From our Printer…

My printer says:

“I am set, all material has been bought. As soon as I hear from Marcel and Joel, I print. Biffi is making the bronzes for stamping. I should be sending you books within the end of April.”

And that folks, is authoritative… I know it’s much longer than you (or I, for that matter) had anticipated, but printing is imminent, and I hope to be shipping to you before the end of April.


About Postage

Virtually everyone who wants their books shipped out of the US wants to know what it will cost, a most reasonable question. About a year or so ago, the “slow boat” method of shipping packages internationally disappeared, leaving only the costlier methods of getting things across the pond or the lake. At the moment, the best method seems to be the USPS. For international shipments, the 20 pound flat rate boxes are best. Trouble is, that I’m not certain what the size of the book in its shipping box, as I receive it from the printer, will be. This means that I’m not certain whether a pair of books will fit the medium box, or the “large” box. The difference is that one costs $41, the other about $48. And, of course, that is one of three shipments. You can have a look at these rates on (Don’t ask me why the US Postal Service has a “.com” suffix, it’s a long story.) Priority Mail International takes about a week.

Of course, if you are completely desperate for your first two copies, I’ll ship by any means by which you are willing to pay. But the commercial carriers, FedEx, DHL and so on get astoundingly expensive.

For those of you in the US, your books will most likely arrive “media mail”. It’s less expensive than Priority, but if the difference turns out to be reasonable, I may change my mind. The difference in shipping time is 3 days vs. 8 days, at least, this has been my experience.

The original VIE was shipped in two boxes of about 30 pounds. At that time, international parcel post still existed, but it still cost a bunch. Today, I’d be afraid to estimate the cost for those books.

If one of the Australians is interested, you might look up for me the cost of sending, for example, 9 pounds from Sydney to Perth. There’s a small possibility (no promises) that if there are sufficient subscribers in Australia that I’d send a number of sets directly from Milan to someone there, who would be willing to transship the sets to other folk in Australia. This might save a few bucks.

People near Milan will get their books some more direct method than via Virginia.

Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. By the way, a proofing copy of Volume 3 is sitting here on my computer: I am reading Dodkin’s Job while trying to work up the enthusiasm to measure time delays in coaxial cable. Guess which one is more fun…you’re correct. If you haven’t read Dodkin’s Job, you are in for a real treat–it’s hilarious.


Peeking behind the curtain

Sometimes, folk are interested to hear what goes on in getting a book out the door. Part of the process is getting the book set in the format to be printed. This involves a program, in our case Adobe’s InDesign, that is really a means of “painting” a page with text from something like MS Word.

This is both labor-intensive, and a skilled craft. But even once it is done, there are interesting issues. Here’s part of an e-mail exchange between the compositor, Joel Anderson, and one of our main proofers, Marcel van Genderen:

On your last finding, p 621 in “Strange People, Queer Notions”,
“connoisseurs stuff”, I’d expect an apostrophe too. It was printed
this way, and a search of the TI notes, which are still in the
textport file, doesn’t find the word mentioned.

Should we fix it? — “connoisseur’s”?

…I think “lid to the gypsy still” is equivalent to “the lid of the
gypsy’s still”, as in the pot they use to distill their poteen.

If you don’t believe that the still was ambulatory, then you might be inclined to insert a possessive. But here’s the response from the Marcel to the Joel:

I read: lift the gypsy, still dripping. The comma is not there of course.

This is amusing, but during the work on the original VIE, we had texts with 600 marked exceptions. These were meticulously tracked down, researched if necessary, and marked for correction. I write “marked for correction” because the folk who made the fix/no fix decision didn’t actually implement the change. This was done by a separate group of volunteers.

When I have a few moments, I may pull a sample sheet from the original work, so that you can see what a text looked like before we addressed the various issues. It’s an eye opener.

More later…