Looking to Publish an Art book? any good book publishers and the process

towelboy02's picture

I have a client seeking to publish an art book about an artists' life and to feature his paintings. He is asking me to do the design work, but I've never design a book to be published before. I know I need to register for copyright, ISBN, and library of congress #. Does anybody have experience in doing so and have suggestions on what publisher to look into. A Step by step guide is welcome.


DTY's picture

Your question is not entirely clear with regard to the difference between publishing and printing. Does the author plan to self-publish this book, by having you design it and send it to a printer? Or does the author plan to submit it to a publisher, in which case the author does not usually get to choose who will design the book?

Joshua Langman's picture

"I know I need to register for copyright, ISBN, and library of congress #."

Three completely different things.

1. You don't need to "register" for copyright. The book is copyrighted by law as soon as it is written.

2. ISBN: Yes, you can apply for this through the Library of Congress. If the book will be sold in stores, you'll want a barcode to go with it.

3. Library of Congress #. The LOC does not grant CIP data to self-published books.

DTY's picture

Yes, what Joshua said, but with a minor correction on ISBNs. The Library of Congress doesn't sell them; in the United States they are sold by Bowker (isbn.org). For self-publishing, it is also possible to buy them from a reseller; this can be much cheaper since the reseller can buy a large block of numbers at a low per-unit price and sell the numbers in it more cheaply than buying a single ISBN from Bowker. The disadvantage is that in that case your ISBN won't have a meaningful publisher prefix, and some distributors don't accept such ISBNs. So I'd say, if the author wants to do the sales and distribution, a reseller ISBN is fine; if stores or Amazon will be involved, get one directly from Bowker.

Joshua Langman's picture

Ah, sorry, my mistake. ISSNs (International Standard Serial Numbers — for periodicals) are granted for free through the Library of Congress. ISBNs are a different story.

JamesM's picture

Why is the designer involved with obtaining the ISBN, etc? I've designed several self-published books for clients and have never been asked to do those things.

charles ellertson's picture

It can be, James. My wife has a design/production studio, specializing in books, and offers such services. I'd classify it more as a part of "packaging" or "production," but it depends on what's needed I suppose.


DTY's picture

I've designed several self-published books for clients and have never been asked to do those things.

I've had to. It depends how the author does the self-publishing. With places like CreateSpace you can get a package that includes the ISBN, and no further effort is required. But if the author wants a more independent process, then if there is to be an ISBN, either the author or the designer (assuming there is one) has to get it. And if the author has never published before, as is not uncommon, the designer is more likely to have some idea of the process.

JamesM's picture

Interesting, I can see how offering that service would be attractive to some clients.

Joshua Langman's picture

Yes, I have designed self-published books where I also served as a sort of production supervisor, doing things like getting ISBNs and barcodes and coordinating with printers or navigating POD services. Some authors like to be able to hand off a manuscript and say, "Make it happen."

charles ellertson's picture

It has been several days, but I forgot to add that one reason my wife got into production -- and packaging -- is the pay is often better. Like so many designer, my wife found she (they, now) make as much or more off composition as design, and the number of people who can *package* a book -- take a manuscript that still needs editorial work and take it through print/bind -- is relatively small.

This has led her studio to do a fair number of architectural books, often by smaller, historic cities in the North Carolina, usually published by the city or county. There is a lot of hand-holding, but it is paid for.

I suppose just to balance that impression, I should mention they also do a number of art books for Yale University Press. It is easier to have a business if you have a mix of services.

Something to consider. & here's another one I know of


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