The Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide

We thought this would be a snap, reprinting this 100-year old London catalog of greenhouses, chicken coops, and farm buildings. As usual (will I ever learn?), it had many complications, since we were determined to have it look like the original and capture the spirit of the times. We worked and worked on it (as did Toppan Press in China) and the result is wonderful. I’m thrilled; it’s a dream come true. I’ve loved this little book ever since I found it in an obscure used-book store in London in the early ’70s.

Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide

It’s hard cover, linen-looking finish, foil stamped, printed on off-white paper — a book lovers’ book — the kind that us bibliophiles love to touch and thumb through (and feel secure in the knowledge that no stinkin’ ebook will replace the “hard” copy). Also, it’s useful: it gives homesteaders, gardeners, builders, and architects still-practical designs. It’s now in stock. Yahoo!


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

10 Responses to The Gardeners' and Poultry Keepers' Guide

  1. Hi Lloyd- I ran across your blog via Homegrown Evolution- they mentioned the book that this post was about. But I have a question for you.

    Do you remember the book Rolling Homes from the seventies? I remember getting this book from the library as a teenager and loving it, and I've since read a review that says that most people who have it won't part with it for any reason. Amazon has used ones for around $40, and one seller wanted $90. I kind of wish that I'd 'lost' the library's copy.

    Do you remember it, and can your company print another edition? It's by Jane Lidz.

    If you don't remember it, you ought to find it and check it out. I still love some of the images that I can remember. I think the reason I recalled it was because I was recently enamored of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses ( but as cute and as clever as they are, they make too much use of propane. Some of the rolling houses in the book I mentioned had woodstoves in them. Anyway, take a look if you haven't seen it. I think a lot of people would be interested in this book, if they knew of its existence.

  2. Printed in China. How disappointing.
    Thought you had given up on that place after your quandry on Makita tools. Could you not find a local place to print your wonderful find in the 70's? We as a country need to be local. Obviously what you say and what you do are 2 different things.

    Just another corporate tool.

    Scrap Wood

  3. Scrap Wood:
    We printed our book Builders of the Pacific Coast in the US. It cost us $10K more than printing it in China. If we were to print all our books in the US, we'd be bankrupt. The realities of running a business in America these days. Of course I'd like to print everything here, and get 100% American-made products, but it's not possible if we want to keep publishing. By the way, where is the computer made that you sent this comment from?.

  4. Surely for most book buyers the difference between $26.95 & $27.95 won't be a deal breaker (assuming $10' higher cost to print in NA vs China and an edition of 10,000).

    If we keep cheaping ourselves and each other out like this we won't have jobs or services or anything local left.

  5. Hi all-

    I work here at Shelter Publications, and I feel it's necessary to defend Lloyd's decision to print this book in China.

    Printing in Asia was definitely not a knee-jerk bottom-line money decision: Lloyd had me obtain printing quotes from all our regular American printers, and then expand the search to other major American printers in search of the best deal.

    This book is Lloyd's labor-of-love, a gift from him to like-minded building enthusiasts. The market is pretty small for such a unique book, and we were planning only 1,000 copies as the print run.
    As the printing quotes came in, we were dismayed to learn that the book would be too expensive to print at all, at least for a reasonable cover price.

    At this point, Lloyd had me look for quotes from China. While these quotes were $5-10/book cheaper than US prices, even these quotes were too costly for a print run of 1,000. Only by doubling the run to 2,000 copies could we hope to eventually recoup our printing costs. However, expanding the print run also means laying out even more initial funds.

    We sell very few books directly from our office for the full cover price; our distributor, Publishers Group West, sells to bookstores at a large discount, after which the distributor takes an additional large fee. Shelter's "profit" is whatever's then left after we pay for the printing.

    As a result, Shelter locks up many thousands of dollars each time we print a book, and the investment is payed back slowly (if at all), sometimes taking years, as will most likely happen with this book.

    The point is, Lloyd's primary motivation was to simply share, at great expense, a 100 year-old out-of-print book he dearly loved with future generations.

    Please believe me, this wonderfully talented, generous man is not a "corporate tool."

  6. I know he is a business man that walks the corporate talk. So what is that. the realities are what they are but I stick by my previous post.

    I admire LLoyd from way back in the Shelter days and I feel he is going against everything that he has written about in his books and his blog. The China excuse just doesn't hold water.

    I still say your first duty as an American is to support us here with USA printing.

    Scrap Wood

  7. I do not own a computer, cellphone, ipod, or tv. Basically I am a luddite I am using the one in my office which is owned by the company and I am sure it is made off shore. As far as I know there are no computer mfg here in the USA but there are book printers still chugging.

    Really I don't think comparing a book to a computer is relevant but Steven Jobs is a trader too.
    Along with that two faced guy that is our president. Like I said you are a businessman looking to make a buck and I don't have a problem with that. But we need to rethink how we make that buck, and we need to support this country both in consuming and manufacturing.

    Scrap Wood

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