Photobooks are convienient, organized means for users to gather their images at one place, in various styles. Although the photobook is gaining popularity in the wedding market, we hope that Photofair 2011 marks the increase of demand in all sectors.
The photobook has been heralded within the photo-imaging community as the high valueadded product that will boost the
fortunes of photofi nishing retailers
worldwide. In North America and West
Europe, where the growing purchases
of photobooks have been driven by
online and large-scale centralized
production companies who have
invested in digital presses. Through
extensive promotional efforts by these
companies, the worldwide market
for photobooks has been growing
signifi cantly (EMEA represents Europe
– both East and West – Middle East and Africa), as shown in Figure 1.
Overcoming the lack of consumer awareness of photobooks has proven to be a challenge for the industry. One way to achieve greater recognition is to let consumers make their own photobook at retail. KIS makes a Photobook Maker machine that uses a single-sided dye sublimation printer that automatically produces a 6×8” photobook designed by consumers on a touchscreen in minutes, and
more than 1,500 have been installed worldwide. At Photokina, KIS Photo-Me introduced the Photobook Builder, a system designed to turn silver halide minilabs into onsite production systems
for top quality photobooks and folded greeting cards. In Singapore, FotoHub has grown from a single store with two staff members in 1987 to a thriving 10-store chain with more than 100 employees working in three divisions: Consumer; Commercial and Digital Archiving. According to founder/ managing director Eric Tan, “This serves the mid- to high-end consumers who look for quality customized photobooks. We have also developed our in-house software to allow consumers to design their own layout.”
Two years later, FotoHub adopted the KIS PhotoBook Pro to address the mid- to low-end market segment and launched the FotoJournal (a casual softbound customized photobook) as part of its FotoIdeas service.
The key to success, according to Mr. Tan, is to provide convenience, easy-to-use software and great
retail ambience supported by an excellent knowledgeable staff. His staff members are required to troubleshoot and assist customers with software and systems issues. FotoHub participates in several
local roadshows every year, including a Travel Show “to tap into the holiday traveler’s market,” Tan concluded. This focus on photobooks has reaped admirable results, and today photobook sales represent more than one-third of FotoHub’s total revenue.
Two years ago, the world was surprised by the unveiling of the fi rst doublesided silver halide photographic minilab – a feat previously deemed unfeasible. Now there are four manufacturers, all
Chinese – making these machines. At Photokina 2010, another product once deemed unfeasible, the double-sided dye sublimation printer, made its debut. The DNP Photo Imaging DS-DX1 is targeted at school photography, photo studios, mass merchants and photo specialty dealers. The duplex printer
is also capable of printing a metallic or holographic overlay extending the possibilities to create value-add personalized photo products. This printer is designed and manufactured by Sinfonia Technology, previously known as Shinko Electric, and uses a single thermal head for printing on both sides, with the receiver sheet (print) being fl ipped over for the second exposure.
Sinfonia introduced its Color Stream D3, using the same design as the DNP unit, except that the ability to make a silver hologram print is included rather than offered as an optional feature. An
8×10” print takes 70 seconds without the hologram, and or 135 seconds with the hologram.
A two-headed version was introduced by Kodak as the D4000. Kodak states that dual-sided photos up to 20×30-cm (8×12-in) can be printed. The D4000 can be connected to Kodak’s Picture Kiosks G4 or later series, Adaptive Picture Exchange (APEX) dry digital minilabs, and third-party workstations.
Online as well as instore orders are accepted.
By Don Franz http://www.photonews.com