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That edition

For all of those who over the years have bought one version or another of the (still so called) 25th Anniversary edition of Little, Big and who have come to doubt the eventual appearance of the edition (I have at times myself), here is a roundup of what has and what must yet happen.
Ron Drummond and John D. Berry have completed most of the elements of the work, whose ambitions were perhaps larger than the publisher foresaw. I can however attest to the fact that, in every important respect, those parts of the work they claimed to have completed they have indeed completed. The design and layout of the book was finished a year ago, on February 1, 2014, and they are satisfied with that design, and so am I.
What I can’t attest to is a date on which the project will be completed. Ron Drummond tells me that, in working with a candidate printer, they discovered that the digital treatments necessary to making the edition’s elaborate art reproductions print-worthy were more extensive than either he or John D. Berry had anticipated, and they were compelled to have those treatments executed by an outside contractor. That work has been ongoing since late last year, and when completed will make it possible at last to print the book.
I am not an investor, though I have been a frequent consultant in the making of the edition.  All I know, and all that I can say for sure, is that I’m confident Drummond and Berry are working to complete the project, with all that implies, in good faith.  


( 81 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 7th, 2015 02:01 am (UTC)
As an early subscriber - it is now ten years since I handed over the money for the numbered edition - I have never doubted that the edition would finally be published sometime or other. I will find it hard to believe that it is a real book when I ultimately have it in my hands.

I'll probably miss the waiting. Every year since its inception it has been something to look forward to each new year - like a long lost book you only see in dreams.

Anne S (Australia)
Feb. 7th, 2015 02:14 am (UTC)
Thank you for your good cheer.
Feb. 7th, 2015 03:00 am (UTC)
The closer we get, the bigger it is
Hey, thanks for that. I've purchased and even invested (I guess it could be said), and have consistently felt amused and bemused by the timeline (may I say it is kind of like Auberon dream-pursuing his supremely desired Sylvie/TItania?). But I've always been satisfied with the respectful updates Ron has sent along. It's great to get this one from you, though, too. At the beginning, I was thinking of buying a used bible stand or reading podium for the book, but didn't...which is great, because my advancing age means I will probably downsize to too small a place for such a luxury by the time the book arrives!! In all seriousness, I fully expect not only to receive the book but to love it. Not a bit of buyer's remorse.
Feb. 7th, 2015 03:37 am (UTC)
Re: The closer we get, the bigger it is
I appreciate that, and I will continue to believe it will be so.
Feb. 7th, 2015 05:43 am (UTC)
It is or will be a birthday present from an August long ago. I have never in my mind or outside it questioned the value of the project or the integrity of those involved in its fruition.

Thank you for posting this message.

Feb. 7th, 2015 09:18 am (UTC)
Never any doubt
Since I purchased this edition of Little, Big (courtesy of Neil Gaiman), I have moved about four times, including migration from Germany to the Isle of Skye.

Every time, I informed Ron about my new whereabouts, and it was always a pleasure to chat with him.

This book is like the longest anticipated Christmas present ever.

Love it.
Feb. 7th, 2015 01:25 pm (UTC)
That Birthday
I participated in that edition when it was proposed. It was to be a birthday present.

Little, Big was and remains my favourite book. I have read it four times, I think, and copied whole sentences or even chapters from it, both from its English original version and in its French translation (by Doug Liman, if I remember correctly), in total rapture and admiration of the prose.

I must say that this book shaped in some way who I am.

When this edition arrives, I will stand before it, in utter glee, amazement and bemused delight, much like Giordano Bruno, crossing the Alps, holding the universe in his hand.
Feb. 7th, 2015 03:20 pm (UTC)
We all want to hold this book in our hands, John.

Feb. 8th, 2015 09:39 pm (UTC)
I'm confident I will receive it eventually, despite having burned by another special edition years ago.

Corpse Blossoms -- Signed Edition
Limited to 500 copies
Signed by all contributors Hardbound, foil-stamped imitation leather
Full color wrap-around dustjacket Custom slipcase

The editors/publishers in that case stopped sending updates, stopped replying to queries, and their website went down. Ron's always sent updates, always replies to queries, and his website is still online.
Feb. 10th, 2015 01:22 am (UTC)
Ron's emails
I will be very glad to have the book in my hand, but for my money, Ron's emails detailing the minutiae of the editing process were worth the wait. I imagined a hipster in flannels dreamily dipping into the book, occasionally wandering out of the basement to nap in the shade. No disrespect - I wanted to be him, and I will miss him.
Feb. 10th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC)
Worth the wait
Like others above, I too have confidence in the project and I too have moved multiple times since purchasing my two copies (a trade and a numbered).

