Castalia Library – A Throne of Bones Vol. I

We were a little late in announcing the July-August book for Library/Libraria subscribers because we have been hard at work on solving the bindery’s ongoing capacity problems. As I’ve mentioned on the Darkstream and SG, both Summa Elvetica and Heidi are scheduled to ship in December, while the subsequent books, including the Junior Classics 1-6, are scheduled to ship Q1 2022. And although we’ve gotten most of the Divine Comedy and Plutarch books shipped, we’re still hunting down a few missing ones and waiting for some of the Librarias to ship. (I don’t have mine either; rest assured we’re on it.)
The solution, as many of you know, is to build our own book factory in order to avoid being dependent upon the limited capacity of our existing partners. After getting the last two key questions answered in the affirmative, the decision was made today to proceed. We’ve already got the location, we’ve already got the support from the local government and the necessary corporate partners as well as from our current suppliers, and we’ll launch the virtual crowdfund to support it next week.
People have been asking for a Library edition of ATOB for a while now, but we didn’t have a design for the series that I was happy with until recently, and it wasn’t until we did Plutarch that we were certain we could handle a book that massive. Like Plutarch, the size of the book requires it being divided into two volumes, so Vol. I will be the July-August book and Vol. II will be the September-October book; the colors will match that of Summa Elvetica and they’ll all be part of the Arts of Dark and Light series.
In other Library news, both the Library and Libraria editions of Machiavelli’s Discourses are now available for purchase by non-subscribers. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here.

Castalia Library May update

 

This Castalia Library subscriber has clearly been blessed by the shipping gods. But it offers conclusive evidence to support the idea that the Castalia Library can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Franklin Library without shame. First, while the bindery’s new shipping system appears to have sorted out the international issues, we’re still in the process of figuring out the past problems, which is why both the Library and Libraria editions of THE DIVINE COMEDY are now out of stock. We need to make sure we’ve got sufficient quantities of both in hand just in case any shipments that went awry are lost.

Second, HEIDI is being printed now, and will almost certainly ship before SUMMA ELVETICA. Producing a signed edition seemed like a good idea at the time, but has introduced various complications and delays that we would have been wiser to avoid.
Third, for the next week, you can order the complete set of the Junior Classics in leather, or if you prefer, volumes one through three in leather. We’re about to print the first three volumes and place orders for the leather, so we need to determine the final numbers. If you still haven’t received the regular hardcovers yet, this is neither the time or the place to inform us of that, as we’re going to work on that issue the week after next.
And fourth, the current Library subscription book for May-June is DISCOURSES ON LIVY by Niccolo Machiavelli. This is, in my opinion, by far Machiavelli’s most important work, far surpassing both THE PRINCE and THE ART OF WAR in its historical and intellectual significance. I’ve read it in both Italian and English, and we’ve chosen the 1882 translation by Christian E. Detmold for its accuracy and clarity.
Finally, you can now order RHETORIC by Aristotle as a one-off. Subscriber discount codes are already valid.


2020 project updates

So, as you know, we’re behind on pretty much every single one of our projects for various reasons. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have been able to regularly improve the quality of what we’re delivering, and we expect to be able to continue doing that in 2021. Here is the current state of affairs:

CASTALIA HOUSE

We’ve significantly reduced the number of books we’re producing and removed almost all of our audiobooks from Audible in order to focus on books that are worth the effort involved to produce them. Those who want audiobooks can buy them from us directly or acquire them through the Castalia subscription on Patreon. We have completed the entire THERE WILL BE WAR series in paperback, but have not yet announced them because we need to make some minor revisions and Ingram is having some operational problems that are delaying them. The Junior Classics will be available from Castalia House through normal distribution as soon as we complete the shipments of the Original Backer editions. We also intend to produce regular hardcover editions of some of our Library books, such as MEDITATIONS and THE DIVINE COMEDY.

CASTALIA LIBRARY

The first four books have been bound and shipped. The fourth book, THE DIVINE COMEDY, is just beginning to reach the first subscribers. Books Five and Six, the two volumes of PLUTARCH’S LIVES, were scheduled to ship today, but we rejected the initial stamping because the gold was spilling over the two soldiers on the spine due to excessively fine lines. We’re working on modifying the stamping plates and expect the books to ship together in late January. A number of non-US subscribers have not received their books yet due to border blockages and insufficient airline cargo space, so just be patient, as they will get to you as soon as delivery is permitted.

ARKHAVEN COMICS

No comics will be released until March. Due to the unprecedented opportunity being presented by the meltdown of DC Comics, the Arkhaven team is focusing all of our efforts on this front on a new site dedicated to delivering free digital comics in an improved version of the Webtoons format. Chuck Dixon’s Avalon is complete. Alt-Hero is complete through Issue 9. A Throne of Bones 1-6 will be complete. Alt-Hero: Q will be complete by March. The first 3 or 4 issues of Midnight’s War will be complete. The first three issues of Swan Knight’s Saga are complete, as well as at least two issues of Shade and several Quantum Mortis issues. As a result of our partnership with an up-and-coming Brazilian comics publisher and Chuck Dixon’s efforts, other comics that will be introduced on the new site in the coming year include, but are not limited to: The Awakener, The Hammer of Freedom, The Grey Claw, Lieutenant Bravo, Hecatomb, Jungle Sword, The Wagon From Hell, and Go Monster Go.

