Monday, September 15, 2008

Errata Editions Books on Books Series

I have been hinting that I have had an interesting project underway for 2008 and now it is my pleasure to finally let the cat out of the bag. Myself along with two partners have started a publishing company called Errata Editions and I am very excited to announce that the first four releases in our Books on Books series are currently 'on press' in China. I will be doing a week's worth of posts starting the 23rd from the printing facility in Hong Kong describing the entire process of overseeing the books being printed, but first, I am thrilled to tell you about the Books on Books series that will no doubt be of interest to photobook lovers.

The Books on Books series is an on-going publishing project dedicated to making rare and out-of-print photography books accessible once again to photobook enthusiasts. Each in this series presents the entire content, page for page, of an original master bookwork which, up until now, has been too rare or prohibitively expensive for most of us to experience. These are not facsimiles but complete studies of those original masterpieces. Through a mix of classic and contemporary titles, this series will span the breadth of practice as it has appeared on the printed page and allows further study into the creation and meanings of these great works of art.

The first two-thirds of each book in this series will show, page for page, every spread that appeared in the original book. We have done so by re-photographing the original book in its entirety so the viewer can see not only all of the photographs, but the page layout, typography and all aspects that make up the original including all of the written texts. In addition to those illustrations, we have commissioned some of the finest writers on photography to contribute a 3000-4000 word essay about each book discussing not only the photography but the book object itself and its relevance in the history of the medium. Other chapters in the Books on Books series include a short essay on the original book's production along with biographic and bibliographic information of each artist.

The first four titles in the Books on Books series are as follows...

1. Eugene Atget : Photographe de Paris is the perfect starting point for a series on great photography books. Published in 1930, three years after Atget’s death, it is now regarded as a classic that influenced generations of artists including Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans. Books on Books 1 reproduces all 96 collotype plates and an English translation of the fine Pierre Mac Orlan text on Eugène Atget’s remarkable documentation of Paris at the turn of the 19th century. The noted author, David Campany, contributes a contemporary essay called Atget’s Intelligent Documents written for this volume. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 112 pages; 116 four-color illustrations; Essays by Pierre Mac Orlan, David Campany, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-00-4; Retail price $39.95.

2. Walker Evans : American Photographs (1938 edition). American Photographs is arguably the most important photobook ever published. Originally conceived to be a catalog to accompany his one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1938, it continues to go out-of-print for long stretches of time. Books on Books 2 presents the original 1938 edition with its 87 legendary black and white photographs that defined Evans' documentary-style aesthetic. This volume also reproduces the great Lincoln Kirstein essay and a contemporary piece written by John T. Hill, the author of many books on Evans including Lyric Documentary (Steidl 2006). Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 112 pages; 113 Duotone and four-color illustrations; Essays by Lincoln Kirstein, John T. Hill, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-02-8; Retail price $39.95.

3. Sophie Ristelhueber : Fait. In October of 1991, French artist Sophie Ristelhueber photographed the battle-scarred landscape of Kuwait following the end of the first Gulf war with Iraq. The book Fait, which in French means ‘fact’ or ‘what was done,’ remains one of the most powerful statements about the aftermath of war. Books on Books 3 presents all 71 black and white and color photographs as seen in the original artist book as it was conceived and designed by Ristelhueber. Marc Mayer of the Art Contemporain in Montreal contributes an essay that discusses Ristelhueber’s disturbing yet beautiful achievement. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 96 pages; 95 four-color illustrations; Essays by Marc Mayer, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-04-2; Retail price $39.95.

4. Chris Killip : In Flagrante. Often referenced as the most important photobook to come from England in the 1980s, Chris Killip’s In Flagrante stands the test of time today. Published in 1988, In Flagrante shows the communities in Northern England that were devastated by the deindustrialization common to policies carried out by Thatcher and her predecessors starting in the mid-1970s. Books on Books 4 presents Killip’s political yet lyric work with a new essay by Gerry Badger called Dispatches from a War Zone. Hardcover with dustjacket; 9.5 x 7 in; 80 pages; 65 Duotone and four-color illustrations; Essays by John Berger & Sylvia Grant, Gerry Badger, Jeffrey Ladd; ISBN 978-935004-06-6; Retail price $39.95.

The quality of this series is first and foremost. Anyone can start publishing books but our necessity is to publish books which celebrate the original material to the fullest potential. This is why we have surrounded ourselves with the best ink-on-paper specialists working in bookmaking today. Robert Hennessey, who has made the separations for many of the most beautiful art and photography books of the last two decades, has prepared the digital files for the illustrations in this series and is guiding me through the process of being "on-press." This series is presented in cloth hardcover with a large bellyband/dustjacket utilizing a clean design and fine materials. The body of our books are printed on a Japanese matte art paper common to many of the finer artbooks being made today. These books are being crafted to look and feel of the highest quality yet remain very affordable and accessible to the widest possible audience.

