I recently had my book reprinted by ubyubooks.com. They are less well known than POD book printers like Blurb and Lulu but offer some options that make them more interesting for photobooks. If you are considering using ubyu I recommend ordering a copy of their Sourcebook. It allows you to see and feel the actual materials, other printers take note please!
The binding options were the real draw for me. In addition to printed softback and cover wrap hardback variants they offer traditional cloth binding. I went with a black cloth cover which complements the work perfectly. The bindings are matched with a range of endpapers. Head bands and marker ribbons are available in a range of colours. This is a lovely finishing touch which makes the book stand out from the crowd.
Hardcovers can also be foiled or debossed with a design of your choosing. I didn’t try this as it is rather expensive. There’s a one off charge to make the stamp but then it’s relatively cheap per book thereafter. It would be great if they offered letterpress debossing as this could be more cost-effective where all that is required is a section of type rather than an elaborate graphic.
They offer gloss, matt and uncoated paper stocks for the same price. I much prefer matt to gloss for my work, the uncoated stock is intriguing too and would be of particular interest to illustrators. The gloss finish isn’t as excessively shiny as some and provides very deep blacks.
Text reproduced well with sharp detail and smooth curves. The pencil illustrations were well rendered. Image quality was very good and surprisingly faithful to the original colour profile (I used ubyu’s colour profiles and template for InDesign). The print is slightly ‘pixely’, like most POD books, and not quite up to the standard I could achieve with a high-quality inkjet. That said, for the original artists book, ink and paper alone cost around £300.
Overall I am very happy with the book. It’s not obviously a print-on-demand book, which is useful as many galleries and reviewers have a knee-jerk dislike of ‘Blurb’ books. It feels like a bespoke product and makes a very satisfying object.