> So, how big a deal would it be for a good graphics person to do all
> this? Instead of buying professional tools and trying to stuff I don't
> have the talent for (graphics have never been my strength) that might
> be a better way to go. But maybe this is not a tiny bit of work; a
> major contract is not an option for me.
>From my point of view, the discipline has been vacated twice: first with the advent of desktop publishing software mentioned on another thread here, and second, by the overwhelming migration of publishing to the Internet. That's pretty much left only the "high end" and Kinko's level expertise.
The high end also isn't very remunerative, it's much more about building a portfolio. I'd doubt that Chipp Kid makes a living from his book work.
I'd also make a distinction between design (grids, fonts, etc) and production, which deals with contrast and color correction, the specifics of a print run, pagination and prep, etc. Folks with these kinds of skills don't come cheaply, and the cheap ones simply shift their inexperience off to the printer. Your bill from the "designer" might be manageable, but the invoice from the printer?
As with anything, you get what you pay for. And there's also the necessity of being a good client, that is, knowing enough about the process to direct it adequately. Otherwise, I'd say you risk a mediocre outcome, or disaster.