Photography

Announcing my new photo book, Vinyl Village

My new book is now available!

It’s a photo essay about the suburban neighborhood I live in — a vinyl village. That’s where the title comes from: Vinyl Village. It’s a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the point of view of many, many walks I took through the neighborhood studying it closely.

The book is available worldwide on Amazon:

If your country isn’t listed, go to your country’s Amazon site and search for Jim Grey “Vinyl Village”. If that doesn’t work, try the URL https://www.amazon.XX/gp/product/B09JJKG225/, where you replace the XX with your country’s domain.

I’m pleased to be able to price Vinyl Village at just $9.99. (It’s priced equivalently in other countries.) Publishing on Amazon is key to me being able to offer the book at this price. Amazon takes a much smaller cut than services like Blurb, which I have used in the past. I’ll write more about my experience publishing a photo book on Amazon in a future post.

– – –

“Vinyl village” is a pejorative term for the kind of suburban neighborhood I live in: curved streets filled with frame houses, all swathed in vinyl with some brick decoration. Generally, the houses are built to a minimum standard. They are up to code, but in the least expensive possible way.

But the book isn’t about construction standards. It’s about the way the houses are built to be attractive from the front, but the sides and the back are huge swaths of vinyl interrupted only by the occasional, randomly placed window. It’s also about how the houses are arranged on the land, revealing the vinyl-slathered sides and backs of dozens and dozens of houses and making private back yards hard to come by. Finally, it’s about the high-voltage power lines and the petroleum pipeline that run through, and the Interstate highway that borders it.

For a neighborhood that has this many challenges, it sure has no trouble attracting residents. Houses for sale here frequently sell the day they’re listed. It’s rare for one to stay on the market longer than a week. It’s because this neighborhood is the least expensive way to own a home in what is otherwise a wealthy suburb with well-regarded schools. Few of us get to live in our dream homes. We find the best situation our finances allow, and if we are fortunate, we like it well enough.

Come take a look at my neighborhood. It’s so quintessentially American.

More details, and how to get your copy, at Midnight Star Press here.

My photo essay book, Vinyl Village, is available!
Click here to learn more and get a copy!

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20 thoughts on “Announcing my new photo book, Vinyl Village

  1. Take my money ;-)

    I just ordered one. And I am very curious about publishing on Amazon because I looked at Blurb and recreating my magazine with them is about 40€ which is insane. I do like Magcloud for now but they don’t offer anything book-like. But they have a larger landscape magazine now…

    But I like the topic and I am curious how it turned out.

    • Thank you for your purchase! I hope you enjoy the book.

      I have a whole post coming on Friday bout publishing on Amazon rather than Blurb. In short: the quality isn’t nearly as good, but the cost is SO much lower that it might be worth it.

  2. Andy Umbo says:

    A very interesting subject, and brings to mind Bill Owens 1973 publication “Suburbia”. It certainly seems like it might be a subject that has had little focus over the years, based on it’s “seeming” blandness, but as we all know, more there than anyone thinks!

    Ditto to Paul Hoppe’s question. Were you happy with the “quality”? What made you go with Amazon? As Paul states: Blurb can be financially “daunting”, but I have a retrospective of some photographer friends years of work done on Blurb that cost me $75 USD plus shipping, but it’s about as close to a high-end book as you can get, direct to press! I certainly am interested in a soft cover, more “mag than book” style publication that may make it easier to get work into peoples hands!

    • I’ll have to look up the Owens book!

      I’m not fully happy with the quality I got. I’ll explain a little more in my post on Friday. I could have chosen a better paper and might next time. I think it would help. I chose the same stuff Amazon uses for novels; it is optimized for printing text.

      But you can’t argue with that $9.99 price. No way you can do that on Blurb. Might not even be able to do it on MagCloud,

    • Have a look at Magcloud. They do offer a few landscape formats that I like for photo magazines. But I am kind of on the fence about the wire-o-binding. But I did like the paper quality. Once I get my copy I can compare the quality between both.

  3. I got my copy the other day. It is more optimized for text, but a great package for getting your work to people. I thorough enjoyed it. Well done!

    • I was kind of hoping when I tried this that the quality would be minimally acceptable, and would allow more people to enjoy my work! Thanks for your feedback.

  4. A brave and maybe counterintuitive step, for the Midwest. The counterpart to any number of sites documenting the West? Except, as you point out, it’s a real mixed blessing in the Midwest. If we could convince Leadership to include sidewalks, services, and transport that would resolve the absolute dependence of the Vinyl Village on the automobile…

    • We do have sidewalks here, but they don’t take you anywhere but around the neighborhood. If I walk in the main road I can walk to a drug store and several restaurants. If I cross a six-lane highway I can walk to a big-box store. But that’s it.

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