Arkhaven’s newest star: The Awakener

In connection with the new site, we are looking for hard core volunteers who have Photoshop to help us in the conversion process to the new format. If you’re into both a) comics and b) tedious and repetitive graphic work, shoot me an email. It’s not difficult, but there are a LOT of frames that need to be created between now and then. Note: I did not say if you know how to use Photoshop, but if you have it already. Arkhaven print subscribers will be receiving their print issues in January, digital subscribers will be receiving special badges and early access to the new site.

JUNIOR CLASSICS

950 of the 1300 or so sets of Vols. I-III have shipped. None of the demy octavo editions have shipped yet. We’re going to do another shipment of most of the rest of the royal octavos, then put the retail edition royals into general distribution through the bookstores in January. We’re working on the demy editions and will announce when they are ready to ship. The ebook editions of Vols I-III will be sent out in January. Vols IV-VI will first ship in royal in the Feb-Mar timeframe to the same address to which the first three volumes were shipped.

A NOTE ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS

Please note that we NEVER confirm that we’ve received an email from you regarding an address or whatever. If you do the math, you’ll understand why. Everything we do is focused on the actual process of producing and delivering the promised products, and it’s not possible to automate communications about that process ala Amazon for products that are still being created. Notice that orders from the Castalia Direct store and the Arkhaven/Castalia ebook/audiobook store do provide the usual confirmations because those products are in stock at the time the order is placed. If you want more regular updates, please consider joining SocialGalactic, as we regularly provide them there.

More to come later today.


Last day for Library Book 5

If you’re interested in subscribing to the Castalia Library in time to receive Plutarch’s Lives, Vol. I, today is the last day to do so. You’ll need to subscribe and also make a single catchup payment to be current, and this will ensure that you’re already signed up to receive Plutarch’s Lives, Vol. II, which is sixth book in the Castalia Library series. And if you’re a new subscriber interested in buying additional books, don’t forget to email us and request your subscriber’s discount code.

As you can see, Awake in the Night Land, has been bound, is now shipping, and there are about 35 left in stock for John C. Wright fans or collectors who happened to subscribe after Book 3. It’s a bigger book, both in terms of pages and physical specifications, and it was very good preparation for the larger projects that are The Divine Comedy and the two 750+ page Plutarch monsters.

Book 7 will be our first Signed Edition, Summa Elvetica, and Book 8 will be Politics by Aristotle. We’re considering Heidi by Johanna Spyri for Book 9; feel free to share your opinion in the comments.

We’re still in the process of learning what we’re doing, and we’re making both mistakes and suboptimal judgement calls, but thus far the general consensus seems to be that what we’ve delivered is at the production level of the top 10 percent of the Franklin Library books. We won’t be content until we’ve fully mastered the craft of creating leatherbound books – actually, we probably won’t be content even then – but we are completely committed to creating the best, highest-quality books that it is possible for us to create.

THE DIVINE COMEDY Library edition

To the left is the cover for Book 4 of the Castalia Library, THE DIVINE COMEDY, which is based on medieval maps of Dante’s cosmography. The edition is 612 pages and features the 1867 translation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as well as illustrations adapted by Tamburn Bindery from woodcuts in the Venetian edition of 1497. We have also included the six Italian-form sonnets that Longfellow, inspired by his translation of Dante’s masterwork, wrote to accompany his translation, the first of which follows:

Oft have I seen at some cathedral door 
A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat, 
Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet 
Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor 
Kneel to repeat his paternoster o’er; 
Far off the noises of the world retreat; 
The loud vociferations of the street 
Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day, 
And leave my burden at this minster gate, 
Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray, 
The tumult of the time disconsolate 
To inarticulate murmurs dies away, 
While the eternal ages watch and wait.

How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers, 
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!
But ^ends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves 
Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves, 
And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers!
Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain, 
What exultations trampling on despair, 
What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong, 
What passionate outcry of a soul in pain, 
Uprose this poem of the earth and air, 
This mediæval miracle of song!

To the right is the cover of the Libraria Castalia edition. It was our goal to distinguish this edition of THE DIVINE COMEDY from both editions published by the Franklin Library as well as the edition published by Easton Press, and the general consensus on SocialGalactic is that we succeeded. If you wish to join our campaign to preserve Western civilization and subscribe to the Castalia Library, you can do so here. The current volume is Plutarch’s THE LIVES OF THE GREEKS AND ROMANS, VOL. I.

