Posted in Knitting
May 10, 2010

Questions for the knit-community

Have you ever wanted to be a venture capitalist?
(Ok, ok, this is not exactly something that most kids stick on the ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ list, but there you go…)
I talk to a lot of knitters, all over the country and in fact, the world. There’s a real craving for good fiber arts books, and more complex ones in particular. I recently published a call for submissions for my publishing company, and have gotten an amazing number of ridiculously good designs in — it’s going to be very tough to choose among them! What with the books Cooperative Press is publishing, and working with Stitch Cooperative, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry already, but damn it, I want to see more! And I bet you do, too.
Here are my big 3 questions for you:
Would you rather…
a. be able to buy a knitting book that’s lower in price because the interior is black and white (cover would still be color), or…
b. pay more for full color everything, or…
c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
d. get the full-color PDF of the book automatically when you buy the b/w print copy, or…
e. buy the book and read it on some kind of color-enabled e-reader (iPad or iPhone, for example), or
f. none of / all of the above?
Would you be willing to “buy shares in” a book before it comes out, or in the publishing company as a whole if you…
a. got bonus features or other exclusives
b. got the final book/etc at a discounted price
c. got public credit for your contribution
d. something else?
(I’m thinking along the lines of Kickstarter.com, funding-wise)
What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
So, for example, you’d go to a webpage and say ok, I want patterns X, Y and Z, and the instructional section on how to steek, and the photo guide to needlefelting, and a pinup photo of Nathan Fillion for the back page. Press “PUBLISH” and pow! it gets mailed or emailed directly to you. You’re the boss of what is, or what ISN’T included. No more basic “how to knit” directions in a book when you’ve been knitting for 20 years already, no paying for 20 patterns when you only like 4 of them…
The big problem with independent print publishing is that color costs. Color costs a LOT. Imagine those horrific inkjet or laser cartridges of yours that cost more than the printer did, only multiple it times a zillion. So, you can either keep the costs down by going black/white wherever possible, or by doing more digitally, or by rounding up advance money in order to make a big print run all at once (which also saves money and lowers costs). Or, by some as-yet undetermined combination of all of the above!
So I want to know what you, the book buyers, the audience for better, more complex, more interesting knitting books — what would YOU like to see happen in the publishing world? If it means that books you really like will see the light of day at an affordable price, what would you be willing to do, or to live without?
Most color photos in books are “beauty shots,” anyway — and very easily reproduced online. Charts/etc don’t necessarily need color. If the lower-priced b/w edition of a book captioned each photo with a link to the full color version online so you could look it up — or even see a full gallery of more shots than would regularly be included in a book — would that be ok with you? Instead of 2 shots of a model looking glam, what if you had access to a gallery that SHOWS the closeup of the special stitch used, of the unusual collar treatment, of the sweater from front, side AND behind? Wouldn’t that be cool?
Sound off in comments, please. I can’t wait to hear what you think. This is your chance to influence new business models: you are the boss of me when it comes to purchasing books I write or publish. And you don’t have to invest a million dollars to do it like a regular venture capital “angel.”

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  • Corrina

    1. I would rather pay for full color. I hate knitting (and cooking!) book with b&w insides. For me books are more about inspiration at this point since I do so much designing. So I need to have it in my hands. Although as a knitter I can see the value of getting the pdf in advance. Because we knitters seem to be very big on instant gratification.
    I’m not sure about the “buying shares”. I might buy a book pre-order if I would get a bonus. Maybe a few patterns in pdf format in advance that wouldn’t be available elsewhere?
    I LOVE the choose your own adventure type of thing. I’ve been trying to think how to do that for my own business. Giving folks the option of buying patterns in an e-book format (or printed) but letting them choose the ones they want and applying an appropriate discount.

    Reply to Corrina
  • Tara

    Oh, this is exciting!
    I vote D. for books that *I* would use, but at the same time, I’d like to be able to have the option of buying the book in color to give as a gift (or, I could probably take a PDF to Kinkos and have them bind it, eh?).
    If I got the color PDF, I could read it on my smartphone, without needing a specific reader program (like Kindle).
    And yes, an online gallery (or within the PDF) of lots and lots of shots would be IDEAL!
    Can’t wait to see how this grows!

    Reply to Tara
  • kmonokwe

    I love the idea of purchasing a cheaper b/w hard copy with the rights to a full color pdf. I also love the idea of online galleries full of greater detail photos than you’d usually find in a book. I like the idea of being able to pay only for the features I need or will use, but am hesitant to say that I would definitely use a service like that.

    Reply to kmonokwe
  • Allyson

    While I love knitting books I think we are moving towards books being released almost exclusively in PDF or electronic form. I’m releasing an ebook of patterns soon myself. It’s just a great way to control your book every step of the way and you get every cent of profit. As a consumer you can print off the pattern you want as you want it, and you don’t have to worry about lugging the whole book around in your knitting bag, or when you move.
    I’ll be checking back to read other knitters answers! Great questions!

    Reply to Allyson
  • Kelly

    1) I would rather pay a little less because the book is in B&W – as long as there are illustrations of some sort, that is what is most important to me.
    2)I’m not sure about “buying shares” although it would be tempting if it included special projects, additions, stuff like that.
    3)Being able to “create my own book” would be awesome. I would say the number one reason why I don’t buy many knitting instruction books is because I only care about 1 or 2 patterns, so it doesn’t seem worth it to throw that kind of money down.

    Reply to Kelly
  • Amy

    OK, first off, bonus points for the Nathan Fillion mention. ahem.
    I love knitting books that contain full color images, but don’t buy nearly as many as I’d like to because of the cost. I really liked the way Ysolda Teague put out her Whimsical Little Knits collections – individual pattern PDFs, then the option to purchase the collection either as a PDF, a book, or both.
    I REALLY like the idea of a book with b&w text, charts, etc with links provided to full galleries online, but if the pictures online were just the same one or two that you might see in a more “traditional” pattern book, I might feel a little cheated. It would be great if there were “original” pictures for each pattern, along with a mechanism to request specific shots be added to the gallery (how does that sleeve connect? what should that decrease really look like? etc). Ravelry allows us to see what other people have done with the designs, but sometimes I just want to know what the original pattern creator intended
    I love PDFs too since I tend to make copies of patterns that I find in books because A) they’re easier to carry around with me and B) I don’t have to worry about losing them, since the original’s still at home in my bookshelf. If I only have to buy and/or print what I’m working on, paper and money saved, hooray! If I could afford an iPad, I’d love to have my knitting patterns on there in PDF form, or even in some form that I could annotate as I go (for mods, etc.). Maybe there’s an iPad app that does this?
    OK, sorry, this is long. Final thought on the “buying in” concept. I regularly pre-order things from iTunes, amazon, etc, because I usually a) get it early, b) get some sort of bonus track/feature, and/or c) get a discount. I like all those things, plus bonus creative kharma points for supporting independent publishing.

