Pinball Road Trip: a photo documentary
Pinball Road Trip: a photo documentary
Book: Argentinean photographer Santiago Ciuffo's travels through California capturing classic pinball machines and their surroundings.
Book: Argentinean photographer Santiago Ciuffo's travels through California capturing classic pinball machines and their surroundings. Read more
Hi, my name is Jonathan Joosten, and I'm the Editor of Pinball Magazine. So far I’ve published four issues of Pinball Magazine - which are all considered to be more like books - and one hardcover coffee table photo book. These were all high-quality products that helped to build an excellent reputation both for myself as a publisher and for the Pinball Magazine name.
Here’s the story
In the upcoming Pinball Magazine No. 5, the career of legendary pinball designer Wayne Neyens will be covered. Wayne designed close to 180 pinball machines during his career, of which about 150 made it into production. For this cover story, a photo of each of these 150 games was needed, preferably taken at a specific angle. Research discovered that many, if not all of these games could be found and hopefully photographed at the Pacific Pinball Expo of 2017, which was held in Alameda, near San Francisco, California. In the past, I had visited other pinball collectors who had a fair share of Wayne Neyens-designed games as well. I was welcome to come back to take all the photos that I needed. These collections included a private collection in Los Angeles and the Museum of Pinball in Banning. So, to get the photos of the games I was looking for and get them taken the way I envisioned, I figured I would have to go to California.
As mentioned above I have published a hardcover coffee table photo book before. This was in 2014 and the book was created by Argentinean photographer Santiago Ciuffo. I found his photography beautiful and impressive. As he had no means to publish his book outside of Argentina, I bought the rights to publish the book in the rest of the world. Pinball Magazine published the book, and it turned out to be the best-selling pinball book of the past four years.
Santiago Ciuffo loves to take photos of classic pinball machines as he prefers their artwork over the artwork of modern pinball machines. We had been talking about doing a second book, but as he’s based in Argentina there aren’t that many games available to take photos of. Since I was planning to go to California, I mentioned my upcoming trip to him. Santiago liked my plan and wished he could come too. Well, that seemed like an excellent idea. While I would be focusing on taking the photos for Pinball Magazine No. 5, Santiago could focus on doing what he does best, and from there we would see whether a second book would make sense.
So, we scheduled a trip for November 2016. This seemed the most logical as the Pacific Pinball Museum would be organizing a new edition of their Pacific Pinball Expo where a lot of photos could be taken. We set out a route: San Fransisco, Alameda, Los Angeles and Banning. We added Las Vegas as well, since that was only a few hours away from Banning. We both flew to San Fransisco and started our road trip.
When we settled in our hotel, Santiago handed me a present: he had made a new book for me of which only one copy exists. The book is all photos of pinball machines, no additional text. While the photos are beautiful, and I appreciated the gesture very much, I noticed that the book seemed to lack a story. I discussed this with Santiago, and he understood what I was trying to explain.
During our road trip, it became clear that Santiago was taking great photos. Not only of pinball machines from the ‘50s up to the most recent games, but also of things we came across during our trip that had nothing to do with pinball. Seeing these beautiful non-pinball photos made me realize these could illustrate the story of our road trip and would make a second book far more interesting. The road trip would be the story to be told, and it would be illustrated with non-pinball photos as well.
Where are we now?
It’s almost a year since we made the trip and Santiago has made a selection of photos he feels should be in the book. Currently, that book has over 200 pages. It is divided into chapters where each chapter represents a city we visited. Once I saw the first draft I suggested that at the beginning of each chapter should be a map illustrating the route that we drove, followed by the story that goes with our visit to that city. In the current concept version of the book, all the pinball photos are in full color while all non-pinball photos are in black and white. When I saw the concept book, I figured this would be a great book to fund with a Kickstarter campaign.
Why a Kickstarter campaign?
When I published the first and second issue of Pinball Magazine, I was able to print 1,500 copies and sell these over time. When working on Santiago Ciuffo's first book, I figured that possibly even more people could be interested in looking at photos of pinball machines. Especially if they are as beautiful as Santiago takes them. I was opportunistic and ordered far more books than there appeared to be demand for. That's OK, that's part of being an entrepreneur. Later, when reprinting the first issue of Pinball Magazine I learned that 500 people may indicate they would be willing to buy a copy, but in reality not all 500 actually will. Having learned from experiences like these, I decided to do this Kickstarter campaign to determine how many copies of the second book by Santiago Ciuffo I would need to print. Besides that, doing this campaign could also raise awareness for the book outside the scope of pinball, as more people might be reached and become interested in Santiago’s work. For many, Santiago’s first book may have gone by unnoticed, so I created a tier that includes his first book as well. So, this Kickstarter campaign is intended to fund Santiago Ciuffo’s second book and promote the first book to a wider audience as well.
Why not fund the book with advertisements?
