i had an email this morning from someone who required to know whether my books were printed on recycled stock.
she wrote :
"I am curious. Are your books printed on recycled paper and with other eco-friendly materials? I have Eco Colour but borrowed Second Skin from the library. They look like they were expensive productions. Please tell me they are produced with recycled paper and earth friendly inks and materials."
i wrote back and explained that the Australian edition of Eco Colour and the first edition of Second Skin were indeed printed on recycled stock and with vegetable inks but that the United States edition of Eco Colour wasn't [it was out of my control along with the advertising that appeared in the back of the book much to my surprise : for the record i do not endorse any of the advertised products] and that the second edition of Second Skin wasn't either [due to management changes at Murdoch Books]
but afterward i wondered whether she was typing her message on a computer made from recycled parts and using only earth-friendly energy? hmm.
and is there a reason why a book made from recycled paper should not look sumptuous?
that would imply that those of us who choose to wear environmentally 'friendly' clothing should perhaps dress in sackcloth so that we don't look too elegant. [admittedly my family too frequently observes that i look as if i am wearing a sack but that is another matter. entirely.]
the Blurb books are not printed on recycled stock. nor are the inks made from plants. i accept this is a drawback. on the bright side, though, the "print on demand" platform means that there will not be warehouses full of remaindered books rotting away because nobody wants them.
i've had that problem before, having overestimated the catalogue numbers for the exhibition 'watermarks' back in 2008. fortunately they were printed on recycled stock with vegetable inks so the box of extras [which nobody wanted at the time] made environmentally friendly [if expensive] weed suppressants in the garden.
i was hoping that 'shapeshifter', the handbook about clothing that i am preparing to publish in the Australian spring could be printed using as environmentally responsible means as possible.
that it would be a limited edition available by direct subscription, even if that meant i had to package them all personally [unlike Blurb which has printing houses dotted around the whirled and does all the packaging and mailing]
i'm still debating whether i will be able to fund it myself or whether to dive into something like Kickstarter. or whether i should go that road at all.
the cold hard fact is that though it's really exciting for me each time some kindly person buys a book, total sales [of all titles] through Blurb so far this month number only 352 and 30% of those were 'e' books or PDFs. in order to keep the unit cost reasonable [so that with postage it is affordable as well as returning something on the investment of my time] i would need to have at least 1000 printed. and there wouldn't be an 'e' version. the thought of investing it what may become yet another pile of unwanted weed suppressant is somewhat dispiriting, so in the interests of market research...
what are your thoughts, oh gentle readers?
make a huge financial investment in eco-sustainable printing the hope of breaking even?
or stick with Blurb?
neither way is perfect. neither am i. but as i wrote to the correspondent above, i'm doing the best i can.
don't forget folks, those of you who have bought the Bundle Book still have until August 3 to enter that lucky dip for one of three ecoprint tsunobukuro bags, details