For all those still waiting for the Numbered Collector's Editions, pull up a chair, here's an update—
We're in this together. I've nothing to gain by delaying this in any way, I'm waiting as much as you are. And I'm at my wits end dealing with the compounded delays on the part of our suppliers.
Our printer - that promised they could meet the demand on the slipcases - was sorely mistaken. When the books were being finished, it was time to get the slipcases finalized. The printer provided me with their specs and I discovered our expectations for the slipcases were still not in agreement.
I requested that if they were unable to meet my slipcase requirements, they should tell me and I would take that part of the job elsewhere. I was assured that they could handle the heavier packaging, and so we went forward. But it was at a snail's pace and all the while - in December and January - the softcover and hardcover books were beginning to finish, ship, and arrive here and at the fulfillment center. In January, I informed the fulfillment center not to hold any of the shipping, thinking the slipcases would follow in a few weeks.
Finally, the printer sent a sample slipcase: It was the right weight, but completely wrong in height, depth, and width. Like it was for another book entirely! I couldn't believe they would send this, and I asked them to actually fit a case around the finished book. I found out that the slipcase work had been contracted to an outside vendor. So, in fact, the printer couldn't do it, but was unwilling to let me take the business elsewhere. Besides the outrage, it's frustrating as it slows the process down further, because the printer is now the middle man on this part of the job.
Eventually a properly fitted slipcase sample arrived, and I asked for a “dieline/blueprint" of it. In the trade, this is a mechanical drawing with measurements, so I could produce an accurate document that will properly position our printing and stamps for the outside of the slipcase.
After a few rounds of undue confusion, I get a document that I can work with. I send my document, they send a proof, it needs a little adjustment, they send a pdf, etc. That's how it goes, and almost where we're at.
I'm now waiting to find out if the slipcase manufacturer okay's the fit of the placed stamps (they provided the dieline/blueprint, so I don't know why this is even an issue). If given the okay, the printer will print the cover sheets that will then wrap around the boxes, and afterwards fill said boxes with the numbered edition copies that they have had since early January. It will then take a few days for them to be shipped here, and THEN I can start packing and shipping them.
I don't have dates from them. The printer won't commit to dates for the same reason I cannot. Until it's in front of them, they can't know how soon they can turn it around, and if they give me a date, It gives me more ground to be upset with them if they miss it. So they just don't give them, even when I ask directly. Part of dealing with a printer this large is that, even printing the number and quality of the job we did, we are a TINY customer, and have little to no clout to increase our priority.
So, here's what's happening now -
For Orders That Include a Numbered Collector's Edition
There are plenty of supporters who bought multiple copies, such as the Retailers, the Completists, and Near-Completeists. Starting this week, I will begin to pack the books and ship these orders MINUS the Collector's Editions. This will start with those who have the most copies to ship, i.e., the first to go out will be the "Retailers" who ordered nine other copies of the book besides the Collector's Edition copy. When they are all out, I'll go down to the next level, and so on until they are all shipped or until the CEs come in.
Please don’t write to ask when yours are shipping. The more mail I have to answer, the less time I have to pack books. Sounds silly but it’s true. This part of the shipping was always going to be handled by me and we don't have the personnel of the fulfillment center. They are ALL in process. I’ll announce the shipping of different levels as I finish the previous one.
Most of you have been very supportive, and I appreciate that. Some of you have been very frustrated and I share, REALLY SHARE, in that frustration. I want the Numbered Collector's Edition copies, just as much as you do. When I get a sample slipcase fed-ex'd to me, I'll post a picture here so you can see what's coming.
For Orders That DON'T Include a Numbered Collector's Edition
If you pledged at a level that didn't include a Numbered Collector's Edition (or purchased a softcover or hardcover directly from Full Steam before the November cut-off) you SHOULD have received your book by now. If you haven't, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the internal Kickstarter messaging system.
In The Cards
The other delay is regarding the 400 card set of printed sketch cards. The set is being held up by 48 cards that need to be reprinted. They've been reprinted once but a technical glitch meant they were not up to standard. If the new reprints have no issues, the 400 card set will begin shipping in mid-April.
That's it for now,