Monday, December 7, 2009

Color versus Black-and-White

Yesterday I set up the two official versions of the book about the D-Lux 4 camera -- the original version, with color photographs in the interior of the book, and a newly fine-tuned version with all the same content as the original book, except that the photographs have been converted to black-and-white. I didn't just print the same book without color; I took each photograph individually and adjusted it so it would look as good as possible in black-and-white, by adjusting the contrast, brightness, sharpness, etc.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, the driving force here was to try to make enough money from selling the books to cover our expenses for printing them; we had been losing money on each book because we were not able to find a reliable source of color toner for the laser printers at a price that would let us break even or make a profit at the original price of $19.95 for the full-color version of the book.

So yesterday the book went on sale on Amazon Marketplace and on my web site in two versions -- the original color one for $26.95 and the black-and-white one for $19.95. Since that time, we have had 12 orders -- 10 for the color book and 2 for the black-and-white version.

That result surprised me somewhat. I thought some more people might balk at the higher price and prefer to pay $19.95 for the less-expensive version, which has all the same text and is basically just as useful as the color book for learning how to use the D-Lux 4 camera. But I can understand someone wanting the "best" version available.

Today I received my e-mails saying my account with Lightning Source has been approved. I will soon look into pricing to have that print-on-demand company print the books. I was going to have them printed in black-and-white, but now, after today's sales results, I'm rethinking that decision, and may get the books printed in color, if it can be done at a price that leaves some margin for profit.

Clenise has done a great job of keeping the printers running despite many mechanical failures, defective toner cartridges, and other obstacles, so we're still able to keep up with orders for the book. Now, of course, we have to gauge demand for the two different versions and keep enough of both versions printed and ready to ship. That does complicate things a bit, but so far, so good, and hopefully Lightning Source (or possibly another company) will soon take over the printing and shipping chores.


  1. Hi Alex,

    Fantastic news! I thought the colour photographs would pay off. I wish you all the best. : )

    A blog like this is really interesting - I mean, as an account of such a specific experience. You might easily turn it into a book in itself, to help others.

    By the way - I was wondering if you'd be interested in exchanging links? I've added a link to your site on my page, and it'd be nice if you could do the same. Increased exposure and all!


  2. Hello, Inks -- I couldn't find a way to link to your blog -- can you send me a message through -- then hopefully I can figure out how to set up the link. Thanks.

  3. Hi Alex,

    To link blogs you need to add the page element. It's a gadget on your blog layout. Find it in 'Add A Gadget.'