The Books on Books series was conceived by Jeffrey Ladd in order to fill a void. The void being that the outrageous prices demanded by the collector's market and scarcity of these titles makes them out of reach to most students, teachers, scholars, and photobook enthusiasts. The Books on Books series will be an inexpensive way for everyone to once again be able to access this material which up to now has been effectively removed from view. Most of the titles we are going to feature have appeared in the now classic compendiums on photography books; The Parr/Badger Photobook History, The Open Book, and The 101 Seminal photography Books. Those books, which are fine scholarly additions to the discussion of photobook history, also frustratingly showed us what we were missing out on. With this series, you will finally see inside the books you thought you'd never experience. I have a strong belief that people, especially students, should be able to access these great works of art to learn from them and that a valuable part of the dialogue with this medium has been stunted because of that limited access. This series is our contribution to continuing that dialogue.

DAP/ Distributed Art Publishers is distributing the trade edition of the Errata Editions' Books on Books series. In addition to this trade version, there will be a limited quantity of a special edition offered as a four book set available directly through Errata Editions. These special editions feature a beautiful reproduction of the original book cover tipped into the saifu book cloth of each title. Besides owning a more elegant version of each book, the advantage to ordering the four book set is the assurance that you will receive the special editions of the Books on Books series as soon as they are off the press and months before the regular edition is distributed. For pricing and ordering a set please write to

We are in the process of lining up many more titles to be featured in this exciting publishing project but its longevity is soon to be in your hands. The proceeds of sales from these first four books goes towards the production of the next four titles in the series so please help us continue revealing the greatest photobooks ever produced to new audiences.

Please spread the word


Anonymous said...

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme! Holy Hot Shazam, Heffie! You done good! Your posting is juuuuusst right, not too long and not too short...Having been privileged to see the dummy you carted around town I will attest that these books should be kick-ass additions to every batshit crazy photobook collector on the planet. I hope you have big fun in China seeing them produced and get home safely. It will be fun to see and hear what OP gems will constitute volumes 5,6,7,etc. Me floorboards groan with anticipation of the many additions to the Library....

Unknown said...

This is great news! I look forward to the release of the first books. I will certainly go for all.
Just to give us an idea. When do you estimate, will be ready for distribution?
I noticed all the books have the same size. This choice is obviously made to give a further uniformity to the edition.
I know is a minor con, but reproducing on a size other than the original, isn't going to convey a somehow different visual and reading experience?
And please tell us how did you deal with issues related to publishing rights. For example, was the approval of the original publisher an issue?
In any case, I thank you very much for making these books available to those who value them.
You made my day!

Anonymous said...

I find it pretty ironic that the "collector's price demands" is the driving force behind your project. If you feel so outraged and adamant about making the material available to students why don't you just post the images on your blog instead of charging $39.95 per book. The essays are a nice touch but who are you kidding?$39.95 X 500+ books X students = $$$ And who exactly are you the "special edition" copies meant for? Student/Teachers?

Anonymous said...


The trade edition of the books will be officially distributed in February of 2009 through DAP. The books will be available individually through all of the normal outlets for art books (stores, museums, amazon etc). Our Limited Edition sets will be available for shipping in December barring any delay.

As for your question of format, as I mentioned in the press release, these are not facsimiles but studies of the original books. We have chosen this format so that we can include all of the original content PLUS new essays and texts that study the book as an object. We wanted these to be affordable and not cost the average $60-75 dollars per book as is common today. Lastly, some of the artists wouldn't have allowed a reprint or facsimile (that is the reason often why there are not second editions of many of these books).

The books in this series are not meant to act as a replacement for the original but to sit as a companion. You will get a strong sense of the tenor of each book plus have all of the added scholarship through the new essays as food for thought.

We sought rights approval from all involved with the original books and everyone has been fully supportive of the idea of this series. I am only too happy to have made it a reality.

Anonymous said...


If you only knew anything about publishing books you would know that there is almost no money to be made. Especially since ours is a series and the money brought in from the previous books go to funding the future ones. Don't buy the books if you are so confused with irony.

Anonymous said...

I like your site and I can't fault you for trying to generate an affordable alternative to some of the Parr/Roth books but then don't ask $700 for Avedon's "Made in France" either. The norm used to be time and a half for a book that's only been out of print for a few years. $250 max. Did you say irony?

Anonymous said...

Good news Jeff. What a great idea. Great set of titles too.
Have fun in China.

a mind with no ceiling said...

