UPDATE: After hearing everyone's concerns, Ookoodook has been able to secure reduced shipping rates for pre-orders of the book and/or the calendar to Europe (including non-EU Europe) and Canada. If you ordered the book at the higher postage rate, check your email for information on how to receive a refund of the difference.
Yes, we're doing this a bit early this time, but it's time for another compilation!
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed is the sixth book in the main The Order of the Stick story, featuring all the regular strips from #947 to the end of the current story. Which, yes, is not finished yet. But it's close enough that I have a pretty good page count, and the realities of printing and shipping mean that if I want this on store shelves in time for the holidays, I need to start the wheels moving now.
Anyway, it's a mammoth full-color book that traces the Order's flight north, their stop at Tinkertown, the whole Godsmoot thing, and so on. You know and love the story, now see it on pieces of paper folded up and glued together! Along with a bunch of other features, like:
- More than 10 and less than 20 bonus comics!
- Nine pages of author commentary only some readers care about!
- A map of the Northern Continent that a distinct but in some places overlapping subset of readers cares about!
- A recap of the story so far by someone who looks a lot like Durkon Thundershield!
- A foreword by Haley Starshine!
- Some other odds and ends that fit in the inevitable gaps when it turns out a chapter ends on a recto page but needs to end on a verso!
- Maybe a preface? I don't know, the person I invited hasn't gotten back to me yet!
Add it to your collection today! By which I mean, pre-order it today from Ookoodook, and have it delivered in early December, because that's how pre-orders work! Or you can pre-order a digital copy from Gumroad and have it delivered to your email inbox on December 10, 2019. For additional information, check out the Product Page, or keep reading to have some questions answered.
But before you do, oh no, it's a calendar!
Yes, we're also putting this year's OOTS calendar on sale at the same time. For 2020, we're sidestepping the inevitable vision-related puns and going with a magic theme. Each month will feature one of the OOTS story's spellcasters slinging some sorcery in a glossy 12" x 12" image that will look great on your wall, or hanging in midair if you're the more mystically inclined type yourself. Like the book, this will ship in early December, so if you're interested in both you can order them from Ookoodook together and save on postage. Or you can order the digital version from Gumroad; it's releasing on the same day as the book (December 10). Here's a look inside:
So there you go: New book, new calendar, very exciting.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: I'm confused. Where can I order these?
A: If you want paper copies from Ookoodook, you can pre-order the book here and the calendar here. If you want digital copies, you can pre-order them both from Gumroad here.
Q: What strips does this book cover?
A: Everything from #947 to the end of the current storyline, which hasn't been posted yet as of this writing but certainly will be by the time the book needs to ship to the printer. I'll update this answer when I know the exact strip number. Basically, everything in the "new art" era, starting with the first strip with Sigdi in it.
Q: How long is the book?
A: 352 pages. It's our second-biggest book ever, being only 16 pages short of Blood Runs in the Family.
Q: Why are you putting these on sale so early if they're not going to be released until December?
A: The last book I did, Good Deeds Gone Unpunished, was given a longer pre-release window at the request of my distributor (the people who make sure the book shows up on store shelves). Not only do they have the same needs this time around, but I discovered that the longer period led to the smoothest book launch I had ever done—that even when the book hit a snag and was delayed by a few days, the printer was able to make up the time later in the process. So from now on, I'm going to try to always give a solid 4 months between announcement and release if I can.
Q: What number is on the book's spine?
A: "6" because it's the sixth book in the main story. It's the tenth book in the series overall, but three of those are prequels and one is a collection of random (mostly non-canon) stories.
Q: When will the physical books from Ookoodook ship?
A: They're currently scheduled to arrive at Ookoodook at the end of November or beginning of December. Given that it takes a few days to pack them up and ship them back out, we're more comfortable saying "early December" for the shipping date. We don't want to lock down an exact release date because despite our belief that this longer window will reduce delays, we can't exactly promise that nothing could possibly disrupt that timetable.
Q: Will the physical books be available in my local gaming store?
A: Yes, assuming they've carried Order of the Stick books in the past. This title will be fully available to game store distribution, though I'd expect them not to show up on store shelves until the middle of December.
Q: What if my game store doesn't carry Order of the Stick products?