  • mooncalf

    a) Full colour. It makes such a big difference to me. I’d pay twice the price I suspect.
    b) When I bought the Ysolda ‘Whimsical Little knits’ series I liked that model. but in advance, get the patterns as they’re written, get all the errata out there and then get a printed version (for an extra cost) of the now-perfect patterns. Kind of like buying shares but with a quick return…
    c) I’m not too bothered about creating my own book. I might like to just buy one pattern from a collection at a higher cost. Again, I suspect Ysolda has this spot on.

    Reply to mooncalf
  • Felicia

    In terms of publishing format, I much much much prefer full colour photos and layout as opposed to b/w. But having said that, I understand how costly printing is and would actually prefer to get the PDF version of the book. As for selecting patterns and self-generating a PDF collection, I think I’d rather get the whole book and then just print the patterns I want as I need them.
    The buying shares idea is interesting… almost like an advertiser-supported publishing model? Actually, I just looked at Kickstarter and it looks very interesting. The project I saw had different “gifts” for the donor dependent on the level of contribution. Seems like a great new way to raise funding.

    Reply to Felicia
  • Lauren

    I do prefer being able to see high quality color pictures on knitting patterns and books, but I don’t need to see those things in print. I have way too many knitting books taking up space in my small apartment and when I have the opportunity to buy a new book or pattern as pdf only I always take advantage. And of course when I do this I can always look at the color pictures on my screen, and either choose not to print out image-heavy pages, or print in black and white. I realize of course this type of approach relies on a reasonably tech-savvy (or maybe just tech-friendly) market and a more philosophically broad approach may grab more customers.
    Oh and another thing! My biggest pet peeve with knitting books is that I often find myself paying for tons and tons of pages illustrating basic stitches. I don’t need these pages and I never look at them, and oftentimes if you need to be told how to make a knit stitch, the patterns in the book are not of an appropriate level anyway.

    Reply to Lauren
  • bethe

    I love love love the idea of a pick-your-own patterns book. I’m sick to death of every pattern book I purchase having only a few useable (to me) patterns and 10 pages of “learn to knit” instructions. Unless there are odd, strange, or unusual stitches and instructions required for the patterns in the book, I’d love to be able to leave those instructional pages out.
    I’m not wild about a completely black and white book. I think color plays an important role and to lose that detail/inspiration could really have an adverse effect on creativity.
    I’d also be completely willing to purchase books in pdf format only, providing the pricing reflects the lack of printing costs.
    As for”buying shares”…I’m not sure it’s something I’d be interested in. I often change my mind after a book comes out and I actually get to see the full contents.

    Reply to bethe
  • Cathy

    2 perspectives for you, one personal and one as a librarian.
    1) For knitting patterns I’m more likely to go digital. PDF, preferably. I really like how designers on Ravelry can send out automatic errata or edits to all who have purchased patterns. I’d love to see more of that from other pattern designers/design companies. Full color books are pretty, but I use them as coffee table books/yarn pr0n and don’t knit more than one pattern from them. I’d rather be able to only buy the patterns I want.
    2) I have bought books/CDs on shares. Depending on the author/artist, I’ve either gotten autographed copies of the work or a thank you in the liner notes. I don’t generally do this, only when it’s a smaller artist that I really love. I can’t see myself doing this for knitting books if I can buy individual patterns.
    3) I would really love this option.
    Now, for the library perspective
    1) I’d be more likely to purchase it for my library if it was print (color or BW, no preference), or something that we could load on *any* e-reader. We’re exploring Kindle, Nook, Sony & iPad right now at my library and one of our biggest issues is cross-platform usability. Books for Kindle can’t be read on this device, and vice versa. I’m not sure how to solve this, but a PDF that could be downloaded multiple times onto devices and stored on a PC would be great for libraries.
    2). I can’t see libraries going in for shares in a book.
    3). I also don’t see libraries opting for less content, or only picking out the “good parts version”
    These are great ideas and I’m glad you’re thinking them.

    Reply to Cathy
  • Cami

    Great ideas!
    1. I do not like the idea of b/w only. The best options are:
    c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    d. get the full-color PDF of the book automatically when you buy the b/w print copy, or…
    I think I like option “D” best!
    2. Would you be willing to “buy shares in” a book before it comes out, or in the publishing company as a whole if you…
    I would buy shares for any of these, as long as it was pretty cheap (meaning $4.95). The bonus features would have to be extensive and good. The book would have to be discounted beyond what I paid. Public credit wouldn’t matter to me, but if I were blogging more, a plug for my blog might be worth it. Maybe an event where contributors could meet the author (even an online chat), or get an autographed copy of the book.
    3. What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    This I would love. I would love a PDF of content I chose. It would be great if the selection were really wide- like I choose 15 patterns from 100. This would eliminate the “excess baggage”. There are certain things I know I’d never make, crafts/techniques I don’t like and I don’t want to learn, items for children or babies, etc. Very nice idea. I’d actually pay slightly more for that.

    Reply to Cami
  • moiraeknittoo

    I would definitely be willing to buy the book in PDF format or a format that is compatible with e-readers for sure. While I love the feel of a physical book in my hands, I find that I prefer to print in either black and white or full color the single pattern I want to use at that time. If it meant the designers got a bigger share, and the cost was lower, I would purchase in this format.
    If it had to be printed though, I’d go with black and white with full pointers on where to find the color pictures on line.
    I’d also pre-pay if it meant an extra of some sort. Not so interested in bragging rights, but an extra pattern or other exclusive would tempt me
    For the “build your own book” possibility…that would depend. I mean, is Nathan Fillion delivering the book to me personally, and will he have flowers, chocolate and very little clothing on? I can see the appeal of bundling techniques necessary *for that pattern* together in my own personal pamphlet. Would the “techniques required for this project” be options to check on the pattern page next to “buy now”? I’d imagine that this wouldn’t be too difficult from a process perspective. I have to noodle on this one some more.

    Reply to moiraeknittoo
  • Erica

    Question 1: Answer b– pay more for full color everything; or answer D.
    Normally I would have to vote for full color printing. I’ll willingly and happily spend a little more to have beautiful full color photos. However, I understand the cost concerns. So, having a book in my hands is the number one most important thing to me. I like having something tangible that I can flip through. I spend so much time on the computer as it is already, so I don’t really want to spend my relaxing “book time” there as well. I would buy a b/w print copy if I could get the color photos online.
    Question 2: I’m not really sure how I feel about buying shares in a book or company. I probably personally wouldn’t sign up for it, but I do still think it’s a good idea overall.
    Question 3: The choose your own adventure idea if really neat! I would definitely buy a book this way. Good A+ idea.

