Yup, it's on the main sight, and Mith suggested that we talk about ideas here on the forum, soooo... here goes!
Recently in the comments there's been a bit of discussion about releasing CtS in book form. People suggested we use a Print on Demand (PoD) service to release the strip in a number of books.
Print on Demand means that we'd submit an electronic version of the book to a service (for instance lulu.com) and when people ordered, that service would print it out, bind it and ship it. The advantage of this is that there's no financial risk for Alien and Me: no setup fees, no minimum number of books to be bought, etc.
There are a number of problems, however. The first has to do with price. Production costs for PoD are obviously higher than bulk printing. To make matters worse, a comic such as Chasing the Sunset is a full colour affair, which adds to the price considerably.
Because of the landscape format of CtS we're best off putting two strips on a page in a vertical layout. Let's look at some pricing examples, using lulu.com's prices (other services are similar in price):
90 strips = 45 pages, +5 pages bonus material = 50 pages, full colour.
Production cost: $12.50
180 strips = 90 pages, +10 pages bonus material = 100 pages, full colour.
Production cost: $20
Both examples are for softcover books and are not including shipping or any profits for Alien and me.
Obviously, this is a bit expensive. Still, some people have commented they would be willing to pay this.
Which brings us to the second problem.
While the more recent strips have high quality masters (We have files at about 2.8 times the resolution that you see) which we could use for publishing, the same can definitely not be said about the earlier strips. If you browse through the archives you'll see that strips 4 till 23 are still in line-art. Furthermore for the first 65 strips we only have the masters in the "release" resolution of 706 pixels by 452. Strips 66 to 101 are at twice this resolution (1412x904) which is still only half the resolution of everything after.
On top of this, nothing before strip 324 or so is shaded.
This means that if we were to print any of the earlier work (and that's what we would naturally start with) we'd have to remaster it all. In the first 65 strips this includes taking the original scans (or in some cases rescanning) and pretty much completely remaking the strip, adding in backgrounds where necessary.
I conservatively estimate this to take about 3 hours per strip for the strips before 66, about 2 hours for anything after that. So that's 62*3+258*2=702 hours of work, minimum, to get everything to printed quality. IOW: if I were to spend two hours a day on this every single day, it would take nearly two years.
Anyway, that's the main problems.
I've had a quick scroll through the archives to figure out what we'd put in books if we made them. The following two options seem the best ones I can think up:
ca. 110 strips per book
ca. $15 per book
First book could be released by: January 2008 at the earliest
- Everything up till Leaf getting possessed by the furies (110 strips)
- about 5 pages of bonus material
- One page summary of book 1
- Every strip between leaf getting possessed and them saying goodbye from the amazons (about 128 strips)
- About 3-5 pages of bonus material
- 1-2 page summary of the books before
- Every strip between leaving no man's land and the end of the king's party in gamun (about 102 strips)
- 5+ pages of bonus material
We're still in that part.
ca. 220 strips per book
ca. $25 per book
First book could be released by: April 2008 at the earliest
Book 1 = Book 1+2 from Scheme 1
Book 2 = Book 3+4 from Scheme 1
So what do you think?
If you've gotten this far, you're probably interested (or terminally bored). We'd like to hear from you since we're not going to put in all that work for just a handful of readers that might buy the book (sorry).
Well... I'd love to see the comic turn into a book, but we've gotta remember what kind of work gets put into preparing a comic book like this. And if it's a print-on-demand (PoS) system, we'll need to remember that even without the financial risk involved, there's still the countless number of hours involved in bringing it to book form.
I can promise that I would buy the books as they come out. I've seldom seen a comic not only of such high quality, but with artists that engage with the community as much as Mithandir and Alien do, and it's something I appreciate.
Maybe we can see what kind of information we can help dig up, as readers, that will make decision-making alot easier, e.g. does anyone know of print on demand suppliers that could produce the books for cheaper? I know that Spring Arbor distributors does that, but it's possible that you'd need to have a publisher already... but that's something I'm not sure about yet, being that I know very little about what goes into making a book.