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xkcd To Be Released In Book Form 198

Posted by kdawson
from the my-normal-approach-is-useless-here dept.
History's Coming To writes "xkcd creator Randall Munroe has revealed on his blag that the acclaimed stick-figure comic will be produced in real dead-tree book form. Fantastic news for all fans of comedy, maths, science, and relationship screw-ups — especially given that the book will be sold in aid of the charity 'Room To Read.' Rumors that the book contains a joke in the ISBN remain unconfirmed." The NY Times article that Munroe links (registration may be required) is from April of this year, and I am amazed that this community didn't note the story at that time. The book will be published by breadpig, which was created by Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of reddit.
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xkcd To Be Released In Book Form

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:25PM (#28936577) Journal

    The NY Times article that Munroe links (registration may be required) is from April of this year, and I am amazed that this community didn't note the story at that time.

    Well, using a very simple search (xkcd book) in the firehose, I found spongedaddy's submission [slashdot.org], my own submission [slashdot.org] and even one of the bin spammers submitted it [slashdot.org]. And we all linked to the same NYTimes story.

    Your firehose search tool is there, yes it's slow and clunky. I don't care that you rejected my submission of this story three months ago but don't say I didn't notice one of my favorite web comics being published in book form. I mean, go ahead and say "slow news day" in your summary, I don't care if you feel obligated to dig up old news for stories at 12:25 AM EST on a Tuesday. Also, it confuses me greatly that you provide for us a means to make sure we don't submit a URL that's already been submitted as the primary link by another individual ... yet you yourselves do not use this tool to your advantage when looking for duplicates.

  • by ZiakII (829432) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:28PM (#28936593)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsalmark (1265778)
      I think in this particular case having to posting the rather obvious reference link is more funny than insightful.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:57AM (#28937029)
        The funny mod awards no positive karma, but all the negative mods give negative karma. Think carefully for a minute about the consequences of this, and the fact that not all people find the same things funny. 'Insightful' is the new 'Funny' by those that still bother with moderating slashdot at all.
        • by ppanon (16583) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:31AM (#28937129) Homepage Journal
          AH, but if you get moderated insightful or Informative, a lot of people will have the setting that adds a bonus point. So what happens is that your post never goes over 4 because that level gets displayed as a 5 with no possibility of getting modded up another point for a natural 5. Why is that a problem? Well, maybe you actually would like to get some more points on your achievement score, but you can never get your insightful and informative posts to crack the 4 glass ceiling.
        • by T Murphy (1054674)
          +1 Funny should negate one negative mod on the same post. I agree jokes need to be protected from troll troll mods, but I also understand it makes no sense for humor to get rewarded the same as an insightful comment. Most of my posts that get modded up (or down) are jokes, but I'd rather earn my karma with the occasional serious post.
    • by gamefaces (1542337) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:58AM (#28937227)
      Brings up a good point. Just how are you supposed to link to a book? I can see it now, There's an xkcd for that (page 30).
  • by Aeternitas827 (1256210) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:30PM (#28936605)
    I'm not a big fan of actually buying books--my tax money, to some degree, goes to finance my public library (and free library card), so I usually just check out books that I want--but I think this is one I might actually buy. If a Questionable Content compilation would come available at some later point, I'd probably buy it too. I'd venture to guess that webcomics are low-reward thingers, and those out there that are enjoyable, well, the creators should be able to get something out of it.
    • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:35PM (#28936643) Journal

      Or you could just, you know, visit the website [xkcd.com].

      So much environmental stuff. Climate change, pollution, rampant deforestation etc... And here we are. Making books of websites.

      • by Aeternitas827 (1256210) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:39PM (#28936663)
        I don't always have the internet with me, in a form convenient for viewing xkcd or anything similar (my phone can only do so much). That, and turning pages and reading is faster than mindless clicking a next button that's never in quite the same spot. And, again, the bit of revenue to the author as a thanks for doing something they get very little for--blame me for being a blatant capitalist.
        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:44PM (#28936691) Homepage Journal

          I don't always have the internet with me, in a form convenient for viewing xkcd or anything similar

          Randall take note. This guy is a rich source of meta tech culture irony.

