There is no doubt at all that photobooks are a growth market and photo prints are declining. But at the risk of being slightly controversial I think we should examine what’s really meant by the statement…

The first and most important point is to decide if a photobook is in the same market segment as a photo print. Sure, they both contain photos, but that’s a bit like saying that aircraft and bicycles are the same because they’re both a form of transport?

Also what about price? There’s excellent growth in the UK market for instant photos from a kiosk. Prices vary, but if you want a print NOW then a photoprint will cost around 25p each but this market is growing! Show me a 25p photobook and I might be convinced they’re competing products (unless it’s a one page photobook!).

If I want 100 prints made by a minilab or similar in a retail store and I am prepared to wait an hour or even 24 hours, I might get them on a deal for 5p each or less! Is that really the same as a £25 photobook?

It’s so easy to make quick photo prints perhaps quite frequently. Is it really the same behaviour for a consumer to make and order a photobook? It takes around 2 hours to produce a photobook online so not surprisingly very few are ordered in-store at a retail kiosk.

So, what about market size? In 2010 the UK consumer photobook market was around 1.2M books, 1.1M are ordered on-line! In Contrast to this, the UK forecast in 2010 was that over 2.5bn photo prints will be ordered and printed mainly in-store!

Yes, there’s decline in photo prints but that revenue still accounts for the vast majority of photo revenue in any country! Is this growth in photobooks replacing photo prints or are the consumers different?

Or are photo print consumers viewing photos via email, on their laptops, iphones or mobile phones and just not printing any more?

I’m quoting UK numbers here but in Western Europe every country is different! Some countries even experience growth in photo print revenue albeit a couple of percent. So why is this, why do some of us print photo prints and some print photobooks. Are they different consumers or are consumers ordering both?

What do you think? What do you do…?