If the art is too small, less than 6-7 inches, it can lose its detail, and therefore its impact. It’s also desirable that the art book open flat, either via coil binding or saddle-stitching (for smaller books). If it glowed, then that would be great, but paper doesn’t quite do that; however, one can go out in the sun and look at it.
The ultimate would be to use PrestoPhoto.com to produce a 14×11 coil-bound (so it will lay flat) book (up to 220 pages), with one artwork per page, which could cost a dollar or more per page, depending on the paper quality chosen. While not many can afford to buy at this size, it’s still useful to make one for yourself. An 11×8.5 size would be more than fine, though, but has no coil bound option; however, 8.5×11 books of 80 pages or less have a saddle-stitch option. Another great feature of PrestoPhoto is that one book can be printed in different sizes. For example, the sizes 14×11, 11×8.5, and 9×7 can scale into one another.
More reasonably, one could place four artworks on a 14×11 PrestoPhoto page, which is still kind of an unwieldy book size, so one might as well put two artworks on an 8.5×11 page, via any printing site, which is the optimal arrangement for me.
Four artworks per 8.5×11 or 11×8.5 page doesn’t quite seem to cut it, visually, but could be used in a pinch, perhaps, for reducing really long art books. Eight artworks on a page would be for trading-cards.
For 8.5×11 books, Lulu.com and CreateSpace.com seem to be a bit cheaper than PrestoPhoto.com, but they only have one basic paper quality, Lulu’s being slightly better than CreateSpace’s; however, CreateSpace will publish your book on Amazon. PrestoPhoto, though, has the best hardcover and paper options, by far. For a traditional 6×9 book, Lulu has a saddle-stitch option for 88 pages or less.
CreateSpace’s acceptable margin is .75 inch, Lulu’s .50 inch, and PrestoPhoto’s an incredible .25 inch (what precision!).
If you only want to maintain one base edition of a book, export your Apple ibook edition from iBooksAuthor as a PDF, and then use Preview (set the page size via Page Setup) to put out jpegs to a folder (there is a script for this on the internet), via the Print option jpeg or tiff script, then Select All and drag all the files to a Pages document (may have to hold the Command key down), and then, in Pages, Select All, and resize them all at once (if the sizing is less than the page size they will accumulate, left to right; also, make sure you have only images, with no typing or paragraph returns or page returns or such other things). This works better with Pages ’09 than ’10 at the moment. If say, you have more than one artwork on a page and there is a gap below them, then Select All and change the font size to 1, and also fiddle with the image size, by selecting them all at once, so that a certain number of them can best fill the page. And, of course, as with any book, place a master object as the page background.
Finally, print books may have some great paper options, but none can match the glowing screen of an ebook on a computer or a tablet, nor the low book price; so, they would be the electronic ultra, as even tablets have around a 9×7 inch screen, and one can even include video.
So now, it seems that the extra ultimate version of an art book would be a very high definition video of the book pages, on a large computer screen (wish I had a 5K imac), with, say, video effects on the art, such as fog or water moving, or sprays of whatever and whatnot, along with music, and the words being spoken, during which time the music ‘ducks’ (plays at a lower volume). Now one has everything, but income, for YouTube is free, and I don’t really know of any video-books-for-sale web sites; however, as a reasonable alternative, note that Apple ipad ibooks can be up to 2GB in size, and thus one can fit a lot of video, at 9×7 inches in size, which is large enough, and looks so stunning on the retina screen.
Here are two of my YouTube ‘book videos’ of the beginning portion of Austin’s Rubaiyat. Be sure to select the HD size for the best experience, if your internet and your computer can handle it.