soooooo. i announced a couple places that i was putting up the entire contents of RECIDIVIST IV online, and i said i would do it this past week.*
well, i did. but its hidden and i think i’m going to keep it that way for a little while. this is NOT a bait and switch, i swear.
here’s what happened. for those of you who have purchased the thing; firstly– thank you. and secondly– you probably know by now that it takes some wrestling and digging to read it. but i explained all that elsewhere.
here’s the transparency part– while that difficulty in reading is almost entirely on purpose, and was my intent from the very beginning, i have to admit that on a couple pages, it went further than i wanted it to. the process bit me. i’d done test prints and all that, but… ink density and all those layers of riso ink….there’s spots where it doesn’t punch through.
as i said– i wanted a specific effect, and for it to be very difficult in spots. but not impossible. that was not my intent. i worked real hard on those words, and believe it or not, they’re meant to be read.
and so i cursed myself for a few days straight. and then i thought– it is what it is, what do i do with it? and all of a sudden i started to find it really…interesting. because HAVING to read it in another form to get the “missing” text…well heck i didn’t plan that but…when you think about it, it underlines the theme(s) of the whole book, and adds a layer that i hadn’t intended, and never would have considered had everything gone “perfectly”. so i decided i was going to put up a readable copy, for free. also because i just thought that’d be awesome.
but that wasn’t the only factor. it was also because i had to price it higher than i wanted ($20 is no small change. the zine guy in me thought that was a travesty, and the 43 year old man in me who spent 18 months on it told him to go to hell), and lastly– because i thought a free version would sort of lay bare the fact that… it’s fine to be reading it on a screen, that’s the “content”, but this thing is clearly a tactile object. that’s how it functions, that’s its intended form. the difference between the 2 would be so clear and distinct that it would almost be like two completely different books that contained exactly the same information.
and i think that is nuts. and really interesting. that the “easy” version is free, to any and everyone that wants to read it. but the object, the piece of art that’s HARD to read…that costs something. because you get to keep it. and because i worked like hell on it.
so, my awesome pal Bob helped me get the whole thing formatted and up in the virtual world. the text had been cleaned up so there was no funny business. it looks great, you can just READ it, easy peasy. all i had to do was tap a keyboard and that was that.
but then i freaked out and changed my mind.
here’s why: look, i’ve been really, really happy with the response to this thing. rather than a rousing chorus of “what the fuck” (which is what i expected), people seem to be really spending time with it, and taking it for what it is. wrestling with it and busting it apart. because you have to, to get anything out of it. that’s what i hoped to do, and it seems like that’s happening, and i couldn’t be more pleased about that fact.
and i realized– putting a “clean” easy version up would put an end to that, right away. there’d be no reason to battle it out with the thing. it very well could ruin the experience of the printed version, rather than add to it.
i mean– i wouldn’t. if i knew i could go online and just READ the thing without any hassle…when the thing got hard to read i’d try for a minute and then just say “screw this”. i just would. it’s human nature.
OR if you check it out and read it for free, and think “hey! i really like this and want the print version”, and then ordered it…the jig is up, you know? somebody already spilled the milk so it can’t help but be a letdown. you’d be robbed of how the thing is SUPPOSED to work. it’d just be this dead thing you got in the mail, rather than something you get to play with, and fall into for a while.
any of you who know me/ La Mano know that i am potentially the worst businessman in the world, and my “marketing” savvy is nonexistent. i’m not jacking anyone around. i thought it’d be really cool to let people read it for free, and then realized wait maybe that’s not so cool at all.
i am still going to put it up. just not… for a while. especially for all of you who bought one and have pages you just can’t read (and you want to).
i think i should let it play out a while.
sorry for the runaround.
thanks and best,
ps–anyone who wants to pipe up on this in the comments, whether you’ve seen/ bought the thing or not…i’d be real interested to hear your thoughts.
*with an $18 refund to anyone who felt ripped off by this move.