    Reply to Erica
  • Jenny

    Color is important to me. Part of the reason I buy knitting books is because they’re beautiful and I enjoy looking at them- I actually rarely use the patterns, I just like the inspiration. Black and white books look cheap, and detail is lost. I do like the option of buying a pdf or e-reader version of the book, though in the case of the e-reader, I wouldn’t be able to print off a copy to use while I’m knitting (to write on as I go).
    I don’t really have the money to invest in something upfront, before I’m sure that I’ll want it. Largely that’s determined when I’m holding it in my hand, thumbing through it.
    I do like the idea of being able to pick and choose content, though in a way, that’s more like just buying individual patterns off Ravelry and looking up a few needed tutorials. I could also see where that could be frustrating for an author who wants to make sure certain extra content and information is included.
    That said, I am waaaaay tired of those crappy “learn to knit” sections in every single knitting book. Half the time the patterns are advanced and the learn-t0-knit so rushed and simplified that there’s no way they would ever be useful to a beginner anyway. Unless it’s a learn to knit book, leave out the learn to knit. Maybe include a little bit in the back on less basic techniques (if certain increases or bind offs are required, for example) but assume the reader knows how to knit and purl.

    Reply to Jenny
  • Post authorShannon

    Ok, throwing another piece of info out there, or maybe just more of a clarification on the “choose your own adventure” thing — not just patterns! Ysolda’s model is awesome from the pattern perspective, but open it up a little more — what if you could choose from a whole broad RANGE of content to make your own custom book — either print or PDF, both are possible?
    And not just for you, either — for gifts, too! — or imagine you are a LYS owner, and you want to teach a class on Fair Isle sweaters. So, you click over, and you choose…
    * Fair Isle pattern by Designer X
    * Fair Isle pattern by Designer Y
    * Fair Isle pattern by Designer Z
    * Steeking tutorial by Designer A
    * The history of Fair Isle essay by Designer B
    * Some sample Fair Isle charts by Designer C
    then boom, pow, click, you hit “publish 15 copies” and they’re printed and on their way to the store.
    In other words, you’re not just limited to patterns, it can be content content, too. Once upon a time in the heyday of the dot-com boom, there was a site called Booktailor.
    At the time, it was oriented to travel books. But why couldn’t the same model be applied to knitting?

    Reply to Shannon
  • GinkgoKnits

    I would be less interested in a B&W book — the better the printing, the more care I assume in the editing. The recent Haapsalu shawl/lace book is a good example. I don’t want PDFs or anything that requires looking things up online (I prefer the convienence of a book that won’t ever disappear).
    As far as buying in shares, I might be willing to pay full (anticipated) coverprice if the purposal was thorough enough. Mainly, I am interested in books about techniques or good explorations of knitting traditions (fair isle, Estonian lace, etc.) as there are already plenty of pure pattern books out there. I’d only buy pre-purchase a pattern book if the designer was one I find irresistable — the far minority of them — as otherwise there are too many good patterns out there to buy before seeing the end results. Full color pamphlets are an easier sell than a general pattern book (ex. I bought Cookie A.’s book after seeing the wonderful how-to design info but I bought Jared Flood’s pamflet sight unseen).

    Reply to GinkgoKnits
  • Jennifer

    Great questions!
    #1–i would vote option c or d. Thumbing through books with glossy photos is awesome and all, but I think the pdf route is friendlier to work with in many ways. You don’t have to store it on a shelf that requires dusting, for example, which gets it bonus points from me!
    #2 buying shares in a book in advance–I think that if you have a dedicated reader market (like knitters), you could get takers for this. I would potentially buy shares in a book in advance in exchange for bonus material or a discount.
    3# picking your own content–OMG yes!!!! What a brilliant idea (especially your further explanation above.) This sounds like combining the best of what Twist and Ysolda have done (and which have good sales track records, methinks) and really putting a new stamp on it.
    Good luck!

    Reply to Jennifer
  • polycrafty

    I’m much more likely to buy “instant gratification” pdf patterns and books these days than physical books. If I love the whole pattern book, I may choose to print it all in full color. Or I may print only one or two inspirational pages in color, but I like having the choice.
    As for buying shares in a book, that’s an intriguing idea. I don’t know if it would be practical, but offering a “kit” for one of the patterns would really motivate me towards a higher level of contribution. Maybe at a lower level of contribution, an early release of one pattern would be nice too. I’d shy away from exclusive patterns or too much bonus material, because then people who didn’t know about it in time would feel cheated.

    Reply to polycrafty
  • dani, the geek

    question 1) a, c, or d
    question 2) a or d (and no, i haven’t any ideas, sigh)
    question 3) Yes!

    Reply to dani, the geek
  • Johann

    If it’s a book I really like, with patterns for garments and other projects, I think I’d love to buy it as a physical book in color AND get PDFs. That way I could enjoy the book in the comfort of my own home, but print out the info on a particular project to cary with me while I was working on it, thus leaving my book at home. The book wouldn’t get knocked around and abused, I wouldn’t have to carry a heavy book around with me, and I would have a copy of just what I needed to carry around with me, enabling me to mark it up and later throw away without harming the book.
    For a stitch dictionary, I’d be willing to accept a black and white copy with a color cover.
    I might consider contributing to making an unpublished book available later if I thought I’d like the projects. You need to give us a better idea of what it will contain, though, before I’d consider contributing.

    Reply to Johann
  • MJ

    I would say, I do prefer seeing a colored photo rather than everything completely black and white. However, it’s really depending on case by case – I have purchased books that were all black and white (or some had like one spot color) in actual “content”/instruction pages, plus few color picture pages to showcase the finished items. And there were some that were purely b/w, text and images all included, then there were full blown, almost coffee table books where what they had were big color pictures, I mean, lots of them.
    Even though at first glance, I do tend to gravitate toward full color books, but when it comes to actual “let’s make a decision/purchase”, it really all depends – purchasing b/w books didn’t bother me as much as I “initially” imagined, especially now with boom of knit bloggers and sites like ravelry where people share their projects, I can (and do) look things up before making a purchase (of a pattern/pattern book).
    And I would pre purchase something at full price in pre production stage if it’s something I “feel” it’s something I want, regardless, assuming I’m able to do so financially (this goes toward all things covered, not just knitting/book related matter).

  • Alexandra

    Whatever happened to black and white books with color inserts? Would that make a significant dent in the cost or not? I want my color beauty shots, but I don’t much care what the rest of the book looks like as long as it’s readable.

    Reply to Alexandra
  • karen

    I would totally buy a PDF pattern book.
    I would also buy a »mostly« black + white book. I might need a couple color pages for clarity + inspiration. Black + white photos would need to be well lit; these photos can be flat + muddy. Color is definitely an expense.
    Th idea of black + white book with color CD is another appealing option…
    Any CD would have to be printed out by me [at Kinkos, for example]. I would have trouble going from monitor to actual knitting + back again.
    Good luck + stitches!

