Beware the backward game of World Wide Art Books.

Yesterday, I received a seemingly pleasant email from a curator at World Wide Art Books, a publishing company that puts out expensive coffee table books featuring artists & photographers from around the world. It was an invite to submit some work for consideration in their latest volume of "International Masters of Photography." Well hey, that sounded cool. The catch? You have to pay anywhere from $880 to $6,800 (depending on how many pages you want) to have your work included. Wait, WHAT? Yup. It seems you're required to be personally wealthy in order for your work to grace the pages of their book that implies you're an "international master." First, I thought photographers were the ones who were supposed to get paid when a publisher wants to use a photo. Second, If you have to pay to get in, doesn't that in a sense, make it just an really expensive business card? It's like asking someone who's good at their job to give up part of their salary for a better title. And, I'm guessing you'd still have to buy your own copies…

It's actually quite smart in how deceptive it is. They make money because people will pay to take the shortcut. Easy beats free, right? Who wouldn't want to point a book with a title like that, and say their work is on page 10? But a book like this calls into question the validity of the title. Are they really "international masters" if they had to buy their way in? No. These are just ads. And they completely preclude all the other amazing photographers who couldn't afford to participate.

With the decline of print, and so many book stores closing, it should be obvious that there aren't as many people buying these kinds of books anymore. It's an old idea. You're better off future-proofing your online portfolio and sticking with social media, or printing your own. It would certainly be more cost effective.