While ads in a magazine are more or less commonly accepted, ads in an artistic coffee table photo book feels a bit weird. Santiago’s first book was partly funded by ads that were all placed in a separate magazine that came with each copy of the book. At the time, that seemed a good alternative for having each ad being added as a separate flyer. As a publisher I’m currently more leaning towards keeping the ads for regular issues of Pinball Magazine and see if this book can be funded via Kickstarter, making it more of a classy, artistic achievement.
"If funded, when can I expect the book to be shipping?"
Contrary to other publishers who still had to get started on everything after getting it funded, this book is mostly done. The photos are already taken, the layout is done, and most of the copy for the various chapters is written. The remaining chapters will be written during this campaign and revised by American born and raised copy editors. As soon as this campaign is funded, ended and all copy revised, the book can go to print! Once printed the book will ship as soon as possible. Unlike some others, I'm not in the business of running Kickstarter campaigns. I’m already successful as a magazine publisher. I’m just trying this to see how much interest there is for such a book.
How many books will be printed?
The great thing about Kickstarter is that it allows multiple tiers that will indicate how many books will be needed. The book will have the same dimensions as regular issues of Pinball Magazine, which is 29.7 cm x 21 cm. The paper quality will be the same or even thicker. I looked into offering a hardcover edition as well, but that would require an increased price of 50 Euros plus increased shipping costs as the book will be heavier. I felt that would be far too expensive. However, if there is a demand for at least 200 of those I can maybe add it as a special tier. To those interested in a hardcover version of he second book: please contact me so I can see whether there is enough demand.
Based on other pinball/arcade book campaigns a print run of 500 books seems realistic to aim for. Therefore, the current funding goal for this campaign is based on a production run of 500 softcover books. When going to print, some extra copies are likely to be printed to be sold in the Pinball Magazine webshop, but these will be more expensive than the tiers in this campaign. The plan is to do just one print run and that’s it. If this campaign funds 625 books then I will probably print 700.
Based on previous reprints of Pinball Magazine it will be highly unlikely there will be a second print of the book, so your best chance to get in on this book is now.
To make this campaign a success, several tiers have been created. While the book may be available in the Pinball Magazine webshop while supplies last, the books offered in this campaign will be cheaper than those sold through the Pinball Magazine webshop. The book will not be available through other resellers. The only place to get it is by funding this campaign or, if you missed out, hope there’s still a copy left in the Pinball Magazine webshop.
The book, or books, will be shipped in the heaviest cardboard packaging available for post, and each book will be dispatched in air-cushioned packaging material as well. Once the books are printed, the books funded via Kickstarter will be shipped out first.
Will the book be made if this campaign is not funded?
That remains to be seen. It will depend on how close the campaign gets to funding. If there is no significant support, then probably not. If we’re just short of a few hundred dollars to fund, then chances are greater. If this Kickstarter campaign fails, there is still the option to fund the book with advertisements. Note: the book will not be available in regular bookstores. The same goes for Santiago Ciuffo’s first PINBALL book and other Pinball Magazine products: these can be bought in the Pinball Magazine web shop. Other Pinball Magazine products are available with selected resellers as well, but that won’t be the case for this book.
While Pinball Magazine is new to Kickstarter, I’m not new to delivering great quality products. The feedback to Pinball Magazine’s products has been outstanding since day one. With your help, this very limited beautiful new book by Santiago Ciuffo can be funded. So, pledge now and get in on the extras that are only available here.
At the 32nd edition of Pinball Expo I held a seminar on the new book and this Kickstarter campaign. Thanks to Pinball News you can listen to the audio of the seminar via the following link:
Risks and challenges
Unlike some other Kickstarter projects there is hardly any risk involved in funding this book. All the photos for the book have all been taken, the layout of the book is done. Only some of the chapters have yet to be written, which are just a few pages per chapter at the most. Once our copy editor approves all copy, the only thing left to do is to finish the layout of the text pages in the book, which isn’t much work either. As a magazine editor I've done that before, so there are no risks on that front.
There could be a challenge if a hardcover book would be added as an option. In that case the entire campaign would have to be successful to make both versions happen and the funding goal would need to be a lot more. The entire campaign could fail if only a few people are interested in a hardcover version of the book instead of the softcover version, or vice versa. If something like that would be the case, I'm sure we can work out a satisfactory solution, but for now I decided not to add the option of a hardcover book as well – but it may be added during this campaign if there appears to be a demand. In case you’d be interested in a hardcover edition that could cost up to 90 euro (shipping included) please do reach out to me.
The only real challenge is to get the book funded.
You can help to make this book happen, and I'm sure you'll be happy that you did once you receive the actual book.
As I'm new to Kickstarter, there is the challenge of setting up a successful campaign. To do so, I've been looking at other successful campaigns as well as campaigns that failed. I researched the do’s and don’ts of running a campaign like this and hopefully avoided all the hurdles that others already encountered.
Now it's up to you.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I will be doing a presentation on this campaign as well during Pinball Expo 2017. A video of that presentation is likely to be added to this campaign once it’s available.
- (30 days)