The New Walden Preorder Is Live (Public Post)
At very, very long last
This project celebrates two things I hold sacred: seeing and appreciating.
And it only took six and a half years to get this party started.
In Walden, Henry David Thoreau offers a master class in paying attention to this wild world that engulfs us, and the endless worlds that grow and die within us. He prompts us to interrogate what we’re doing with our lives and why. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” he says, “to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
“Look! Look closer!” he seems to say, or whisper, or scream on nearly every page. “A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
How strange and countercultural such slow, careful and deliberate looking is for us today – and how refreshing to those brave enough to try it.
Since 2015, this project has occupied a place in my life. Sometimes engulfing, at other times hardly more than a shadow in the back of my mind – but always insistent. Insistent that I find a way to say, Look! Look what I’ve found! See the shape I’ve given this story. See this object that honors the words within. Read these words for yourself, admire this book when it stands silent on your shelf and give it away to an observant young person who may one day give it to their grandchild.
I read Walden for the first time in 2014. I couldn’t find an edition that looked like a genuine reflection of the story. So I made my own. I made the Walden I couldn’t find, and I made it for you. Now, today, finally, you can secure your copy.
352 Pages, 89 Months, 2.9 Pounds, 1 Chance
Crowdfunding – the Scrappy Way
Our preorder campaign is similar to a Kickstarter but with several key differences. We’re using an open-source crowdfunding tool called Craigstarter, which was made by a man named Craig (naturally). Craig Mod, to be specific – a prolific walker, writer, photographer and designer of The New York Times and Wired fame. Craig wanted to publish a crowdfunded book and made his own tool for it. Craigstarter snaps onto Shopify, an established commerce platform.
Like a Kickstarter, we have a goal and a deadline. But we wanted more flexibility than Kickstarter allows, so we’ve given ourselves 90 days to sell at least 1,000 preorders. If we only sell 999 copies in that time, the project won’t happen and you’ll get a full refund.
We think 1,000 pre-sales is pretty conservative. 2,000 is what we’re really aiming for. A broader readership, of course. And better margins for us, quite frankly. Creating this book has been a tremendous joy, and it’s cost me several pounds of flesh. Several of you know the full story. And wiser financial heads have nudged me and said, “Um, Matt? You know it’s okay if this project generates some profit, right?”
Now, here’s the kick...er.
You’ve got today and the next 89 days to snag your copy of Walden, and then you’ll be out of luck. Unless you want to duke it out with folks on eBay.
We’re making one edition and no more. So if you’re thinking, “I’ll bookmark this for the Christmas season,” you’ll be too late.
The reason is simple: while spending thousands of hours with Thoreau has been enlightening and transformative, I’m full of my own books. Jon and I don’t want to spend the rest of our lives circulating other people’s words. Our next publishing project will not only be designed but also written by yours truly.
Some of you have eagerly anticipated this day for several years. You’ve been patient (why are you still reading? Go!). And if you’re worried we might not hit our deadline – you can help! Forward this email to every nature-lover, bibliophile and design-lover you know.