I remember hoping that I would still around when The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit finally make it to film--when the technology catches up. Well, that didn't turn out so well.

Little, Big, on the other hand, will. I think about the changes in the world and book industry since I first picked up the book in a mall bookstore, WaldenBooks or something like that, in the mid-80s. In suburban NJ that was the only place to get a book. I fell in love and in the 90s would always check antiquarian bookstores in search of earlier editions, places like Ray Boas' shop outside Litchfield, CT.

Then the Internet came, and suddenly you could get all the Little, Big editions you wanted, for a price. The hunt wasn't fun anymore. And once there were Barnes and Nobles and Borders everywhere, the Harper trade reissue came out, and it was easy to pick up another reading copy.

Still, while I wasn't hunting for the book itself, I was using recommendation engines on the Internet to try and find another book that would move me like LB. Not so successful.

One day in the 90s when I was at work at Yale, a colleague who knew my love of fountain pens showed me a recommendation letter written for a student. He couldn't understand why I was so excited. It was written by you!

There's a certain charm in telling people about my favorite book, and how I bought it ten years ago, but still hadn't received it. I hope that subscriber discontent didn't drive you to make this announcement.

Edited at 2015-02-10 01:30 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2015 01:33 am (UTC)
Sweet Anticipation
The journey has been the dream. I have never for a moment doubted in this process, and know that its outcome has been made all the the more delicious by having to wait. Instant gratification is overrated!
Thank you for writing a book that is worthy of this loving endeavor. I'm currently reading it again for the third time, waiting for my numbered addition to arrive!
Feb. 10th, 2015 03:43 am (UTC)
This Christmas I got a panicked email from a woman whose Kickstarter I backed in July, informing me that the toys she had worked so hard to get to her backers by Christmas were on a boat that had been delayed and would probably not reach us before the holiday. I wrote back to tell her not to worry, that we would be delighted to receive them a few weeks late. She responded to thank me--I think she had not gotten many kind answers to her email--and I told her about waiting for Little, Big 25. I ordered it when daily_alice was only a year old. If it arrives in time for her 16th birthday, when I had planned to give it to her, I will be entirely content.
Feb. 10th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)
Me, too
When I have ordered a book in the past and it did not come in 3 days as expected, I got anxious. Somehow, that never happened with Little, Big. I am eager to get the book but patience has never been a problem. The number of times I have thought about it, wondered how it was coming along, reread a chapter in anticipation, ... It has not just been waiting. Somehow, the time anticipating has made Little, Big more a part of me than it would ever have been had I just ordered it, got it the next week, read it through, and went on to the next thing. So - thanks for what you have already done for me even before I get the book!
Feb. 10th, 2015 04:34 am (UTC)
what book?
just kidding! When it comes it will be worth the wait. Such a beautiful book..... thank you!
Feb. 10th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC)
A fine group
Those of us as have weighed in above, and below, that were in at the beginning and are still here, will presumably always be here. Are we downbeat, disappointed, are we dry, curt, cold? Not a bit of it, bearing a great goodwill to Ron and John and all involved. Why? However the book connected with us, each differently, now it is that long lost treasure marked x on a map. I often wondered if we could have been more help, if we still can, I'm sure we would respond if needed, we are all in it together. This book will have its own, other, story to tell, one that's been good to be part of.
Feb. 10th, 2015 05:15 am (UTC)
Books are patient - books will wait for you
The crafting of a book beautiful is unlike the making of a trade book. The publisher and designer must juggle so very many aspects - the definitive text, the design and typography, the choice and placement of the illustrations - all these decisions affect all the others a little bit at a time and must be determined BEFORE starting work with the printer. As for the working with the printer, their technologies and resources are currently changing all the time, so determining the best paper, printing process and binding for the book during this decade is probably very different than the previous decade. And as Ron and John Berry discovered (wonderfully, BEFORE the book went on the press) the Peter Milton illustrations call for a deeply sophisticated imaging expert's work to tease out the best presswork.

As for us, the subscribers, since in this case most of us probably KNOW the LB text already, we are content to await its most complete visual and tactile expression and know that we are very very lucky readers.
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