I wish luck and long life to Errata Editions ("Mistakes" Editions?Is that wishful thinking?). I'm glad you've managed to create that project.
I look forward to the essaywriting being about the work as a book- and not an explanation or justification of why the work is so great etc, which is often the case and often boring (I have tremendous respect for M. Badger but shouldn't he cut down a bit his rhythm of writing? You can now find the exact same remarks in several books he prefaced..).
Anyway congratulations Jeff, it seems to be a great continuation of your blog.

Anonymous said...

Great initiative, Jeff!

It will be the first time I pay more for a 'book on a book' then for the actual photobook itself: I recently found FAIT in the 'History of the Near East'-section of my favourite secondhand-bookshop. That section is considerably cheaper then the 'Rare Photobook'-section.

Hopefully 1 or 2 of those rare Japanese photobooks from the sixties or seventies will be included in the series.

I do find that limited edition a bit strange, but 'Why not' if it helps you finance the project.

Anonymous said...


Thanks and wow you are lucky to have found that book. It's great and one of my all time favorites.

The "limited edition" set is priced at not much more than the trade edition. The extra cost gets you the nicer version of the book with the tip-in to the cover plus the earlier shipping time.

This isn't aimed at you but frankly I am surprised at how little some people know about book economics. Over 90% of the books published lose money. This limited edition which we are selling ourselves is to help sustain the series and if in the rare case that they sell out - my only chance to get any payment for a full year of my life spent working on this project. Even in that case my "payment" would be less than a third of what your average worker gets flipping burgers at McDonalds. One doesn't go into book publishing if making money were the endgame. You know the old joke...How do you make
a SMALL FORTUNE in publishing? Start with a LARGE one.

Anonymous said...

I´ve been working in the music industry as label manager for almost 15 years and up until recently i decided to start my own label, also with the intent of reissuing past recordings.
I know the compromises that we, either music or book lovers, have to make in order to start - let´s face it: always by passion and not with a thirst for wealthiness (that would be naive) - our own campanies.
Trust your partners and make sure your partners and buyers trust you. By simply doing so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with limited editions, as long as they pay your bills.
I haven´t seen any of your books yet, but so far congratulations and good luck Jeff.

Anonymous said...

Re-Printed in China, are you sure?
Why not send your idea to France, Germany, Italy or Taiwan?

The book is unable to keep a century if you printed it in China. : )

China's print skill is very poor,
why not send it to France, Germany, Italy or Japan and Taiwan? Only want to cost dow the
printed cost?

Anonymous said...

We are printing on Japanese Matt art paper which has a long life and the printing house we are using produces some of the best printing being done today. The difference between the books of poor quality you may have seen from China are most likely because the files weren't prepared correctly and no one was on-press to oversee the printing. The proofs we have gotten have been approved by the living artists so if that isn't good enough I don't know what to tell you.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, this is a great concept. I am very interested in these books and will be buying them when available. I am also planning to have a book of my photographs printed in China and will be following your blog with interest. I am a photographer and book collector from Canada and I love your blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations! Your idea for this venture is brilliant, and I hope nothing but the best for you with Errata Editions. With all of this going on, have you had time to shoot any photographs? I hope so. - Chuck


You have NO idea what you are talking about in regard to the art book publishing industry. Stop wasting your time, and this blogs comment space and keep your dumb-ass statements to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Dear 'anonymous',
You wrote, "The norm used to be time and a half for a book that's only been out of print for a few years. $250 max." Excuse me, but could you give me the name and address of the bookstore you have copies of Avedon's 'Made in France' for oh, $250.00? and where similar out of print photo books are priced at "time and a half"?!?!I've only been pricing OP and used books for 15 years or so so please fill me in on this pricing theory you have. Me, I operate under the assumption that people sell their services and goods for as much as they can. If you want to sell verrry fast you price low and if you sell out of your home and have no major bills to pay, you can afford to price higher. The only hard and fast rule is that if you meet a bookseller who is selling Avedon's "Made in France" for $250.00 you should remember to write "CHUMP" or "DUMBASS" on his fucking forehead as you walk out with the book!

Anonymous said...


You sold me my Made in France...for $50.00 when it came out. Thanks. I wrote dumbass across my own forehead just now for not getting a couple copies.

Anonymous said...


The last 8 months of my life has been dedicated to this project and sadly not photography. Now that the hard part is over I am desperate to get back to my real work. Thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...


What a great idea! I am dying to know the follow-up titles... Congratulations. Hope everything goes well in Hong Kong.

I will follow your project closely and hopefully will buy a few titles I have wanted for so long. I couldn't help but smile when I saw title #2, a book I have been waiting for a long, long time, and about which we exchanged a couple of emails in the past few months. And you never uttered a word of this... Ha! So far the selection seems exceptional. Again congratulations.