    Reply to karen
  • Bev

    I would love the opportunity to buy a full color pdf rather than an expensive book. I have limited space. I love close up shots of the stitches and construction more than the glam shots.
    My wish would be more of a multimedia experience. Perhaps a CD/DVD with the book part in pieces linked by a table of contents. The basics could be in video form. I learn better from seeing it on youtube than even the best drawing.
    The pattern instructions could have hot links to the videos so if it asks for a method or technique I’m not familiar with, I can get a quick lesson or refresher with a click.
    The designer can demonstrate anything unusual or tricky. I’m thinking of the videos Cat Bordhi posted to supplement her recent books. Would love to buy her book on a disk with the videos linked.

  • Kristin

    I love this idea!
    Would you rather…
    c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    d. get the full-color PDF of the book automatically when you buy the b/w print copy, or…
    e. buy the book and read it on some kind of color-enabled e-reader (iPad or iPhone, for example)
    Of these options I love those 3. I personally use my iPod touch to read books and use it with the Kindle App. I plan on purchasing my own Kindle because if can hold pdf’s so that I can carry all my knitting patterns with me. Knowing that I could buy a cheaper b/w copy of a book with a color pdf, I like to print my patterns out and not knit from a book. I don’t like to mark up my books and it’s easier to do things when I could have a printed copy, but also a hardcopy back up should I not have paper. I also like having a book electronically because I can access it easily.
    The buying shares in a book would be interesting, I’d have to know more about it. I do think it would be nice to have ownership in a book with some cool incentives. Knowing that I helped create a dream to come true or created a book that is going to inspire some other knitters.
    I absolutely love the idea of create my own book. I like it in the sense that I can make any kind of book I want! I can add any type of content that I want. I, also, as a future LYS owner, LOVE that I could custom make books for my classes and my students. On a different note, for me myself, I would love to just create my own books with the patterns I love, with content I want, and make them my own.

    Reply to Kristin
  • Stacy

    1) d
    2) a
    3) I mostly buy books now for instructions in techniques. When I want to knit a particular pattern, I often pay for one pattern online or buy a small booklet.
    I’m perfectly fine with b/w for the print version.
    I enjoy your tweets!

    Reply to Stacy
  • Ivy

    I love color, and will pay for it. But, to get to question two–I LOVE LOVE LOVE the kickstarter model. Two people I know did books through there, and did amazingly well. I think it’s a fantastic model, and love the multiple levels of buying in.
    Also, I do have plans for a knitting related kickstarter funded project (not a pattern book, though) in the works, so I may be a wee bit biased. But it’s going to be awesome!

  • Jeanie Babbage

    As someone who has knit for 50 years, I loved the questions. I already buy a lot of my books in digital format. I have been trying to consolidate the number of “things” I have and since my laptop is almost always at my side I use it like a “kindle” or ebook reader.
    I also buy a lot of single pdf patterns from designers and yarn stores. I find this to be not only cost effective, but space saving.
    As a result, I don’t buy nearly as many paper books as I used to. I do prefer to pay for only what I need or want, whether it is a pattern or description of a new technique. Having a ‘menu’ of items to choose from in one place, featuring many artists would be a fantastic tool. Ravelry is a good starting point but often a pattern I love is only available in a paper book that contains much I do not like or need.

    Reply to Jeanie Babbage
  • Marina

    I must say that the option which would suit my needs and wishes the best is following – to choose which patterns I want in a book, then to receive it in full color pdf by e-mail. I think this would reduce the price for printing and mailing and therefore is also more eco-friendly. And I could print pages with paterns in b/w when I would need it by my side while sitting on my couch&knitting.

    Reply to Marina
  • Crystal

    I really like the “choose your own adventure” idea, especially the idea of including tutorials in with it.
    I own very few paper books anymore, and I don’t plan on using any patterns in the future that I can’t get electronically. Even when I make a pattern from a book, I photocopy it so I can make notes and highlights on it without wrecking the book.
    Another thought: When I buy a pdf patterns I definitely enjoy and expect full color… but it would be nice to get a B&W printer-friendly version of the pattern/technique tutorial/whatever along with the pretty version.

    Reply to Crystal
  • SusanSW

    1. Must have my color but a pdf is perfectly workable to view on computers and I can print it out at the quality I want.
    2. Shares are an intriguing idea and I’d be willing to buy into it for authors I believe in and support.
    3. Yes, definitely–Have so many books I ended up buying even though there were only 1 or 2 patterns I really liked. Nathan Filion: bonus!

    Reply to SusanSW
  • Claudia

    I work in publishing, and another option you can explore is going with a duotone (2-color vs 4-color) interior with a 16- or 32-page color insert. Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller is an example of this. (You could also do b/w with the color insert – or you could just go all duotone.)
    Personally, I like b/w – I’ve been a knitter for many years and some of my favorite patterns are still some old b/w 8-1/2 x 11 “booklets” – mittens, hats, etc. Very retro!
    Good luck with your book – love all the creative thinking here!

    Reply to Claudia
  • Anna

    Would you rather…
    f. none of / all of the above?
    — I rarely buy any new knitting (patterns) books any more, but the crochet & knitting books I *do* buy and keep, I prefer having on paper.
    Would you be willing to “buy shares in” a book before it comes out, or in the publishing company as a whole if you…
    d. something else?
    — How about “all of the above”? I’d love to support any publishing venture.
    What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    — Yes, o, yes. Does anyone buy music on cd:s any more? I love magazines and books (paper style), but when there is only one or two interesting patterns there, why buy the whole lot? It’s like in the old days, when you had to buy a whole album to listen to a hit song. I download and buy single pdf patterns from Verena Knitting, even though the whole magazine is cheaper.
    But I’d love to have the “keepers” in a nicely bound book – now I have to do my own print-on-demand.

    Reply to Anna
  • Barbara

    I self-publish my patterns and pattern books. PDF versions are great, because a lot more of the pattern or book cost goes to the designer (rather than paying for printing), and the purchaser can print it at whatever quality they want and bind it in whatever way works best for them, or they can leave it in the electronic state and carry the patterns with them on an iphone etc.
    But there are always people who want the real printed book. I’ve used Lulu, which is fairly user-friendly, but I’ve had issues with their printing quality and fee hikes for the past year. I’ve been using Qoop for about a year, and while their site is less user-friendly, their fees and printing costs are more reasonable. Also, you can choose to offer a range of printing and binding options, so someone can print a black and white book if they like, or pay for full-colour photos.
    The only significant drawback I’ve found to self-publishing printed books is that when you only order a few copies at a time, the cost is a bit high for most wholesalers (i.e. yarn shop owners). I can’t afford to place an order large enough to get a bulk discount, but it would be super helpful if wholesalers could pay a deposit or buy shares so they get the finished book at a lower cost. However, I suppose the responsibility for finding enough interested wholesalers would rest on my shoulders (I’ve found this very difficult in the past, but I put it down to my shy personality and dislike of phoning strangers!).
    With my most recent book, we’ve started putting together sets of photos on Flickr for each pattern. So the one in the book is the beauty shot (although I do try to get enough detail in them so it’s enough for most knitters), and then there’s a link to the photo set, where you can see the finished item from all sorts of angles. My customers love this idea, and it shouldn’t be too much trouble for most independent designers.

