When I decided to start producing a small book every 50 days of my 365 project, I had no idea what might come out of it. I had procrastinated producing my first "book/zine" for more than a year. The relentless deadlines of a 365 would force me to forgo perfect and just focus on producing something. In the process, I discovered I could work directly with a commercial printer and produce a higher quality book for the same price as Blurb. I immediately began considering how I could use this knowledge to help other photographers to produce their own books. Here is my idea and anyone can steal this if they like.
My idea is run a photobook publishing company similar to how Cotton Bureau sells t-shirts. Photographers (and artists in general) submit book projects for consideration. The selected projects are posted every week/month (depends on how you want to set it up). If a book sells more than 25 copies, the book gets printed. The publishing company handles all the fulfillment responsibilities. The book project is up on the website for a set period of time (I think 2 weeks is enough time).
On the money side, the publishing company keeps the money from the first 25 copies of the book. The artist keeps all the profits (minus the cost of printing) over 25 books. The artist never has to pay the publishing company.
The reason I am not immediately trying to build this is that I dont have the career gravity yet necessary for this to make sense. I want this to become a market place for cool projects that allow artists to make money without the big up front costs. My reach is probably no different then anyone who would submit a project at this moment. So I would be asking artists to give up a certain percentage of the profits without gaining a sizable benefit. As my career hopefully grows, I will have the resources to make this exchange work.
For those who have no issue doing everything themselves, I found Smart Press in MN and they have printed Volume #2 & #3. Search what type of book you want to produce and contact the printers for a quote. If I could figure it out, so can you. But if you would have an book project and want help, hit me up. I can try my best to help you.