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Andy Kirkpatrick



18 December 2019

Just had someone ask if there are fake copies of Higher Education knocking around, as they thought some of the pages looked like photocopies. Unfortunately, this is how the book looks, and it’s far from slick and glossy or something you’d put on a coffee table, but more hard, utilitarian, like a Russian manual for warfighting. This is due to it being a very uncommercial book (300,000 words just on big wall climbing, which probably has an audience of less than 500), meaning it’s digitally printed, and could only really exist due to me writing, illustrating and designing the book (I only had one person to avoid paying). This means the overall cost for me is about five times the price of a standard print I could get from China (it’s expensive to look that cheap), but each book is printed by the printer when it’s ordered, and I don’t need to invest £20,000 in printing and storing lots of glossy books, that may never pay back the investment (printing is a long game). This approach seems to be the best way to create really detailed content in a way that repays a year or two of your time and creates a solid body of work in one format/place (which is why I’m writing my current book on descent). It would be great to do this kind of thing online instead, as you could include more images, video etc, but the fact that the model does not exist is one of the biggest failures of the web (we all want everything for free). There is still room for commercial climbing books that are highly detailed, such as @petewhittaker01 ’s Crack Climbing book printed by Vertebrate Publishing (a fantastic book that goes to the atomic level in crack climbing!), but only when they have broad appeal, which big wall climbing does not.


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