Beware photo books. If you’re not careful, they can destroy your profitability.
First, a quick definition: a photo book is a bound, press-printed book. That’s it. It’s sort of like an album, but instead of real photographic prints it has press printed pages, like in a brochure.
Benefits of photo books: They’re dirt cheap, available everywhere, and can be printed very quickly (unlike the 4-6 week turnaround you get from the typical album company)
Drawbacks of photo books: They destroy profitability if used incorrectly, next to a real album they look crappy
Here’s the problem. Let’s say you offer albums for $50 per page, or $1,500 for a 30 page, 10×10 album. Your cost for this album is $400. Therefore, your profit is $1,100. Now let’s say you’re going to offer photo books in addition to your albums. The photo book is much cheaper, say $50. So in order to make that same $1,100 profit that you made from the album, you would have to charge $1,150. Good luck with that!
Photo books – because consumers know they can get them anywhere dirt cheap – have a much lower perceived value than real albums. And – I could be wrong – but as far as I know there aren’t any “real” professional album companies that sell directly to consumers, unlike photo books which can be purchased at Costco or Walgreens. They won’t pay $1,500 or even $1,175 for the photo book. They’re expecting to pay much, much less for this type of product.
So the photo book is cannibalizing your album sales and robbing you of hundreds of dollars in profits. Not only that, this type of cheap product diminishes your carefully crafted, high-end-boutique-photography image.
Do not offer photo books as a stand-alone product. Only offer them as an add-on (if at all). For example, purchase a regular photo album for $1,500 and you can order photo book copies for $250 each. You’ll still make your regular profit and you’ll make some additional photo book profit as well. Think about creative ways you can merchandise them. How about this? – Spend $1,500 or more on wall prints and get a free 6×6 photo book. Or how about using photo books only for parent albums? You get the idea.
But isn’t it a good idea to have products available at all price points so you have something for everyone? No.
You don’t need to have something for everyone. You need to manage your profitability.
Please keep these blog posts coming! All you have to do is shop by clicking on the advertisements below. It won’t cost you a penny more to shop that way, but it will provide me with a small commission that enables me to spend time working on new blog posts. Thanks!