With a 12 years old monitor, I would get a new one. I have no experience with 4K/HiDpi/Retina displays, but be aware that only the latest versions of Adobe programs will let you scale the interface to make it readable on these devices. And, at 100% in Photoshop, (I take it that you have Photoshop?) images will be half the size of what you're used to.
Myself, being a photographer/artist/designer, I have not felt the need for a HiDpi display, I'm perfectly happy with my 1920x1200 display. I've been preparing images for print for many years, and can't see how a 4K display would represent a significant improvement.
The important thing is to get a high quality monitor, Eizo and NEC have the best reputation, but there are probably other good brands, too. I have an Eizo CX 240, which is expensive, but worth the money. And the extra 120 pixels from 1080 to 1200 really make a difference, you can see more of your work on screen.
You should definetely get a hardware calibrator, and calibrate your new monitor, it will create a custom profile for your monitor, which Photoshop and other color managed programs will use, to display your images correctly.
Then, you should read up on color management. There are plenty of threads about it in the Photoshop forum. Once you have established a color managed workflow, your images should print very close to what they look like on your screen. And it's always a good idea to do a test run with your printer, to make sure everything is OK.
Thank you Per, for your detailed reply. I'm afraid I'm not a professional photographer or designer, and my project (although it means a lot to me) isn't going to earn me a penny. I want it to look as good as I can make it, but I can't justify going out of pocket to the tune of a professional monitor like the Eizo. I think I'll just have to send a selection of pages to the printer ahead of time, and get feedback re brightness and colour. I can then (at least crudely) make adjustments.
I've had to learn my way around InDesign (with much help from members of this forum) and will next have to 'rent' Photoshop for a couple of months (and learn how to use it as well).
Quick question, anticipating this next step: if I tweak all my photos in Photoshop (I have many hundreds of them), will I then be able to replace my original photos (that are carefully cropped and placed in my InDesign project) with the tweaked photos without having to re-crop, etc.? That would save me a lot of work.
Malcolm, I understand your situation perfectly, I've also published a few books with very little profit - or a loss.
I forgot to mention Dell monitors - the high end models are quite good, and excellent value for the money, I used to have one years ago. I couldn't tell you which one to get, but you should get some good guidance if you ask in the Photoshop forum.
As long as you have placed (which I hope you have), and not embedded the images in Indesign, the originals will be replaced in ID. The links panel will display a yellow triangle for the changed images, and you'll have to update the link. I think you can select all the changed photos in the links panel, and update them all in one operation.
Presumably, they will have the same dimensions as before.
If you're going to rent Photoshop, you might want to consider the Photography Plan, which includes PS and Lightroom, and is half the price of PS only. Don't know if you're familiar with how LR works, but I use it a lot in the early stages of a book, to export low resolution photos for use in the layout process. It's a lot faster than using PS, because you you don't have to open, save, and close files, you just export a new version of the file, and the original is untouched. (LR is catalog/database based, and stores all edits in a central catalog) When the design work is finished, I export high resolution versions for final editing (sharpening) in PS.
Once again, thank you so much for your advice. I just googled 'Placing' photos in InDesign, pretty worried that I've not been doing it, and was relieved to see that I've been using Command-D all along. So that's a relief. And yes, all the tweaked photos will have the same dimension. I will look into the Photography Plan—sounds like a great deal.
Unfortunately a well calibrated and profiled monitor is only one part of getting a good softproof. The color mode you work in and the way you export the page layout will also have an effect on the preview and output.
iPhoto books are printed on a Kodak NEXPRESS digital press, which uses an Adobe PDF Print engine, so you don't want to make any CMYK conversions and you should avoid CMYK color. I think Apple recommends sRGB but you should be able to use AdobeRGB as long as you embed the profile. You should export with the PDF/X-4 preset. You also have to watchout for out-of-gamut color (RGB colors that can't be printed). Ideally you would want the press profile to use as your proof setup, but I don't think Apple provides one.
This thread might help
Thank you Rob.
I'm getting this particular project printed at a big professional printing house (this one isn't an iPhoto book), so I'll talk about all of this with the tech people there, before I export. Or maybe I'll take my MacBook Pro in, and export the project right there, with their help. I'll follow your advice as well.
In that case they should be able to provide an accurate digital proof before you go to press.
Good idea. I will ask them for one.