Trade and Trade Again

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For anyone who is not aware of my book fetish this post is for you. I make a lot of books. Not all of them are good, and not all of them see the light of day. I’m in love with our trade books. Easy, simple, cool, sketches if you will. These books are the perfect intro to bookmaking. You have 400 images and don’t know how to edit? Perfect, page limit for trade books is 400+. Don’t have a lot of cashish to spend? Great, books start at $2.49. In fact, all of the books you see are $2.49 pubs. My next play is to find a group of like-minded souls, scattered around the globe, and actually TRADE the trade books. Are you in? Whoever you are….

30 responses to “Trade and Trade Again”

  1. Finally I caught up with all the reading I had “pile up” here at Smogranch. Lately Shifter is being distracting me from here. Every time I come by you make me wanna print stuff. No time at all lately. Not even time to take any photo. Sad life. At least today I enjoyed my late start of the day swinging by. Now gotta work. The machine never stops.
    As I said. Your site makes me want to print stuff, and that is good. I wish I had some trade books to trade. Maybe soon.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are always interesting to read. Most of the times inspirational.

    • Smogranch says:

      I like the distraction of Shifter….I’ll take you anyway I can get you! I too am very busy and rarely get more than a few days on something. Such is life. If I go too long without printing something I get moody. Let’s trade some trade.

  2. Mick Buston says:

    Now that sounds like a really nice plan – sharing trade books.

    I’m in – going to be producing one a month between May and Sept this year as part of my 153 Days project where I plan to cycle every day as part of the National Cycle Challenge and document it all with single use Ilford 35 mm cameras.

    The lo-fi aspect of these prints will be perfect in a trade book.

    • Smogranch says:

      Didn’t know you were so into cycling. If I was healthier I would join you. I like your project idea, and I say we trade some trades. I’ve got a few you might like.

  3. Mick Buston says:

    Been dabbling with cycling for the last year and even built my own single speed from an old 80’s Peugeot last summer. However the Nat Bike Challenge was a way for me to ramp this up and make an effort to get fit again.
    More about the project here and the first roll of film processed at the weekend.

    Will shout you sometime early June to swap my first one 🙂

    • Smogranch says:

      Pre Lyme I was riding almost daily. It’s still one of my favorite things to do, but now I just need to plan more and don’t have the same power or stamina as before. One of my goals in life is to help cycling as a lifestyle become more of a part of the American culture. NO easy task. We love our cars and our oil. But there is hope. Good luck with your project. Attack!

  4. Cool.

    I have no projects in play that fit the trade book format.

    But the way my mind works, there probably will be something soon, now that you’ve put this out there.

    Are you thinking something like so-and-so many people print up one for everyone and so everyone in that group gets one copy of each?

    However it works, any book I make is gonna come with explicit permission to remix, reuse, copy, chop, appropriate. If you’re touching the book, you get an unlimited license to ask the content. That’s me.

    • Smogranch says:

      Yes, that’s the idea. A growing group of people, all set on the exchange, but perhaps not everyone on the group every time. You and I might trade, and then next time you and Mick from the UK might exchange. Could be cool, and yes, I like the idea of the mashup or cut up.

  5. Paul Joyce says:

    I love the Trade Book format and have created a few but really should do more. Seeing this post has got me thinking about it again and I shall make it a priority to get started again.

    I would definitely be up for any actual trading of these books, a great idea

    Ps. The “Vanishing Speed” book immediately caught my eye as I’ve always been a fan of this series of images

    • Smogranch says:

      That’s it. The idea would be a trade community. You like one of mine, I choose one of yours, or you just send one of your liking. If the group grows it might not be possible for everyone to get every book, but the general goal is just to exchange…

  6. Andy says:

    I want to trade some trades! I’ve been meaning to start putting some small books together and this might be the perfect push I need.

  7. Mark Ivkovic says:

    Swapsies? Oooh to much fun. Sign me up, we need a randomiser so it’s almost like a seedy swingers party where we all put our books in a bowl and them pick one out at random. PS- my swingers party knowledge comes thanks to 80’s TV and Wikipedia…………..

  8. Love this idea. I haven’t printed a Trade Book since before the papers were changed up a while back. Which paper are you using for your B&W photos? I was assuming that the economy color paper would be minimum level for photos – whether color or B&W. Sounds like you might be using the economy B&W paper at $2.49 a book. Is that right?

    • Smogranch says:

      All these recent books were economy black and white. They require certain prepping, but that just takes practice and testing. $2.49 is hard to beat..

  9. Yes, I would love to get in on this. I’ve only made one trade book, just to try out an idea I had. This would also be perfect motivation to make more.

  10. Reiner says:

    This kicks you out of the bed.
    I would like to join. Can’t predict my output but if it’s low cost I can jump in easily.

  11. Larry says:

    I’m in. Working on some projects now but not as prolific as you are.

  12. I’m in. Need to get some work organized for print though. Is there a start date for this?

  13. Michael Brown says:

    What a great idea! I want in. This will get me into gear for preparing my first book.

  14. I’m in. Got four copies to trade now. Design is adequate! Print more if this thing goes nuclear, of course.

    See my dumb blog at for a picture.

    Dan, any suggestions for image prep? I’m seeing weak blacks and some striping from the printer here and there in the darker tones. I’m thinking maybe that’s what you get for $2.49?

    Also, shipping. Ow.

    • Smogranch says:


      Remember, these weren’t really designed for imagery. So yes, I tweak contrast pretty heavily. If it’s tonal range you are after…choose another paper. Some work I go REALLY high key. Almost all black and all white.

    • Yeah, I’m not expecting Super Awesome quality. I’m totally happy with the book as it is, just looking for ways to optimize in future. As soon as you said “high key” I was “of course!” I can see where that would fit the print/paper well.


    • Smogranch says:


      Basically works for all paper. They need their own little set of ingredients.

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