        • by monkeySauce (562927) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @01:49AM (#28937195) Journal

          That, and turning pages and reading is faster than mindless clicking a next button that's never in quite the same spot

          And listening is faster and less mindless than turning pages so yeah I'll wait for the audiobook.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Vanders (110092)
            I'll only get the audio book if it's read by Morgan Freeman. That would be so awesome.
        • That, and turning pages and reading is faster than mindless clicking a next button that's never in quite the same spot.

          And you call yourself a webcomic reader!? Anyone even halfway sensible will head to the archives [xkcd.com] and open a bunch of the pages in tabs, and then just CTRL+W for the next comic (which is faster than turning pages). The added benefit is that you have a buffer just in case you get disconnected.

          More importantly, xkcd belongs to the advanced class of webcomics that put the movement links both above and below the comic, which means that the next link will be in the same spot unless you need to scroll.

          • by alyawn (694153)
            Actually, why not use the appropriate accesskeys which the author has given us: n for "next" and p for "previous". If you're not sure how to use accesskeys, Wikipedia has some information [wikipedia.org] for you.
            • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

              I've never seen those work except on IE.. even if they're on the page Firefox/OSX doesn't seem to support them. By the time you've worked out which combination of alt/shift/cmd to press and guessed at the key code you might as well have pressed on the icon anyway.

            • 1. It's a three button combination (for Firefox anyway, ALT+SHIFT+P/N) which is not comfortable to use with one hand, and you have to press enter after that. Compare to just two buttons of CTRL+W and no subsequent enter press needed.
              2. Most webcomics don't have accesskeys, whereas closing a tab works on (pretty much) every type of page.
              3. I'd still have to wait for the page to load, whereas with tabs they'll be loaded in the background ahead of time.

              Seriously, why would I use them?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)
        Of course, Randall has to support himself and repay student loans, as he doesn't actually have a job. His only real job was working at NASA for a few years before and after graduating. He wrote somewhere that he wasn't launching rockets or anything, but rather just writing little programs when something unusual needed to be calculated. Something like that. I raged at the alt text to http://www.xkcd.com/564/ [xkcd.com] because he's never been a physics researcher. He just writes a web comic and lets his worshippers giv
      • Or you could just, you know, visit the website [xkcd.com].

        So much environmental stuff. Climate change, pollution, rampant deforestation etc... And here we are. Making books of websites.

        Print N books, cut down N/x trees. Keep a website running for N days, burn y kilograms of carbon for each one of those N days. (Or do you think all that bandwidth and server/routers usage is pollution-free?)

        We all pollute the environment. I just don't think printing books is the greatest form of pollution.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by silentcoder (1241496)

          Printing books is actually very low on pollution and could even be carbon negative. You have some pollution with the equipment to cut the tree down, pulp it and the printing presses and such - but that's once off.
          The paper in the books, assuming they don't get burned are... you guessed it: carbon, not carbon dioxide and not in the atmosphere.

          You have a permanent safe and useful storage of carbon where it doesn't pollute. Running a website uses energy all the time, meaning a constant pollution, even if books

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by fractoid (1076465)

        So much environmental stuff. Climate change, pollution, rampant deforestation etc... And here we are. Making books of websites.

        Here's an interesting question for ya: How long does it take to read the book? And how much energy does your computer take to run for that amount of time? And for that matter, how much carbon is sequestered in the book that would otherwise be released by decomposition or burning? I'd be interested to see whether an oft-read book is a net carbon gain or loss, assuming your alternative is reading the comic on your beefy gaming PC.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Toonol (1057698)
          The carbon content of paper is around 40%. Therefore, each paperback takes... what, maybe a fourth to a half a kilo? out of the atmosphere, for the duration of the lifespan of the book... which I'm sure is probably measured in decades.
        • Maybe he has a solar panel in the ceiling. Here in Portugal, with the government help and all, they're getting very tempting.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by xtracto (837672)

        Uhh,

        I bought one of the PhD Comics book for two reasons:
        1. I really liked the comics and therefore wanted to give back something to the author
        2. It is really good stuff to have in the toilet while taking a dump. It provides real inspiration!

