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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-before-it-was-big dept.
destinyland writes Tuesday is the official release date for the newest book from the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD — yet it's already become one of Amazon's best-selling books. Thanks to a hefty pre-order discount, one blogger notes that it's appeared on Amazon's list of hardcover best-sellers since the book was first announced in March, and this weekend it remains in the top 10. Randall Munroe recently announced personal appearances beginning this week throughout the U.S. (including Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area) — as well as a Google Hangout on Friday, September 12. Just two weeks ago he was also awarded the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story — and now many of his appearances are already sold out.
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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

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  • by johnsnails (1715452) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:03PM (#47797259) Homepage
    Insert obligatory XKCD here
  • Ummm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:10PM (#47797287)

    Just thought I'd express my opinion that Randall Munroe is a genius. The amount of work he puts into some of his comics [xkcd.com] really makes him unique.

    Unrecognized command. Type "help" for assistance.
    guest@xkcd:/$ help
    That would be cheating!

    Pure UNIX!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by johnsnails (1715452)
      Thats pretty cool. Just did a
      sudo shutdown -r now
    • If you look at the bottom of the page, you will see that it says he did not do the programming. He only drew the comics.

    • But what is the command for jokes that are actually funny?

    • One in a couple dozen strips has a fair bit of research behind it ... on the other hand stick figures.

      The kind of jokes he makes on those research strips is fairly unique, but overall the amount of work he puts into the strips isn't anything special.

  • by lucm (889690) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:21PM (#47797313)

    Dilbert -> XKCD -> Red Meat -> Plastic Brick Automaton -> obscene graffiti in the bathroom of a rest area in Idaho.

  • right on! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by resfilter (960880) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:26PM (#47797339)

    i haven't really read xkcd in a few months, but i do love it.

    his odd medium of stick figures seemed lazy the first time i read his comic, but now it seems almost purpose-picked for the kind of readership he has. it's the comic strip equivalent of a command line interface. no flash, all function.

    slashdot has never motivated me to purchase anything before. i was unaware he was releasing a book. so this is a first, a slashvertisement got me.

    i wish randall the most incredible success in his new book, he deserves to make many millions from it. he seems like the kind of guy that would start xkcd scholorships or something if he became wealthy.

  • by h3lix (753834) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:30PM (#47797353)
    Okay, so why is the german version cheaper?

    I sense a conspiracy.

    German Version [amazon.com]

    English Version [amazon.com]
    • by resfilter (960880) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:41PM (#47797389)

      the german version should cost more. making things funny in german is REALLY hard.

      • by sconeu (64226)

        That's true. You can only have each translator write one word. Otherwise, you risk killing them all.

        http://youtu.be/8gpjk_MaCGM [youtu.be]

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the german version should cost more. making things funny in german is REALLY hard.

        Fwiw: This isn't an opinionated observation from outsiders, as some might think (and I once thought); the German people seem to be well aware of this characteristic that seems to be "missing" from within their society.

        Years ago, in an interview on German television, Robin Williams was asked what he felt was the cause of Germany's lack of comedians or a comedy scene in general. His response, done in jest, was: "Maybe it's because (you) killed all the people with a sense of humor."

        Ironically, the host took

      • Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer?
        Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
      • They should make a book called 125 Years of German Humor. That would be the best two pages in comedic history.

      • by PReDiToR (687141)
        Not all Germans are without a sense of humour ... Hennig Wehn [youtube.com].
    • by drkim (1559875)

      Okay, so why is the german version cheaper?

      Ve haf ways uf making you read!

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @08:42PM (#47797391)
    ...Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area, has now become "throughout the US". And yet Slashdot thinks it can comment on social issues. Are all 4 of those areas in the top ten wealthiest metropolitan areas? Probably pretty close.
    • "throughout the US" in PR-speak is a blue state blitz.
    • by lucm (889690)

      They tried to book events in Laramie, Muskogee, Tupelo and Pine Bluff, but even if a few people tore off the vertical phone numbers on the ads posted in the community centers in those cities, nobody reached out to the local organizers so the events were cancelled.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      ...Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area, has now become "throughout the US". And yet Slashdot thinks it can comment on social issues. Are all 4 of those areas in the top ten wealthiest metropolitan areas? Probably pretty close.