A: Then you should ask them to! Our stuff is available through all major hobby game distributors, even those outside the US, so just go to your local gaming store and ask them to place an order. If a store stocks roleplaying games, they have the capability to order the Order.
Q: Why is the overseas shipping so expensive?
A: Because overseas postage rates are expensive, and most of the companies you're thinking of that charge less have international warehouses they can ship from, or use bulk rate shippers due to the large volume of products sold. Ookoodook is a very small company that does not have those kinds of resources, so they have to bring them to the post office like everyone else. If the postage is too high for your budget, we suggest either purchasing the digital edition or waiting until it shows up on your local gaming store shelf.
Q: Why should I pre-order rather than just waiting until the book is released?
A: Good question. Two reasons. One, pre-ordering lets me to judge how many copies I should print, and accurately estimating that is what allows me to produce a printed product at all. If I print too many copies, I spend too much money now and end up with loads of unsold inventory that costs more to store. If I print too few, I have to reprint right away and due to the economies of scale, that costs more than it would to print a larger run the first time. Only by getting it pretty close to where demand is can the numbers work out such that I can pull this off without losing a lot of money. So if you care about the financial health of the comic (because you would like me to keep doing this), it's helpful to pre-order. And two, in this particular case, I also literally do not have the funds to print the book until a certain minimum number of orders is reached because these color compilations are much, much more expensive than the black-and-white ones and I don't have that kind of money sitting around. Pre-ordering makes the book possible at all. While I don't have any reason to think we won't get enough sales to pay for the printing bill in fairly short order, if everyone decided not to pre-order that would be a distinct possibility.
Q: OK, but the calendar must be a lot cheaper. Surely it doesn't need to be on sale this early.
A: No, it does not. But people ordering the book now may want to buy the calendar, too, and I didn't want people to feel like they had to hold off buying one to wait for the other to be put on sale at the usual time around Thanksgiving, in case they were hoping to avoid paying twice for shipping. In any event, everything said about trying to judge how many to print goes double for the calendars, which have a limited shelf life (unlike books, which I can keep in stock until they eventually sell). We've had the calendar sell out in pre-orders before, because I set the print quantity based on how many orders have come in by early November—so it's possible to miss out if you wait!
Q: If the calendar is on sale now, does that mean there won't be an ornament? Or t-shirts?
A: No, there will be. But since they ship from a different company anyway, there would be no savings to releasing those now. They'll be released in late November as usual.
Q: Can I buy this book as a digital PDF file?
A: Yes! You can pre-order it from Gumroad today.
Q: When will the digital PDF files be released?
A: The link to download the digital files will be automatically sent to your email inbox on December 10, 2019, at 12:00 pm Eastern Standard US Time.
Q: Why are you delaying the PDFs until December? Why can't I download it today?
A: It's being delayed until the physical book is published so that some customers don't have to wait longer than other customers to read it. We really want the print edition to succeed, and if readers thought they could read the story three months earlier by buying the digital edition then they would be far more likely to do so. By holding the digital edition back to be published at the same time, we ensure that people buy the edition that they really want rather than rushing to get the one that comes out first. (Also I haven't finished all the strips that go in the book yet.)
Q: What reasons is there for me to pre-order a PDF? It's not like there's a printing cost to it.
A: Yep, that's true. The truth is, we provide the pre-orders for PDFs mostly as a courtesy to customers who want to order it now before they forget about it. Also, we don't want to be fielding questions for four months about whether or not we're going to have a PDF release. Having the pre-order accomplishes both these goals. But unlike the pre-order for the print version, we don't get any particular benefit from PDF pre-orders. Feel free to wait until it's available to download!
Q: What does the watermark look like?
A: It's on the first page (the cover), and it's a small grey ribbon-shape with the Gumroad "G" logo, next to which it says "Sold to" and then the email address that you gave when you purchased the book. So don't buy using your top secret email.
Q: Why are you using Gumroad instead of (insert name of other company)?
A: Because they charge the lowest commission, which means I could lower the price more. Plus, most other companies that offer a watermark service add it to every single page, which seemed like overkill to me. One page is enough.
If you have any other questions, go ahead and ask them here and maybe I'll add them back up to the FAQ afterward.