This week, independent online and print publishing house Flatmancrooked announced their Zero Emission Book Project. Begun in 2008 by two friends, Flatmancrooked is a growing publishing force, and has even partnered with McSweeney’s, the literary-journal-turned-artistic-smorgasbord begun by Urchin deity and Exemplary Human Being Urchie Award winner Dave Eggers. With their Zero Emission Book Project, Flatmancrooked hopes to revolutionise publishing’s effects on the environment. As a tactual lover of books, I am thrilled by this idea. I have been going back and forth for some time about the merits of electronic reading devices like Kindle, knowing that the paper and production efforts saved would be good, but that I would deeply miss the weight of a book in my hand, the texture of a cover under my fingers, and the library smell emitted from yellowed pages.
Flatmancrooked seems to have found the solution. The Zero Emission Book, James Kaelan’s We’re Getting On, promises to not only be carbon neutral in printing and production, but also in the author’s book tour. At a time when the cost and effort of book tours is making them increasingly rare, Flatmancrooked understands the importance of community. Books have brought people together in discussion and debate for centuries. As the digital age continues to make isolation easier and human contact less necessary, now is the perfect time to bring together readers, writers, and publishers in artistic and social dialogue.
1. This first edition of We’re Getting On is made of 100% post-consumer paper, is biodegradable, and the cover contains spruce seeds that, were the book to be planted, would grow into spruce trees.
2. The author’s 1900 mile, 23 town, 40 day book tour will be conducted by bicycle.
3. He will be supported by an electric vehicle carrying supplies.
4. Any extraneous emissions created will be nullified by the purchasing of carbon offset credits from CarbonFund.org.
To continue this exercise in art, social responsibility, and community building, at the end of this summer, people can sign up to “Ride with James,” and ride along with the author for any amount of time they wish as he rides through 10 cities on his way from Los Angeles to Boston.
James says, “During the touring of the book, though I’ll certainly go inside buildings where the lights have been turned on, I won’t personally turn on a light, use a computer, watch television, get in a car, take a hot shower, or talk to anyone whom my voice doesn’t reach without amplification. The tour, like the book, could be seen as an experiment in deprivation.”
Now that is commitment! You can bet that James will see the Urchins along the way showing their support. Check out the Zero Emission Book’s site to order your copy or get more information. Hope we see you out there!