How to publish a book

La Maison Steidl - Hermes book by Koto Bolofo

This brief interview between Scott Shuman and Koto Bolofo is a rather wonderful eye-opener into the world of photo book publishing. Or to be more precise, the rarefied world of Steidl book publishing. I seem to have quite a few Steidl books, including the eleven-volume example that Bolofo refers to here.

It’s his series on Hermès, which came out in 2011, but I remember waiting two years for as the publication date kept moving! (I blogged about it here and here and someone recently emailed asking if I’d be interested in selling it. Answer: no thank you!)

Aptly, you could call Steidl the Hermès of book publishing. According to Bolofo, Gerhard Steidl is typically Germanic, says little yet speaks volumes in his rigour and editing skills. He insisted Bolofo move to the factory in Göttingen, central Germany for at least a month, where he could experience the day-to-day process of book publishing, including 4am wake-up calls to witness the hi-tech designing, scanning, colour grading and printing as it happens. (Photographers stay in Steidl’s private guesthouse next door, appropriately named the Halftone Hotel. This 2017 New Yorker profile of Gerhard Steidl has more deets.)

Bolofo is as good a verbal storyteller as he is a visual one and his insight into the Steidl book publishing process is also a peek into his own creative learning process.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: La Maison by Koto Bolofo / Disneyrollergirl
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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