        The book is made on recyclable paper (IIRC) for your eco-freak needs. And you can even give it another use after you finish ;-)

      • Are you aware that logging companies actually use "forest management" to increase the health of forests, and with proper forest replanting, buying a book can actually be good for the environment? Think, reading the book creates no carbon emissions. In fact, that book is full of sequestered carbon.

        Your computer, on the other hand, is running on electricity, which is guaranteed to be, in some part, powered by a coal plant somewhere. So, your computer is producing CO2, but that book is sequestering it.

        So,
  • by mrsurb (1484303)
    Great - something to do on Saturday night! Obligatory link [xkcd.com]
  • My hope is they turn Dinosaur Comics into a flipbook!
  • by AnonGCB (1398517) <7spams.gmail@com> on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:32PM (#28936627)

    So if I look at the pictures in the book long enough will the alt text pop up?

    • by StreetStealth (980200) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:39PM (#28936665) Journal

      Maybe it will be printed in margin, or perhaps the endnotes?

      More importantly to me, at least, I hope the format is small enough to fit one per page, so that the page numbers match up. I'm not weird for knowing the strips by their numbers, right?

      "Oops, you got an injection attack! 327! [xkcd.com]"

      • by Aeternitas827 (1256210) * on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:42PM (#28936683)

        "Oops, you got an injection attack! 327! [xkcd.com]"

        I almost tried that IRL. My wife wouldn't let me pick our daughter's name.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          My ex wouldn't have gotten it if I had attempted it, so I suggested a good name from mythology (yet fits in well with modern kids names). Now, how old does she have to be before I try to explain the ancient meaning to her name? I'm thinking 4 years old are a good time to start teaching children dead mythologies with stacks of deities. :) At very least, it'll really throw her kindergarden teacher. Most kids will be learning to spell "cat". Mine will be referencing mythology and trying to

        • by 6Yankee (597075) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @07:01AM (#28938939)
          Look on the bright side. You have a child, so clearly your injection attack was successful...
      • by langelgjm (860756)

        Or maybe TFA actually explains how it will be printed?

        One trick in transferring the material from online to print has been how to recreate the âoetitle textâ that comments on the strip when your cursor hovers over it. "It's not supposed to be a punch line, but hopefully if you didn't laugh, you'll laugh at this," he said. The title text will appear where the tiny copyright notice would appear on a traditional strip.

    • by belrick (31159) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:59PM (#28936763)

      So if I look at the pictures in the book long enough will the alt text pop up?

      Yes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by readthemall (1531267)
      From TFA: The title text will appear where the tiny copyright notice would appear on a traditional strip.
    • by srothroc (733160) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @03:04AM (#28937525) Homepage
      Only if you cross your eyes and slowly move the book forward from your nose.
    • So if I look at the pictures in the book long enough will the alt text pop up?

      There's an image alt text [htmlhelp.com] on the comics?!?

      I've been reading them to years... never noticed that. I mean in order to display that alt text I would have had to stay absolutely still for one second! Impossible!

      You see I never let go of my mouse - and as its a one of those precision ones it'll pick up the pulse from my hand and remain in constant motion. And the cursor! I don't bring the cursor around where I'm looking at the page; I keep it where it belongs, at the tab bar there, and only move it away to click

  • Finally (Score:3, Funny)

    by http (589131) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:43PM (#28936689) Homepage Journal
    Someone making a joke in base 11 instead of base 13.
  • As TFA mentions, "the book will be sold through the xkcd Web site". And it probably does not need to go to the common book stores, because most of the times only the fans understand what is a comic about.

    Still, great news! May the force be with Randall.

