It’s obvious from the name that the main point of Buy Film Canada is to provide film to Canadian photographers, but I’d like to serve the film community in broader ways as well. Offering stuff like C-41 chemicals and a (growing) selection of cameras is one part of this, but I’m extremely excited about the next step, which I’ve been thinking about for as long as the store has existed: Distributing prints and photo zines (including self-published books) through the site.
Photo zines are growing in popularity in the film community, and to me, that’s an incredibly exciting thing. I love that people are collecting their photos, selecting ones that fit together, laying them out into a sequence, or collection of some sort, and publishing them. It’s so great than in 2017, there are so many great tools that make it easy to self-publish this way.
Photo prints probably don’t need a huge explanation, but just to be specific, I’d like to distribute high-quality prints, of course shot on film. Originally, I wanted to just carry traditional darkroom prints, but after discussing it with people over the past month or two, I’ve decided to accept any type of print, as long as it’s good quality, and of course the photo must be shot on film (the site isn’t called Buy Zeroes And Ones Canada!)
I am extremely into the idea of people publishing their work, whether it’s in zines, books or prints, and I desperately want to get as many people doing this as possible, and that really is why I want to offer this service. I floated the idea on the Buy Film Canada newsletter and the response was very positive, so I’m going ahead with it.
Whether you have work you want to reach a wider audience, or you just don’t feel like shipping your stuff out to your friends/family/fans yourself, I hope this is a helpful service.
In order to make it as quick and easy as possible, I want to explain the whole way I’m doing this. I’m going to go into excruciating detail below, but the main points are that it’s a consignment system where you (yes you) send me your zines/books/prints, I list them on the site, process the payments, pack and ship the items, and then I pay you.
A Little More Info on What You Can Distribute This Way:
- Zines/books must be mainly photographic in nature. Of course there can be words and everything, but it has to generally fall into the category of “photo zine”. So for instance, a music zine with a few photos in it doesn’t really qualify. If you’re unsure, you can contact me, describe the zine/book, and ask.
- The format, length, type of printing, etc. are flexible. There are obviously no formal specifications for zines, so anything reasonable is fine.
- The idea is that the photography should be shot on film, although it’s probably fine if there are a few digital images. I don’t think this is a huge issue, since photo zines seem to be mostly a film photo thing anyway. This rule isn’t as strict as with photo prints, which must be shot on film.
- No strict content rules, but nothing illegal (including copyright issues) or hateful.
- The photos should be good quality. This is obviously hard to define, I’m basically saying is just that you want your prints to be printed nicely, and to include your best shots. I’m worried I’m sounding too negative or harsh here, but that’s not the case, I just mean that you probably don’t want to download 30 JPGs from your Instagram account and then printing them on pieces of dollar store paper. Contact me to discuss this more.
- Sizes are flexible. People are going to be more likely to want to buy something that fits in a standard frame of course, but whatever serves your art best is fine. One note: I’m probably not going to be able to distribute extremely large prints right away, but we can talk about this during the contact stage.
- Must be shot on film (exact format is not important), as mentioned already a few times.
- The content is, of course, up to you. Again, nothing illegal (including copyright issues) or hateful.
As mentioned, photo prints can be printed using analog or digital methods. I have a real fondness for silver gelatin prints, and a lot of this idea came to me while visiting a gallery in Barcelona that had a great collection of B&W prints on display, but it’s obviously much easier to get digital prints made these days (I don’t have a darkroom myself), so that’s fine.
How to get started:
Please get in contact by using the form or email address on this page. Describe what you want to distribute, in as much detail as you can (format, size, prince you’d like to charge, etc.), and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible to discuss it. Once we agree on the terms, you can ship the items to Buy Film Canada, and we’ll list them on the site.
The Nitty-gritty Terms of How This Works:
For the sake of clarity, the creator of the zine/book/print is referred to as the Publisher, the zine/book/print itself is referred to as the Publication and the person who buys an item from Buy Film Canada is referred to as the Customer.
- After initial discussions, the Publisher ships an agreed upon amount of items to Buy Film Canada.
- The Publisher and Buy Film Canada will have decided on a selling price beforehand, and the zine is listed at that price.
- When a copy is sold, expenses are deducted (see below) and the remaining profit is split 80% to the Publisher, 20% to Buy Film Canada.
Expenses include the following:
- Fee charged by the payment processor (Paypal or Stripe for credit cards). Generally about 3-4%
- Cost of envelope (this may be insignificant, see below)
- Any part of the shipping fee that Buy Film Canada pays (see below)
If a Customer buys other items in addition to the Publication (this is the most likely, expected scenario) then the expenses are split among the whole order, based on dollar value. Here’s an example to illustrate this:
A TYPICAL EXAMPLE:
- Customer buys $70 worth of film, and a zine (Publication) selling for $10.
- The customer pays $6 for shipping, and Buy Film Canada pays $4 of the shipping charges (see below).
- Paypal charges $2.60 in fees.
- The shipping container costs $0.90
- The total expenses are $7.50 (broken down as $4 shipping + $2.60 processing fees + 0.90 shipping materials)
- Since the Publication was $10 of a $80 order, we assess the expenses as one eighth (12.5%) of the $7.50, which is $0.98.
- So now we deduct $0.98 from the $10.00 selling price, and the net revenue is $9.02
- For listing, packing and shipping the Publication, 20% of the $9.02 (which is $1.80) goes to Buy Film Canada.
- The remaining $7.22 goes to the Publisher.
When a customer buys anything on Buy Film Canada, the site covers 40% of the actual cost of shipping. As someone potentially selling your zine/books/print on the site, you might be tempted to say “Hey, why should I pay, shouldn’t the customer pay for his own shipping?” The answer is that people are simply much more likely to order from the site when shipping costs are reasonable. If we charged exact shipping, your zine/book/print would have a much lower chance of ever being sold. If this is a worry though, you should factor this into the price you want to charge for your zine/book/print.
Buy Film Canada also gives free shipping for orders over $99 in Canada. In these cases, the shipping charges will be divided as explained above, but they will be based on 100% of the shipping fee. Again though, this actually makes it much more likely that you’ll sell your item, and more importantly, your portion of the shipping charges will be mixed in with all the other items that the customer is buying, which is at least $99 worth of stuff.
Please get in touch with any questions over this fee structure.
RETURN OF CONSIGNED ITEMS
At any point, either the Publisher or Buy Film Canada can end this agreement, and the remaining Publications will be returned to the Publisher. If the Publisher decides to end the agreement early (60 days or less after the items are listed on the site), they are responsible for shipping charges to send the remaining Publications back to them. Otherwise, Buy Film Canada will pay for shipping.
In some cases, alternate terms to these may have to be reached, for various reasons. These will all be agreed upon before the Publisher ships the Publication(s) to Buy Film Canada.
Buy Film Canada reserves the right to reject any submitted Publications for any reason.
Listen, I am not in love with communicating all this legalese sort of language, because this whole thing is truly not about making money for the site. I would love to not charge any fee at all, but there is a deceptively large amount of work involved in receiving shipments and listing them on the site, and just as much (if not more) in actually shipping out merchandise to customers. I researched typical consignment fees, and 20% seemed on the low side, and I think it’s fair to everyone involved.
Also, if you have some unique sort of photographic work that doesn’t fit perfectly into the category of zine/book/print, but is in the ballpark, feel free to get in touch.
If you have some stuff you’d like listed on the site, please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!