    Reply to Barbara
  • Denise

    The idea of a book made to order is very good. I would definitely be in for that. I often base whether I will purchase a knitting book or magazine on the fact that I am interested in knitting at least 3 patterns from it. If not it goes back on the shelf. So customizing a book, to me, is ideal!

    Reply to Denise
  • lisa

    1. D for sure, though C and B are also options I’d want.
    2. A or maybe B
    3. YES. totally cool.

    Reply to lisa
  • Marnie

    As a designer, possibly contributing to a book:
    I like C: Just a PDF because the cost of printing out anything that may sit around and collect dust and that has to go to a post office and be tracked and accounted for is a potential for loses. I also don’t like having to compromise on length, number of photos, illustrations, etc because of printing limitations. I don’t mind E: ebooks except that I don’t think it yet allows for highlighting and circling and adding notes, and I don’t love having content that people have to find online because I know that some people want to and do knit away from their computers.
    Regarding shares
    I would be reluctant to contribute “bonus features” because that automatically limits the number of people who can and will knit my design and inevitably I would have to address the requests for that bonus content and explain why I can’t offer it. There’s also the problem that what one person considers a bonus, another person considers junk. So as a designer, I wouldn’t want to be asked to design or write the bonus content.
    Customizing one’s own (e)book
    I think customizing content is a great idea. We’ve been bouncing that around at my day job for many years. I wonder if it’s really necessary to publish it as a single file or if the bigger win is simply offering bulk rates on pattern purchases. The downside, as a contributor, is being sure that I still get fairly compensated in royalties (if that’s how it works) for my pattern if it’s bought with 20 other patterns. There is a risk, if the pricing model isn’t well thought out, for the designers and even the publisher if they covered the cost of TEing and such, to lose out on income on really big sales.

    Reply to Marnie
  • Kelly

    1) D. I love being able to have a digital version that you can also print up only certain pages to carry with you, but I love to sit and look through knitting books at home or with other crafty friends as well.
    2) A or B. The thrifty/frugal girl in me likes to get more bang for her buck, so if I did “buy shares” I would prefer to either get a discount or something special extra.
    3) I love the idea of picking and choosing the bits for a personalized book. When I buy a book, I have to like or love at least 1/2 the patterns in the book to buy it. Most of those book contain some helpful lessons too, but a majority of the time they all contain useless information for me (I only need the basics of knitting once – or twice if it explains something a little different so that I can share it two ways to see which method works best for whoever I’m sharing it with).

    Reply to Kelly
  • Josi

    I would prefer a PDF book of patterns, because of the portability. I don’t love readers because they lack color, and for the money you can get a web-enabled notebook computer that does what a Kindle does plus a lot more.
    I would not be interested in buying shares at this time, but that is because my own ventures require every last bit of cash I earn. In the future, I could see myself willing to purchase shares for bonus materials like a kit, or something worth the value of my contribution… otherwise it isn’t really a share, but a donation.
    I love the idea of a customizable PDF book of patterns. I’ve been thinking about the same thing, and it basically works out like a discount for purchasing multiple patterns.

    Reply to Josi
  • Caitlin

    I think I would rather be able to buy a lower-priced black and white book, especially if there were links to a gallery. However, it would be good to have one black and white picture of the garment next to the pattern, so I can see the shape of it (and later when I am going through books and looking for a pattern I liked, the picture will jog my memory). I do love some of the beautiful full-color knitting books I have, but it means I have fewer knitting books total because they are more expensive. I also love the PDF option, especially if there were two options for printing: one with pictures and one without. I also like the idea of being able to purchase a book that is only PDF.
    I would be willing to “buy shares” if I got exclusive content or other extras.
    I would absolutely love to be able to pick and choose which patterns and sections were included in my book. I tend to choose pattern books this way anyway; if there aren’t enough patterns that I love then I won’t buy the book (this depends on how many patterns are in the book in total as well as how much the book costs).

    Reply to Caitlin
  • Lobug

    1) The color is a big deal to me in a knitting book- esp. if it is an instructional book. I’ll pay for color.
    2)I might buy shares. It is something I’d never really considered before. But, yes, there would have to be a good incentive!
    3) I LOVE the idea of customizing my knitting book and paying only for what I want in it. That would be fantastic!

    Reply to Lobug
  • Kerry Wills

    1. Color matters. As someone who did publish a book with only black and white photos, I can tell you that it adversely affects sales and attitudes toward the book. When I buy a knitting book, it is usually because the book as a whole inspires me, and beautiful color photos influence that decision. If the book looks gorgeous enough, I become a lot less sensitive about price. That said, I am getting more picky about content as my knitting skills improve. I buy more .pdfs than books these days, because I don’t want to lug around books full of patterns I won’t use, and I agonize about the trees killed to give me those patterns I don’t want. I still want images in color, though.
    The format I prefer depends on the content. Here are some of the printed books I’ve bought that I will never regret buying: Weekend Knitting, Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, and all of my Debbie Bliss books. In most of these, the patterns are pretty good but I return to them because they remind me of my joy in knitting.
    2. I wouldn’t buy shares in a book unless I had a good idea of what the content would look like. A discount on the final book or a very cool bonus pattern might nudge me toward doing it, though. I agree with others who noted Ysolda Teague’s model for selling Whimsical Little Knits appears to be a good one. (It is great for the buyer. I hope it worked out well for her.) I also think about sock and fiber clubs out there that I’ve wanted to join (but often can’t, because they are so popular!) They bundle a fiber or yarn that I really want with an artisan or designer’s skill that I admire, and they make it exclusive. They only release patterns from the sock club after a year, for instance. So maybe adding a very desirable bonus as a lure to buying shares would work.
    3. I’m torn about the “make your own book” idea. I love it in theory, but years ago I remember attending a talk by major novelists about the death of the novel (this was before Oprah’s Book Club, which, like it or not, revived reading in America) and Norman Mailer said you were unlikely at that point to be able to talk books with friends because it was a rare occasion to meet someone else who had read the same book as you. That was so sad to me. Part of the joy of books is that you can talk to people about them, but if everyone’s content is different, there’s no sharing of the experience. I guess we would still talk about great patterns or great snippets of technique or other content worth putting into your self-tailored book, but I thought I should share my reservations. Others might feel the same.