      I live in Seattle and I am very poor.

  • by popoutman (189497) * on Sunday August 31, 2014 @09:49PM (#47797601) Journal
    I've had the pleasure to meet Randall for a few days during one of his very rare conference visits, where he was the keynote speaker at our university computer society's computing conference. As I was one of the group organising the conference we had drinks with him and his wife back at the hotel, and chatted until the wee hours. He's a genuine nice guy, and he is someone that intensely protects the privacy of his private life and those close to him, from the weirdness that internet fame can bring.

    He did find it really refreshing to be able to go on a proper touristy roadtrip a few days after the conference was over to see a few of the prettier places in the nearby area and to see those from a local's perspective instead of the standard stereotypical locations, where his wife (who is a really lovely lady and someone I've kept up some contact with since) was able to pursue some of her interests. All this without people fawning over him or being weird around him. I got the impression that the more his internet fame grows, the harder it is for him to lead a normal life and that is something that I hope he is able to work with as the years go by.

    I think it's really cool that he is being recognised for his hard work, and he does work hard that's for sure.

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @11:41PM (#47797961)

    The summary includes a link to the submitter's blog, with a shortened link -- tinyURL.com/XKCDAuthor -- that expands to an Amazon link with his affiliate code embedded. While I am a huge fan of XKCD, I am not a huge fan of masked links that earn up to 8% for completely unrelated bloggers. Perhaps the summary should be edited to include a direct link to the Amazon product page?

  • by tsa (15680)

    What does XKCD stand for actually? I always wondered.

    • Re:XKCD (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 01, 2014 @01:40AM (#47798373)

      On the sites "About" page is the official answer:

      What does XKCD stand for?

              It's not actually an acronym. It's just a word with no phonetic pronunciation -- a treasured and carefully-guarded point in the space of four-character strings.

    • by stjobe (78285)

      It's not actually an acronym. It's just a word with no phonetic pronunciation -- a treasured and carefully-guarded point in the space of four-character strings.

      http://xkcd.com/about/ [xkcd.com]

    • by Sanians (2738917)

      Probably just one of the few remaining unregistered four-letter .com domains, from back in the day when there were unregistered four-letter .com domains. They're all taken now. Everybody wants a short domain name, especially the domain squatters.

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      What does XKCD stand for actually? I always wondered.

      The Xavier Kenneally College of Dentistry, natch!

      (disclaimer: GLR wrote that somewhere, not me)

      And if yr not an OTTer, you probably don't care anyway.

  • Good Grief (Score:4, Informative)

    by Art3x (973401) on Monday September 01, 2014 @12:59AM (#47798287)

    Just in case anyone else but me is having a hard time finding out what the book actually is, it's called What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions [amazon.com].

    Slashdot: home of the best comment moderation system and the worst article summaries.

  • by jandersen (462034) on Monday September 01, 2014 @01:31AM (#47798343)

    I looked him upo in Wikipedia and ironically, he is in fact quite thin and has a big, round head...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Hint: Being near-circular in body shape is not the normal human shape. It's called obesity.

      Other hint: Being quite thin and have a big, round head is (or should be) the normal condition of at least 50% of the human population (men + prepubescent children). The remaining 40-something % is (or should be) also quite thin with a big, round head, but often includes two lumps on the chest area. Then, for about 50% of the human population, at certain points in their lives they will sport another, smaller thin obje

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Then, for about 50% of the human population, at certain points in their lives they will sport another, smaller thin object with a round head.

        Only at certain points? Um, hate to break this to you, but despite being female I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be detachable regardless of what the song says... ;-)

    • I like your ironic use of ironic.
  • It's an honest question. I've seen many of these on the web over the years but some of the (IMHO) better ones use the web in some clever way [xkcd.com], use long contiguous panels [xkcd.com], or feature odd page layouts (3099 panels anyone? [xkcd.com]). How well does xkcd translate to book form?

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