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Mr. Ladd.
I am painfully aware of the economics of the photography book business, with its associated short press runs and (very) brief lifespan on bookstore shelves. For every Anne Geddes title (pardon while I hurl) that sells 500,000 copies there are hundreds of genuinely beautiful and unique titles that vanish without a trace, some of which in retrospect turn out to be artistically astonishing. This drives me to purchase promising books when I can, since two weeks later they may be gone for good. Unfortunately that's also why my home groans under the weight of photography books, some of them not standing the test of time.

I find myself perusing the used bookstores, finding the occasional diamond (Ernst Haas' The Creation last March) among the tons of coal. Your worthy endeavor gives me hope that some of the true gems may again see the light of day.

Geoff Wittig

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on this- I am really excited for you. I don't know if you are taking any requests, but a true re-issue of Araki's Sentimental Journey is something sorely needed- Done right it I'm sure it would sell well here in Japan...

Matt Weber said...

Hey Jeff,

Very cool...Save a copy of In Flagrante
for me. I almost spent crazy dollars on a
copy last year. I'm glad I waited.

Please email me when it's ready...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, I'm sure a lot of long hours were involved. This is like the Criterion Collection of photography books! best of luck...

bds said...

Hi Jeff

This looks to be an excellent series, I expect the legal/copyright side will have thrown up a few problems so well done for seeing it through.
With regards to Chris Killip’s In Flagrante, it might be worth contacting Amber

Amber are a collective based in the north east of england, and I sure they would be very interested in the project.
I wish you the best of luck


Anonymous said...


Best of luck. This is a fantastic project, one that has been a long time due and one that should run for a long time as well.

Looking forward to seeing the result of such long and hard work.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! A great concept & I'm sure it will be a success. You are well qualified for this task with your intelligent appreciation for photo books & your eye for quality. Don't let the ignorant whiners bother you. I certainly look forward to owning copies of these books.
Michael W

Anonymous said...

I am especially looking forward to the release of Fait.
Thanks Jeff.

Anonymous said...

Not all books can be brought back to life, because not all books are by Steidl or whoever is still in existence. So i think it's a very good thing. I would say though, from looking at the layout pictures, What are your thoughts on having four double page spreads reduced to fit on one dps in your book? I do understand that these are not the originals themselves and i'm sure you've given everything careful consideration, but maybe allot of appreciation may be lost in doing so?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I apologize, i guess you answered my question above.

Anonymous said...

New Sox,

Thanks for the question. I guess you read the above comment where I explained the question of format but I thought I'd address your question anyway.

These surely won't mimic the exact experience of looking through an original copy of these books. That simply isn't possible. These do however very clearly show all of the content with illustrations that range from approximately 4.5 x 6 inches for the small and 9 x 13 for the larger. Robert Hennessey has prepared the files to be clear and detailed even at the smaller size.

I even thought this might be an issue when I created the format but actually not a single artist or other person we showed my book dummies to (gallerists, museum curators, phtographers who weren't familiar with the original books, etc.) brought that up as an issue. All loved the format and trim size and thought the illustrations did justice to the original.

I advise that if on the fence about these books then wait till one comes out and see if it is satisfying to you. Surely some people won't be into them but then again if my two book dummies are any gauge, a vast majority will.

Thanks again.

MHV said...

Oh brother, that is one heck of an idea! You HAVE to make Chris Marker's "Coréennes" available. It's an incredibly hard to find book nowadays, and Marker's photos deserve the best critical treatment.

Anonymous said...


I don't know that book but I'll look into it. I'm a fan of Marker. Thanks for making me aware of it. I see there is a post about it at

Blake Andrews said...

If I could vote for a book for the series it would be "Women Are Beautiful". Most of Winogrand's other published work is now easy to find, but I have never seen a copy of this book anywhere. It sure would be nice to have this book made accessible. Paul Graham's A1 would also be nice to see.

f:lux said...

When I saw Killip's "In Flagrante" at the V&A in, um, 1988 I think, I loved the exhibition so much I bought the book even though, as a poverty stricken student, I couldn't really afford it. It was one of the few photography books I've ever bothered to buy, and I carried it around Europe with me. Then, when I moving from Paris back to Blighty in 2002, I just could find a space to pack it anymore. So it put it on top of a pile of other stuff I was abandoning and left it there, on the street, outside my appartment. With a signed copy of... oh no, I am too ashamed to say which book!

At the time, books for me were as ephemeral a support as, say, magazines, so I just thought I'd be able to buy another copy of Killip's book when and wherever I wanted to. It just never occurred to me that this might not be the case.

So I'm extra excited about your reprint edition - thankyou Mr Whiskets!