    Reply to Kerry Wills
  • Alyse

    Would you rather…
    c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    d. get the full-color PDF of the book automatically when you buy the b/w print copy, or…
    (I am going to assume that in pdf I WILL be able to read it on whatever e-reader/cellphone reader I use)
    Would you be willing to “buy shares in” a book before it comes out, or in the publishing company as a whole if you…
    a. got bonus features or other exclusives
    b. got the final book/etc at a discounted price
    (I’m thinking along the lines of Kickstarter.com, funding-wise)
    What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    I love the idea of being able to customize. Especially into a pdf copy.

    Reply to Alyse
  • Shannon

    C, c and whoo hoo!!
    I’d love to be able to look over samples and articles and be able to pay a bit for the patterns that I want. I’m sure that a professional print job would be better quality than I could do. Maybe user could vote on which patterns would be printed and which pictures would be printed? Photos are expensive, but the user feedback would be a gfod balance between quality vs cost.

    Reply to Shannon
  • Tammy

    So many ideas! I love having a book in color in my hands to go through, but having a PDF with color would work just as well, then I could print out what I needed. I think I could do all A-D, not E as I don’t like to read things online.
    Buying shares in a publishing company would be cool. The book though would have to be really important to me though, I think.
    I can’t wait to see what you are going to come up with.

    Reply to Tammy
  • Shweta Shankar Khatri

    For the first question, I would love to have a full color pdf of a book whenever possible. I am not one for buying shares so I dont think I will. However, the best idea would be to be able to choose my own patterns and instructions/ articles to make up the full color pdf that I buy.

    Reply to Shweta Shankar Khatri
  • Jennifer Stafford

    Thanks for asking so really interesting questions, Shannon! What a great discussion. I know you can make it happen.
    I really like the suggestion of adding technique tutorials to the “choose your own adventure” PDF or e-book idea. Personally, knowing a given technique well can make-or-break the execution of one of my own designs and I really do want knitters to get the best possible results. So I would love to bundle a technique step-out (or even a video) with the design that needs it, right there in the e-book, or PDF, or whatever it is going to be in our future publishing world.
    The move to individual pattern sales is a desirable trend for indie designers and our customers. Though I adore my still-growing book collection, it is heavy and dusty. I hate to be in the bookstore or LYS and hear “but there are only 3 patterns I really like here, so I won’t buy it.” So often, those 3 patterns sold as PDF may add up to the cost of that book, but the designer ends up with more cash in pocket from well-marketed PDF sales than a book, and the customer is satisfied getting only what she wants.

    Reply to Jennifer Stafford
  • Megan

    As much as I like all the geeky ideas you’re playing with here my own laziness, lack of time, and attention that is pulled in too many directions make me have to admit that I’m most likely to pay more for a full color book. I will echo the inspiration needs stated in earlier comments. As illogical as this is, I’ve never knitted an item from a pattern that didn’t have at least one full color glamor shot right there in front of me. If the color pictures weren’t in the book I think I would set it down without reading far enough to know that the glam shots are online or deliverable.
    I would not be likely to buy shares in a book. I would think it was a neat idea but being brutally honest, I would never get around to it. I myself have never been much of a fan girl or a collector so the extras don’t excite me a great amount. That said I’ve seen this technique work out really well when applied to getting a music cd produced. (Also, I always seem to be the odd one out in focus groups. Big red flag, that.)
    I really dig the idea of picking what patterns and techniques I’d like delivered to me (either PDF or printed or both). I think if the interface for this option was welcoming and easy to use I would buy this. However it would take a lot to get my attention to find out about this book, most of my patterns are from big heavy books or in the pretty knitting websites. This said, a big push on Ravelry and knitting blogs would get my attention.
    Shannon I hope this (admittedly contrary) opinion helps, I’m excited that you’re exploring these options!

    Reply to Megan
  • birana

    Just to make a comparaison with other businesses: I really like having DVD with an digital disc for my Ipodtouch. The home version and portable version. I don’t know if this could be apply for knitting books: ex: having a photo book, explanation on a dvd of other format.
    I’m a huge fan of nice color photos…black and white aren’t very appealing to me (of course it might be, but not for all photos).
    I also like the idea of pick our choices in that list (make your own package, as for tv cable company) Sometimes you like a lot of pattern in the same book sametimes you like just 1 of 2. The idea, the more you buy the less you pay per pattern, but support would be assembled pdf with the same cover for all.
    I’m saying a lot of idea all mixed up, but I’m sure with other peoples idea, you will see a lot of possible things!

    Reply to birana
  • Cora Shaw

    Would you rather…
    c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    Would you be willing to “buy shares in” a book before it comes out, or in the publishing company as a whole if you…
    a. got bonus features or other exclusives
    c. got public credit for your contribution
    (I’m thinking along the lines of Kickstarter.com, funding-wise)
    (this has been done with the 2009 and 2010 Hope for the Cure Calendar. It is available as a PDF and in print form as some stores-Staples-won’t print/bind items.
    What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    I would love that as often I won’t purchase a book if it has only one or two patterns that I would knit.

    Reply to Cora Shaw
  • Kate G.

    So happy you’re asking. As a print designer I keep waiting for the craft publishing houses to innovate their models and save their bottom line. Yay you, for asking us to participate in building a new model.
    Here’s my answers:
    1. I’d buy the pdf with full color. It takes up less space, is easy to archive and I can just printout what I need when I need to. I can also print it in black and white to save on color ink. Color is important to me. It tells me more about the materials.
    2. I like the idea of a prepaid discount. I can help finance the book up front and get a little dividend for it.
    3. Customizing is terrific and more possible than ever.

    Reply to Kate G.
  • Sunnyknitter

    I agree with Kate G., especially if that customization DOES come with Nathan Fillion!

    Reply to Sunnyknitter
  • Jen

    1. c. I greatly prefer PDFs. They take up less space, I can print out a copy to mark up as I go, they’re more environmentally friendly. That also helps with the color costs, because I’d much prefer to see pictures (and where available, charts) in color, and then it’s up to me to decide if it’s worth the cost to print in color.
    2. Hmmm…new idea to me. I’d probably only be comfortable doing it a more established company, but if that were the case, a. or maybe b. I do think it’s a neat idea, being able to help grow the knitting publishing industry.
    3. That would be awesome! One of the reasons I’ve found myself less inclined to buy knitting books or even magazines is because I usually am only interested in a few patterns and it seems a waste to a) pay for all of that paper and b) use all of that paper to print a book/magazine I don’t want. But getting to pick out the patterns I want and receiving them as a PDF would be perfect.