In other Library news, we will be offering the remaining copies of THE MISSIONARIES and MEDITATIONS at the retail price of $150 later this week. The Library edition of AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND will be shipping to subscribers next week; the Libraria editions are awaiting the arrival of the goatskins at the bindery and are anticipated to ship the last week of September.


Intimidating intelligence

First, the new episode of Hypergamouse, INTIMIDATING INTELLIGENCE, is now live on Webtoons.

Second, the second book in the Castalia Library subscription, THE MEDITATIONS OF MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS is now being bound. The first shipments should begin next week. This leads us to the following question:

We’re now ready to start thinking about producing a non-subscription Castalia Library book every other month. What sort of books would you like to see us produce? These would be limited edition one-offs that would not require a subscription, just a 90-day preorder. These one-offs could include previously published books rebound in leather; for example, there are 200 copies of Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero that we could acquire and rebind if there are enough Eco fans interested in having an Easton Press-style collector’s edition.

The Library and Libraria subscriptions will continue as planned in any event. And our first priority, obviously, is finishing the Junior Classics and getting them out to the backers. But it’s time for us to start discussing what we are going to do after that.

UPDATE: Let me be more specific. Exactly what titles would be of interest to those who would like to purchase one-offs? And are you only interested in books with interiors that we layout and print ourselves or are leather rebindings of the sort that Easton Press does of interest as well?

UPDATE: If you’re not interested in buying leather-bound books, then I’m obviously not interested in your opinion. This discussion is not for you.


Castalia Library is go

On last night’s Darkstream, I was extremely pleased to announce that the first book in the Castalia Library, The Missionaries by Owen Stanley, has been printed and bound. It will begin shipping on Friday. Below are three pictures of the very first book that was completed at the bindery yesterday.

Unfortunately, since the first set of goatskins did not pass the rigorous quality standards required by the bindery, the Libraria books are not ready. We do not know when they will be ready because the second set of goatskins are still in Italy. So, we are sending a free Library edition of The Missionaries to all Libraria subscribers now, and will send the elite goatskin editions out as soon as they are ready. Due to the slim nature of the volume, we elected to go with a vertical alignment of the title on the spine, as Franklin Library did with books like Machiavelli’s The Prince and Shakespeare’s Poems, although we followed the example of the two-line approach of the latter as we felt it was more attractive than the single-line approach of the former.

In the third image, you can see how the endpapers feature a map of the archipelago that contains the fictional Elephant Island, which features a little Easter Egg for those who enjoy maps. You can also see the gilding on the pages as well as the gold ribbon bookmark. A number of people have asked if there will be copies available for purchase; as we are only producing 500, there are a few still available but they will be offered first to Castalia Library subscribers at the subscription price with the exception of two copies that will be offered at the retail price of $150 on Abe Books. If there are any left, they will be offered at the retail price at Arkhaven.


Experiments

No blogging today since I’ve been working on some experiments as well as the Replatforming. You can see one of those experiments here, which is the first episode of Chuck Dixon’s Avalon, The Street Rules, Episode 1: Straight-up Cash. We’re still sorting out how some sort of comics-related subscription can be structured, but it increasingly appears that one will be viable in one form or another. Feel free to share any ideas you have about support tiers, rewards, and so forth if this is something you want us to do.

This is a very different approach to comics, but it is a very sensible one that accomodates the new interface realities. And this happens to be a very opportune time for Arkhaven to aggressively move forward in light of the chaos consuming the establishment comics industry.

I also have some good news for the Castalia Library / Junior Classics crowd. The first Library book is now scheduled to be bound next week. Only the Library, however, not the Libraria, as the goatskins are still stuck in Italy courtesy of Corona-chan.


Castalia Library update

Book 01 (NOV/DEC) THE MISSIONARIES by Owen Stanley is being bound. The books are anticipated to be shipped the week of March 23-27. The Library print run is 500.

Book 02 (JAN/FEB) THE MEDITATIONS by Marcus Aurelius is being printed. The books are anticipated to be shipped in April. The Library print run is 650.

Book 03 (MAR/APR) AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C. Wright is being laid out and the interior illustrations are being prepared. The print run is undetermined.

Book 04 (MAY/JUN) is being selected. It will either be the first volume of PLUTARCH’S LIVES or INFERNO by Dante.

For future reference, please check the Arkhaven blog for regular updates concerning Castalia Library and the fulfillment of the various crowdfunding projects.

CLARIFICATION: Because, apparently, it is not entirely obvious from the observable evidence, if you do not subscribe to SOMETHING for more than $5 per month that does not involve substantial built-in costs in its own right, (translation: Hero of the Revolution), you are not eligible for a SocialGalactic subscription. If you are involved in one-off flat-free projects such as a crowdfunding campaign, that is recognized in the SG world by the relevant badge and can receive an invitation by subscribing to either UATV or directly to SocialGalactic.

I am, after all, an economist by training, and therefore not inclined to make the obvious mistake of putting SG in a position of taking on unlimited expenses on the basis of fixed revenues.