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1 January 2010 Comparing image quality of print-on-demand books and photobooks from web-based vendors
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Because of the emergence of e-commerce and developments in print engines designed for economical output of very short runs, there are increased business opportunities and consumer options for print-on-demand books and photobooks. The current state of these printing modes allows for direct uploading of book files via the web, printing on nonoffset printers, and distributing by standard parcel or mail delivery services. The goal of this research is to assess the image quality of print-on-demand books and photobooks produced by various Web-based vendors and to identify correlations between psychophysical results and objective metrics. Six vendors were identified for one-off (single-copy) print-on-demand books, and seven vendors were identified for photobooks. Participants rank ordered overall quality of a subset of individual pages from each book, where the pages included text, photographs, or a combination of the two. Observers also reported overall quality ratings and price estimates for the bound books. Objective metrics of color gamut, color accuracy, accuracy of International Color Consortium profile usage, eye-weighted root mean square L*, and cascaded modulation transfer acutance were obtained and compared to the observer responses. We introduce some new methods for normalizing data as well as for strengthening the statistical significance of the results. Our approach includes the use of latent mixed-effect models. We found statistically significant correlation with overall image quality and some of the spatial metrics, but correlations between psychophysical results and other objective metrics were weak or nonexistent. Strong correlation was found between psychophysical results of overall quality assessment and estimated price associated with quality. The photobook set of vendors reached higher image-quality ratings than the set of print-on-demand vendors. However, the photobook set had higher image-quality variability.
©(2010) Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Jonathan B. Phillips, Peter Bajorski, Peter D. Burns, Erin P. Fredericks, and Mitchell R. Rosen "Comparing image quality of print-on-demand books and photobooks from web-based vendors," Journal of Electronic Imaging 19(1), 011013 (1 January 2010).
Published: 1 January 2010


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