The book, either in print or electronic form is the natural venue for photography.
For many, the book is “a finished work of fiction or non-fiction bound into a single volume.” Be that as it may, the baseline definition of a book is “a set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers.” Nothing is said about content nor is there allowance here for the digital book.
We need to go a bit further so, for our purposes, a book is “a finished work of fiction or non-fiction in either print or electronic form, presented as a single volume which is complete unto itself presenting content to the reader sequentially.” Rather than worrying about the binding or the “packaging between covers” (the structure of the thing), this definition is based on the function of the book.
On the “production” side of things, the book, by the same definition above, presents the photographer with a structured approach to thinking about and organizing work, allowing it to be presented exactly as intended.
The thought of “doing a book from scratch” can be daunting and fraught with trepidation. But with the right tools and breaking the process down into its component parts, it becomes fairly straight forward. Not easy but straight forward.
Note that this section gets fairly technical and be forewarned- the first one you do will be a frustrating mess because of all the little details (hopefully a little less so if you keep reading here) and will go infuriatingly slowly. The second one will be a lot better. And by the third one, the process will be almost second nature.
Note that the software package used here is LibreOffice Writer and while it shows its word processing roots, it has sufficient page layout power to handle book production of this type. LibreOffice is an open source, cross-platform (Windows, Macintosh and Linux), office suite that is produced by the Document Foundation and is freely available. A unique feature of Writer is that you can export work to a hybrid .pdf file (the .odt file is embedded in the .pdf) allowing you to edit the .pdf file directly. It can also export to a .pdf archive file which is designed for long-term storage.