  • by shanen (462549) on Monday August 03, 2009 @11:54PM (#28936743) Homepage Journal

    So the editor is surprised no one told /. about the recent news? Hey, they only missed that story by a few months. Surprise? That's a funnier laugh than the best of XKCD, which is saying a bit, since some of them are pretty funny.

    Gee, you don't suppose the so-called editor could be in a position to do something to improve /. to the point where interesting news and humor would again be visible around here?

    Of course personal recollection is just one data point at best, but... Some years ago I used to visit /. quite often, perhaps several times a day versus several times a week these days--unless a month or two has gone by. On an average visit I expected to see at several very interesting articles and at least one first report that I hadn't seen elsewhere versus my current expectation of seeing one or two non-boring stories and nothing that I haven't seen elsewhere one or two days earlier. A typical visit would reveal a number of very witty comments and usually one or two actually funny and new jokes versus the current crop of a scattering of very tired memes. I remember looking at a relatively large thread (which are relatively rare these days) and finding exactly one comment that had even been moderated as funny--and that one wasn't even amusing.

    Most importantly, the moderation used to be pretty poor instead of downright horrendous. Apparently the lousy moderators have won that game--and I expect the moderation of this post to prove my point (yet again).

    But the so-called editors are apparently quite satisfied with the devolution of the system. I guess lower traffic on /. means less so-called work for them?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bacon Bits (926911)

      It's kdawson. The summary somehow has to create outrage and be worded in needlessly inflammatory language.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      kdawson dude.

      Like "que pasa" except use a troll voice.

    • by evanbd (210358)

      Apparently the lousy moderators have won that game--and I expect the moderation of this post to prove my point (yet again).

      And you're complaining about tired memes? I'm pretty sure that particular meme has been around since, oh, about the time a bunch of us got banned from moderating for participating / moderating the first slashdot troll post investigation [google.com] thread. Complaining about what the mods will do to your post in order to get modded up isn't quite the oldest trick in the book, but it's certainly in the first chapter.

      That said, I agree with most of your post. And, of all the non-editors here, kdawson is probably the wo

  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @12:00AM (#28936773) Homepage
    >Rumors that the book contains a joke in the ISBN remain unconfirmed. Were we talking about any other author, I would scoff. But this being xkcd, it actually sounds plausible.
    • In all likelyhood, the UPC barcode will be a compressed xkcd comic only revealed under a magnifying glass...
  • ...how do you mouse-over in a book? I'm hoping magic, sciece will be involved.
  • Neato, a comic which is funny maybe 15% of the time (but to be fair, it is VERY funny when it does get it right) is going to hit bookshelves.

  • From the pictures in the article, it looks great for a coffee table keepsake. I cannot speak for your homes clientele, but this will be a wonderful thing guests will enjoy while getting to know me a little better in the process.

    Or just throw it on the throne and enjoy.
  • I think they must just be suffering from the curse of hating things just because they're popular. I know I have a tendency to do the same thing, but I generally actually do a bit of investigation to find out if it's popular for a reason I can appreciate first.

    The other possibility is hating something just because everybody else discovered it and now you can't be cool for knowing about this obscure but fantastic thing that nobody else knows about. Considering this crowd, I expect that's the more likely scenario.

    • I think xkcd suffers from the reverse syndrome - namely, far too many people pretending to like it for the sake of trying to be cool.

      Sorry, I've tried to like it but xkcd ***JUST ISN'T FUNNY***.

      Give me this [userfriendly.org] any day for a daily chuckle.

  • I know there's quite a bit of hate in the comments about the late submission, but here are my comments on the actual news bit:

    [See comment subject]

    Also, I hope Randall doesn't dick his reader fan-base by pullng a Scott Adams and pulling the content that's made its way into the book, OFF his site.

    Dear Scott, I know you want to make bajillions of moneys through book deals, but you lost this reader when you sold out to your publisher and removed all the blog posts that went into your book. "Oops" [mediabistro.com] just doesn't

  • XKCD has already a store with some very neat items. But unfortunately you have to become a PayPal costumer to get these. Very unfortunate.
  • I'm not that into Pokemon.

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