  • Post authorShannon

    (I’m starting to think that including a FREE NATHAN FILLION PHOTO WITH EVERY PURCHASE! might be the key to sales success…)

    Reply to Shannon
  • Dana

    1.) Personally, I would much rather have just a PDF of a pattern book. I make copies of the patterns I’m working on, even if I own the book, so I can make notes, carry it around, etc. It would save a lot of trees to get the PDF and just print off the pages I need when I need them. Like others said, I can decide if printing in color is worth it or not.
    I also prefer PDFs because they are searchable. Through the wonders of modern technology, I put all my PDF patterns in one spot and I can easily search for what I want. If it is possible to publish the PDFs with bookmarks for easier navigating through it, that would be awesome.
    2.) I’m not sure about this. I’d be skittish about buying into a book that hasn’t been published yet; I’d worry that I’d put my money in and the book would never materialize.
    3.) Holy cow — this idea would be *awesome*!! I am constantly finding books where there are only a few patterns I would actually make. If I could pick and choose which patterns I got — I’d be all over it. Especially if you could sell different packages. Say, 5 patterns for one price, 10 for another, and so on. Maybe a bit of a discount if you buy all of the patterns.
    Again, I would probably really prefer at least the option to buy just the PDF and not a printed book.
    I would really, really love to see all the color photos in the digital copy of books. However, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to put the URLs for color photo galleries in printed books. There’s usually a site for books for errata, right? The same kind of thing is done with software/computer books. There are always extra “goodies” on a website.
    These are all exciting prospects! I can’t wait to see what comes of them!

    Reply to Dana
  • Christina

    Here are my answers. 1. C is great for helping the environment, but I don’t like reading everything over a computer screen/B – why does the US consumers have to pay more money for better quality products?
    2. I never heard of this idea before.
    3. For the consumer, I believe custom is great. When I check out knitting books from the library, I usually like a few patterns. Thus, I wouldn’t purchase most knitting books. I have some of Vickie Howell’s knitting books and want to purchase a few knitting reference & stitch guides. I’m tired of seeing the basics of knitting in each book. I can find that info online and I’d rather watch a Youtube knitting video. Whatever types of knitting books are going to get published, I want them to be produced in an eco- friendly/sustainable way. I also want to see more information in knitting books about earth-friendly yarns. I’m tired of all the very cheap consumer crap Americans are forced to consume. Due to the American economy, I’d rather see more affordable knitting products that are earth friendly and of high quality. Why pay more to better the Earth?

    Reply to Christina
  • Kathy In Georgia

    1. c–the PDF. There’s a pattern I want that I’m waiting for a PDF to become available because I don’t want to juggle a 12-page printed pattern book. I work straight from patterns on my laptop screen…rarely print out the pattern. (I have Acrobat Pro and can highlight and leave myself notes in my PDFs.)
    2. a or b–but mostly b, because I’m broke.
    3. Yay for customization! I recently passed on a 9-pattern e-book: only 4 patterns I sorta liked, and probably only one of those that I’d ever make.

    Reply to Kathy In Georgia
  • Connielene Johnston

    I have worked in a habderdashery / wool shop in New Zealand. One thing always surprised me as a knitter/designer – is that many want to knit the garment in the colour that is displayed on the pattern.
    They do not always have the self confidence to buy the yarn in the right colour for them – so if it is in black and white – they may not choose to buy the book.
    So one full colour page with smaller pictures of each piece in the book – may save the day – for those potential customers.
    But depending on the printing process – the paper layout you may potentially have 4 pages that could be in colour at no additional cost to the one page. I have worked with a printer in another life as well.
    I am also a librarian in yet another life and knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc in colour are issued more times than books in black & white unless they are of vintage garments and patterns and that is a particular interest to someone.
    Me – I would buy the pdf with full colour where I can print out what I wish and I can also print it in black and white to save on ink.
    I like the idea of a prepaid discount. I can help finance the book up front and get a dividend for it.
    Pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy? – good option & great idea lulu.com do that now I believe.
    Me I would want the whole book – because I am always researching and even though I was a librarian I like to own my knitting books.
    Good luck with the process and I am sure you will get a great end result

    Reply to Connielene Johnston
  • Anabella

    A few thoughts…
    1. A pdf is great for storage, search ability, updates (errata), etc. but I would want to have access to high resolution photos to be able to see details. If the photos on the pdf are 72-96 dpi, for screen resolution, blowing them up would just destroy the image. If high res photos were available, then that would be ideal and a pdf would do — for patterns. If I need to read, I prefer a printed book, in full color, with great photography.
    2. That’s an interesting concept. I would do that if the images of the pattern to be included were available early to help make a choice. Ori Ami Knits was released in a similar manner. I bought the pdf only ahead of time, purely based on the fact that they were using yarns I loved. If I had seen all of the patterns before, I would not have bought it, because as it turns out I will probably only knit one or two patterns, and that’s not enough to justify an expensive book. The “bonus” pattern is not anything I would ever wear, so… nothing there for me. And the every time I got one of the chapters, I kept wanting to blow up the photo more, or hoping I had high res images to print on my color printer. SO I probably wouldn’t do that again without having high res images to go with it — but in principle it sounds like something that would be great.
    3. Being able to just buy the patterns I want in a book form is great. Again the resolution of the photos would be the deciding factor for me. If the print option is of standard print quality, I would be all over it, and willing to pay more than I would for a pdf just to have the quality. BUT I would love to also have a pdf, for searching, for having in my iPad in case I forget or lose the pattern when I travel, etc…
    Love that you are shaking up the industry!

    Reply to Anabella
  • Katie @ Yarn Love

    Would you rather…
    I’d like c.) as a color PDF or e.) on a color enabled reader. (I don’t have one yet, but I would if they offered knitting books.) I rarely carry books around with me and usually don’t print entire patterns. I use my computer and carry the charts on in my knitting bag.
    I’d be willing to “buy in” for
    a.) exclusive features
    b.) for a discounted price
    (especially b. I love a bargain, especially when it’s a slight discount on something I really want.)
    The most exciting thing you wrote about is a custom book. Especially if it came to me in a digital form with extra galleries to many shots of the projects. I rarely buy pattern books or collections because I don’t like enough of the contained patterns to justify the $15-20 price tag. Most of the time it’s a single pattern I want and it really irks me when it’s only offered in a collection. I tend not to buy, because $15 is too much for a single pattern on my current budget. I’d love to be able to create my own – especially if I could have some sort of individualized account that would keep track of what I’ve purchased and organize it for me. (You know in case my computer breaks, or I’m away from home or just want easy browsing of all my Stitch Cooperative patterns.)

    Reply to Katie @ Yarn Love
  • Debbie Fring

    Q.#1..Would buy the book as a PDF!
    Q.#2..YES! would be willing to buy shares in a book before it comes out if I got the book at a discounted price.
    Q.#3..YES!!! The best of all !! To be able to pick and choose my content for my own book, customize it, then get printed or PDF copy…B & W absolutely fine with me. This is the best and most innovative idea yet…..hope you go with this one!!!! Revolutionary! Creative…thinking outside the “box”!! Thanks, Shannon!

