Hi gang! I know many people have been quite vocal about wanting a book update. We were targeting end of February, and of course that has come and gone. Here is what’s going on.
The book is being pushed back a bit. I know this is disappointing, and I see the comments, so I know I have some very vocal critics out there. To you guys and gals, please hang in there. To those of you who have posted encouraging words, or messaged me an excited note, THANK YOU! Aaron designed the book, and it looks great, but all of the other decisions were made by a team of one.
The big reason for the delay is a change in printer. I ran out of ink and Staples doesn’t have Epson 127 in stock. That was a joke. Originally we were set to print the book in China. The overwhelming majority of printing being done these days are all shipped over to China and handled there. They are carried on pallets in big shipping containers and they make their way to the printing facilities. The reason for this is that the quality is OK, and the rates are a bit cheaper. I never really wanted to go that route, but I signed off on it. But then I had a real concern.
As you know, Black Francis, myself, and Aaron Tanner did a lot of signing for this project, something like 3500 copies. Since Black Francis was on tour with the Pixies, and Aaron is in Indiana, and I am in New York, it was a logistical challenge to get all 3 of us in one place at the same time to sign a massive pile of books. It was not going to happen. So the solution was to sign the actual pages of paper that would make up the end pages of the book. That way we are working with a few cases of (very large and very heavy) paper, instead of a massive pile of 9×12 books. Even with this solution it was still a challenge. We started signing in the tiniest hotel room in NYC, back in September, when the Pixies were playing a run of shows there. The place was so small, Aaron and I could not even be in the same room to sign, there wasn’t enough space! I sat on a bed signing, and he was standing in the tiny kitchen at the counter. But we made it work. Then it came time to have Black Francis sign. This was a bit more challenging. After a few aborted attempts, we found a block of time in December that worked, and I drove up to Massachusetts and we signed at his office. This was an intense two day process, and I really thank him for making it work.
So the signing process was a big challenge but we made it work. Circling back now to printing in China, I was hit with this thought: WHAT IF something happened along the way? WHAT IF this one pallet with 4 big boxes of signed pages for some reason did not make it to the printer? Or WHAT IF, having reached the printer, the 4 boxes got lost in the shuffle of thousands of other boxes and pages? The more I thought about it, the more it made me want to reconsdier our printing options. Now I am sure things would have been fine, but the WHAT IF factor really through me for a loop, and I just did not want to risk losing these signed pages. I know that a big reason for the success of the Kickstarter campaign was that Black Francis would be signing EVERY COPY of the initial release of the book. So this was a deliverable. And because of the logistical challenges of signing the actual pages of the book, not a bookplate or a sticker, I am pretty certain this is a one-time-only signing like this.
My other concern for printing is that I wanted to print here in the States. I think most creative people, no matter where in the world they are, when embarking on a journey like this, with the end result being a tangible, tactile, physical product, one feels a certain sentiment towards having things done locally. The more I thought about it, the more I spoke with friends, the more I felt this was the way to go. In my book I want to see “Printed in the United States of America, bitches”. And I kid you not, I think I am really going to have it written like that. So that is another big reason for the delay.
These are the two big reasons for the delay. I know everyone is impatient, and everyone wants the book. Trust me, I want to see the finished copy more than any of you. Please just try to understand my reasoning and thought process on this. In the end, I truly feel it makes for a better book.
I will send out another update when I have a better idea of the ship date. The GOOD NEWS with a US printer is less delay in getting the books to the fulfillment house, so it won’t be long now!
Sean T. Rayburn