Halfway Mark Reached in What Is Believed to Be the Biggest Single-Author Publishing Endeavor in History
Press release from the issuing company
FOSTER CITY, Calif., May 23 -- Today CafePress released volume 7 of the Babylon 5 Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski. Babylon 5, the Emmy-award winning science fiction television series that ran from 1994-1998, was created, produced, and written almost entirely by J. Michael Straczynski, who penned 92 out of the 110 produced scripts.
The release of volume 7 marks the halfway point of what is potentially the most ambitious and successful publishing-on-demand endeavor ever attempted. Each of the 14 volumes in the series contains seven scripts, brand new and extensive introductions and commentaries; production memos and some of Straczynski's own behind-the-scenes photos...roughly 450 pages of content per volume. Released on a schedule of roughly one per month, the series will run over 6,300 pages published over a period of approximately 14 months. It is believed that no other publisher, on-demand or otherwise, has ever attempted anything on this scale or schedule before. Paperback volumes normally sell for $39.99, but for the first seven days of each release, they are discounted $10.00 to $29.99.
The first six volumes of the series have shattered every publishing record of CafePress to date. Sales of volume 7 are expected to match or exceed previous volumes. For 48-hours following the release of each volume of the Babylon 5 scripts of J. Michael Straczynski waiting fans snap them up at an average rate of one book every 12 seconds. Based on sales figures to date the series is projected to generate in excess of $1.5 million in gross sales.
The success of this series, like the success of the Babylon 5 TV series itself, is a planetary phenomenon. From the very beginning, orders have come in from more than 40 countries around the world, including Serbia, Mainland China and the United Arab Emirates.
As a thank you to fans at this midway point, CafePress is shipping volume 7 with a free postcard bearing a special, printed, handwritten greeting from J. Michael Straczynski. The postcards, which will be included with all volume 7 books sold through August 31, 2006, are not available for sale.
When the series is complete, the roughly 6,300 page set, of which 800-plus pages are insider commentary, will provide the most intimate recounting of a television series from birth through last the episode ever committed to paper. Asked about the comprehensive nature of these books Straczynski has said, "This series is the closest I will come to going to everyone's house, one at a time, and saying 'this is what happened, once upon a time.'"
Fans must act quickly. This is a limited edition series. Shortly after volume 14 is released, all volumes will cease publication. Volumes 1-6 are still currently available at www.babylon5scripts.com.
This is the first time that Straczynski's Babylon 5 scripts have been officially published. This is eventful to fans since script stores are prohibited from selling bootlegged copies and downloading sites have been shut down. "For years, fans have come up to me with photocopied scripts they'd purchased for $20 a pop, with missing pages that are hard to read," Straczynski explains. "I thought, there has to be a better way for fans to get these scripts without paying that much for copies that are usually inferior."
According to Straczynski, major publishers were daunted by the prospect publishing the massive Babylon 5 script project as envisioned. They wanted to cherry-pick the most popular scripts and release only a couple volumes. Knowing fans of the television series would want the entire collection of scripts, Straczynski -- who is known for his devotion to his fans -- partnered with Publishing 180. Together they chose CafePress' publishing-on-demand engine for the series' printing and distribution because of their capacity to produce such an extensive project, and their previous positive experiences with CafePress.
Straczynski's instinct was accurate. Fans are especially appreciative of the near real-time aspects of publishing-on-demand. It is approximately 16 days from the time a new introduction leaves Straczynski's keyboard until it is in the hands of fans. This prompted a fan to post a note to Straczynski on the newsgroup rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated that read "Because the delay between completion and delivery is so small, it really is like getting a letter from you once a month."
The script book series is available exclusively online via www.babylon5scripts.com. To learn more about CafePress Publishing-on-demand visit http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/sell/books.
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