing service today and I wanted to try it out, so I created a 200 page book called America in Progress.

The book is comprised of 200 photos I hand selected from the almost 88,000 I’ve got published to Flickr. It cost me $137.94.

The basic charge for the new Flickr book is $34.95 for a 20 page book. Additional pages are 50 cents each with a 240 page maximum. In my case shipping was another $12.99. ($34.95 for the basic book + $90 for an extra 180 pages + $12.99 for shipping).

The Breakdown on What My New Book Costs
My book cost me about $138 for my 200 page book.

The book should arrive in the next 5 to 7 business days.

It took me about 2.5 hours to make the book. It’s a photo only book and the only text I was able to add was the title of the book — which is on the cover and on the spine. I didn’t see any way to change the font of the title so I went with what they offered by default.

The Breakdown on What My New Book Costs
My book should be here in 5 to 7 business days.

There were a lot of glitches when I built my book — which is to be expected when you try out a new service within the first hour of launch. The first book I tried to create sent me to a non-existent page when I tried to check out. The publishing page was also running very slowly for me at one point. It would take me about 45 seconds to add a new page to my book. My session crashed and when I refreshed the page it went faster. Fortunately Flickr auto-saves the progress on your book as you go, so I didn’t lose any work when this happened.

The Layout Tool For Flickr's New Book Service Was Super Easy to Use
Despite some glitches, Flickr’s layout tool for creating books was really easy to use.

I was also warned when I tried to check out that there were print quality alerts on some pages of my books, but I carefully checked every single page and didn’t see any alerts anywhere. It would be nice if you could click a link which would tell you what pages specifically Flickr was concerned with.

As far as book publishing goes, it was really easy to create the book. I could either pull from my Flickr photostream or from any of my sets. You just drag and drop the photos into a book publishing sort of layout and you can move pages around so that things go where you want them.

Because I have so many photos in my Flickrstream and so many sets in my Flickrstream, I found it difficult to find all of the photos that I wanted to use in the book. Most users won’t have 88,000 Flickr photos though, so it should be easier for them. It would be nice if Flickr also offered a third way to find photos to publish, search.

The book will be 11” x 8.5 and will be a hardcover. Flickr says it will be printed on “premium white proPhoto paper with a Lustre finish,” and will come with a dust jacket.

If you change your mind on buying the book after you create it and check out, you have an hour to cancel your order.

I will report back more when I actually get the book as to the quality of it compared to other self publishing group books I’ve been involved with. Books can only be delivered to the Continental U.S.

I think it’s smart for Flickr to get into the book publishing business (and their timing is pretty good with the Holiday season approaching). It’s a natural way for them to grow and make money. I suspect that today’s offering is only the beginning. I could see Flickr also offering a way for book publishers to sell their books as well in the future, like blurb offers.

For more feedback on this new book service from Flickr you can check out this thread in the Flickr Help Forum.

When I First Tried to Check Out Flickr Took Me to a Non-Existent Page
An error sent me to a weird non-existent page when I first tried to checkout and pay for my book — Flickr seemed to want to send me to giantsouthern’s photostream instead.

More from Fast Company here.

Update: here is the pdf file of my book that Flickr sent me if you want to check it out. Feel free to download a free pdf copy if you’d like. :)