    Reply to Debbie Fring
  • Lizz

    Q1 – c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    Q2 – d. something else?
    I’d buy shares in a book or advance purchase a book if I was interested enough in the subject or content. For example, I’d love a collection of baby patterns all with the same gauge, in sport or fingering weight, so I would definitely support the publishing of a book like that.
    Q3 – I would love to be able to customize a knitting book with the patterns and content that I want. Having a black and white version with links to a colour gallery would be fine, but I would be more happy with a colour pdf version that I could print the pages that I needed when I needed them and browse the book from my computer.

    Reply to Lizz
  • Cinnamon

    I’ve grown fond of Ravelry because I can buy the specific patterns I want and don’t have to buy a whole book. I have so many books that I’ve made one thing out and will likely not make anything else. Aside from supporting friends and designers I like, I’ve just quit buying knitting books. My library is too full.
    However, I love pdf patterns and would love to be able to buy directions for specific patterns at the time of download. And I’d also be willing to pay for content type content on an as-liked basis as well. The great thing about pdf patterns is I can search through their content on my Mac computer as well as just the name. So if I put all my patterns into one folder, I can search “cardigan” or “fingering weight” in that folder, and it will list every pattern that contains that. Which makes it very easy to browse what I own before I go to the web to see what I want new. And it has increased my chances of using patterns I liked and then forgot that I bought or downloaded.
    And I’m all for lots of pictures. I always wish there were more. Especially when I’m looking at something new.

    Reply to Cinnamon
  • Dawn

    1. c or e
    2. Hmmm..not sure
    3. yes!

    Reply to Dawn
  • Janet

    What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    This would be my preferred way of buying a book of knitting patterns. So many books have only one or two patterns that interest me that I do without rather than buy those books. (Thank heavens for the public library.)

    Reply to Janet
  • Natalia

    I would rather
    c. buy the book as a PDF (just as a PDF) or…
    d. get the full-color PDF of the book automatically when you buy the b/w print copy
    I do still love to sit around flipping through the actual book, but really, the PDFs are where it’s at.
    I would buy shares in a book before it comes out, if it is by a designer whose work I admire, or perhaps a concept that really appeals to me.
    And a big yes to the customized books!

    Reply to Natalia
  • Stephanie

    Interesting food for thought….
    1) C. Buy as PDF. I like the idea of being able to pick and choose what gets printed since I end up copying the patterns I use anyway for ease of marking up and carrying around.
    2) Buying shares in a book before it comes out…feels sort of like pre-ordering a book online before its release date. If it’s something I would really want…why not? Especially if there are perks that go along with it (like bonus features). You don’t really get any extras when you pre-order a book online.
    3) Customizing my own knitting book would be terrific! I love the idea of paying only for what you really want instead of just one or two and being stuck with all the others that are in there that I know I’ll never knit.
    I love the idea of having access to a full gallery of photos of a sweater. The photos in books are on models who are posed “just so.” You see the sweater the way they want you to see it, not necessarily how it will look on your body. I think more pictures might help analyze the design elements so you can decide if it would look as nice on the living, breathing knitter (or other recipient) as it does on the professionally photographed model.
    Also, all patterns should reflect the level of experience needed to complete the project.

    Reply to Stephanie
  • Amanda

    What would you think if you could pick and choose content for your OWN book, and customize it, then get a printed or PDF copy?
    THIS! I don’t buy a lot of knitting books because they usually all cover the same techniques (and I can generally find more detailed tutorials online) and I don’t like or want to make all the patterns in the book. But if I could pick out x number of patterns/tutorials that I actually *really* want and pay an a la carte price for them, I’d be *much* more likely to purchase patterns that way than in a book form. This is particularly appealing if I could purchase patterns from different books together, even more appealing if there was a slight discount on the per pattern price the more patterns you buy at once.
    In general, I like pdfs for knitting patterns better because books are cumbersome and never stay open when I knit. If I’m knitting on the go, it’s much easier to carry a folded sheet of paper with my chart/pattern than a whole book. I can also read pdfs on my phone, which adds an extra level of portability. And I’d rather my money go more to the designer than to the cost of making a book that mostly sits on my shelf after I photocopy the pattern to use while knitting.

    Reply to Amanda
  • Kirsten

    Option C; I like to see the colour stuff on my screen, and if I’m knitting a pattern I often photocopy anyway, so printing relevant pages myself in either colour or black and white works perfectly for me.
    And wow, a customizable PDF, that is a FANTASTIC idea. I often want just a few designs from a book and do not need the instructional sections. I would LOVE to be able to buy just a few sections and have them come either electronically or in print.

    Reply to Kirsten
  • hannah

    These are all amazing, innovative ideas.
    #1: I certainly do most of my pattern buying/selling in electronic format any more, and I think that the knitting public (as evidenced by so many of these comments) is coming to expect that anyway.
    I am going to skip #2, gush over #3 and then come back to #2.
    #3: This is a fantastic idea! Finally, knitters can have that previously mythical creature, a pattern book of only things they want to knit and information they need. Offering books in this format might make it possible to go beyond jsut words and images…there could even be video tutorials for some particularly tricky techniques. Of course, these couldn’t be printed, but they could be “packaged” along with the other materials.
    #2: I think this is (also) a really exciting idea, though it might take the public a little time to get used to. It’s kind of like CoOp knitting books. I wonder if people might be more interested in a long-term buy-in, like a series of books. Certainly, it might make people more willing to shell out money if there were an immediate pay-off, such as a bonus pre-release pattern that they can have immediately, or some other perk that took effect right away. There might be retailers out there who would be willing extend discounts to “Coop members” in exchange for the publicity…(ahem, ahem)…
    Anyway, I can’t wait to see where these ideas lead!

    Reply to hannah
  • Ellen

    First Question
    first choice: d
    second choice: c
    third choice: a
    Second Question
    first choice: b
    second choice: a
    Third Question
    a couple of the pattern sites already do this, but the prices are higher then for a single ready made book or the individual pdfs you want

    Reply to Ellen
  • Kat

    1. C and D: While I use my pc to print off charts, and do store them, I love, love, love to sit and peruse through a good knitting book. While I do like the pictures, and yes, color more than B&W, what I really like to do is read through the patterns & the stories in t the book. Those inspire me as much as the pictures do.
    2. A and/or B: Love the idea of getting a discount, love the idea of knowing my copy will be on its way to me hot off the press, love the idea of getting a little something extra for the vote of confidence in the designer, editor & publisher.
    3. AWESOME! How do I do that? Where do I sign?
    Nope, don’t need the itty- bitty, lacey- little, spaghetti-strap camisole pattern for my size DDs! Won’t be makin’ it, and it annoys me to see it on a regular basis knowing that I had to pay for it to get the fabulous, reversible cable jacket that screams for that giant-but-gorgeous button in the back of my sewing box that I have had for 5 years.

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