Publisher Floored by New Book!

This is the 29th book I’ve done in 44 years of publishing, and something different has happened here.

   Our output is slow because we put books together 2 pages at a time. Grown-up publishers get a book totally prepared — text and graphics — before starting production.

   I collected materials, for about a year, stored both on the computer and in old-school 5th-cut file folders. Once it got to a tipping point, we started production. I’d pull out the best stuff, do layout with a cheap color copy machine and scotch tape. Our artist-sometimes-in-residence, David Wills, would tune up the designs, whenceforth they went to Rick Gordon for InDesign/Photoshop preparation for printers. Lew Lewandowski unearthed a lot of this material, and designed a bunch of pages. Evan Kahn contributed in various ways. The book assumed its form, with categories, 2/3 of the way through its production.

   Bob Easton and I developed this seat-of-pants method of production out of necessity with Shelter in 1973: we only had maybe half of the materials ready, so we just started. I continued to shoot photos, write, and edit the book while it was in production. Photos kept coming in from contributors. Still our M.O.


Disadvantage: takes forever, is expensive, a bit nerve-wracking, sailing on unchartered seas.

Advantages: the book has an immediacy, a life of its own, and takes shape as it grows. Organic.

   With our previous 3 books (Home Work, Builders of the Pacific Coast, and Tiny Homes, we had 4 years in between each. With this one, only 2 years. Stressful. I ended up just about flat-lining in the chi department when the printing was finished. Into the end zone and collapsing.

   Back to what’s different here: I got home and got better (2 weeks), and 6 of the bound books arrived 2 days ago from Hong Kong via FedEx and I was floored. All along, I’d thought that this book wouldn’t have as big an audience as Tiny Homes; after all,  these were nomadic homes. Well, surprise! It turns out to be playful, happy, rich in color and adventure and joy in living. Everyone can relate to these people and their homes. They move! No kiddin! I’m just kinda blown away. FUN!

   The 15,000 books are just about to leave Hong Kong on their 30-day voyage to the Tennessee warehouse, and should be in stores by early June. Phew! And wow!

(Krappy photos, I know, shot in a hurry; the book looks a lot better than this.)

A Few Notes From the Blogger:

•I know I repeat myself all over the place; it’s just the way my mind works. Say, did I ever tell you about the time…

•I throw stuff out there as it happens. For example, the pic of me at the airport. I look so stupid with all that luggage. But hey, life moves on.

•I’ve started dumping negative, or worse, ugly comments. This ain’t a forum (said that before), it’s my glass-half-full (maybe even Polyannish) take on the world around me. Fuck off, trolls.

•I’m going to be changing the general content in that I’ll be directing much of the shelter/garden/homestead stuff to our forthcoming theshelterblog. I’ll post more personal daily observations, trying to take readers along riding shotgun. I see a ton of interesting stuff going on out in the Universe, up to this point most of which doesn’t get posted.

Rock ‘n roll this sunny/cloudy Sunday. Feels so good after the rains + mas lluvia mañana…¡Orale!

Break-Up Sex by The Mother Truckers on Grooveshark

Ectasy by The Raspberries on Grooveshark

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:

18 Responses to Publisher Floored by New Book!

  1. I'm wondering about the troll stuff…who would do that on these pages? Enron employees? Dick Cheney? I don't get it. Pollyanna with rose colored glasses is evil compared to the stuff you do, Lloyd. I've said it many places on the webs, but I will say it again: the Whole Earth Catalog and your books on "alternative" building methods and lifestyles set me on the path I have tread for lo these many years. I never got it right, really, but I never stopped trying.

    And here am I, old now but still a kid and I thank you and your brethren for that…I am doing the best I can, within my limited ability, to carry on the spirit of the work.

    Hunter Thompson famously said something about the wave cresting and breaking and falling back along about 1970…but then, he wasn't a surfer. He stood too close to the poison and it got him, finally. We are still here. We ain't done yet. We got work to do.

    Thanks, Lloyd.


  2. "•I know I repeat myself all over the place; it's just the way my mind works. Say, did I ever tell you about the time…"

    Yeah, that's why we're reading! 🙂

  3. I pre-ordered, as I always do, from Amazon. Fastest way to get a new title from Lloyd to my knowledge. Yeah, the margin is probably lower for Shelter, but I feel I make up for that as I tend to buy multiple copies of most Shelter titles for gifts. A new shelter book – I just need it asap.

  4. looking forward to this book ,I have been waiting as patiently as possible ,love your books ,so happy it is almost here,when it comes out if you go on a book tour please come back to Vancouver ,there will be a jar of cayenne powder waiting there for you!!

  5. Good on ya for spiking the trolls Lloyd!

    I love the blog and everything you put in it!

    I always tell my wife, "I want to be Lloyd Kahn if I ever grow up!"

  6. Tim Joe: for example of a troll, see the reviews for Tiny Homes on Amazon. First & foremost is from a guy who accuses us of faking reviews. Go figure. Because a lot of people found this interesting, it gets put at the top of all reviews — nothing we can do about it. A perfect example of a troll was shown some years ago in a documentary of some wonderful graffiti artists in NYC. There was this guy who went around and sprayed black paint on these paintings, just slash-slash-slash — and he was proud of doing it. The more exposure one gets, the more whackos one encounters. (I'm now getting over 1 million page views per year.)

  7. I have enjoyed all your books but I'm really looking forward to this book. We are currently in the process of selling our house and property and all our stuff, moving into our RV and going nomadic at home and also abroad. We will not be retaining much stuff but this will be the perfect 'coffee table' book for the RV and I am sure we will get some creative and inspired ideas.

    The trolls really make me angry, there is just no reasoning with some people. As the joke goes, someone's wrong on the internet! It's very frustrating but rest assured your work is highly prized and appreciated by the vast majority of folks who are lucky enough to come in contact with it. As always, many thanks for everything you do.

  8. I am very excited about this latest book. I will get mine from an independent book store, they need our support.

  9. Lloyd, you are such a profound inspiration to me and trillions of others…that's it…i'll say something funny another time

  10. Can't wait for the new book! As always I will order directly from your website. I rarely leave comments, but I do read everyone of your posts and follow you on Facebook as well. Thank you so much for all the wonderful things you share here. You often make my day 🙂
    Sincerely, Gwendolyn

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