Just when I had given up hope there would be any more books of wild bird photography from Craig and Joy Johnson, they sprang a surprise.
|About half the photographs were taken on Whidbey.|
First copies will start showing up in island shops this weekend, and within days the handsome book will be on sale for $24.95 throughout the Puget Sound area. But you can request an autographed copy now by ordering it right from their website, http://www.pugetsoundbackyardbirds.com/.
|At home in their backyard bird sanctuary. Pedersen photo|
As with all of Craig and Joy's books, this one will be sold exclusively in independent bookstores, gift shops and wild bird stores -- not box stores, cookie-cutter chains or discount websites. The dollars and sales taxes it generates will go to work directly in the local economy where they are most needed, benefiting the authors, printers and shopkeepers of our island community and Western Washington. Craig and Joy printed just 2,000 copies and I predict they will disappear fast.
The Freeland couple's goal for this book was to make it educational and inspirational, with more emphasis than ever on the habitats in which different species live, eat, hunt and nest.
|Craig visits with Dennis Paulson in April. Pedersen photo|
To make sure of that, Craig asked a renowned bird expert and biologist, Dennis Paulson, to review the text and photography. Paulson offered many helpful suggestions, which they incorporated into the final version.
Craig and Joy also hope many people will order autographed copies directly from their website. The price to the buyer is the same either way. But, by skipping the extra step of wholesaling, the Johnsons can recoup their up-front costs much faster when people purchase the book directly from them.
Now, a bit about what it took to print this book.
“It was an insane amount of work,” Johnson freely admits. No one who hasn’t done it can imagine the planning and hours of computer time it takes to design such a project, let alone take thousands of extraordinary photographs of birds, all hand-held with a heavy, zoom lens, at exceptionally close range.
|At the printing plant while the press was rolling.|
Clearly, this book is gorgeous and the color is flawless. That doesn’t happen by accident. Craig is a graphic designer, photographer, artist and former print salesman for the commercial printing industry, which means he pushed the limits all the way. Printing Control measured up to the challenge.
|"Rufous" features Craig's watercolors.|
Building greater strength into the spine added significant cost to the job and Printing Control simply ate it to stay within Craig’s budget. That says a lot about the printer’s commitment to the job and to the client. Printing companies, like every other business, are struggling hard with the economic downturn.
I am proud that Printing Control is the same company that produced my book, Whidbey Island’s Special Places. Last year Craig chose them to print a children’s book he and Joy wrote that features his watercolor art, The Amazing Hummingbird Story of Red Rufous. It is on sale right now in many Puget Sound area shops.
|The big Heidelberg press at Printing Control.|
Bob is not only smart, likable and knowledgeable, but fun-loving and enthusiastic. And he loves the Northwest, which may have something to do with Printing Control being the greenest, most environmentally-conscious printer in the Greater Seattle area and the first to win the top, five-star rating from EnviroStars. That’s one of the reasons Printing Control was the right company to print my book and also a brilliant choice for Our Pacific Northwest Birds and Habitat.