Update - A Common Thread is Officially Out of Print
And so we reach a new milestone in our career as small pressioniers – A Common Thread, our first book, is now our first project to sell out all of its editions. In total, I think we made about 80 of these – there was the 50 copy first edition that sold out in the pre-order phase, five presentation copies, and then around 25 second edition copies, the last of which sold this afternoon and will ship out tomorrow. The second edition was split into a numbered edition of 10 copies and an unnumbered edition, and we made them in batches based on demand, which is why neither of us actually knows how many copies there were. Also bizarre is that each batch had a different kind of cover stock. I could go on at length about the poor planning involved in making this book, but suffice it to say that we actually did have enough of the green paper used on the 1st edition to make 10 or 15 more copies, although we didn’t know that we would have any extra until the first edition was finished. In order to give the 2nd edition its own identity, we went out and bought different paper (gray Fabriano paper), although we didn’t buy enough of this paper to satisfy the demand for 2nd edition copies… and when the art store we went to was out of gray Fabriano paper, we took the lazy route and bought some lighter gray Canson paper (rather than searching around for more Fabriano). So, we made five or so copies with this paper (probably the rarest of the 2nd edition copies), thinking that would be it, but then people continued to email us about the book, so we decided to make a third an final batch, taking the even lazier route of using the original Wyndstone paper used for the 1st edition for these last copies.
So, if you own a 2nd edition copy, you now know why your copy may not look like your neighbor’s copy.
I’m sure we could squeeze out 20 more of these and satisfy demand for the next few years, but the simple truth is that these books take a really long time to make, are way underpriced for the amount of labor we have to put into them, and pull us away from other projects. When I start working on a book (I don’t want to speak for my lovely co-publisher), I get tunnel vision and want to focus only on seeing that project through to completion… to the point where I was getting annoyed with having to switch gears to “finish” copies of A Common Thread (pasting in endpapers, trimming, pasting down cover plates, etc.) in order to fill orders. And really, nothing we do should be annoying or tedious… there are process involved in publishing that can’t be described any other way, but the excitement of coming out with a brand new book offsets that tedium, and that excitement just isn’t there anymore with a book that is, as Fergie would say, “so two thousand late.”
The sagely Bill of Bottle of Smoke Press once described his reason for never publishing second editions similarly (although much less long-windedly), and it basically boils down to the fact that we can either take up our resources making more copies of books we already published or we can direct our energy to new projects. And honestly, I’m as excited about our next project as I have been about anything we’ve done so far. I’ll post a teaser about it in a few more days.