Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Greg Paul's Dinosaur Coffee Table Book

You don't have to wait until the October publication of his Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs for new material from Gregory S. Paul. In what he calls an "early 21st century experiment in cyber paleo publishing," Paul has published his Dinosaur Coffee Table Book via DIY publishing service Blurb.

The publishing industry is in the middle of an upheaval, spun for a loop by the internet and the rotten economy. More than ever, publishers are held up by big tentpole titles by blockbuster authors or celebrities. This means much less of a willingness to take a risk on an unproven author or on content that doesn't appeal to the broadest audience. The effect in turn on science writing - print or digital - has been dramatic, as evidenced by the recent Pepsigate problem at ScienceBlogs and the cutbacks on dedicated science writers at many news organizations. So while paleo enthusiasts might view a full color book containing many never-before-seen Greg Paul pieces as a sure-fire hit, it's not the easiest sell to a publisher.

Paul writes at the Blurb product page, "I have long wanted to do a book featuring the bulk of my body of color restorations of dinosaurs, something like those Zdenek Burian [link mine] put out when I was a kid... The problem with all color books is that they are so expensive to produce that they often don’t make much money and publishers are reluctant to produce them, all the more so as the world goes increasingly digital."

Even spending $20 on a book is a careful decision for me right now, so I don't think I'll be able to shell out the nearly $70 for this one (or $120 for the larger deluxe edition pictured above). Certainly, I don't hold the price against Paul; one downside to print-on-demand publishing is higher cost-per-unit. And really, it's not out of line for what a traditional publisher might charge for a large-format art book. An initial review sent out to the Dinosaur Mailing List today indicates that the quality is quite good, so if you're a big collector of paleo books and artwork, I would definitely consider picking this one up.

2 comments:

  1. Saving pennies for deluxe edition. DO WANT.

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